Monday, May 21, 2012

How Do You Write Popular Blog Posts?

Let's be honest folks, we all want to write consistently popular (or at least well-liked) blog posts. Dozens of comments, hundreds of hits, thousands of followers. Right?

But how do you do it? Sure, we can all come up with gimmicks or teaser blog titles to get some more traffic. But how do you do it consistently? Here are some ideas I've come up with (through personal experience and watching others):
  • Give stuff away. Everyone likes free stuff. It can be something so simple, and you will almost definitely get more traffic. Books, gift cards, beta reads, query critiques, you name it...they will come. :)
  • Display hot bodies. I don't know if many of you look at your stats, but all of my posts with bare chested men get blown up!
  • Announce big news. I have no special experiences with this (yet:). but I've watched friends announce agent representation, book deals, and even amazon rankings, and the amount of comments they get are through the roof.
  • Say or participate in something controversial. For this one I actually do have a "special" experience. If you don't know what I am talking about, here's the elevator pitch: After thirty-something aspiring novelist cancels a pitch session with high-powered New York agent, all hell breaks loose online as feelings are hurt, miscommunications abound, and souls are lost forever. (Just kidding on the souls part. It just sounded more dramatic).
  • Participate in blog hops. Again, I have almost no experience with this one. I rarely participate in the hops, memes, and award pass-alongs, even though I know that they are great marketing tools. I should really change that soon.
  • Write excellent writing-craft or publishing-insight posts. I know several of my closest blogging friends that do really well offering exceptional advice on writing and the industry. Those are the ones I bookmark and revisit.
So today, I am not giving anything away, putting pictures up of Gale or Peeta with shirts off, announcing agent representation, saying anything B-Wordy, participating in a hop, or giving any kind of helpful advice. And yet, I expect to get some hits? (not across the face)

Oh hell, here ya go:

Any other ideas on creating popular blog posts? What was your most popular blog post?

Friday, May 18, 2012

B is for Bizarre

For the last several months I have been experiencing a strange phenomenon. It could be in my head, it could be an actual "thing," but it's most definitely bizarre.

It's the number 11.

I'm not kidding people. I'll be sitting in bed late at night and glance at my nightstand: 11:11. I'll wake up in the night to grab a drink of water: 1:11. I'll be driving in my car and turn the station: 1:11.

Now it doesn't happen exactly like this everyday. Most days the number 11 is just mixed in with other numbers, and not just on clocks. Like a few weeks ago, the mileage of my car was on 111,150. And then the balance on my Target gift card was $11.12. When the gas stops pumping, the amount owed ends with 11 cents. Creepy right?

I always thought that my lucky number was 11. I was born on September 11 (not so lucky anymore), and my only sister was born on March 11 (the day the tsunami hit in Japan last year, again not so lucky).

So I did some research. Apparently, in numerology (which I know nothing about), the number 11 is a "master number" and perhaps the most powerful number. People seeing it regularly is not rare. This is one theory of what it means:

The visual design of the 11 is symbolic of a heaven to earth conduit, receiving inspiration from a higher source. It could be possible that the 11 is a reminder that you're on the right path or maybe it's warning you to get back on the right path.


Let's bring this bizare-ness full circle in regards to writing. I am in the throes of the submission process with my YA manuscript. I have queries, partials and fulls out with agents as I speak (or write). And it's making me a little crazy!!!

So the moral to the 11 story is: Jessie is a new B-Word: Bizarre. Breaking news, right?

Do you see any repetitive numbers in your life? Are you feeling crazy in the throes of submission too?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

B is for Barter

Barter: a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.

"Okay Jessie, you big ol' bullet using B-Word, what does this have to do with writing?" you ask.

Well, let's just imagine the "bread" girl A is giving to girl B is her manuscript. And the flower that girl B is giving to girl A is her query letter. Starting to make sense now?

Don't we all do this in the writing community? We barter with our friends not only to get what we need from them, but also to return the favor. Here are some more examples:
  • beta read for a synopsis critique
  • three chapter review for new blog header
  • sidebar button for a free spooning :)
  • whatever
It can be all sorts of things. Heck, when we leave a comment on each other's blogs, it's a roundabout barter because we expect the return of services, right?

In my life I've bartered a lot. I give away free legal work regularly for the most prized service I can imagine: BABYSITTING :).

So what have you bartered for?

And btw, anyone want to barter with me for a new blog header?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ!

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. 

Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Kindness ROCKS!

