Curiosity

Okay, it’s release day for Magic Mike …

And yeah, I totally want to go see this with some girlfriends. It looks like there are some awesome dance moves in this movie. *vbg* (And for some reason Mr. Nina doesn’t want to see this one … go figure! ūüėČ ) But it looks like I’m going to have to wait a day or two. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a little something for my female readers. An informal poll if you may.

This post actually stemmed from a conversation I had with my brother-in-law.
Me: I really like those jeans on you.
Him: *very puzzled* You think so? They have no shape. They just sort of hang on
me. You know like Don’s jeans.
Me: I remember Don’s jeans, I liked them too.
Him: I thought they were ugly. I’d rather have something that showed off my butt.

This conversation totally cracked me up. It never occurred to me that my BIL (who’s not a young guy) even thought about how his butt looked in his jeans. I guess that’s because I’m not a butt woman. There was a time in college when my roommate was appalled I didn’t look at guys’ butts. Well of course the geeky scientist in me stepped forward and decided to do a little research.

Everywhere I went I checked out guy’s butts. Swaddled in denim. Covered in gym shorts. Framed in painter pants. (Yep, showing my age there.) And I don’t remember if I thought any looked better than another. But I do remember after doing this for a couple of weeks, I was walking to the dining hall feeling like I had become obsessed with butts! I broke the habit right then and there. Because the truth is … butts don’t do it for me.

You know what makes me drool? Forearms and hands. Yep, strong, wide palms progressing to muscled forearms. *sigh* My thoughts definitely go to what those hands can do for me. (Like take out the trash or washing dishes … where were you going with that? Sheesh. *vbg*) Now if my gaze travels up that forearm, tripping over a sculpted biceps and further still to a well defined chest … well then I’m a total goner! I chalk it all up to a misspent youth hanging out at the beach. Lots of young shirtless men to enjoy. And they didn’t manscape back then. Everything was at it was intended to be. (But that’s a blog for another day.)

So what about you? When you’re watching the opposite sex … what takes your breath away? You know me, I’m curious like that. Oh, and are you planning on seeing Magic Mike? … For the dancing of course!

Seven years ago when I began this writing journey my vision of how a book would go from my imagination to a manuscript to the readers’ hands seemed like a pretty well-worn path. The whole author —-> agent —-> publisher direction was the only avenue I understood.

Enter digital books and small presses and publishers who read manuscripts without having them submitted by an agent. Suddenly the publishing world opened up and more authors were jumping up and down over signing their first contract. Many (including Romance Writers of America)¬†were appalled by the lack of advances. They felt authors weren’t making good business decsions or worse yet, that they were treating their writing career as a “hobby”. But the truth is, with a higher royalty rate, authors (including me) were pleased with their contracts.

Then along came a respectable way to self-publish (called indie-publishing by some) and the world exploded for authors. There were authors talking about leaving their jobs to write full time and others talking about making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Not just the NYT and USA bestselling, big name authors, but authors new to the publishing world (EL James anyone?) and exploding onto the scene.

Now, before I go any further, I need to explain that I’m one of those people who wants to have all the information I can gather before making a decision. I received 4 contract offers on the first book I published. I actually went through their author lists and emailed to ask several questions about their publisher. From the author’s responses (or lack thereof) I was able to make an informed decsion and signed a contract that fit me. This blog post is really just me sharing some current information. I would not presume to make any judgments about other author’s choices for publication nor am I trying to steer people away from traditional publishing. I’m just throwing out some food for thought.

As far as traditional publishing, there may not be a better time to have your manuscript read. Recently, I’ve seen several publishers putting out calls for submissions. I suspect it may be due to the fact that slush piles aren’t quite as high with all the authors self-publishing. And if you choose that avenue, just go in with your eyes open. Not all traditional publishers are created equal. Ann Voss Peterson gives a great run down of her Harlequin vs self publishing experience. And Courtney Milan also gives a great accounting of her Harlequin and self-published book royalties and expenses. It’s easy enough to find out information about other publishers by simply asking around.

