books with Athena

books with Athena

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How to Blog Part V: 12 Dos and Don’ts for Author-Bloggers


This is the 200th post on this blog. Since I started it on Friday the 13th  in March of 2009, I’ve learned an awful lot. (The first thing I learned was that you have to actually post stuff. My second post wasn’t until late June.)

Another thing I’ve learned is there’s no wrong way to blog—BUT if you’re an author who wants to get published, you need to be professional about it. If you want to be taken seriously in the industry—and we have to remember it is an industry—you need to create a helpful, reader-friendly place that’s an easy-to-navigate hub for your online presence as a writer.

For the other parts of this series, check Part I: How to Blog, Part II: How not to Blog, Part III: What to Blog About, Part IV, Difficult Blog Visitors

Here are some more dos and don’ts I’ve learned along the way that might make your job easier:

1) DO post your Twitter handle somewhere prominent on your home page if you tweet. Don’t just use one of those birdy icons. Make sure you put your whole @twittername up there. I spend way too much time using Twitter’s iffy search engine (why is it so useless?) trying to find the handle for somebody I’m quoting or want to reach. If it’s right up there on your blog home page, people are much more likely to be able to tweet you or follow.

2) DO post a Facebook link, (or “badge,” or “Like” button) so people can join you on Facebook. (Unless you’ve managed to resist the pressure to venture into Zuckerland. For which I applaud all three of you.)

3) DO provide an email address. I don’t know how many blogs I visit and find no contact information. The place most people will look is on your “about me” page. So that’s a good place to put it. If you’re afraid of spambots picking it up, write it this way : “myname (at) gmail (dot) com” –but do it! Imagine an agent or editor reads that short story that won the online contest and loves it. She wants to find out if you’ve got any full length fiction (yes, this does happen) so she Googles you, finds your blog, and…no contact information. Opportunity is knocking and nobody’s home.  

4) DO post your blog schedule. Here we say “This blog is updated Sundays, usually”—six simple words that keep us disciplined and keep readers coming back. We’ve never missed a post, but if we do, that “usually” covers our derrieres—we’re not running a boot camp here. On the other hand, it’s very important to remember it’s your professional profile. When you’re trying to get published, you’re basically applying for a job. You don’t want a sloppy blog any more than you  want to show up late for an interview, wearing stained sweats and smelling like last night’s party.  

5) DO learn to write 21st century prose. Writing for the Interwebz is very, very different from what you learned in school. It’s light, punchy, and easy to skim. The vast majority of online readers are skimmers. They want:
  • lists
  • major points highlighted
  • bullet points
  • Bolding
  • lots of white space 
See where your eye went? There are a couple of important publishing industry blogs I hardly ever read because they’re written in the dense, repetitive prose of the old paid-by-the-word, pre-electronic era. I wait for somebody else to post excerpts or summarize those posts, because sweetie, I have things to do….

6) DON’T let yourself get pressured into too many blogfests and bloghops and blog awards and other blogmania. Just because somebody gives you an award doesn’t mean you have to drop your WIP and spend a day visiting 80 blogs to tell them all the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done with a book or whatever today’s game is. Thank them politely, tell them you’re honored and do as much as you have time for. Same with invitations to blogfests. No matter how much fun it sounds, just gathering a lot of blog followers isn’t as important as getting that novel written!

7) DON’T die intestate. No matter how young and healthy and immortal you feel, appoint a blog executor. Make sure somebody besides you has the passwords to your blog so if anything dire should happen, they can attend to it and/or take it down. Yes, it’s kind of icky to think of, but stuff happens. Not just kicking the bucket. You could get in a parasailing accident while you’re on that vacation in Mazatlan. Or get stuck without power for 2 weeks in darkest Connecticut. Be attacked by angry bees. You don’t want your blog hanging unattended in cyberspace as it collects Ukranian porn and fake Viagra ads.

