Bookstores are Closing & Amazon is Expanding–Want a Sure Bet in an Uncertain Future?

As many of you already know, historically, novelists have endured a mind-numbing failure rate. Even up to 2007, traditionally published novelists only had a 1 in 9 chance of ever seeing a second book in print. Most writers failed to sell through their print run (per BEA statistics) and had to return to the day job to pay the bills. Ah, but the times, they are a changin’ and it is a WONDERFUL time to be a writer.

As many of you already know (especially the WANAlums), I happen to be a HUGE proponent of writers having a blog. A GOOD blog that people actually want to read. But, I get it. Some of you might not believe you have time or perhaps you aren’t ready to start a blog. Okay. Fair enough. Today’s advice is for you. Oh, and it is also for ALL writers, even those who have a blog.

Yeah, and you thought you’d sneak out the back of the HTML. Nope. Grab a seat.

How many of you have blogs that could use more traffic? Yeah, that’s pretty much all of us. How many of you have a book coming out one day and it would help to get a review or do a blog tour to promote? Um…everyone should have a hand raised right now. How many of you LOVE randomly e-mailing total strangers and asking for big favors?


The Rapid Changes in Our Marketplace

Most of us cringe at the idea of self-promotion, but as we careen into the 21st century, the Digital Age Author has more responsibility than ever before. If we self-publish or go indie, our social platform means life or death, and traditionally published authors no longer get a pass. Sorry.While it might be a fantastic time to be a writer, I imagine those working in publishing remember fonder days.

Amazon has really been putting the hurt on NY Publishing. The future of Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the world, is largely uncertain, and William J. Lynch Jr, CEO of Barnes & Noble, admits that there is a lot riding on the future of the Nook. Independent bookstores? Yep. Magic Eight Ball says, *shakes vigorously*, yep, “Future uncertain.” If you don’t want to trust my Magic Eight Ball, you can read more about it here in the New York Times article, The Book Store’s Last Stand.

So why am I taking time to mention the uncertain future of book retailers? So you stop depending on them to get your books in front of readers. From this point on, any shelf space is gravy and awesome, but it cannot be trusted to be there for good.

Traditional methods of getting an author’s wares (books) in front of a customer (reader) are shrinking and going away. It is highly likely that most books will be digital within less than ten years. I am not here to debate whether this is good or bad, but I AM here to help prepare ALL authors for a brilliant future, no matter what your preferred choice of publication might happen to be.

May I remind you, it is a fantastic time to be a writer! Yes, things are changing, but not all change is bad. But some changes require…um, change. Writers need to be on social media. All writers. And if you don’t have a lot of time, I am here to help all writers work smarter not harder.

Agencies now want authors who come with a platform, and few things make agents feel all warm and fuzzy like a writer who has loads of blogger pals. Since traditional means of showcasing books (bookstores) are diminishing, writers need a digital support network now more than ever. Bloggers can be a writer’s best friend and a HUGE time-saver when it comes to social media.

One of the best things we writers can do on social media is to become a Blogger Booster.

The cool thing about bloggers is we are attention whores friendly, and many of us like people. We are like a faithful dog, and, if you give us a scratch in that place that makes our digital legs go a thumpin’? We will be a loyal pal.

How Can You Be a Blogger Booster?

Comment on Blogs and Repost to Your Networks

Really. That’s all. Ideally, comment on blogs with large followings. Many people go to the more popular blogs for more than the posted content. Hey, check out my comments section. Sometimes I think my posts are just an excuse for all of you to have a party, and often you guys are WAY more interesting than I am.

If you run across blogs that have a healthy comments section, that is a clue that this is an established and even growing community. Commenters befriend each other and hang out. I know because I have met many friends this way. They were regular at commenting on my blog (or other fave blogs where I was the commenter) and I went to their blog and on and on.

In fact, it is very common to see the same people congregating on each other’s blogs. It is a huge…are you ready for this? NETWORK.

Even if you don’t have time to blog, at least take time to read blogs and leave thoughtful comments. People will see you are vested and have something worthwhile to say. They will get to know you and hopefully like and support you, especially if you have a presence on Twitter.

The more people you get to know, the better. When it comes time to plan your book launch, you won’t be tossing form letters into the ether hoping something sticks. You will have awesome pals who are clearly active on-line. Additionally, bloggers will know you, recognize you and, if you support us enough, we will LIKE you…a lot.

Last April, when I taught in L.A. at the RT Book Lovers’ Conference, one of the PR “experts” recommended that an author with a book about to be released needed to sit down and e-mail as many bloggers as possible and see if they would do a review.

Um…no. For the love of all that is chocolate, NO.

In fact, I raised my hand on that one. There are few things that will annoy bloggers more than unsolicited spam asking for us to put out effort for someone we don’t know from a hole in the ground.

Yeah, sure. I will read your indie published 110,000 word high fantasy in my infinite free time, and write a favorable review, even though I have never talked to you or so much as seen a “Great blog” from you in my comments section. Yeah…I am right on that, right after I organize my sock drawer.

Bloggers are always looking for stuff to talk about. Many will even do reviews. I do them on rare occasions, but not for random people who e-mail me a form letter. One of the best ways to get on a blogger’s good side is to regularly comment on her blog and even repost on Twitter and Facebook.

If you do all these things then, LATER, when you are staring down the barrel of needing your new book reviewed? It will feel a heck of a lot less weird asking for a favor. A blogger, particularly a book blogger, will be far more inclined to help you out if you have been giving in the relationship for a while.

Commenting on blogs can build rapport with key influencers with large followings, and it only takes a few minutes a day. Maybe you don’t have time to blog, but you can make time to comment and RT or post a link on your FB, G+ or whatever. Just those two activities can plug you into communities that number in the tens of thousands.

And sure, the future of the bookstore is uncertain…okay, bleak. That’s life. But the cool thing is that while markets change and technology changes…humans are timeless. We will always want community, love, support and friendship and investing in relationships is ALWAYS a good idea, regardless of what is happening on Wall Street.

What are some other ways you guys can think of to be a blogger booster? Do some of you blog and have a cool reader story you would love to share? What are some of your favorite types of blogs? Why do you like them? What makes you guys subscribe to a blog? If you happen to be a book blogger, what steps would you recommend a writer take to improve her chances of landing a review?

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of February, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will announce last week’s winner on Friday.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of February I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck! 

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

This Week’s Mash-Up of Awesomeness

I am a HUGE fan of Porter Anderson’s Writing on the Ether. It is just crammed full of the best information to stay on top of all the changes in our industry.

4 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Editor by C.S.Lakin.

Need More Cowbell? Hop on over the Jenny Hansen’s Blog. She is doing a really neat series asking Why Do You Blog?

Are Book Covers Important in the Digital Age? by the AWESOME Jody Hedlund. Her blog has been named one of Writer’s Digest’s Best Blogs of 2012 and I AGREE! Just to say…I found her first ;).

What’s So Funny? by Tawna Fenske

What Makes a Book Magical? over at Writer Unboxed

The amazing Anne R. Allen is running a series about How to Blog. Seriously, check it out here.

Need a good laugh? Who doesn’t these days? Make sure you follow Natalie Hartford’s blog. This week? The iFinger.

NYTBSA Bob Mayer has an interesting post, The SDSU Writing Conference, FREE Books, the Self-Publishing Bubble and Zombies. Yeah, he had me at zombies, too.

Pipe down! Will ya? Ever wonder about where these idioms come from? Check out Barbara Forte Abate’s Blog.

Ellen Gregory has a really lovely post Let’s Talk About Choices.

Want more laughs? Marriage Proposals and Bass Boats by Piper Bayard.


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  1. This seems so obvious to me and yet I don’t understand why some isolate themselves while waiting for the party to start on their own blog… I am really here to build a network so I read and comment on a LOT of blogs almost every day.

  2. Very timely post for me. I’m currently trying to figure out ways to expand beyond my blogging group, so to speak, and reach readers rather than just other writers. This is yet another way to do so. I do need to do a better job of commenting on new blogs, as well as the bigger, more established blogs. I guess I sometimes feel as though my comments will get lost in the shuffle.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Great post, Kristen, and I agree! I just blogged on similar topic, but I see access to books as a social class and culture issue too. Unfortunately business is what drives it all!