Maybe the disadvantages of traditional publishing outweigh the advantages for you. And you’re wondering .. Why wouldn’t I self publish? The answers are as individual and varied as authors. I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of traditional vs self-publishing. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has done a great job in THIS POST blogging about the differences between the two publishing options. (It’s really a wonderful post and totally worth reading if you have a manuscript and you’re sitting on the fence trying to decide what you want to do with it.)

So why did I choose to go the self-publishing route? For one, I had books whose rights reverted back to me after their contract expired at my first publisher. I didn’t think they fit at my other publisher and frankly, I didn’t have any solid reason not to try. As it turned out, self-publishing has been the financial boon I hadn’t quite achieved with my publishers. Yes, I’m still submitting and publishing traditionally, but I’m also choosing to spread my business across the self-publishing venue. With my last royalty statement from my publisher it’s become apparent that sales of my Tilling Passions Series has prompted sales of other books. Readers around the world are finding my books and that’s a very cool thing. But mostly it makes me happy because, for the first time in my career, my ledger is running in the black and I’m only 6 months into 2012!

I’m not shy in encouraging authors to give self-publishing a try. I know it made my knees quake before I actually ventured into the waters. But now that I’m there I’ve got to tell you, the swimming is easy and the water is refreshing. Am I saying I won’t pursue a NY contract? I’m not sure. Right now I don’t seem to have the patience to sit and write that novel that would fit the NY market. With everything going on in my life, my muse doesn’t seem to want to settle down. But with all the changes in publishing, I’m willing to stay flexible enough to take my career in the direction that works best for me.

What about you? Are you comfortable where you’re sitting right now? Are you looking to make changes or is status quo working for you? You know me, I’m curious about stuff like that.

 

One of the things that I’ve learned in this publishing business is that sales beget sales.

You just have to look at 50 Shades of Grey to see what I mean. Readers who wouldn’t have picked up an erotic romance novel, let alone one with a BDSM theme can’t get their hands on this book fast enough! Yet, the fact that this is the best-selling book across all venues (Amazon, iTunes, B&N) says that readers are buying it because everyone else is and they want to find out what all the fuss is about.

This is true of any book on the best-sellers list. A book reaching the top catches the attention of potential readers who buy the book and keep it on the best-selling list. Do the lists drive each and every person in the book-buying population? Of course not. But enough readers look to the top sellers either by category or in general to make decisions about their purchases.

Which means, as an author … WE WANT OUR BOOKS ON THOSE LISTS!

Until I was published for awhile I never quite understood the ranking numbers on Amazon. (And now B&N is showing rankings on books as well, but no categories like Amazon)¬†Here’s a good break down for Amazon sales that I think is pretty accurate:

Bestsellers Overall Rank 8,500 to 40,000 – selling 1 to 10 books a day
Bestsellers Overall Rank 3,000 to 8,500 – selling 10 to 30 books a day
Bestsellers Overall Rank 1,000 to 3,000 – selling 30 to 100 books a day
Bestsellers Overall Rank 450 to 1,000 – selling 100 to 150 books a day
Bestsellers Overall Rank 200 to 450 – selling 150 to 300 books a day
Bestsellers Overall Rank 80 to 200 – selling 300 to 600 books a day
Bestsellers Rank 50 to 80 – selling 600 to 3,000 books a day

But the fact is, no one has been able to crack how Amazon calculates its sales algorithms. Which makes sense. They don’t want publishers to somehow manipulate sales and therefore rankings, which of course would then push more sales.

al·go·rithm
[al-guh-rith-uhm]
noun
a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor

With the number of books being self-published growing exponentially it seems Amazon is now revising their algorithms to change how FREE! and $.99 books show up on the lists. Did they mention this? Well, no. And as much as I love math, being a science geek and all … I certainly didn’t put the numbers together. But some authors¬†who have had their books in the KDP Select Program–where you can put your book up for free for up to 5 days in a 90 day period–are finding sales after going free have significantly reduced from when the program began. The theory is that the change in algorithms is making it so you have to sell more at a lower price to make it onto the best-selling lists.