8) DON’T neglect your “About Me” page. Keep it updated (speaking to myself here. I’d let mine get sloppy.) Make sure it’s friendly but professional. You don’t want a resume/curriculum vitae snoozefest. But you also don’t want to use it to post pix of yourself after your tenth margarita at SeƱor Frog’s or photos of your puppy learning to go potty outdoors. This is about you, the author. Even if you aren’t published, you want this to be about your writer-self. Give a short bio, a list of what writing organizations you belong to, your genre if you’ve settled on one, plus links to any short pieces you’ve published, or contests you’ve won—and anything else that relates to you as a writer. Make sure you include links to all your social media pages, especially book-related ones like Goodreads, AuthorsDen or RedRoom. You can talk about your favorite books, your philosophy, or your life goals as long as it’s short and not preachy. You can mention your family, but even if you’re a devoted stay-at-home parent, don’t make this all about the kids. This is for you.

9) DON’T try to maintain too many blogs. OK, I’m kind of hammering people about this, but I see a lot of misinformation about this circulating. To me, two is too many. If you don’t have a day job, and you aren’t in a hurry to finish that WIP, maybe you can handle two—especially if the second is a group blog. Or if one is the blog for your XXX-rated erotica and the other is for your sweet Christian romances. But please, don’t try to do any more. Multiple blogs don’t only take too much of your time—they also fracture your follower count and really annoy people trying to reach you.

Do you think it’s more impressive to an editor that you have 60 followers on your Sweetie Snookums, Vampire Slayer blog, 90 on Susie’s Scribblings, 43 on Sassy Susitude and 50 on Storytime Snippets—or 243 people reading Susie Smith, Scrivener? Do you think followers want to hop around to all those blogs?? Do you think we’re going to keep searching your blogs after we’ve landed on the one that hasn’t been updated since you posted that rant about Fox canceling Firefly in 2003???

Sorry. Got carried away. As I have said many times before, a Blogger blog has 20 pages. Count them: twenty. You can have one for your vampire stories, one for your musings and scribblings, one for giving yourself pep talks, and one for writing about being a storyteller—and still have 16 to go. So don’t start another blog until you’ve filled them all, OK?

10) DON’T make commenting difficult. This is another thing I’ve been hammering on about but it’s important. I just read a new study of customer habits and discovered the #1 motivation for the contemporary customer is ease of use. They’re not so worried about fancy or special. They want things to be easy. That’s why Amazon is so successful. First they invented a way to buy books with a couple of clicks and then they offered us a way to publish them with a few more. “Quick and Easy” wins the day, hands down.

So remember those CAPTCHA word verification things do NOT make it easy to comment. You can remove robo-spam yourself if it gets through the spam filter, which is a little harder for you and a lot easier for your potential customers. And as for insisting on moderating all new comments—especially if you don’t get around to them for days—that’s pretty much saying, “I don’t need no stinking comments/customers.” Try being open to comments on new posts for a while. If you get a troll attack, by all means go back to moderating, but with a small blog following, it’s very unlikely you’ll get a troll unless you blog about politics or religion. If you moderate (I moderate older comments myself, because that’s where the spam shows up) DO check many times during the day so you don’t send people away mad. These are your potential customers. Saying "just sit there until I have time to decide if you're special enough to buy my books," isn’t going to make the sale.

Note: Blogger loves to play Big Brother. It often turns your CAPTCHA back on after you’ve turned it off. It’s happened to me. So ask a good friend to let you know if it’s on.

11) Don’t delete a blog you’ve neglected. Bring it back to life by giving it your own name (you can’t change the url, but you can change the header very easily) and post a blog schedule and keep to it.

Yes: this is a total reversal on what I used to say, but I was educated by a savvy reader,Camille LeGuire, the Daring Novelist  who left a comment letting me know the older a blog is, the higher its rating with search engines. So remember that nine-year old Firefly blog? You can delete content and change the title, but keep the url and you’ll have much better SEO.

But: if you have 42 blogs, delete all but one or two of the oldest. Seriously. Did I mention people find multiple blogs annoying?