  4. Thanks for all the great tips. I’e been blogging for a year now and I’m starting to look at writing guest blogs and having guest bloggers on my site. This makes sense to me.
    What draws me to a blog and makes me want to subscribe, is content. However, I must confess that no matter how great the content, if the spelling, sentence structure, and grammar are REALLY bad, chances are I’ll not stick with the blog.

  5. Thanks sooo much for the FAB shout out Kristen!!
    I couldn’t agree more with your post. I have just started writing my first book and although sometimes fear I am missing the boat on “it’s a great time to be a writer” (which will be long past once I am finally ready…gulp), I know that investing the time and energy into creating a great blog will only help me down the road (even if it takes away from my writing time now). I think writing and blogging/building that network of support and following are EQUALLY important. That’s right…I said it…I know a lot of peeps will disagree, and that’s cool. But my personal and humble opinion is that in the environment we live now, I believe they are equally important. A great book is nothing without a platform to launch from when the time comes.
    Just sayin’!
    Again, thanks for the FAB shout out and the awesome post! 🙂

    1. LOVED the iFinger!! 🙂

  6. Dear Kristen,
    I love your blogs – and I’m obviously not alone! So I’ve got a suggestion in return.
    My book ‘LifeWorks’ has just been published, and I’ve been lucky enough to get an established publisher: but I’m starting to realize that writing was the easy bit! As you say, these days traditional channels for promotion are being overtaken by new technology. So, if mine is the name you pull out of the hat, I’ll forgo the review and offer to write you a guest blog instead. I think it would be interesting to your followers – and it’s something I’d really enjoy doing!
    Meanwhile, thanks for the ongoing inspiration….
    Jane Bailey Bain
    (‘LifeWorks: Using myth and archetype to develop your life story’)

  7. Even for writers, the idea of having to write and entertain people 3 times a week seems like a daunting task. Thank goodness I took your author platform building class. Instead of dreading doing posts, I’m loving it! My blog is sort of my reward each day. It’s fun. And I just added another day of posting. My daughter (who is very much my book reading target demographic) is blogging one day a week on my blog now. She posted for the first time yesterday and it was interesting. My comments on the blogs I do, are mostly from my blogging friends. Her post got comments from some of my readers that usually only comment on book related things.
    The other thing I love about my blog, I’ve stopped trying to sell my book. The sales are just a product of having an online presence.

    1. Jillian, I have to go back and look at the new comments – I thought your daughter’s blog was fantastic (every newbie blogger would love to rock as hard as she did). 🙂

      1. I break all the rules of writers who blog, because I run much more with the mommy crowd…but they are who I expect to be buying books. Or perhaps I should say, they are who I *hope* will be buying!

  8. Wow. I’ve only been following you for a couple days but wow have you changed how I’m approaching writing my book. The information and advice you’re sharing with us, freely at that, is, at times rather profound while being very straight forward and logical.

    Thank you for reaching out to all of us who are starting on the path to being published and shining a light on the pitfalls we might no have noticed.

  9. If this wasn’t a nudge to start commenting on your posts, I’m not sure what would be. Usually, if I see a post has 40+ comments, I won’t bother to add mine. I love blogging and networking through Twitter, but I hadn’t thought to look at comments as a way to network, too. Thanks!

  10. Great post, Kristen. I followed Toby Neal’s tweet here, and am glad I did. Will be sharing this with my clients and colleagues.

  11. Always enjoy your blog, Kristen! You are an inspiration.

  12. Brilliant, much needed post, Kristen. I can show this one to the Luddites who think if they just ignore the digital age things will “go back to normal” and they can sit in their garrets and send off their manuscripts via carrier pigeon and become richandfamous and move to the Riviera.

    And many many thanks for the shout-out. I’ve got tips for writers at all stages of their blogging careers.

    1. I feel that your comment is a bit unfair, and the term “Luddite” is offensive to me. I love paper books, and I don’t own an e-reader, but I certainly do not spend my time trying to destroy or ignore the digital age.

      There is no reason for writers to draw lines in the sand and separate from one another in a time like this. At the end of the day we all love words, and people will adapt to the changes as they are able. For some of us, seeing bookstores threatened causes an almost visceral reaction, because we feel that our choices are being stripped from us. For me, I feel that my dream of having my books on their shelves and walking into a store to see them there is evaporating as I reach for it. That doesn’t really make us “backward” or Luddites. I’ve heard that term so much lately, and I feel that it is quite cruel.

      In the face of so many sweeping changes in the publishing industry, writers should be banding together. Labeling and shaming one another just leads to defeating ourselves. While I seek to be traditionally published, I fully recognize that my books would (and by all means should) be published digitally as well. If that dream of mine becomes obsolete in truth, I will adapt — and until that time, I will still keep blogging and keep up with my social media so that I am prepared for whatever eventuality befalls the industry. All of this has happened at such breakneck speed that it’s only natural it would take people time to adjust.

      1. Emmie, I know how you feel, but Anne works her tail off to help writers and I know how she feels, too. We LOVE writers and it can get frustrating to see so much talent, yet the writer doesn’t want to look at the inevitable future of the industry. Just like you have a visceral reaction to book stores closing (me, too, btw) we have a visceral reaction to talented storytellers who are so resistant to change they are endangering their futures. I know where Anne is coming from and she is one of the best author advocates out there. It can be disheartening to speak at conferences to audiences who don’t even want to be bothered with e-mail. It is tragic, actually. You are someone who is eagerly embracing both worlds, and that is wonderful. Yet, I know of writers that had bright futures, but they couldn’t be parted from their fantasy of what their writing future should look like and it cost them.

        1. Thanks Kristen. I certainly didn’t mean to insult anybody. I just feel frustrated when wonderful writers refuse to social media and convince themselves it’s “just a fad” they can ignore, then sit home complaining that nobody’s buying their books.

        2. It’s tough being individuals with our own burning for a particular outcome. Regardless of where it all leads, it’s the journey that we as writers embark on that makes the difference. Thanks Kristen! For giving us a place to have a voice, and at the same time learn from yours!!

          1. Thanks for the compliment! WANA ways can be very counter intuitive, but they DO work. And it seems so strange that the more we encourage others to shine, the brighter we shine as well. So happy to see you here! Told you. Total party in the comments, LOL.

      2. Emmie, I’m sorry the word “Luddite” offended you. My definition is somebody who won’t “waste time reading blogs,” dismisses Twitter and FB as “childish,” scoffs at talk of “platform”, sends queries by snail mail and can’t figure out why they have no publishing success.

        Nobody reading this blog would fall into that category, and calling me “cruel” is off-base. Sorry you’ve had a bad experience with somebody putting you down–but but my comment had nothing to do with anything you’ve said here.

        I’m talking about wonderful writers who throw away their talent because they refuse to become Internet savvy. I’m not being cruel, I’m trying to help them.

        1. It is a tough time to be helpful. There seems to be a lot of division between various writerly elements these days and it seems everyone is a bit touchy from it. We have the division between e-published and traditionally published, we have the division between self-published and traditionally published, we have a division between publishers and authors who now that indie publishing has come into its own think that publishers are now unnecessary encumbrances. I’d say we’re all a bit touchy. 🙂

          What you said in your comment about wanting writers not to throw away their talent because they refuse to embrace the internet IS spot on. At least in my experience as a small print and ebook publisher of romance.

          As a publisher when I contract a manuscript with that contract goes a large investment of time and money. Though a great story is at the heart of the decision whether an author has an internet presence is something that I weigh rather heavily. It weighs heavily because so much book promotion happens online nowadays that an author who isn’t online is going to face a stiff uphill battle to sell even enough books to cover the cost of bringing their title to market.

          I know a couple of authors who have done serious damage to their careers because they have steadfastly refused to embrace the internet and social media. At this point they have sold so poorly their previous publishers will no longer publish them. When I talk to them I no longer hear about what they’re writing. Instead, I hear about the most recent rejection letters they’ve received – rejections I’m sure are not based on the quality of their writing but on the sales figures which have been impacted negatively by their stubborn unwillingness to adapt to the changes in the industry. Bottom line is though I could publish them I won’t as long as they remain stubbornly determined to avoid social media. I’m in business to make money and publishing an author who refuses to promote via the internet doesn’t make good business sense.

          It is hard to know how firm a stance to take in offering advice. In the beginning I offered gentle nudges to my friends who offered up 101 excuses why they couldn’t manage a blog, couldn’t figure out Twitter, couldn’t figure out Facebook. I’ve been a bit more firm lately. Kindness and gentle nudges don’t always work.