Check out THIS post that discusses in depth the changes at Amazon. The original posts by Edward Robertson can be found HERE. Whether you’re an author or a reader you should take a look. Go ahead, I’ll wait …

Interesting what Amazon appears to be doing isn’t it? Are they trying to move authors (and therefore readers) away from the FREE! and $.99 bargains where they make little or no money from sales? Hard to say. But many authors are finding better success with higher prices. Question is whether that’s getting them up on lists where readers are finding them and purchasing the books or are readers perceiving higher priced books are better quality? Wish I knew the answer.

What I do know … and what I’m advising authors just starting out in the self-publishing business … what worked two years ago for John Locke and Amanda Hocking, heck what worked for your author friend just six months ago probably isn’t going to work as a marketing strategy for a book being published today. $.99 rolled into hundreds of thousands of sales a year or two ago. I don’t believe that will work anymore, especially with Amazon (possibly) working to change the rules of the game. Check out THIS POST to see how I’ve used the FREE! marketing technique for my series. Am I saying NEVER put a book out for FREE! or $.99? Not at all. I’m simply saying, carefully look at your particular circumstances and find a marketing strategy that works for you.

So blog readers … Is your book buying driven by lists? Are there other factors that influence your choices? Of course I’m asking … you know me, I’m curious like that.

 

Seriously, I’m not that old. But when I look at the world I realize there are sooooo many day-to-day things we take for granted that weren’t around when I was a kid. Not sure what I mean? Well how many of these things do you remember?

1. Corded wall phone – We had a phone on our kitchen wall. And it was attached. There was no walking around while you talked with someone. Video phones and communicators were seen only on Star Trek.

2. No video games – The first video games were actually in those big machines found in arcades at the fun park or in bars (which I obviously found out in college). We did have a game of “pong” that hooked to our television in the 60’s.

3. No Home Computers – When I was in college I worked for my Dad’s engineering company. The computers they used filled a special room where the floor and ceiling were suspended to protect the electronics. I got my first home computer three years into my marriage and it had a small screen with green square font and no printer.

4. Payphones – I don’t even know if you can find these anymore. But these phones were on the streets, in hotels and dorm halls. And just like its name, you had to put the money in to make a call and keep feeding in more coins while you talked. Germaphobes would not survive these beauties today!

5. No debit cards – You could get a credit card, but they were rare. We wrote checks for everything. This swipe and buy is completely new. My college professor talked about the advent of that kind of shopping and being paid without receiving a check … but we couldn’t imagine. (And of course by extension … no ATM’s)

6. Being called in for dinner – That’s right. We were out playing and when dinner was ready whoever was still in the house went to the back door and called for anyone who was out playing in the neighborhood. Every family did this.

7. Speed limit being dropped from 70 to 55 – I’ll never forget going from 80-85mph that my father used to travel on the highway down to 55. We thought we could run faster than the car was moving.

8. No remotes – We actually got off the couch to change the channel or turn the tv up. Of course it meant turning a dial either way, none of this digital number stuff.

9. Penny candy – Yep, we could find change in the couch and run up to the corner store and fill our pockets with penny and 1/2 penny candy. (Of course stamps were only $.08 when I wrote letters in middle school.)

10. Microwaves – If you didn’t defrost it … you didn’t eat it. Leftovers were heated in the oven or on the stove. I didn’t get a microwave until I’d been married for three years.

11. Video cameras – I remember when I was in high school my Nana won this device where you could record a movie, put it in this tv device and it would play the movie. We were amazed. I got a video camera as a gift when my oldest was a year old.

12. Music went from 45 rpm’s that we played on a small record player with a needle to 8 track tapes we could play in the car to cassette tapes to DVD’s. We still have our 33 lp’s from college and a turn table that our children are asking us to use again.

