Tag Archives: blogs

Unlock your inner flamingo!

Yesterday, Kana Tyler shared a beautiful story about the flamboyant flamingoes that migrated to her yard as a child.  If you haven’t read Kana’s Notebook, I urge you to take a peek now.

As it is, I’m borrowing her beautiful flamingo stamp and passing along her words of thanks to you.

 Dear Readers, thank you for following my blog.  Thank you for taking time each day/week/month to share my journey.  Whether you’ve subscribed to my blog on purpose, stumbled across it while looking for pictures of trees or popped by after seeing me around the blogosphere (and wondered who the heck I am), I appreciate your support.  Knowing I’m not alone in my journey through the woods means the world to me.

Dear Commenters, thank you for sharing your perspectives on my blog.  It lets me know my words make an impact, however small, on somebody’s life, somewhere.  Every comment leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy inside, as if a flock of flamingoes have greeted me with the morning sun.

The incredible writing community could not be possible without you.  You and your fellow writers, bloggers and friends.  If you love and value your readers and commenters, please Flamingo them in whichever way you choose.  If you would like to be a member of my Flamboyant Flock, grab the badge and display it on your blog.  All I ask is that you give credit back to Kana for her whimiscal artwork and fabulous message.

Which reminds me.  Thank you, Kana, for creating such an inspiring gift to share with friends, family and fellow bloggers.

And now I’m curious: why do you comment on blogs?  What holds you back from signing your John Hancock?  Why do you read them in the first place?

Where do you hear about the books you buy? Unofficial Study

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of marketing, researched some and still haven’t come to a conclusion about it all.  A post by Sophie Perinot today stirred up some more questions about marketing dollars and social networking time as effective means of selling books.

Words and phrases have tumbled around in my mind as potential posts, but I guess what I really want to know–what every writer really wants to know–is how do you hear about the books you pick for your reading list?

I’ll tell you all about my buying habits and ask that you–whether a reader or a writer–share a bit about how/where you find your newest reads. 