          1. We have had at LEAST five years to make a plan and learn from the music and video industry. The fact that so few have chosen to adjust, to me, is SHOCKING.

  13. Great post, Kristen! I really appreciate the way you use the real threat of closing bookstores to encourage me to do something I feel intimidated by: commenting on the great blogs of other writers. This blog was terrific. It achieved its purpose. (I re-tweeted you, too).

    Oh! This Week’s Mash Up of Awesomeness has led me to more great blogs than I can begin to count. Thank you!

  14. I’ve been super excited to see how much my blog has grown in the last…well…month. My comment section is all a-bustle, and in the last week, the outpouring of awesomeness I’ve seen has been…flabbergasting. 🙂

    Whoa. The little red squiggly didn’t hate that word.

    Awesome post, Kristen. I would hate if bookstores went away. For more than one reason. But writers are nothing if not resilient, no?

    1. I’m on my over to check for your magic dust that created those flabbergasting results, Emmie!

      Doing a happy dance for you.

      Note the word “your” in the first sentence. You’re obviously pulling fellow bloggers in and hooking them with awesomeness.

  15. Right on. No one who writes is that shy. If they wanted to stay anonymous they’d buy a blank journal from B&N and keep it hid until their heirs find it. The writer needs an honest public face. Getting followers isn’t as easy when all you had to do was stand on a street corner with a sign reading “I have the answer. Follow me.” (Maybe it didn’t work out all that well. Cops and all, but I tried.)

    I miss Borders and will go into deep mourning if B&N shuts down.

    Visit me.

    1. I am right there with you, Tom.

  16. Good morning, Kristen. I have six writer friends that pretty much refuse all aspects of social media. I keep sharing your blog posts and recommending your books and talking about how it’s so important in this digital age, but they just don’t want to learn about it. I honestly don’t understand it. I’ve met so many fantastic people who are very supportive and that I love to support in return. I want my six friends to succeed and have the same wonderful experiences , but can’t keep pushing them along if they’re digging in their heels. Hopefully they’ll come to realize how important it is soon. In the meantime, I blogged about the B&N v. Amazon Feud from a Reader’s Perspective on Monday. A lot of good comments there and a few differing opinions. It was a good discussion.

  17. Another wonderful post Kristen. Will you review my book? ; ) Seriously though, your blog posts really are helpful and I have improved my blog following/comments/views tremendously by following your advice and it correlates to better sales – and it’s fun!

  18. Now more than ever writers or anyone with a product to promote have to do some creative thinking. It can be so time consuming, but as you say we can help each other. I’ve been trying to do this since I first figured this out in my earliest days of blogging.

    My post today is about the topic of promotion.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  19. Whew! I just had a little party in your comments section…. LOL.

    I always love your Wednesday post mashups – that’s where I discovered Porter Anderson (who completely rocks the house BTW) and many others. Plus, I had a big SQUEEE to be included – thanks. 🙂

    1. I’m having a little party just reading your comments, Jenny! Ha! 🙂

      1. I am waiting for her to start serving drinks and drag in a digital bounce house! *takes off shoes* SQUEEEEE!!!!

        1. Oh, no one told you where the keg is??!!! Shoot girl, grab a beer and wait in line, cuz that bounce house is crowded. 🙂

  20. Networking through the blogosphere is an effective way to find friends and allies in book promoting. I know it has worked for me. Also I’ve found that being part of a group on Facebook, and Google+ is another great way to meet other writers, and help promote each other’s work. They also become excellent places to get feedback on your writing, and often the emotional support that writers all need. We are all in this together, and the more we help each other, the more successful we can all become. It is a good feeling to know that we are not alone.

    1. Amen, Larry! So thrilled to see you here and I am stoked you’ve had such positive results. We are NOT alone and the more we come together, the stronger we become.

    2. Oh, that just reminded me. . . Kristen’s book, WANA recommends we get involved in FB groups. I was so excited to start actually getting a bit of a handle on the Intimidating Twitter, that I’d forgotten about that.

      By the way, writers, if you haven’t read Kristen’s two books yet, you need to. Very very accessible and helpful.

    • Kim Griffin on February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm
    • Reply

    I wanted to let you know that I always read all of your posts. They’re helpful and they make me laugh. I don’t normally comment (although I do tweet and ‘like’ them because I don’t have pages to submit should I win. YET!

    But I wanted you to know that I’m here ~ reading and enjoying! Great post 🙂

    Kim Griffin

  21. What I really love is when a blogger has a “subscribe to” button, as you do/I do/and some others do. It not only “reminds” me to go to their blog, but PROMPTS me to! I usually read it in my email and then I’ll go comment. I love this and wish more bloggers would use it!

    It is hard sometimes to comment regularly on blogs that I love and enjoy– especially since I”m on FB and twitter, and google+(not as much, mind you). I blog 3 times a week, and respond to comments on my blog – which I do love this since I moved to WordPress – they make it very easy to reply to comments!

    I rarely “tout and shout” my books and I’d never email/tweet/whatever readers/bloggers and ask them to review my book – lawd no!

    My publishers are smart and have been smart — early on they saw this ebook “revolution”(as some are calling it) and began beefing up their e-book sales department. At first, I was all “lawd! ebooks! lawd! but but but . . .” now I’m all “heeeyyyy . . . hmmmmm . . . !”

    Anyway, I babble too much. Ungh!

    1. Nah, ur good. We dig babbling here. It can be tough to keep up with all of it, but all good things require diligence and work. If we want a fit body a healthy bank account or even a rockin’ platform it takes good ol’ fashioned WORK. But the cool thing is at least all of this socializing is actually GOOD. Chit-chat is an investment. Boy if my 3rd grade teacher could see me now. All that “Talks too much” on my report card was actually an essential skill for success. Take THAT Mrs. Foster!

  22. Thanks for continuing to beat the social networking drum, Kristen. It is a necessity in today’s day and age to use these ‘modern’ resources to help promote our publications. I say ‘modern’ because for the longest time I, like many other baby boomers, were rather reluctant and intimidated by the prospect of delving in the world of computers, probably because we didn’t grow up with them. I remember I was 40 years old when my boss directed that all his subordinates submit weekly status reports by email. I was daunted by the prospect and had to learn quickly. Since then, I have not looked back and I must say that it is a lot of fun as I get better and better at it. How did we every survive without computers while growing up?…LOL. Thanks again for this excellent forum. Good luck and many blessings to you and your success. .

    1. Thanks Victor. I know how you feel. In my generation we had computers…okay WE didn’t have computers. RICH people had computers. And to make matters worse, if you breathed on a computer the wrong way it crashed and cost THOUSANDS to repair (if possible). I was resistant to change in the beginning and I often think that the fact that I am a social media expert is proof that God has a sense of humor, LOL.

  23. I so much appreciate your encouragement about blogging. I’ve found that some blogs — typically the more craft and DIY themed blogs — have link parties. That has helped my traffic. But I could do much better on sharing other’s blog posts on Facebook. Thanks!

  24. After purchasing my Kindle, I found Kindle Direct Publishing and realized people could self-publish without buying or paying for anything. All they had to do was write, publish, and spread the word via social networking. I am still doing my best to stay on top of all of it. I plan on buying your book next since you seem to have great ideas!

  25. Thanks for being a clear guide in a murky business, Kristen. One of the points on my 2012 business plan was to “Brainstorm blog direction. It’s stale.” Well, I did, and I’m excited about blogging again. One thing I struggle with is leaving comments. I’ve been blogging for four years, and I have a huge network of blogger friends, but I have a hard time keeping up with them all on a regular basis.

    So in addition to “Freshen Up” the blog (that reminds me of the gum with the liquid center–Freshen Up–okay, sorry, got distracted!), I’m working on being more consistent with commenting.

  26. It certainly is interesting times.

  27. Yes, yes, yes! The fact that the bookstore’s days are numbered is the exact reason why I am self-publishing my books. I too an an attention whore I mean nice person. I think if someone were to come to me to ask for a review, I think I too would pass. Thanks Kirsten for another wonderful post!

  28. Very good points. Sometimes attention to social media gets short shrift when I arrange my schedule…if I can keep in mind what you’ve said here, that will help me prioritize as I should.