13. No Calculators – My sister is a couple of years older than I am. My dad actually went to her high school math class to show them how to use something called a slide rule. By the time I hit my junior year in high school the first calculators were coming out. They were the size of a small router and the manual was the size of a short novella.

14. No Leash Law – We had several dogs growing up. They scratched at the door when they wanted to go out and we let them run the neighborhood like a cat. There was no “cleaning up” after them. We had a dog that made his morning rounds and got scraps from our neighbors. He was a great little beagle named “Ralph”. (He even managed to get in the elementary school one day and a couple of teachers ran down the hall calling his name … seemed everyone knew our dog. LOL!)

I’m only 50 years old. My parents have seen even more changes in their lifetime. Can you think of anything I’ve missed?

I’ve been a card-carrying member of Romance Writers of America since 2005 when I started this writing journey. I found out about them when my sister suggested I enter the first story I ever wrote into the Golden Heart Contest. Thank goodness the entries were full because the manuscript everyone in my family loved, turned out to be 100,000 words of crud. LOL! But this post isn’t really about that.

It’s about an organization that 7 years ago I absolutely needed. Mostly because it pointed me in the direction of my local Maine chapter where I met some amazing writers who were more than willing to share their experience and teach me about the craft of writing. That led me to writing contests where I learned sooooo much from some very honest and giving judges. And followed that up with RWA chapter conventions.

I learned how to write query letters and where to send manuscripts. I devoured every issue of the RWR, the monthly magazine put out by RWA, filled with articles written by authors who had walked this path before me.

A year later I signed my first contract. And that’s when I got the first cold shoulder from RWA. I had signed with Liquid Silver Books (whom I adore) which is an electronic publisher. They didn’t offer an advance and for some reason that meant I wasn’t “career-minded” and didn’t deserve to have my contract listed as FIRST SALES in the RWR. Yeah, that stung.

But RWA couldn’t ignore the digital train filling up with authors who weren’t wearing blinders and could actually read the signs on the publishing horizon. They slowly accepted that authors who were published only in digital formats might actually be making money. They even allowed us into the prestigious “Published Authors Network” when one of our books earned $1000 in royalties, which was the minimum advance they felt was worth an author’s time. They lost a little of their luster at this point. More and more magazines were arriving and sitting around unopened before they got recycled. Still, I was happy to be in online RWA chapters that offered classes and support that I desperately wanted and needed.

Fast forward a few more years. I’ve found several author and reader groups online that aren’t affiliated with RWA. They support the needs I have, social, promotional and educational. Facebook and Twitter exploded, offering me even more opportunities to connect with authors and readers. I have a whole array of friends that I’ve never met face-to-face, but who are as dear to me as some of my highschool and college friends.

Now self-publishing has added another avenue to the road to publication. People are questioning the need for agents. Is Harlequin with it’s meager advances and low print runs the gold standard anymore? It used to be that authors who were members of RWA held more credibility with the big romance publisher. I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. I’m meeting more and more highly successful romance authors who are not members of RWA.

And then there’s the convention. But even that has lost its shine for me. With conventions like Romantic Times, Lori Foster’s Get-Together and Ellora Cave’s Romanticon authors are offered many opportunities to meet and greet not only other authors, but readers as well. And isn’t that who I’m really working to get to know? The RWA convention is for members only.

Now, RWA is trying to figure out where self-publishing (that dirty word that also meant you weren’t “career-minded”) is fitting into their model of publishing. With so many NYT Bestselling authors re-releasing out of print and backlist titles, it’s no longer a publishing avenue they can ignore. I’m not sure where they’ll end up when it all shakes out, but the question is, have they become an organization that romance writers no longer need?

I don’t know the answer to that question.

I’ve been questioning my membership over the last couple of years. Mostly because RWA continues to raise their yearly dues (like everything else in the world that’s increasing). And I’m using them less and less. I have enough connections now that when I’m inquiring about a new publisher or perhaps (some day) shopping for an agent, I know there will be all kinds of people who will be able to steer me in a direction that works best for me. For now I continue to plunk down my money so I can continue to be active with the Maine Chapter. Some of my dearest friends are in that group. And I would miss seeing them. But I’m not sure it’s worth the $110 (RWA and Chapter dues) a year for me to be a member of that chapter.