12) Don’t let yourself be pressured into letting somebody guest blog just because they asked. Good guest posts are informative and target your audience. Somebody with a book or service to sell may approach you with what is essentially an advertisement. Even if you’re just starting out, remember your blog is about presenting yourself to the world, and if something doesn’t work with your audience, politely decline. Good guest bloggers should already have relationship with you: they should have been by to comment a few times, or know you from other blogs.

I’ll talk more about guest blog etiquette in another post.

What about you, scriveners? Do you have any other tips to add? Have you learned any of these things the hard way like I did?

Valentine Blog Hop peeps: Our winner is Elizabeth Hyatt, aka the Book Attict. Congrats, Elizabeth! Let us know which of our books you want as your prizes. You get one of Ruth's and one of Anne's. Check the BookLuvin'Babes site for the name of the big grand prize winner.

Blog news: Ruth Harris and I now have pages on this blog for our books. Ruth’s is here and mine is here. We’ve got synopses, quotes from reviews and all the links you need to browse our extensive oeuvres. (And they’re all remarkably cheap. Even my paper books are a deal—under $10 bucks.)

Next week Ruth is going to blog on creating fiction based on factual events. And she’ll be doing a giveaway of DECADES, her own novel that is based on real incidents and historical fact.

Today, my mystery SHERWOOD, LTD. will be featured on Saffina Desforges "no bullshit" Sunday series on her SaffiScribe blog. You can find out how much of that book is fiction and how much was based on actual personal misadventures

Next Friday, Catherine Ryan Hyde will be posting an in-depth interview with me on her blog. If you haven’t stopped by her great new interview series , she runs them every Friday on her blog.

Indie Chicks: This week’s inspirational story is from Christine DeMaio-Rice. A fun one. Check it out here

54 comments:

  1. Re No. 2: Make that all four of us!

    I need to work on No. 8 too. I've found writing a decent author bio is sometimes harder than writing a book.

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  2. Excellent tips! I'll add my Twitter handle name today. Need to post my schedule, but it's already rather crowded in the sidebar with information.
    It's all I can do to maintain one blog - don't know how some people can do two! I'm on of the co-hosts for the A to Z Challenge, but it's not a blog I post on more than twice a month.
    Good points about turning off word verification. Enough said!
    Good stuff as always, Anne.

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  3. Great tips! Learned a few more tricks that will certainly be incorporated. I found a few nifty gadgets/widgits to help readers explore your blog (beyond the one post and the archives...which not many people really utilize).

    Again, from an author slowly rebuilding her blog, thanks so much!

    Cheers,
    Anna
    Link to Blog widgits and other Blog tips

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  4. Great tips. I really ought to get myself email adress more obvious. I've got my name in my blog title now - I think I got that from your last list of tips. Thanks Anne

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  5. Wow, Anne, you really know everything! AND you share. Thanks so much.

    New to me are authorsden and redroom so I will visit them pronto.

    Meanwhile, I'm getting down to the nitty gritty about the how-tos of turning real life into bestselling fiction and the value—sometimes unforeseen—of coincidence.

    Or as it is sometimes called, dumb luck. ;-)

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  6. Why is it whenever I read your "how to's " of blogging I always walk away feeling satisfied, empowered and up for the challenge? Seriously, you rock sister.

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  7. Anne, these are great tips, and I can't thank you enough for sharing. Yes, I sometimes feel pressured and overwhelmed because my WIP takes time, especially when the creative juices flow, so I read what you wrote with great interest. Those double verifications are driving me nuts - I often can't read the letters in one of the words they're so mangled and spend waaay too much time squinting at the screen (not to mention worrying about squinting lines, LOL!) Off I go to update my profile. Thanks!!!

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  8. Elizabeth--Good for you. Actually Ruth hasn't drunk the Facebook Kool-Aid either. I have very mixed feeling about Zuckerland. And you're so right that writing a bio can be seriously tough. It's up there with a synopsis. But we gotta have them.