  • Twitter: I’ve never purchased a tweeted about book.  Ever.  Especially when I feel like the purpose of Twitter is to sell books, not engage in meaningful communications with fellow readers and writers.  Call me a snob…
  • Book Trailer: nope.  I don’t You tube, so see very few of them to begin with.  Those I do see are because I’m already on an author’s blog or website.
  • Blog Mention: YES, yes and Yes!  I love hearing what my cyber friends are reading and why.  I also love supporting my fellow writers by purchasing their books–made easier by e-pubbing as I’m far away from even a big chain book store, let alone an indie brick and mortar. 
  • The Author’s Blog: A word of caution.  I don’t like when authors sell their books in their blog posts by mentioning it every single day.  I do like when they have a quiet link on the side and mention only the most intriguing aspects of their writing journeys in their posts.  If blogs become thinly veiled advertisements, I am out of there.
  • Publisher’s Web Page: Nope.  I don’t visit publisher sites unless I’m already specifically looking for an author or a book.  I never browse them to see upcoming books for my reading list–title comps, yes, but not my personal reading list.
  • Brick and Mortars: I do, however, browse physical bookshelves.  I love nothing more than finding a new author and a new title among the spines.
  • Amazon: Absolutely.  I purchase e-books from my Kindle on a regular basis.  But…I already know exactly what I’m looking for before I do.  I’m not an Amazon browser.  Not even when I get the “based on your purchases you might like” suggestions.  I’m a very focused e-book buyer and never browse for my e-books.
  • Word of Mouth: Definitely.  I will almost always (Please don’t spam me with book titles over this admission!) buy books that are recommended by trusted family and friends. 
  • Conferences: Certainly.  Put an author on the podium who wants to help me succeed as a writer and I’m right there with my checkbook.  Conferences are dangerous places for my bank account.
  • Book Clubs: I’ve been a member of several and love them.  I also adore my kids’ book club flyers from school and almost always purchase a book or ten from them.
  • Author Events: School visits or library talks are intriguing to me and I like to support those authors brave enough to show up in public and put themselves out there.  I like when they bring the books so I don’t have to pay then and have them shipped.  Ugh.  Can you say instant gratification?
  • Libraries: Indirectly.  I’m not a big library user (blame my instant gratification issues and addiction to books) even though I’m on the library board and support them financially.  However, I do browse titles, listen to trends from the librarians and then buy books I think I’ll like based on the process.
  • Author Web Sites: Occasionally.  I do check up on my favorite authors now and again and feel like this IS the place to sell your wares.  It isn’t offensive for me to have authors plug their books on their sites.  That’s why I’m there.
  • School Reading Lists: Yes.  I like to read what my kids are reading.  Even academically.  If I like a book or an author, I’ll buy a copy for home.
  • Movies made from books: Sometimes.  If the movie sounds intriguing, I’ll pick up the book and read it first.  I rarely read a book AFTER seeing the movie, however, as I like to be surprised and delighted in my own head, not by a director’s interpretation of a novel.
  • Writing Groups: Without a doubt.  If I’m in your circle of writing buds, I will 100% support your endeavor: morally and financially.  (No, you can’t have a loan.)  I know, I expect a rush of new subscribers over that one and welcome it.  But I’m serious.  If I make a solid connection with you, I’m your friend for life.
  • Grocery Stores: Laugh about it, but yes.  When I’m on vacation and have to run to the store for a few last-minute ingredients, I will usually pick up a beach/fireplace read for those down times.
  • Radio Mention: Yep.  Especially if the author is interviewed and sounds passionate about his writing and particular project.
  • Newspaper/Magazine Ad: Sometimes, though rarely.
  • Television: Nope.  I picked up one Oprah book club book once and hated it so much I figure we have nothing in common as far as literary taste is concerned.  Snobbish and narrow-minded, but I’m me and I get to have some quirks.
  • Random Out and About: Yep.  I’m a snooper.  If I see you sitting on an airplane or a park bench and you are ENGROSSED in a book, you can bet your last penny that I will remember the title and buy it next.  Kind of like word of mouth, but from strangers and with no talking.
  • Goodreads and other booky places: Yes.  I consider this word of mouth, though I’m a bit leery of who I follow because I only want genuine recommendations.
  • Facebook: No.  I don’t really know writers ONLY through Facebook.  Nor do my friends drop titles as readily as they discuss their evenings out on the town. 

The Catch: I refuse, on principle, to buy a book from an author whose only form of communication is to pitch her writing.  I hate being the target of someone’s campaign.  Rather, I get warm fuzzies when I care about the people who wrote the book and don’t need you to sell me your product.  In fact, the minute you morph from cool writer into crazy marketer, I’m gone.

How about you?  What awakens the desire for you to drop your hard-earned cash on someone else’s words?  How do you initially hear about the books you someday read?  Do you pass along great authors and titles to the peeps in your life?  If so, how?

Readers and writers alike, share this post, comment on your buying trends and help us unofficially get a handle on how we can become better marketers of our work.

Curious minds want to know!

The Writing Wagon

I am officially falling off the wagon.  My addiction to the world wide web and all the cyber fluff that goes with it is simply too strong to ignore.  Even though I know it is bad for me.  Even when it conspires against me.  Even when I should be cleaning closets and preparing for an upcoming confirmation.  The pull is too great.

Bad addiction experience number one: I had written a romantic, fairy-taleish kind of story for Short Fiction Sunday, being it was Valentine’s Day and all.  However, somewhere between writing it and posting it, the cyber monster ate it.  Or maybe took it home to his cyber-partner for a bed time reading.  Regardless, it is gone…

Bad addiction experience 2: Saturday was a temperamental internet connection day and I’ve been so busy since dawn on Sunday through now that I didn’t even try to see if the quirks had been dequirked. 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

I don’t know why I want to fall off the wagon, as the internet is time consuming and so far hasn’t gotten me a contract yet.  However, it’s an addiction thing and, like all addictions, it cannot be reasoned with.  Not to mention that I feel a little nekkid when I don’t spout off daily.  Also, I’m going through withdrawals for not having visited my favorite blogs by my favorite writers since pre-vacation.  I must do that soon or I think I’ll shrivel up and die. 