What do you think? Are there advantages for romance authors to be members of RWA? Do you think those that bow out are missing anything? I’m really trying to figure this one out.

I’ve been writing erotic romance for about six years. I have lots of wonderful readers who enjoy my books. And though my family is very proud of all that I’ve accomplished, very few of them want to read my books. That’s fine. They aren’t for everyone. And up until the last year, most of my extended family didn’t even know the words kindle or nook. Now, many of them own one.

It’s only recently that authors have been able to take complete control of their publishing careers and self-publish their books. Many of the books on the NYT Bestseller list are now self-published e-books. But I’m not sure any of them are getting the buzz that 50 Shades of Grey is receiving. It seems every time I turn on the television someone is talking about this book. This erotic romance book with BDSM themes. Kelly Ripa was discussing it on her show. Ellen DeGeneres was sorta reading excerpts on her program.

The book world is on fire with chatter about this trilogy. And I keep wondering … why this book? Did the author, EL James, a television executive know some trick to marketing that the rest of us haven’t tried? I can’t say I’ve seen an interview of her, though I do understand she’s been on a couple of morning shows.

In the long run all this attention is helpful for all erotic romance authors … like me!

The media is terming her story “Mommy Porn” because so many mainstream romance readers are falling in love with Mr. Grey, Anastasia and their less-than-mainstream relationship. I’m not sure readers are happy with this catch phrase, but hey, why not? I’ll be the first to tell people I write smut. Of course I say it lovingly, knowing that my stories (like all good erotic romance books) aren’t just one sex scene loosely connected to another sex scene. There are flawed characters with real emotional problems all set within a plot that twists and turns and hopefully surprises my readers.

But I know, most of you stopping here already know that.

I don’t know about this particular book. Since reader¬†reviews are all over the place on this one, I’m not sure if I want to plunk down part of my monthly book budget (don’t laugh, I can pretend I have one) just to see what all the buzz is about. But whether people like this book¬†or not,¬†there’s no arguing with the number of books flying off the virtual shelves. Which means these readers, many who are¬†new to the erotic romance genre, may be looking for other sexy reads. That’s wonderful news for the rest of us¬†working to market our books.¬†Because the truth is, some of us are just trying to figure out what Ms. James did right to bring so much attention to her trilogy. I’d like to repeat her success.

What about you? Have you read this? Are you planning on checking it out? And if you have insight as to why this particular book has hit the big time, do share. You know me, I’m always curious about stuff like that.

This happens every once in awhile. The whole “to blog or not to blog” argument I have with myself. Yeah, it’s reared it’s ugly head … again.

This time it’s not just the fact that–in this time of 140 character (Twitter) or photo (Pinterest) updates–people are running around the internet looking for a quick way to keep in touch. I’ve come to realize that I have no platform.

No, that’s not the right word. It’s not like I want to be the voice of a “cause”. What I mean is, I’m not sure who I’m blogging for. I mean, who do I expect to stop by and read my posts? I know it’s mostly my writer friends (whom I appreciate *mwah*), though I get some people stopping by who aren’t part of the publishing world. So do they really want to read about editing or rejection? Perhaps they do. Perhaps they want to know about the life of the writer including it’s ups and downs.

Do I want to attract people with posts about my books or invite them to check out excerpts? Are people interested in that or is there just too much of that out in the cyber world?

Maybe the best I can expect is to just spew whatever is on my mind and hope to have different people stop by who are interested in that topic. Of course that means I have to talk about it on facebook and goodreads. I don’t know. But since you’re here, I’d love to hear what blogs you visit and why. Do you think blogs are going the way of the wall phone?