    Alex--You have a successful blog that is a perfect example of a blog that works as "brand central" for an author. I doubt you'd have the online presence you do if you'd scattered yourself over many blogs.

    Anna--I just checked out your blog and video and you've got some great tips. I think word clouds are awesome. I don't know if we have room for one here, but I might try it. But put your name on your blog! This isn't the time to be shy. :-)

    Analisa--Great that you've got your name on your blog. The email address is important, and I've got mine in big letters in my about me, but you'll be amazed how many people say they can't find my email address. I guess I could put it in the header, but it's kind of long as is :-)

    Ruth--There are tons of great author communities, but we can't do them all. I had to drop RedRoom, although it's a great site.

    Allison--I'm so glad I energize you. I really am trying to help authors work smarter, not harder.

    Kittie--I'm so glad to hear somebody besides me has trouble reading those CAPTCHAs. Sometimes I try three or four times and finally give up. No comment is worth that kind of hassle. I end up resenting the blogger as well as the sadistic captcha people.

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  9. Good post, Anne!

    You hit on two of my biggest complaints: the word verification nightmare and bloggers with multiple blogs. I'm not going to start clicking through 4 or 5 links to find the one that is in use with the content I'm looking for.

    I suppose I should give my password to a trusted friend and I sure hope the word. verif. thingee on my blog is still turned off....

    Thanks again!

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  10. I tweak my blog all the time because I believe in revision. But I hadn't thought at all about what happens to it if something happens to me. That is an excellent reminder that we are mere mortals and blog are something else entirely.

    Love these posts. Thank you.

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  11. These are all excellent tips. Thank you very much. I just launched my site a couple of weeks ago and have been overwhelmed with trying to keep up while editing my novel. Of course that is before I dawn my uniform and head to work. LOL.

    I’ve had folks ask me to share my posts which I’m glad to do so but others have asked me to write pieces for their blogs. My feeling….. being so new to this is …hey, sorry but anything I write right now is for my own site. I’m building my own catalog of content. I did write out four pages of answers to questions this weekend for a blog interview next week though. I figured I could use the answers again later and I really like the person who requested the interview.

    Am I being selfish or just realistic?

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  12. Anne, thanks as always for your sage advice. Word verification has really become onerous with blogger's recent change. I have taken it off per your suggestion but if I get slammed again, it's coming back on. I am going to look at my About Me page which I don't think I have opened up in over a year. :-)

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  13. I love your tips Anne! Though I find it hard to cope with the idea of turning off my CAPTCHA - not even sure how to, if I'm honest, xP. Bah, I'll get to it eventually.

    Thanks very much! *bows and walks out backwards* Hee hee :3

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  14. Yvonne--Those are mine too. A lot of bloggers don't realize how many potential followers have gone away mad because they force us to jump through all those hoops.

    Minnesota--We all think we're immortal most of the time, but alas, stuff happens. Good to make sure our legacy isn't ruined because nobody's able to get in and tell people what happpened.

    Kevin--You've hit on an area I haven't addressed much: guest posting. I think you're very wise to keep your posts to your own blog until you're established. And then, visit judiciously. Guesting is very useful when you're trying to sell a book or get new blog followers. But you can end up "giving away the store" if you guest too often. And guesting for somebody who only has two followers is going to benefit them, but not you. Concentrate on building your own blog first (And finishing that book.)

    Judith--Remember the CAPTCHA doesn't keep out all types of spam or thwart trolls. It only keeps out robo-spam. I hear you about the About me. I had stuff up there over year old. Embarrassing. (And BTW, thanks much for that great review. Much appreciated!)

    Charley--It's easy to turn off. Just go to your "security" settings and there will be something to check or uncheck that says "multiple verification settings" At least if you have Blogger. I'm not quite sure about Wordpress.

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  15. Okay, you've convinced me. :) I created an About Me page. As Elisabeth said above, that's almost as hard as writing my novel! A question, though: Since I now have this page, do I still need the short bio on the sidebar? With both of them I feel I looking like I'm trying too hard.