    • Coleen Patrick on February 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm
    • Reply

    I read and comment ALOT. I go to those bloggers who have taken their time to come to mine as well as go looking for new blogs each week –so that way I have new folks popping in to say hi weekly. It’s a lot of work, but at the same time it’s also fun–like a big, blogging block party. 🙂
    Thanks Kristen!

    1. Coleen: you should link your blog! Early on I found a lot of my blogs by stalking comment sections of other blogs.

      1. NOTE TO SELF: Ask my Techie Guru guest blogger, Brinda Berry, to explain linking blogs and stalking comments.

        1. No need to ask the tech: what I meant by link to the blog is to simply write the name of the blog address in a comment. Yours is already linked in your name because of how you registered to post your comment – easy! Mine links to twitter.

          By stalking comments I meant I read through a comment section like this and click on links to blogs and/or linked names (like yours) to check out their blog.

  29. I followed Kat Magendie over here after she linked this blog on Facebook. 🙂 Social media in action! Love what you have to say and really happy to be a writer in this exciting time.

  30. I really began to love blogging towards the end of last year and now thanks to your blogging class I love it even more. Thanks so much, Kristen! And as for the book review question. I love shouting from the highest rooftops if I love a book. But to be asked and not like one would be so embarrassing. I would say get the cover in front of as many people as poss and they will go read it.

  31. I comment on so many blogs that I found a new shiny hardcover on my doorstep from a blog contest I won. What a treat! Some weeks I only stop by a handful of blogs from my google reader, but I always comment.

    If it wasn’t for blogs I wouldn’t have found a couple local writer buddies that I’ll be meeting soon; one at a bookstore event, the other at a conference. I would be lost in a mess of terrible misconceptions about what it meant to get published, and I probably wouldn’t have read half the books I did last year without the recommendations of blogs. It’s a great little network to get in on if you put effort in.

  32. Kristen,

    I think this post does a great job of showing where publishing is going to go in the future. Or at least how I as well have been theorizing. If one looks no further than online web cartoonists, you begin to see a pattern of how building a strong audience can allow one to begin making profit enough to sustain themselves without even having to sell the product (in this case the comic itself.) Many online comics I follow make their wages selling merchandise or by accepting donations (one artists in particular I know of was able to raise 40,000 dollars simply by asking his readers to donate). I think we’re on the cusp of a strange new world and we’ll have to either sit back and watch it shift, or put on our hiking boots and begin to plot out the new frontier.

  33. As always, great blog, Kristen! I’m looking forward to attending at least one of your presentations, again, at DFWcon in May.

  34. I’ve been really focusing on drawing more traffic on my Blog since reading your books, Kristen. I started a weekly series in August that has increased traffic through my Blog from 350 monthly views to 1,880 last month. The funny thing to me is that I have very few comments on those posts. I will shed a tear if bookstores go away, but adapting is what I do best. By trying these crazy ideas of yours I’ve seen great results. I don’t even really advertise my Blog often, or comment near enough on others blogs, but someone is reading those posts, and they’re coming back every week.

  35. Kristen, I have only been blogging since Dec 2011, but I take the time to do so on a daily basis. In fact I get up at 6 am every morning (2 hours before I have to leave my house) just to make sure I do a daily post. In Janaury I had 29 faithful followers. I wanted to increase my readership so I ran a contest where I gave away a ton of writer reference books. All I asked was for my blog to be mentioned in any way a person wanted to…FB, Blog, Tweet, etc…and for a comment to be left on my blog with the person’s name so I could add them to the drawing. By the end of January I had gone from 29 to 61 followers in less than a month (a 53% increase) which I was quite pleased with! I am a member of the 12 X 12 in 2012 campaign headed up by Julie Hedlund ( ) and just signed on for Rachel Harrie’s Writer’s Platform Building Campaign ( ). I believe this will help me become more known in the writing community by interacting with other writers (like you) to help me ultimately become a stronger writer myself. Thanks for all you do for the writing community!

  36. Valuable words to someone trying to pave the way for future marketing– here’s me, vowing to chime in on blogs more often, and pick back up on my own blogging soon! Thanks so much!

    • Sherry on February 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm
    • Reply

    Ah, bookstores. When I was a kid the local independents were a hang-out for us reader/writer types. Borders eventually killed those places, but hosted authors and book groups, so my cronies and I were happy campers.

    Things changed in the world forever about the time Amazon showed up. Readers were also changing. It seemed like the literacy rate slipped a point a day for awhile as people switched their buying habits to encompass young adult and even middle reader books. And therein lies the problem. The new breed of readers are not going to hang out in bookstores. They want everything quick and easy.

    We can mourn the lack of bookstores all we want. And my bestselling friends who write adult titles can cry over their sales decreases. The truth is the word is a different and perhaps dumber place today. And we will probably need to adjust.

  37. Great post and thanks for the mention. It seems many of us are talking this topic up as the pub trends are changing so radically day by day. We all need to support each other and help cross-promote. I especially like your remark that it’s invasive to push bloggers to review our books without first developing some rapport or relationship with them. I often just post on Facebook asking if any reviewers out there want an ARC and would like to review. I get a lot of response back and it’s not personally pushy. I also post that on LinkedIn with good response. Just a suggestion.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, less pushy is always more awesome, LOL.

  38. Just what I needed to hear! I am always commenting on the same blogs I love, but not on new blogs. Especially popular blogs sometimes intimidate me as a commentor. I will change that starting today. Thanks again!

  39. “Great blog”


    I have found myself building up a great network of fellow writers and bloggers through Twitter. It started as a way of finding new books in my genre to read for pleasure and research and has now turned into a brilliant network of people I can honestly call friends. I know when the time comes I will have a line of people ready to read, review and promote my book as I have been doing for them. Plus I’ve had the best, most understanding support for my writing, especially during NaNoWriMo. I’ve even started guest blogging on some people’s websites which is more brownie points in the bank for me to cash in later. Amazing thing is, they think *I’m* doing *them* a favour!

    Coming at it from the angle of a reader has worked out brilliantly for me as a writer. But it has to be genuine if you want the same in return.

    The good thing is – it’s fun!

  40. Thank you Thank you.

    I am so thrilled to have found you and to feel so encouraged.

  41. Brilliant points. My favorite B&N just closed down in Seattle’s University district, and if it can’t survive there… 🙁

    I for one love reading the comments more than the blogpost sometimes! I tend to comment on the same blogs though, and since I get your blogposts through my email I’ve been a bit of a lurker. *Slapping myself on my wrists.* You’ll see me around more often.

  42. Hi Kristen. I’m one of those people who took your class and was a lurker, read your books, and read your blog posts but never comment. So, I’m here to tell you that I love everything you say and am where I am today with blogging and FB because of your advice. And I want to give you my deepest thanks for your knowledge and expertise and your attitude of “you’ve been there and done that” and want to save us from having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, and help us not do what won’t work.

  43. It seems the move to digital and online is both a great blessing and a curse. For the unknown, never-been-to-New-York writer out there, he or she suddenly has access and potential influence on the whole world. But now there are so many voices raised and many of them sound terrible. Thanks for helping us figure out how to sing, Kristen.

    My book release is probably a year and a half away and I think that’s just enough time to follow your advice here and see good things come of it. You do great work.

  44. This was a well-timed visit, and very appropriate read. Yes, I have another book coming out in a week or so. After which I have to accept, from previous experience, that even though it may be the most delicious morsel ever thrown into the sea, the blanketty-blank sharks probably won’t notice it. A feeding frenzy doesn’t automatically happen, sadly enough.

    Just my luck, though. The blog platform where I was really well established is dying a not-so-slow death.

    1. I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but while you have a good following there — why not start your own blog and post a link to that in your next post at the current site. Help them transition over, so you’re not starting from scratch. Good luck with the new book! 🙂

  45. Kristen, Thank you for your great blogging advice. When I first started writing, I ignored social media thinking it wasn’t worth my time and that my time was better spent writing. I’ve now learned that it’s important to do both. With the help of a chapter mate (thanks Jill Kemerer!), I’ll be starting up my blog at the end of the month. I’m very excited to start this new adventure.

  46. I’ll have to agree with the comments on bookstores. It really is a changing market that we’re involved in. There are many reasons for this, one is that it’s so much easier to buy a book from where someone is at then having to take a trip to do your shopping. There is of course cost efficiencies involved with buying ebooks online wherever you are at too. I know in my case I will not be releasing any books in print in the future.