This is a crazy month for me. Lots of traveling to visit family which is wonderful, but it also is cutting into my writing time. This is only a problem because¬†I’ve really got to pull my act together and start working. I have plenty of projects, but I can’t seem to settle on one and get it finished. But I’ve decided that since my life is still kind of crazy at the moment that writing something totally new is a bit overwhelming. So I’ve decided to pull out a never-published book and do a complete rewrite. I’ve always loved the story, but it’s never caught the eye of a publisher. Which is fine. I’m sending it out in the world on my own. It’s a romantic suspense novel, which I understand isn’t selling through NY. Got to love this whole self-publishing avenue available to me now.

Anyway, since my other self-published books are beginning to sell I’d like to keep it going by releasing a new book. That means the pressure is now on to produce. Again, it’s my own personal goals that create the pressure, but still.

Every writer (whether they work full time at their craft or squeeze it in around another job) tries to find the balance between creating new stories and editing upcoming releases, promoting their books — and real life. Sometimes it’s a precarious balance.

I’ve found myself over the last few months ago frittering away my days. Bad. Very Bad. I spent my days typing at the computer, but somehow emails, Facebook, Twitter and visiting blogs were more important than putting words together to form chapters. ūüėÄ hee hee. That’s me.

When I was in high school about every three months I’d fall apart, tears streaming down my cheeks claiming I couldn’t possibly live up to everyone’s expectations. My mother would calmly suggest I drop out of this or turn over the responsibility of something to someone else.¬†I’d claim I couldn’t do it. Then I’d mop up my tears and rise to the challenge and of course I’d push through and meet all the deadlines and fulfill my responsibilities. It’s what I do.

After all these years, I’ve come to realize it’s how I’m hard wired. I can’t change it. Nothing but deadlines … a goal to finish by a certain date … works for me. It even happened when I was teaching. Even though I knew I wanted to create a new program I never buckled down and actually did it until I had the first group scheduled to come for the program. Then it was no holds barred until the research was done and the lesson plan complete. The deadline¬†has to be real.

I’ve tried to participate in writing challenges, but there were no repercussions. No one except me knew if I didn’t finish.¬†1k 1 hour … just can’t seem to do it. I need to know something tangible is at the end.¬†So, after being a published author for nearly four years, I’m finally figuring out what makes me tick.

So authors, how do you work best? Do you find deadlines (either actual or self imposed) motivational or do you like the freedom to create at your own pace? And if you have any secrets about keeping your productivity up, please share!

Curious authors want to know.

Today my man is going for a job interview. We pawed through his closet putting together¬†the whole shirt/tie/suit jacket/pant ensemble. Did it match? Did it make a statement and if so, was it the right one?¬†He’s a big guy and some clothes pinch around the collar or snug too tight around the arms. I thought if he was going to sit in a 2-3 hour interview he should be comfortable.

But he was much more concerned about the impression his clothes would make than his own comfort.

I know that’s how it’s supposed to be, but I just can’t wrap my head around that. The fact is, he could do the job just as well in¬†a pair of jeans and a T-shirt as he can in a suit jacket and tie.

At home, I sit most of the day at my computer typing away, dressed in nothing more than my pj’s. The cats don’t care as long as I get up once in awhile to play with them and fill their food and water bowls.¬†My editor and publisher don’t care what I wear as long as my writing is solid and tells a good story. And I suspect my readers don’t pick up my books wondering what I have on that day.

Of course I wouldn’t go out in public that way … I’m not that inappropriate. (Though I used to slip on boots and a winter jacket and cap over my pj’s and bed-messed hair to drive my kids to school, but that’s another story.) But I bump around in jeans and a sweater most days.

When I go to conferences I always end up buying new clothes. I want to look “professional”. I don’t do the suits and dresses like so many attendees, but I do wear colored jeans and dress shirts.

I know — always dress for success.

But aren’t I the same person in jeans as I am in slacks? Can’t I still write the same words and weave the same story despite my outer appearance?

Why exactly do the clothes make the person?