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

I have decided to BLITZ someone so EPIC that I am putting myself at risk of becoming redundant, since this person has touched the lives of so many in our writing community. But let's make this interesting. Let's see if you can guess who my BLITZee is by the following bullet point descriptors:
(Try really hard not to scroll down...I am watching you!) 

  • She's honest, candid, and generous to her thousands of followers
  • She loves bacon
  • She's tenacious, and driven- nothing can stop this chick
  • She's a debut author (sort of...since she also has an e-book that EVERY aspiring writer should read)
  • She's been on the scene for years at writing conferences--as an attendee, a presenter, a volunteer, and co-organizer of one super rad on-line conference.
  • She's fiercely loyal and protective of her friends and colleagues
  • She's got a softer heart than the rebel blue streak in her hair makes her look
  • She must be working on 4 hours of a sleep a night because she has some serious balls in the air (like a juggler, but not a male juggler ;). Get your head out the gutter people!
  • She is my hero. Or heroine, I should say.
Drum roll, please.......

I know that I am not alone in my adoration of Elana, but I wanted to very specifically thank her for all her hard work at the Storymakers conference last week. She went out of her way to help and support me in what I am now calling, "The Agent-Pitch Debacle of 2012." :). Thanks Elana! 

So in appreciation of all Elana does, I hereby bestow upon her a Fandango (movie) gift card. (Which will be emailed shortly). 

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)
Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Silly Jessie

Remember my last post where I admitted to offending, spooning and rubbing up against (not shoulders) various conference attendees at the Storymakers Conference? Well, guess which one of those actions got me into a little hot water as of yesterday?

No, it wasn't the spooning, or rubbing! Although I'm sure the sexual harassment lawsuits will start rolling in anytime.

It was the opening of my mouth, and the insertion of my usual.

Here's the long and short of it: (yes in bullet points...and I promise my novel isn't written in bullet points)

  • B-Word goes to conference (LDStorymakers, best conference of all time btw)
  • B-Word talks to Uber-Agent over dinner (and not just about how sexy Uber-Agent's legs are :).
  • B-Word perceives Uber-Agent is annoyed/offended/angry (not even by the sexy-legs-comment)
  • B-Word switches pitch sessions, gets full request by second mega-agent (serendipity, right?)
  • B-Word is confronted by Uber-Agent for canceling (serendipity, wrong.)
  • B-Word apologizes (profusely)
  • Uber-Agent perceives cancellation of pitch as an act of nervousness or fear
  • Uber-Agent writes post on blog about "The Sad Tale of Jessie"
  • All Hell breaks loose in the comments (my personal favorite was "Stupid, stupid, Jessie!")
  • Uber-Agent, B-Word, various friends, cohorts, and other interested parties started emailing, facebook messaging, tweeting, texting, and sending letters by owl...
  • Uber-Agent apologizes (twice :)
  • B-Word accepts apology and appreciates the latest email from Uber-Agent which simply says: "Jessie the Bestseller-to-Be?"
So, like so many of my novel stories, this is a happy ending folks. But let's be honest, I could have saved myself a little humiliation, heartache, shock, and dismay by having a thicker skin, by being a little braver. In fact, that will be my new b-word: Jessie the Brave! 

Thanks to everyone who had my back. I won't forget it. And I owe you a good spooning!

Now I just have to polish the H out of my manuscript! Because in the end, it's the writing that matters.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Storymakers Conference 2012 Hangover

I have all the symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Bags under the eyes
  • Memories of various foot-in-mouth moments
  • Curious desire to nap for hours
  • General aversion to physical exertion or prolonged thought
Don't people usually feel this way after leaving Las Vegas, not returning?

Oh well, I had such a blast. Despite the fact that I managed to:
  • offend
  • stalk
  • flabbergast
  • rub up against
  • spoon
  • shock and
  • corrupt
so many fabulous:
  • friends 
  • acquaintances
  • strangers
  • authors
  • agents and
  • staff members
I would really love to:
  • thank
  • apologize
  • sympathize 
  • credit 
  • acknowledge and
  • publicly admire
all of them for putting up with this big ol' bullet-using, B-Word from Las Vegas. I wish I had a picture of every single one of them. But this is the best I could come up with: (I stole it from Leigh Covington's Facebook post! Sorry Leigh:O)

These are some seriously awesome blog friends! I adore you guys. And if I could, I would spoon each and every one of you! Except David Powers King (of course)...your wife would kick my A.