  47. One place I’ve met book bloggers is at the Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference. Info here:

    The same people did a Book Blogger and Authors version, but not many authors showed up. The fee was really low (I think it was $15 and some authors shared their log in, which the organizer could tell and it ticked her off–so a Not to do!). I learned so much (they have also produced a manifesto for authors approaching them for book reviews), that I attend everything they put on, even if it is not specifically for authors. Even if they don’t have time for reviews or read my genre, they are usually open to me doing guest blogs.

    GOOD advice. On my author blog, I occasionally mentioned books I’d read and I got an unsolicited request for a book review. I don’t review, just read. I’d never done that, but it made me aware how tacky it is. And I knew it would do the author no good for me to review it anyway, since I wasn’t a book reviewer, nor did I have clout. Oh well.

    Good advice!

  48. Thanks again for the tips, Kristen. My favorite blogs have well written content that is organized and succinct. One of my favorites, besides yours :), is My Name Is Not Bob by Writer’s Digest editor Robert Lee Brewer at . He has great posts about writing and social media. I’ve actually had a few people come over to my blog after I’ve left comments at MNINB – a testimony that your adivce works!

  49. Phew! I don’t know how you find so many different interesting things to say, so often, and with such enthusiasm. I so enjoy your blog 🙂 I’m also in awe of your followers, some of whom have started up blogs and gained their own “chatty” followers in a handful of weeks. Yikes! I am doing something seriously wrong with my blog. I’ve probably not being paying attention fully to your advice, or not put enough hours in (or both!) but one thing I know I do struggle with is thinking of new things to say, on a twice/thrice weekly basis, that others could find interesting (as you do!). I find it so difficult to switch from my “fiction writing” mindset, which is used to spending a long period of time thinking of an idea and developing it into a story and then drafting and editing and rewriting it etc, to a “blog writing” mindset, which seems to require me to write engaging posts almost on the hoof and in very little time! Also,I can never decide who I am talking to. My readers? Fellow writers? My writing students? Jill Blogs? So, a couple of questions – all answers gratefully received:) Will confidence come with practice? Is it a good idea to have a very specific reader/follower in mind when blogging, or should a blog post be more generic?
    Hope that makes sense?
    Thanks again 🙂

    1. A lot of them have taken my blogging class and that is one of the benefits of taking a WANA Blogging class. at the end? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I firmly believe that writers must rely on a team effort and community support. We can’t be creative geniuses, blog, make deadlines, run families and work day jobs without help. The beauty of working as part of a community is that everyone does a little, but it makes a HUGE impact. I am currently teaching the WANA112 class, but new classes will be forming in the spring. A WANA class, I feel (but I am partial, LOL) offers writers a MASSIVE advantage from day one because they have a team of support to help nurture the baby blog so it can grow and thrive. Thanks so much for the compliment and for taking the time to comment! :D.

      1. I’m going to have to get in one of these classes. Sounds awesome. It sure can’t hurt.

        1. Hi Kirsten, thanks for taking time to reply. A course is a great idea! I don’t suppose it is online? Also I am going to follow the advice of people here and buy your books! Not sure why I didn’t think of that before! Thanks again 🙂

          1. Ah ha! I have just found a link to the loop for the courses. Will keep an eye out the April one! And will check if I can get WANA in ebook form. Thanks!

          2. I am in the process of redoing my courses and nothing beyond the current WANA112 is active right now. Just keep checking in and I will be announcing the new course schedule soon.

  50. Once more, Kristen, a fabulous blog. I’m running a one day workshop on Life Writing and in the afternoon we’ll be looking at the rise and rise of blogging and bloggers – and I’m using your Blog as a shining example of solidly good material for my wannabe writers.

    I’m going through something of a dark tunnel in my personal writing career – but when your blog pops into my Inbox, I always take the time to read it… even if I don’t comment! And after reading today’s offering, I’ll be commenting more often, no doubt.

  51. Way to get a lurker to speak up! 🙂

    I’m new to your blog and really enjoying it. I’m still waiting for my readers to get “chatty,” but then by and large they’re readers, not writers. I can only hope that the fledgling community I have, which has really helped with my NF religious books, will blossom when I finally get to publish a novel. In the meantime, I love writing for them, and multitasking by doing my personal journaling publicly.

  52. Great post. I’ve been trying to get my name up in lights for years, but the bulbs keep burning out. I’ve signed twenty-six contracts, so I know I can write, and I also have what I consider an entertaining blog, in fact, I just created a new western one in addition to participating on several others.

    I’d like to say I was saddened by your comment about “Amazon putting the hurt put on NY publishers,” but I wasn’t. Those of us published by Internet houses willing to let us write outside the box have been waiting for this day. Now it’s here and I’m not sure what to do next. My butt is already broader than my chair from sitting at this computer all day. I feel like a lost child. I can’t think of anything I haven’t tried, including Amazons Select program. I suppose my first quarter royalty check will tell me if that’s working. 🙂

  53. “Um…no. For the love of all that is chocolate, NO.”

    As usual your post was wonderful, but this line alone made me love you all the more!

    I love blogging. When I started it was because I was in a major rut in my life and I needed a project. It quickly reminded me that I am, and always have been, a storyteller. I’m still trying to determine what my path will be, and the next step I’ll take.

    I think, “for the love of all that is chocolate”, it should be taking one of your classes 🙂

    1. Trust me, if Kristen’s class is your next step, it will be the best few bucks you have ever spent! Just ask any of Kristen’s WANAlum!

  54. I would add that joining Rachel Harrie’s bolg hops are a great way to discover other writers and bloggers with common interests.

  55. You are so right about the comments being as interesting and helpful as the blog post itself. I really enjoy going to blogs like Helen Ginger’s and Elizabeth Craig’s, and the added bonus is the tips and advice in the many comments on their blogs.

  56. OK, way to de-lurk me, Kristen. I should have done my blog reading BEFORE we talked today! I’m completely psyched about your new idea (not another word from me, though) and I agree 100% with what you’ve said here. I read a lot, and don’t comment nearly as often as I should, either here or anywhere else.

    You’re also right about the way publishing is changing. I doubt brick and mortar will ever go away, but the landscape is changing fast, which means that those who want to write and let others do all the rest of the work won’t make it in this field. It’s time for all of us to connect, write, tweet and get out there and meet the people who read our books – an author who is friendly, available and connected is the author who sells books in the new paradigm.

  57. Thank you for this informative and timely blog post. I came across your blog today when I saw this article posted on Michele L. Johnson’s facebook page. (She is commenter #12 here.)

    This is timely for me, as my second book, Dangerous Ties, will be released in just seven days. And time is certainly a factor for authors. The balance of having enough time to write as well as time for the social networking is always a challenge.

    One of the things my web designer has recently done for me is to connect my facebook with Twitter and my website. One post on Facebook is sent immediately to Twitter and to the home page on my website, so that is three places with one post. Interconnectivity like this is a great time saver for me. I had no idea until recently that this was possible. Hopefully this tip will be of help to others.

    I will look for your book, We Are Not Alone, and if you are again on panels at RT in Chicago in April I will look for you there.

    Thank you again.

  58. WANA112 participant checking in to say, “WOOT!” I’ve met wonderful bloggers on our class tweet thread.

    The clock ticks closer to THE FINAL day — the ONE DAY we post a yet-to-be-disclosed assignment on the loop. [Will pay prior WANAs for inside scoop.]

    I’m too old for an identity crisis. My blog isn’t. SNARK PARK leads the parade. Jenny Hansen gave it the Thumb’s Up. I now not-so-creatively sneak past you with it, Kristen.

    1. Still loving SNARK PARK!! A pic of you with your dogs and
      “Pull up a bench and chat…” or “Come take a walk with me…” (Kristen can help you with that part). I can totally see it!!

      It is so YOU, Gloria. 🙂

  59. A treasure trove of great advice, Kristen, as always, not only from you but also those who comment. Thanks so very much.

  60. HI Kristen,

    I love your blog and I’m often sharing your writing tips and platform advice with our author clients.