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  16. Found some great stuff here. Thanks. It was helpful ie update about me and the tip that the older the blog the better. Do you delete stuff that is a year or more out?

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  17. Juli--I don't know if this is what everybody does, but I use the thing in the sidebar for a few facts, and the About Me page for more fun, amusing stuff. (You'll see a photo of me on the wicked stage and another dressed as one of the characters in The Gatsby Game.)

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  18. Thanks, Anne! That answered my question and gave me some ideas about jazzing up my About Me page!

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  19. Jane--You don't have to delete most posts. Just stuff that's going to cause a problem because it doesn't fit with the new direction the blog is taking--or if it's got wrong or outdated information.

    Juli--Have fun with it!

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  20. Well, I've never had a problem leaving you a comment, but today? I tried and it's asking me to do this and that. I will try again. Thank you for the tips, Anne. I'm putting them to complete use in my weekly blogging and you definitely are correct in all your suggestions.
    Thank you.
    Patti

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  21. Patti--Yikes. Is there a word verification? Sorry about that. I'll go see if they've put it back on. Blogger can be such a bully.

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  22. Anne, this series continues to be filled with great information for all of us, no matter how long we have been at the "blog" thing.

    I've used my daughter for so many admin. changes, that she knows all my passwords. Thankfully, she can turn me off if I am suddenly no longer here.

    Other points? I agree with another of your comments ... how the heck can people do multiple blogs?

    My twitter and Facebook connections are turned off at the moment. I am transitioning with both and will return those links soon. I just spent a week writing to three other people to get the email of someone's blog I visit. Also, I read three blogs that have a non-schedule and I never know when I will see them. Schedules, and contact info can easily be added and should be a standard for all blogs.

    Love your links and great going for you and Ruth with the books. You are doing great.

    Keep the info coming. We all love it :)

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  23. I love these posts. They are so helpful. The only one I don't follow is posting my blog schedule because right now, I post when I can and I'm never sure when that is but it's usually Monday, Wed, Fri. I loved #1 so much I went and changed it on my blog. Thank you.

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  24. I got the About Me page, which is more a biography than interesting facts... I do have photos of the houses I've lived in. One of which had been in the family for four generations (well five if you count me and my cousins).

    I put contact info down at the bottom of the page, but I probably could add it to the About Me. I do not have a facebook author page, just the one that I use with Family and friends... I'd kind of like to keep it that way. :}

    Oh and one question: Blogger has 20 pages, plus the blog one for 21, or is it 20 including the blog? And can those pages have 'blog entries' or at they pages that you just update, rather than archive... (I hope that makes sense.)

    Thank you! This is such an awesome series.

    :}Cathryn

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  25. Good advice! Especially number 10. I must learn how to get rid of that Captcha code!

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  26. Hi Anne! Wonderful tips! I'm applying them to my writing blog, which is at the baby stage. Looking forward to more of your advice.

    Cheers!

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  27. Hi Anne! Wonderful tips! I'm applying them to my writing blog, which is at the baby stage. Looking forward to more of your advice.

    Cheers!

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  28. Thanks, Anne, this is brilliant. And, for me, very timely. Thank you again!

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  29. Thanks for another great post and all the the fab tips – I am moving to WordPress and hopefully I'll get into blogging properly and implement them all. Cheers :)

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  30. Hi Ann!

    I've been chewing over your post, and I'm afraid I must disagree over the "2 blog limit" (although I certainly see your point and think it's spot on for new writers!).

    I have three blogs:

    1. My main catch-all blog (I have so many interests, so this blog covers writing, publishing, recipes, coupons, family life, spirituality, book reviews, book excerpts, interviews, etc.). I had thought about doing a "just writing" blog, but that just seems silly. So I didn't. But I do write about my books here, including my Tarot ones.

    2. A group Tarot blog. While I sometimes blog about Tarot on my main blog, especially my books, I wanted a blog that was 100% Tarot-centric with (at this writing) 7 bloggers from all over the world. Tarot is vast enough that it does, indeed, require its own blog! We do interviews, card studies, funny cartoons, games, giveaways, tutorials, interviews, reviews and more.

