Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A little bubbly and sober thoughts

            As I've often shared with visitors to my blog that we go on frequent hikes in the not quite high country-- meaning we find great views and hikes in the foothills that are within a half hour drive from our home. One of our favs, but one that I have never posted any pictures of is Green Mountain. The name Green Mountain has always been a somewhat ironically named hill as most of the year it is brown- except this year! We had so much rain in May that the tabletop hill just to the west of the city is as green as the much hardier evergreens that color the mountains behind it.
My son and I once saw a baby rattler on the trail here! A little scary!
Walks are a nice time to reflect and this particular day I was reflecting on my writing and on the topic I've been blogging about for the past couple of weeks. 
            I take it from the response (or lack thereof?? Some of you responded! Thank you!!!! ) that some of you might been embarrassed that I was saying it out loud OR I was simply stating the "well duh" of blogging obviousness.But of course if your plan is to  use your blog for your platform building or your advertising base, then I think the question becomes a great big: HOW????  
Maybe you have a plan??? (care to share???)  
A flower's view from the top looking westward
 I mean, I think there are the things we all do which may feel like A Plan: blogfests, the Writer's Platform Building Crusades, etc. where we meet other writers and follow each other, build a support base. And that is fine!! It's good. I am not criticizing them. I believe that bloggers are a community and support for each other is a good thing! The only problem is that it doesn't necessarily reach readers- it reaches other writers (again, not a bad thing...!!!) And as Talie commented on my last post "Building a brand can be hard, I think social networking these days is definitely a good way to start but then to get readers buying - that is the question! ;-)"
      Which is exactly my point! As I have said to you I am a realist (or as close to being a realist as a writer can be-- haha!) and I would like to have readers one day (wouldn't you???). I mean, I will write whether I ever get published or whether I ever have any readers of my work or not, because I simply must.
But my hope is not to have boxes of unread manuscript for my loved ones to send off with my ashes when I die (I mean, how morbid to have all that time and effort  quietly floating in the air above Key West following the gulf stream for who knows how long then finally come to an end as fish food. Sounds fine for my worn out flesh... but my work??).
Our evening is capped off with a bottle of champagne!
 No! I hope for more. So I am looking out over the blogosphere and the World Wide Web-- I mean not EVERYWHERE (and while I am at it, if you want to be thoroughly depressed about your creative endeavors, you can hop over to Michael Offut's blog and read his post on what it's going to take to even get published, click here. It's a reminder too as to why we all keep blogging.) as it doesn't take a thorough search to begin to get some ideas of what may work and what may not. And, as I looked around I spoke to a few other book purchasing friends (in other words: potential customers!!!! Well, not mine, we have different tastes but you get the point. They buy books! They are some of the few!) I got their take on what they thought would draw them to a particular site for a book purchase.
Sunset over the Rocky Mountains
But in the meantime I wanted to analyze my own blogging preferences: I follow 258 blogspot bloggers. That does not include those lovely bloggers who have Wordpress or Tumblr blogs so if it were all totaled up I might follow close to 300 blogs. I do not follow you all as well as I would like. I'm not great at keeping up even with Google Reader's aid but I do try to pop in when I can and there are some I am better at than others because I have developed a connection with the blogger, so to be perfectly frank, I make more of an effort to check on those blogs more frequently (as do you, don't lie!)
              But then there are blogs I follow because I find them interesting whether or not I have a connection with the blogger and it is those blogs or websites that I am most interested in discussing, because they are also blogs or websites of authors. 
So Bear with! 
A partial view of Denver as we are coming down the hill after sunset. 
One of my very favorite authors is Jeanette Winterson. She is a British author and had a best selling book some years ago called Oranges are not the Only Fruit (loved this book and I highly recommend it to all and I often purchase if for a gift!) but has written MANY books since then which are featured on her site. She has a lovely website which I enjoy but I don't visit it very often. Click here and see what you think of her site. Tell me what you think about it. Would you visit it frequently if you loved her books? 

The second website I would have loved for you to see was for a book called Special Topics in Calamity Physics by New York Times best selling author Marisha Pessl. Unfortunately the website is down so I will just tell you the website is super cool but it is just for the book and tells you nothing about the author at all. There is nothing interactive for visitors at all- no updates on the author... (could this spell trouble for her???)  What do you think about her site being down and no word on a next book or a site for her? 

The third website/blog is maintained by best selling author Jerry Coyne who wrote "Why Evolution is True" (the site is named the same.) I think his site has the most to teach all of us (please don't let content get in your way!), but what do you think? 