When you go to a book signing to meet your favorite author does it matter to you what he/she is wearing? Do you prefer to see a professional woman in a skirt rather than slacks? (As my father-in-law always insisted I wear a dress to an interview.)

As a teacher at an outreach Center I wore jeans every day. My dad came to visit and was appalled that one of the teachers came to the Center dressed in jeans. (Schools often relax the dress code for their teachers on field trips, so this wasn’t surprising to me.) When I questioned why he found it offensive he said the children won’t respect them and be polite. I had no issues with classroom managment and the kids didn’t know me from the tooth fairy … okay, maybe the tooth fairy … but you get my drift. The clothes didn’t make me a good or bad teacher.

Do the clothes, if they’re clean and neat, really make a difference to you?¬†Because you know me, I’m curious about stuff like that.

I’ve been hanging around the internet a few years now. I’ve been hosting people, visiting blogs and just generally making a nuisance of myself. But in the process of all of that running around, I’ve learned a few things about being a gracious guest and I just thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned. (Keep in mind this is faaaar from a complete list and only my perceptions):

1) Be prompt: Regardless of the platform your host uses, it takes time to upload a guest blog. If there are links, bookcovers, and excerpts even more to set it up so it looks appealing. Be sure to get your interview questions or blog post to the host at least a week prior to your visit. Everyone is busy. When you do this you respect the host’s time.

2) Be yourself: Whether you’re answering interview questions or offering a guest blog the visitors want to get a feeling for who you are. If you have a snarky sense of humor, let it shine through in your answers. If you have an interesting day job that lead you to the world of publishing be sure to share that. Readers of blogs are interested in the little details of your life they may not know. That being said …

3) It’s not all about you: Okay, what I mean is … it’s not all about selling your book. Readers get really tired of the “ME ME ME ME, BUY MY BOOK” posts. Engage the reader. Talk about an interesting antecdote or how your character screamed at you the whole time you were writing the book. Visitors are more likely to be intrigued by personal facts rather than the buy link. Why would anyone want to comment on a book cover, blurb and excerpt? Ask them something. Remember, this is about engaging visitors in conversation. They want to like you and talk to you. Give them something to chat with you about.

4) Hosts are busy too: I’ve had guests that were so excited about a blog tour that they sent me daily emails with DETAILED instructions of what they expected me to do for them including running their contest. Ummm … no. I’ve offered a corner of the internet and hopefully introduced new readers to their book. Other than being available to interact with visitors, I don’t have time to babysit a guest blog. This goes back to #1 … respect your hosts time and efforts. I will promote you and your post, but in turn, I want you to promote my blog.

5) Don’t abandon ship!: A guest blog isn’t a lone post just hanging out by itself. Commenters want to know someone’s actually there and they’re not talking out into the cyber universe. Make time at least twice (if you can) to visit and respond to commenters. If your day job or other obligations makes that impossible, take time to visit at the end of the day and respond. Remember, it’s about making connections with new readers.

6) Engage the Readers: When you write your post try to leave it hanging. Ask a question of the readers at the end of your post or make a statement that visitors can comment on. It keeps them from visiting without taking time to comment.

7) To giveaway or Not giveaway: It’s always difficult to decide whether you want to give a gift to commenters. Readers love to receive gifts from authors, but sometimes it’s cost prohibitive to offer a prize to each blog in a blog tour. Try offering something from all the commenters of ALL the blogs you visit? I’ve found this to work very well. But remember, readers don’t always need prizes and big giveaways, your interesting post¬†and an intriguing excerpt are enough to make their day.

I love introducing people to writers they may have never met. I love going out and visiting other blogs to meet new people. This list isn’t complete by any stretch of the imagination. I’d love to hear what intrigues you? And what drives you completely insane when you’re reading a guest blog or interview. Because you know me … I’m always looking to improve my blog. ūüėČ

And it’s been awhile since I’ve had a sexy guest, so I in honor of beach weather arriving a little early, I thought I’d share…enjoy your weekend!

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