    However, I do disagree with you on one point – or wish to slightly expand your very valid argument here – and say that even though the bricks-and-mortar bookstore has an uncertain future (but then again, don’t all business fall into this category at one point or another?), writers should still try to get booksellers to hand-sell their books. Many booksellers have blogs these days, whether officially linked to the physical store or as independent bloggers. It’s it advantageous for all authors to follow and comment on bookstore and/or bookseller blogs, as well as reader blogs. Reaching out to booksellers via their blog may – just short of visiting the store and chatting with them in person – be the best way to boost sales of your book and promote your brand. Not only will the booksellers recognize you as a nice, wonderful person in the future, but they will promote your book and tell their other bookseller friends about it! How’s that for book networking?

    So let’s not discount the bookstores and their lovely booksellers quite yet. Writers shouldn’t spread themselves too thinly, trying to comment on dozens of blogs weekly to create connections, because they need to write. But if writers take an extra 10-15 minutes a day to comment on a new bookstore or bookseller blog on top of their regular blog routine? That’s using social media smarter.

    1. Actually that is an EXCELLENT suggestion and I think the book stores will be around for good. I think they will look different and there won’t be one on every corner, but there is something to be said for being to go into a store and look around. My concern with writers is they put all their eggs in the book seller basket and there are only so many books a book seller can promote anyway. So spread the love! And thanks for adding that suggestion! 😀

  61. Fantastic advice, Kristen:) I don’t have a blog up and running, but I did decide several months back to go to other blogs and leave comments as often as possible. If I didn’t have time to run a blog, I wanted to at least participate on blogs I found interesting or fun…or how about interesting AND fun! Great experience:)
    So I’ve added sashayin’ by and leaving a few comments to my FB and Tweeting time…I thought I’d see if that could possibly be the next best thing to blogging:) Glad to see I’m the right good track:)

    Loved the read!


  62. Oh for crying out loud…I tried editing part of the last paragraph and it came through a muddled up mess. I swear and spit I CAN write! lol See below:

    So I’ve added sashayin’ by and leaving a few comments on blogs to my FB and Tweeting time…I thought I’d see if that could possibly be the next best thing to blogging:) Glad to see I’m on the right track:)

    Loved the read!


    • Hunter on February 8, 2012 at 6:42 pm
    • Reply

    Reblogged this on Hunter's Writing and commented:
    Kristen Lamb tells us to blog, share and comment.

  63. I love the idea of blogging because it gives me access to what people are thinking, and the most important things to them at the moment. Before, people were inaccessible. Now, all I have to do is look up my favorite author online and BAM! I can leave them a comment on their blog telling them how much I loved their book. In the meantime, I also check out what they’re like as a person. If they’re nice, you can bet I’m going to pick up all of their future books.

    Great post, Kristen!

  64. I’m one of those who struggle with blogging. Small town mom with six kids,really, the only thing interesting I have to say is what I create as escape in my fiction world, lol. But I do occasionally blog with the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood and I am thinking about my own blog, which I do have and it has two measly little posts. But I have been commenting on blogs as much as I can, and here lately I’ve been winning books! Four in one week!

  65. Brilliant post! I was just thinking something similar to this earlier as I read David Walker’s post… he was asking if having a grammar course would be a good idea and, well of course it is! But what I thought also was that if he decided to do it, he’s already got several dozen cheerleaders at the ready to cheer him on, blog about it, FB it, Tweet it, etc. to spread the word for him. All of that because he’s an awesome guy and pays it forward to all of us. We will WANT to help him just because we can. Not for our own fame and glory, for his.

    Here’s his post if you’d like to support his fabulous idea.

    1. This is EXACTLY why WANA is the Love Revolution :D.

  66. I sadly hadn’t thought much about reposting good blogs as much as you mention, but it is a good idea to build audiences. Thanks for the great idea and some reassurance in the crazy world of writing right now!

  67. Great reminder of the importance of paying it forward and building a great platform of support at the same time. Thanks again for another great post Kristen

  68. Hi Kristen, thank you for sharing this post!

    I tend to get blog shy but try my best to let bloggers know that I’ve been reading what they have to say. It’s definitely important and is such a good way to encourage networking which, with the changes in book selling and marketing, is such a valuable thing.

    I’ve actually landed here while trying to follow your advice in this post!

  69. Stumbled upon your post. Interesting thoughts. Thanks!

  70. Lady, you give good blog. Before I ever heard of you, it just seemed obvious that we are supposed to comment on blogs. And it also seemed obvious that I needed to network to meet good writers. Maybe it is the teacher in me, but I knew –somehow– there was a party going on. I just had to find it. So glad I found you. I am working on my book, and I do believe that Amazon offers many things to new authors that traditional publishing houses cannot these days. It makes me feel hopeful. And nearly everyone I know has an e-reader these days. 😉

  71. Generally I would say yes. But I know an indie writer who while not eschewing social media is certainly not wildly active and who is still selling ebooks in the tens of thousands per month (for money not freebie downloads).

    Sometimes a book will be exactly what it needs to be in its genre and will zoom along happily.

    Obviously that doesn’t happen all the time and there are fantastically brilliant books out there that need all the help we can muster – often because they are not automatic genre niche fillers. So generally yes – but not always.

  72. Great post as usual. Lots to think about in the changing universe of books. I hope “real” books will always be with us. Maybe like vinyl in the music world?

    You asked – what kind of blogs attract me? It’s about voice and information. If the writer of the blog shares personal views, I want to read more. Also, if they are offering helpful information to me as a writer, or something that will enhance my life, i want to read on.

    Also love your smash-up. Thanks.

  73. Wow – so this is comment #100. Good lord.

    This is some really great advice. I’ve shared it on Facebook. Now if I can just work in a way to do it all. I wish I were my own advertising manager.

  74. Awesome as always and never minus a lol. 🙂 Thanks!

  75. Woohoo! I’m #100 and somehow it feels like a lottery win … but, really, each of your posts is just that, a jackpot of priceless information that opens up opportunities for every one of us. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record when I comment on your posts and thank you every single time. I just can’t help myself …

    Another HUGE aspect of the WANA jackpot is the amazing range of personalities we have the opportunity to meet within the online writing community. Certainly the experience within our WANA711 group has been fantastic!

    1. Just think of it this way, you are always “top of mind” with me :D. I have a good memory for names and the more often it is associated with good fluffy feelings the better. I have plenty of writers I go out of my way to help. I might not be able to do it directly, but I can always connect you to the right person. Never a broken record. It takes a lot to blog on top of everything else and your energy keeps me inspired!

  76. Dang – I was too slow on the draw. Oh well, #102 is close enough!

  77. I often find myself reading quite a few blogs but not leaving a lot of comments. Must make more of an effort!

  78. As a business student and a writer, I’ve been following all this mess about the ‘dying’ book industry fairly closely across various projects. The odd thing I’ve noticed is that the author has been a huge victim in the process. Marketing dollars are drying up, and new authors especially aren’t getting them. Building a network before hand really is the key in this new age. Which is why I’m glad you’re spreading the word!

  79. Great advice as always! Building a good platform is key.

    • robtiffany on February 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm
    • Reply

    Great stuff Kristen! The biggest problem I’m facing on my blog is that I have a healthy audience for my nonfiction books, but they have little in common with the readers I’m trying to reach with my new novel.


    1. You would be surprised how much they might cross over. And just because they might not read your fiction, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t BUY it if they like you. They might also buy for friends/family who ARE your target audience.

  80. Fab advice, Kristen! I just want to chime in on the benefits of community. Taking your WANA711 course was writing life changing for me. And I mean this beyond improving my blog and ending the meltdown feeling of trying to figure out what I wanted to say.

    I was a blog lurker who would read blogs and rarely post a comment, mostly because I felt intimidated or that other writers knew more than me. The class introduced me to a wonderful assortment of writers of varying genres and levels and it was great because we were all in the same leaky blogging boats…similar fears, mistakes made, identity crisis. We became a band of sisters (with one WANA brother) and have continued to be champions and cheerleaders for each other. No competition, no nitpicking. Just people that want to help each other.