Do you know of any blogs or websites that you follow because they are interesting and they simply draw you in? Tell me about them! 
I'd love to hear! 

I know this is a lot of work here but I do think it might just be worth it! 
More to come!!! 
PS If I am breaking my rule about long winded posts, I apologize! I don't know how to break these up anymore and still keep some continuity. I am trying not to be too rambly.  


  1. HI Danette,

    I am so lucky to be the first...

    And first, I'd like to say your photography, as always, is stunning.

    I understand completely how you feel. All my followers,of course, are writers except maybe a few artists.

    I, like you, would love to have readers too. But remember MANY writers love to read, so technically they are readers.

    As so many wise and wonderful bloggers have told me, timing is everything. Talent is important but it's all in the timing.

    Stay positive Danette. Good things really do come to those who wait. Honing our craft, meeting new people, and staying focused will get us where we want to go.

    We are all on this LONG journey together. We will pick up many friends along the way. Life ... it's an amazing adventure!

  2. Thanks Michael! I enjoy taking pictures and find putting them on blog somewhat cathartic. I hope others enjoy them too. I think I am staying positive although it's always a tough road. It's hard to get rejections and it's hard to know how to deal with the bumpy path that is ahead even if you get published. Who wants to have a book or ebook published but only sell a few copies? You hope to sell more than than that, I think!

    You are right of course, writers are readers. The problem is that writers tend to read their genre. Which means it limits their field of interest (and I count myself guilty in that) which is why I think we all have to think beyond the scope of just blogging among our community. Oh, and I do have brighter thoughts coming along! It's just taking some time and some development because I am not sure that most of us have thought of it this way. Thanks so much for your comment!!!

  3. I'm kind of jealous of that evening of yours - VERY awesome. Love the flower's view :)

  4. Wonderful photography. I can't really help you as I don't have a blog in order to promote my books. One of my blog friends posts lots of links and tip about building up your brand and extending your blogging network.

    Check her out - Gutsy at:

  5. Thanks Trish! It was a lovely evening!

    LadyFi: Thanks for the link! I will check it out. I have ideas about the whole thing which are coming up soon (because I need to finish this up) but it helps to get some advise.

  6. I love walking, and I love champers! * clink* Gorgeous pics my dear, ooh and am very honoured on being quoted. You made my day!

    I think Michael is right about timing and talent, yes we are lucky if in the right place when that happens. (e.g Stephanie Meyer) So, in the interim, the best action is to keep rewriting our work, making sure it has that WOW factor, non? Give the readers you want something to talk about.

    Have a fab weekend!! xx

  7. Thank you Talei dear! As always it's a delight to hear from you! And champagne cannot go wrong anywhere can it? Although I am ready to break out the Pimms! The weather is perfect for it.

    I definitely think you want to have the Body of WORK. I don't think you go anywhere without that. But I think we have to prepare ourselves for WHAT HAPPENS THEN. And that apparently (at least according to even experienced and authors who have been published many times) is the hard part.

  8. Hi Danette.

    You are one of the blogs I follow because I found you interesting. and, I know I don't stop by often, but I always comment when I do. (gives me a point or two?)

    You raise some interesting points about blogging, and platform building. I don't have any expert answers; but I'll give my take, after about two years blogging.

    I started just to get to know other writers, make a connection. There was a lot I needed to learn about the writing/publishing process, and bloggers were the recommended answer. And YES, bloggers were my answer.

    They pointed me to other bloggers (experienced and non), published and aspiring writers, industry professionals. A deluge of tips, resources, and blogging instructions. And eventually, the idea that I needed a platform for my blogging so that roving Agents could make an informed decision on whether to sign me or not.

    What I determined in a few short months, was agents don't cruise blogs, readers don't cruise blogs, but bloggers do. Fellow writer's looking for connections.

    Blogging has been a great resource in my writing development. It will not, however, connect me with readers on a consistent level. Unless I only ever sell to fellow bloggers/inde-authors. I need a published, well advertised novel to connect with readers. To me, that means obtaining an agent. What does it mean to YOU?

    I learned that I didn't need a brand or platform to attract followers and people who comment. I needed to interact with the bloggers - and specifically writers - in topics that interest them. Following, commenting, posting, joining special events. Offering to critique and beta read. Sending out my own work for feedback. This has all kept me writing, and submitting.

    If you want my opinion; blogging is a resourse, not a step towards publication or readership. Visibility and networking are important; but writing and querying is essential.


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