    3. Now, here's a blog I was THINKING of deleting and blending in with my main blog: Snowland. My husband and I are working on a Snowland Tarot deck BUT I wanted a blog devoted to something I love: winter. This includes snow, ice, weather, science, books, art, animals, Christmas, etc. Yes, it's a way for Snowland Tarot to become more known as a side deal, BUT I want it to be a resource those people who, like me, adore snowmen, snowflakes, Christmas and so on.

    Now, if I would have folded Snowland into my main blog, I would have been limited to just talking about our progress and such with the Snowland Tarot deck (and not have cool science tidbits, word games, old magazine cartoons/art involving snow, etc.) It just wouldn't "fit" my regular blog to have those extras.

    So that's why I've decided to man THREE blogs. It's a marketing decision, to be sure, but it also ensures that my catch-all blog isn't TOO filled with non-related tangents.

    Does that long-winded reply make sense? ;o)

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  31. Fois—No email address is so annoying. It’s OK if they don’t want you to follow them on twitter and FB, but if there’s no contact info—why are they blogging?

    Clarissa—You have a pretty successful blog, so it must be working for you. A schedule is most important if you only blog once a week.

    Cathryn—pictures of the houses you’ve lived in are perfect for your About Me page. Very clever. I happen to think it’s fine not to have an author page on FB. Mine is kind of a waste of time. You only need two when you have more than 2000 friends or something. And you know, I’ve never counted all those Blogger pages, but I think it’s one main page and 20 others. In Blogger, you can have comments on the other pages. But in WordPress, I think you can.

    Ellis—It’s easy to turn off the Captcha. Just go to your Security Settings or Privacy settings and there’s a place to uncheck “word verification.”

    Nadine—Thanks for battling the Blogger elves to get your name on your comment. As I said, Blogger can be a bully. Hope your baby grows up to be a good strong blog!

    James—Glad I helped.

    DC—Wordpress has more functions and is less of a bully. Blogger is easier for us technomorons.

    Janet—Two blogs are fine if one is a group blog. But you know I’m going to tell you to fold that one tarot deck blog in with the other. What if somebody comes looking for a different deck and lands on the “Snowland” one? Do you really want them to go away? If you’re making things harder for your customer, you’re working against yourself.

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  32. Great post, Anne - I added a couple little improvements to my blog, thanks to your tips. :)

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  33. This has been such great advice. but as you said the best advice when you commit to a blog you have to blog. It's work and does take away from 'regular' writing. It's a great way to get your name out there. And tweet about it..

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  34. At what party did you find my stained sweats? I've been looking for them. It's unfair they get to party and I don't.

    Seriously, I love your blog. These are some great tips. I need to blow the dust off my blogs and find some new sparkling sweats to party in.

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  35. Ranae--I'll have to go over and check them out.

    Lee--Blogging is definitely a commitment. Posting twice and leaving the blog hanging there is way worse than no blog at all.

    Alice--Oh, so those were yours? Cosmos leave the most awful stains, don't they? Yes, our blogs need some sparkly new sweats every so often.

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  36. Incredibly helpful post. Thank you. I'm off to use it as a checklist.

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  37. Great post. I'm not brave enough to stop moderating comments - yet - but have removed the word verification :-)

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  38. Hi, Anne! This is all very helpful stuff. I hadn't even realised that my email isn't on my blog until you mentioned its importance.
    Mind you, my blog is mainly there as a platform for selling my books, and I always make sure the links are up.
    I'm never sure if my blog sells a single book for me or not – but then, that's true for most of the book promotion methods. For instance, today my second book, Irish romantic thriller Danger Danger (about the fascination of twins) is being promoted on RG2E, http://thereadersguidetoepublishing.wordpress.com and unless there's an avalanche of sales, I won't really know if it's worked or not.
    Still, I'll keep the blog going in the hope that it achieves something!