    That same idea is multiplied hundreds of times over in the full MyWANA online community. We can tap in to read great writing tips, funny posts, learn a new recipe, get technology tips, etc. I read a lot of blogs via Google Reader and am still learning how to balance getting more comments done. Thanks to you, I also now know how sharing over different platforms, retweeting posts and having regular conversation with others is how good networking is done. 🙂

    1. You go, Barbara! You’re one of the most fabulous tweeps around.

      1. Ah, Jenny! *blushing* Have pom-poms, Will wave and dance. 🙂

  81. 🙁 awe! *sniffles* the end of the bookstore. If I ever live to see the day I’d cry. Big huge fat tears. Because I love the traditional way of doing things. Give me hand-painted cell animation over cgi any day… I love the smell of a brand new book. Holding the weight of it in my hands. Letting the pictures form in my mind. Heck I can’t even get the proper flow of my WIP if I don’t hand-wright it with pen and paper. 🙁 I know. I know. It’s better for the environment et all. Blah blah blah hogwash. We’re all gonna be blind by the end. Just wait and see (or not).
    By the way, great blog Kristen. Valid points all. I’m just trying to adapt in the midst of a major change. Difficult to say the least.

  82. Great post, Kristen and right on target. The first five great blogs and friends I found online were found right here in your comments section. Thanks.

  83. Gawdelpus!

  84. Hi Kristen, I’ve just started following your blog and this is the first post I’ve read; a great introduction. I look forward to reading more.

  85. What a great post! I’m definitely working hard at all the things you suggest, but it does take a little time to get going… I think that’s something people underestimate. Building relationships, even virtual ones, takes time and definitely doesn’t happen over night. You got to work at it! And sometimes, just sometimes, it can all feel a little overwhelming and… well, like a stab in the dark. (You know, the old: ‘does it really make a difference’ doubt in the middle of the night when you shut off the computer completely exhausted from all that tweeting and blogging)

    So a post like yours is a wonderful reminder that one IS, in fact, doing the right thing and that it is worthwhile persisting. Thank you! XX

  86. Reblogged this on Welcome to Nicky's Blog and commented:
    And this is why blogging matters….. Fabulous post from Kristen Lamb!

  87. I love my blog, it’s a pity that more people don’t read it. It’s not so much a platform, more a crumbling ledge.
    Yours is fun and inspirational, Kristen, and I like your style.
    You help me realise that I’m writing to be read by as many people as possible, whether it’s my blog or my novels.
    When I discover, for example, that seven people in the Ukraine have visited my blog it feels good at first then a little scary second then extremely puzzling third.
    We are living in interesting times.

    • Peter Devorshe-brown on February 9, 2012 at 8:29 am
    • Reply

    I think it’s common sense, you use the format you like. Jonny Gibbings blog is good. A guy I wanted to hate, because he is so offensive, but can’t help loving his blog, he compared ebooks to titty bars! He does though make a lot of sense… I hate to admit that though. He says, and I agree, more will be bought on digital, but paper will be collected. If you love it, you will want the paper for the shelf. There is a difference between owning and possessing. But his blog has a big following now, and works because its as controversial as his book

  88. For years now, members of the writers group I belong to, have harped on the need for consistent blogging, platform, networking, and the fact that traditional outlets were taking a big hit from the digital world. Kristen, I found your post on Facebook through one of my many writer friends. I like the way you put everything in a face to face, conversation, style. Count on it, I will be sharing this post on my own wall, and, with your permission, probably use excerpts on my blog.

    Kudos for an excellent piece!

  89. Excellent suggestions — and without the guilt push. (You must do this or fail as a writer, etc.) I’m fairly new to social media, and my blog is currently only being used for guest posts and blog hops, but I’m hoping to manage it better in 2012.

    Commenting on other blogs is a great idea, too. I read a lot of interesting ones…but rarely comment. So here I am today!

    And it IS a wonderful time to be a writer. My first historical romance was traditionally published in 2000, and the changes in the industry since then are simply AMAZING. For me, a midlist writer, the changes have been extremely positive. As a reader, I do mourn the revolution somewhat, though I am now devoted — and surprised by my devotion! — to my Kindle. And I was the book toting, die-by-the-novel chick.

    Thanks, again. Always great stuff.

  90. I keep trying to do this but for me it’s almost like pulling teeth. Must become less agoraphobic or they will make me go back to the day job. It’s like a mantra I tell myself every day.

  91. Thanks Kristen…I like your glass half full attitude. Really do. Wish we had a crystal ball. It certainly is revolutionary ….so it will be a bumpy ride. Those of us who are semi hermits by nature or for cause, will probably be hurt vis-a-vis this change in approach but you’re right it is a brave new world for writers of fiction. Thanks as always…I enjoy your attitude/approach.

  92. Wow, you got my attention. I’ve read your blog for a long while, recommended it to others, bought and used your book We Are Not Alone and recommended it to others, but I never commented cause it looked like you had plenty without me. But here I am telling you I totally agree with your advice to bloggers and also am grateful for someone out there like you always lending a helping hand when it’s most needed. I’m going to put a link on my blog back to yours and also link to my facebook page and twitter. Thanks a bunch!

  93. Kristen, I must have learned some wisdom and PR stuff during those 20+ years I was away from writing every day! When my daughter-in-law and daughter prodded me into getting back to my creative roots last September, I found wordpress, started my own blog, jumped on every interesting gravatar to follow other blogs, and still type my fingers to stubs commenting thoughtfully upon, and vigorously (some say effusively) encouraging all the bloggers I find. Many of the flitters and flutters in my brain as I write comments end up in my own narrative poetry series underway at the present time. I have never been happier or been able to write to well! I am with you ALL THE WAY on everything you advise in this post.

  94. Great post as always, Kristen!!!

    What I luuuvvv about blogging is the superfab synergy it creates!

    Here’s an example:

    I “met” you when I discovered your blog. Then, I bought your We Are Not Alone book and totally swear by it. Then…I recommended you for that RT Gig in LA (’cause I taught for them the year before and thought you’d be great). And now, we constantly support each other all over cyber space!!!

    You never know who your stars will align with and what a bright and superfab fun sky that kind of synergy creates!!!

  95. Thanks Kristen! Stellar as ever. I think I am drawn to the sense of humour in your blog. It’s the same with Bob, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. With the sheer amount of info I have to tackle every day on line it’s a relief to read something with a smile. Yvette Carol

  96. Dear Kristen, I’m so glad that I took your class last summer! Now, reading this post I keep nodding my head in agreement and saying to myself, “yep, she taught me that, and that, oh, and that too!” Your methods are the best on the market. They are simple, they work and are easy to apply. Thank you for being such an amazing mentor.

  97. So here’s the thing; I’m a writer, too. The little title here says “Leave a Reply” as in, write something here and someone may read it. I almost always comment on blogs. I can’t help myself. It is one of my endearing traits that I am SO willing to share my opinion with others (roll eyes here). I love your blogs as they not only contain good information but I can be sure at least a few people will read what I write in response. I would agree that now, more than ever in the history of scribbling on a surface for communication, those of us so engaged cannot live in a vacuum. I’m not all that sorry to see the traditional publishing routes taking a beating. They’ve been doing that to authors for over a century. Payback is a bitch (as are Karma and Justice). Maybe we should send copies of “Who Moved My Cheese?” to these folks? Hmmmm… Maybe too late… all the cheese seems to be floating down the Amazon river… Thanks again for the words of wisdom.

    • Ed on February 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm
    • Reply

    I was reviewing my own blog’s stats the other day, wondering why they were sagging, and I realised that I have not been putting anything into the online world except my own blog posts. As some other people have pointed out, it can often seem pointless to contribute to a post that already has hundreds of comments, but the more the merrier!

    Also, I find a lot of comboxes to cause me to lose hope in humanity, so reading them is almost a form of masochism. That’s far too cynical though, and they’re usually on sites like Yahoo “news” and YouTube, where the population is so large that the lowest common denominator prevails.

    Happily, on dedicated blogs within certain realms (such as writing, where the contributors tend to be a bit more refined in their communication skills), you can often meet some wonderful, lucid people.

    I think I’m going to write a blog post about just that! But not before I go and participate in some other blogs first!

  98. Kristen, you always make so much sense & have a witty way of smashing my fears away. Blogging & social networking seemed like such a big black hole. At conferences we writers would look at each other with total horror when we learned all the things we should have been doing. How? Wht? We wailed. You show us all the light.

  99. Now see, I’m always SO far behind I feel I shouldn’t comment.

    On the upside, I enjoyed this article very much. Certainly the world is a changing. Although I still prefer to read the paper version. My kids? I guess they’ll grow to prefer digital versions.

    1. Yes, me too with the lateness!

  100. I know this is a bit late, but I’ve just got here… Thanks so much for the link in your mash up.

  101. I love reading your blog and yes I did buy the book, Are you there blog?, great advice. Thank you for the latest advice and I will be sharing this with my friends at the South Jersey Writer’s group.