The reason behind the hiatus–beyond the obvious new suntan–was the fact that I ended up with a doozy of an inner ear infection.  For six straight days I felt perpetually inebriated.  To the point where I couldn’t open my eyes and focus, I fell on my face if I bent down to put my shoes on and I had the bed spins when I tried to fall asleep.  Lots o’ fun.

Or maybe that’s what happens when I don’t feed my addiction.  Maybe my ten day vacation initiated withdrawal symptoms from the hot spot and the only cure is to fall off the wagon and connect once again to my writing world.

I’m going with that. 

Because I think the worse addiction is starting something and never following through.  Writing is a tough gig.  Connecting and maintaining friendships takes time and energy.  Going from wanna-be writer to published author is not for the meek. 

I willingly embrace the responsibilities and fun that go with the cyber portion of my writing career.  It is definitely a wagon I am willing to hop off.

Man, it’s good to be back!

Tales from Technology

Our world is simultaneously bigger and smaller than it was twenty-five and fifty years ago.  This is a tremendous benefit to grandparents and writers.

Last night my Middle Son had a music concert.  Week night events are nearly impossible for grandparents to attend.  My parents are three hours away and DH’s are four.  Not an easy, hop-in-the-car jaunt when the musical event is sandwiched between two work days. 

Had the concert taken place fifty years ago, our parents likely would have been living in the same town or even the same house as us.  They would have had no problem attending a week night event.  Twenty-five years ago, they might have been a town or two away.

As technology has advanced, so has our mobility as a society.  Now-a-days, we judge proximity by states not miles. 

Yet last night, an amazing thing happened.  Our parents did attend the concert.  Our school is in the infant stages of webcasting school events.  From four hours away, DH’s mom nudged me via a text What is he wearing?  Is he next to the girl in the red dress?  Oh, I just saw him speak!

It was magical to share our lives from so far away. 

And some astute authors are cashing in on this magic.  They have begun virtual book tours and blog tours.  They speak at events through webcasting, chat on the phone with book clubs or discuss topics online via chat sessions. Connecting to a wide range of people is limited only to an author’s  imagination and determination.

All this technology has expanded our global reach.  We can be the guest of honor on a blog in Australia.  We can attend a school visit in Europe.  We can “chat” with authors and readers from one coast to the next, all from the comfort of our home. 

Yet as our world expands, it also shrinks.  Technology takes the miles away and brings our family, friends and loyal readers from states away and puts them back in our home towns and right into our living rooms.  We can connect on a personal level despite the distance. 

With this magical new world comes greater responsibility.  As writers and as humans, we need to be hyper-conscious of the ease of technology.  We need to safegaurd our relationships.  All of them.  I think technology could easily replace personal relationships.  It could become so comfortable to web-cam from home to home that the urge to visit and be visited diminishes.  After all, why bother with the inconvenience of travel when it is easier and more cost effective to boot up the computer?

As technology becomes the norm, we may be able to attend events without ever really showing up.  Which is fine if you would prefer Aunt Maud to spill her cranberry vodka on her own carpet while you said quick hellos from across the room continent on Christmas morning. 

But what about writers?  My worry is that, unless we are mindful, technology can create a chasm between writers and readers.  It would be rather easy to revert back to the smoking jackets and hermit-like ways if we can sip our cranberry vodkas while “speaking” to a room full of kids.  This valley could become an uncrossable canyon in terms of knowing our audience and really connecting with them.

Do you feel that technology enhances or detracts from a relationship?  What concerns do you have about going “virtual”?