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  39. Leslie--So glad it helps. These are little things they never tell you. Blog gurus are always hammering on about SEO, but nobody talks about stuff like Twitter handles.

    Hayley--Have you ever had to delete a comment when you were moderating? If you have, I understand your fear, but if you haven't--why not give it a whirl? You'll look more professional and get more comments.

    Gerry--Blogs don't necessarily sell books--not directly--but you need one anyway. Without a blog, it's hard to get in the game at all. The game is all about name recognition--and you've got a great blog. With a book review/author blog, you've got a two-bird stone--two ways of getting your name out there.

    Whether promo blogs like RG2E sell books is another question. I'll be very interested to hear how that works for you.

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  40. Thanks for the extremely informative post. I'm going to talk about some of the points that you put here in the future. Especially the one on doing blog hops and stuff.

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  41. Michael--The blog hops are such a dilemma. they're fun and you meet people and increase your blog followers. But you also get no writing done on your WIP. So I say join in very judiciously. I'll be interested to read what you have to say about it.

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  42. Thanks for the good wishes. I'll work on it to make it so. :-)

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  43. Hi Anne,

    I found your blog to be very informative. I was wondering what your thoughts are about maintaining your own blog site and belonging to a site which houses a community of poets. Do you think it is good to post your work on two sites? Everyone is always talking about networking. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks for your words!

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  44. Truedessa--Group blogs are the exception to the one-blog rule. Group blogs are great--they're good for networking and for getting your work in front of eyeballs. Some of the best blogs in the business are group blogs. Only problem--your name isn't in the header. So you need a blog of your own. But just one. Don't go overboard.

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  45. There are a lot of good tips in here. I always wondered why people didn't type out their emails "correctly" Now I know why, although that is a little annoying. I'd rahter just click on a link.

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  46. There are a lot of good tips in here. I always wondered why people didn't type out their emails "correctly" Now I know why, although that is a little annoying. I'd rahter just click on a link.

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  47. As usual, Anne, you give much to think about. I've wondered about the blog awards. I was nominated, flattered, and let it go at that. And then, I found out there were all these expectations, which of course takes time from writing. So, it's good to hear that some of this isn't essential at all.

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  48. Jennifer--I've heard there are programs that can pick up live links and use them for nefarious purposes. I write my address "correctly" but don't make it live for that reason. Sort of a compromise. I don't know if it actually makes any difference.

    Diana--This is something I pondered for a while. At first I had the same reaction as you--I was flattered. But after a while, they seemed more like those cutesy chain letters you have to send on to 25 of your closest friends or risk 25 years of bad luck: mostly just a time-waster.

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  49. Anne,

    Thank you for responding to my question your help is appreciated! Have a great weekend.

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  50. Nice to have all of this in one place, Anne!

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  51. True--It was a good question. I should have been more clear about group blogs.

    Susan--Glad it's working as a handy check list for people.

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  52. I always enjoy your tips, Anne. Thanks!

    One comment about CAPTCHAs: On my Wordpress blog, it’s unfortunately a necessity. Even after implementing all sorts of settings and filters to try to thwart the spam, it was pouring in. I’d go away from the computer for a few hours and have 100 new spam comments to delete. It was just too much to keep up with. The thing that gets me the most is that I can’t imagine anyone ever actually buying something from a spam link! Seems like such a pointless waste of time all the way around, but I guess that's logic talking. ;)

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  53. Kiera--You're right. I'm starting to understand the value of CAPTCHA! Even my ever-faithful Blogger spam guard is not keeping up with the spam lately. And you're so right. Most of it is gobbledegook: thesaurus-written incomprehensible non-English or Chinese or Cyrillic characters none of my readers can understand. I can't imagine why people would put time and energy into such a useless activity.

    But I fear I'm going to have to eat my words and put the CAPTCHA back on. Sigh.

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We LOVE comments, but we can't allow anonymous ones because of spammer problems (like hundreds a day). If you have trouble commenting, email your comment to Anne at annerallen dot allen at gmail dot com and she'll post it for you.