  102. I so agree – it’s a fantastic time to be a writer. After years of writing, I truly feel as if this is ‘my’ time and It’s so exciting. I learn such a lot from yours, and several other blogs – thank you 🙂

  103. Kristen, I soooo enjoyed this post. I’ve only been blogging since early 2010. I try to pick out 5-10 of my blogging buddies each day and hug the dickens out of them by commenting or simple mentions on Twitter. At the end of some days, my bottom lip sags because my blog didn’t receive any attention, and I have to constantly remind myself, “You’re 41 yrs. old, get over it.”

    You asked a ? about what else makes a blog super. Informative posts, such as this one. I want to learn. Improve. Grow.

    As for traditional publishing butterflying into digital, I’m all for it. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the pleasure of a page between my fingers and the familiar scent of a book. And I will never have an empty bookshelf. But, I’m afraid if I don’t jump on that pony, I’ll be left, eatin’ dust.

  104. Thanks for the recommendation for “The Miracle Journal”. Simply love it.

    And thanks for the ideas about the others who comment. I hadn’t thought of that.
    To do a blog is on my “to do” list but until then, these are great ideas.

  105. I think I’m a representative of a blog-shy writer, though I do blog now (actually, three). As a representative, I have three reasons; 1) I didn’t start reading blogs until recently, 2) I have a hard time writing for an undefined audience and 3) a lot of good ideas are really not obvious to me. I wasn’t “waiting for the party to begin” on my blog by choice, but because I wasn’t sure of what else to do. But I know that about myself, and I know enough to stick with the winners and to take good advice when I find it. So thank you for these ideas, and keep ’em coming!

  106. I mean, I’m a representative blog-shy writer, or I am a representative of blog-shy writers. I’m not a representative of a writer, other than me.

  107. Wow, just reading the comments is like reading a book of excellent, productive quotes.
    Such great straightforward advice and powerful acknowledgement.

    Need a blog energy boost, pop over and read a random post from Kristen, guaranteed to teach you something and sure to motivate you to action!

    1. Awww, thanks Claire. That’s a really beautiful compliment.

  108. I totally just tweeted Jenny Hansen. We’ve never met. I hope she doesn’t mind. 🙂

    So, Kristen – you are full of awesome sauce. This is a statement of fact. Don’t argue.

    I’ve read your books – thank you muchly for your vast amounts of information and advice – and am now catching up on the blog front. I agree with most everything you have put forth here, but there’s just one itty bitty point I need to beg a difference with: the idea that reading and commenting on blogs (or tweeting and sharing them) only takes a few minutes. I am The World’s Slowest Reader, because I try to absorb everything the writer is saying, so as not to miss a thing, therefore it takes me HOURS to get through just a few blogs, what with the reading and the commenting and the sharing and the lookey-looing on all the other blogs and links that are posted in each blog and OY! Once you go down the rabbit hole you may never surface again. Good thing I bring my chocolate. 🙂

    Point is – I have yet to find an EFFICIENT way to manage my blog reading time (not to mention the fact that it takes me years just to write my own blog posts because, well, that’s for another day). So I will pose this to you – any suggestions? Should I set my timer? That seems like an easy solution, but then I’d probably only make it through one blog. I suppose one is better than none. Help!

    Thanks for sharing your mashups – I really enjoyed Jenny and her cowbell. She now has a new fan and bleader. Oh crikey. ANOTHER blog to read. What have you done? I totally blame you and your awesome sauce. Gah! 😉

    1. Triberr is a great way to manage all the blogs you follow. Talk to Jenny and she’ll hook you up ;).

      This is why I am a HUGE fan of bullet points. I would love to believe that all of you reading my blogs hang off every…juicy…word…I….type. But, I am a pragmatist and I know that I am busy, so are you guys! Bullet points are a WONDERFUL time-saver. Readers can get the gist enough to comment in a meaningful way and can come back and read every morsel later if time permits.

      1. *Thank you, Kristen!

        *Bullet points (or asterisks) rock!

        *Will check out Triberr and sign up pronto. Or soonish. Still working on the new bloggy blog, makin’ it purty.

        *Off to din din now.

        Hmm. Guess I didn’t need that last one, huh? I’m new.

  109. Great post. I’m going to re-post on the Tallahassee Authors Network page.

  110. Reblogged this on Tracy Campbell's and commented:
    I have been following Kristen Lamb’s blog for quite some time and I can’t get enough of her wonderful posts. I’m reblogging her post on what a great time for writer’s to break into the marketplace. She is the author of the best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer and is represented by Russel Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary, Inc. in NYC.

  111. Reblogged this on Miranda Weingartner and commented:
    Excellent guide to thriving as a writer in the 21st century landscape!

  112. Loved every bit of the blog. Awesome.

  113. I don’t think I ever read a blog with this kind of energy and positive focus. I have no intention of writing a book, but reading through this makes me want to create The title of the heading caught my attention because I do a lot of work for amazon Kindle and I’m very familiar with all the e-readers, including the nook. I honestly think barnes and Noble will be done by end of 2012 🙁

    I used to be an avid reader, but now I’m an avid blog reader. Sometimes I wish these good blog sites had a donation box via paypal, because the content is that good, and I would love to donate a quarter here and there. After all, I hear thats about what you make for each book you sell via amazon…lol

    1. LOL. Not a bad idea. Yeah, I think B&N is in the final days, too. Thanks for the comment!

  114. Great post, but I hope the book stores hang in there.

    1. I do, too, but like everyone else, they need to up their game and evolve to accommodate the changing paradigm. Here’s hoping’!

      1. Yes, maybe offer more activities to draw in new visitors. I worked at a museum and sometimes you have to reach out and offer more than what you’re known for.

  115. Hi Kristen:

    The changes are sweeping indeed: they have swept virtually everything out the way–bookstores, agents, publishing companies; you n ame it, and they have done it. Ipersonally, I am a tstaunch advocate of media; while it is obvious, even to the blind, that the book publishing and marketing industry is currently undergoing a titanic revolution, print and creative advertising and marketing will never die. These uncreate elements of human ingenuity are ageless and timeless. there are numerous ways by which which writers can market therir books sucessfully. The old bookstore model has never been a profitable model for writers, unless they were at the top of their game. Regardless of the jarring changes that have turned the book publishing and marketing world upside-down; writers who are creative and hard-working wii always come out on the other side smelling like a rose. I am a writer and poet: I love writing and write long poetic novels. Although I have not published my first book as yet, I have a completely different take on book publishing and marketing from most writers. Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that writers should not avail themselves to the all the novel media through whcih books are being published and marketed today–I would use all media that are at my disposal to get my books published and sold out; however, I I recognized that much more is going to have to be done by writers to sell their books than to just merely rely on these new, trendy gadgets that are out there. The idea that the print industry will inevitably become fossillized is just rank folly. Print is being challenged now by the new electronic wave, but that, too, will burn off and print will survive. There will always be people who will prefer the safety and comforts of a physical book in their hands–I am one of them, and I am not about to be bamoozled by the powerful electronic machine out there trying to convince the world that reading across a glasscase is the new savior of mankind: That is a flat out lie. Writers must give their writing all that they have and use all the channels that are available to them out there. My name is Mouton Mayers. My website is It is the title of my first poetic novel. I warmly extend an opportunity to you to visit my website and leave a comment. Sorry for being so prolix and scribacious–I simply get carried away in the ebullient stream of thoughts about this particular topic. I do have a market plan for my books, and it does not include any of the new technological marketing gadgets as its centerpiece. I do plan to sell a large number of my books, even if I have stand on my own head to get that done. I will not stand on my own head, but I will my books because I firmly believe in what I write–issues with which all people are grappling in the dark cave of this world. Check out my website and issue thoughts about mine. That woudl be immensely appreciated. my email address is

  1. […] Bookstores are Closing & Amazon is Expanding–Want a Sure Bet in an Uncertain Future? – Kristen Lamb tells us all to get or keep on blogging. […]

  2. […] and their books. Social-media expert Kristen Lamb advises writers to boost their profiles via blogging and commenting on blogs. In a separate post that bookends the above, she offers tips to bloggers on boosting […]

  3. […] Lamb did a great post that explained why writers’ must also be bloggers. Share this:TwitterFacebookStumbleUponPinterestEmailTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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