Monday, January 03, 2011

Blog Check Ten

Last year the suggestions everyone made to use the extra pages Google gave me for the blog were very helpful, and did a lot to declutter the main page. This is why I'm here to bug you again about the blog.

PBW-ise I know I am pretty resistant to change. Although in the past Tom tweaked the colors and the fonts, I've used the same template for six years. I still dodge getting involved in things like blog tours, interviews, author or publisher promo and the like, which definitely will not change. Social media and I also remain quite happy avoiding each other, so no twits, facebooking or whatever is the new phone app this week.

Still, I'd like to do what I can to make PBW a fun and helpful spot to visit, and the cosmos is whispering that c-word in my ear this week. So with that in mind, here are:

Ten Things About PBW You Want/Don't Want Me to Change

Biz Posts: Most of what I do now are sub ops; I've given up on the trades. I don't get involved in NetPubLand's endless debates and same old tired arguments about the industry, but is there something more I could write about the biz?

Content: PBW is still mainly geared toward writers, but I try to write about books I like and other topics of interest to readers. How's the mix working for you? Anything I should add, subtract, stir up?

Excerpts: If I want to post an excerpt I generally put it over on the stories blog and just link to it. This is because I personally don't care to read excerpts on other writer blogs; they're usually too long or hard to pick up and follow out of the blue. Should I stick to this practice, or try another approach?

Features: Aside from twice-weekly updates during NaNoWriMo, I've gotten away from doing any regular features. I always liked doing the Friday 20, but after a while I felt like everyone got tired of it. I've noticed other writers do those day-named meme features (Thursday Thirteen, Saturday Snippers) but the linking to other blogs involved always made me leery because I couldn't preview the content I was linking to (and yeah, that kind of thing worries me because it can come across like an endorsement.) Would you like to see some sort of regular feature return to PBW?

Giveaways: 99% of the time I give away books or BookWishes because that's how I support the industry and those colleagues out there who are writing fabulous books. Is there anything more I can give away that would have equal or more appeal to you writers and readers out there?

Guest Bloggers: Except for my kid writing a review of her favorite book and some tech announcements from Tom, I've never actually had a guest blogger on PBW. Should I keep it that way, or would you like to see someone else at the helm? If yes on the guest, who would you like to see?

Humor Posts: I think I've exhausted poor John and Marcia, but I could put more energy into penning some parodies, funny bits and so forth. Or do I write enough already? Inquiring blog hosts want to know.

Promo Posts: I feel like I already do too many of these (there's one coming at you tomorrow for Frostfire.) But this blog is my only web presence, and readers have complained -- loudly -- that I don't talk about my books enough here. So what's your take on my self-propaganda? (and no, you won't insult me if you say I do too much already.)

Template: It pains me to think of letting go of Ye Ancient Template, but Blogger does have some very attractive alternatives available now. Should I try on some different looks for PBW, or keep her in the same old vintage skin for as long as Google will let me?

Writing Posts: This is one area blog-wise where I feel I'm not falling down, and that I do come up with some fresh ideas on a regular basis. But I could be deluding myself, too. Is PBW working as a writer's resource?

Of course I don't expect everyone to comment on all ten things or anything at all, but if you have the time and an opinion to share, please do let me know what you think in comments.

Graphic credit: © Yellowj | Dreamstime.com

32 comments:

  1. Hi Lynn,

    I sent you an email about this, but I was wondering if you could have a workshop on how to use voice recognition software.

    Not a technical reference specific to the software version, but tips on how to set up your own templates with it, ways to use it, etc.

    Do you have any notes on how to "write" your story with the software? Issues you've run into or had to train yourself out of when you first started...

    I love that you post information about your up and coming releases. It puts your books on my wishlist to buy and download the moment they come out.

    As a writing resource, I find your blog to be one of the best on the net. Your information is clear and concise and yet you're still approachable.

    Changing the template is definitely a personal choice. I love the simple layout. It's clean and easy to read.

    I love how you talk about your other creative projects so I definitely think you're balancing it very well.

    I'm also very glad you don't get involved with netpubland's endless debates. All the negativity surrounding most of that really gets to me and bogs me down. I don't have time to deal with that, writing, working full time, and my family life. A lot of my other resources/websites I stopped going to over that stuff.

    Sorry this is long and drawn out. :) I love your blog, Lynn.

    Is there anything you'd like to see from your blog readers? More interaction, etc?

    -Dawn

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  2. Hi Lynn,

    I feel a different blog design invigorates me more than anyone. It seems to keep it fresh for me. However I've been known to change it too often. I don't think you need to worry about changing things. You have loyal readers who will always visit.

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  3. Margaret S7:39 AM

    The most important part of PBW that I hope never changes is the driving force behind it - YOU
    Your down to earth generally upbeat attitude is what gets us reading this every day. It's like checking in with a friend. When you unplug we understand but miss you.
    When you give out warnings and cautions we we take note such as with scribd. I did encounter their "archive fee" with relation to another author who also had not realised they were charging for free ebooks.
    You have over the years I have been reading PBW built up a feeling of trust and honesty with your readers.

    PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE!!!!

    I could probably go on but I don't want anyone spoiling their New Year by crying buckets of tears so I will stop here.

    Thinking of you.

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  4. I'd like to mention that it's very generous of you to blog 7 days a week. Most bloggers don't. (3-5 seems to be the average.) So, that's something I'd like to stay the same.

    Oh, and hey, any time you feel like unleashing the hounds of humor, please do so! I love the funny.

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  5. I'd like to second Dawn's suggestion about technical aspects like voice recognition, software you like, or gadgets you've tried.

    Ref: guest blogs
    Well, you could always invite me. :grin: Seriously though, my only caveat to guest bloggers is that they provide a bona fide article and not a sales pitch for their latest book.

    Which brings me to your question on self-promo. It's your blog and no one would blame you for announcing your books or excerpting them from time to time.

    The only time promo gets intrusive is if it's painted with a wide brush--which you've never done.

    That's my two pence for what it's worth.

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  6. Keita Haruka10:43 AM

    Hiya Lynn.

    Biz Posts: Personally, I've found these very, very helpful. As an unpublished writer, I really don't know the biz, so Biz Posts gave me an insight I'd otherwise never get. As an "insider", who were where we are, you know better than us what we need to know. Personally, I wouldn't even know which questions to ask. So...if you think you've given all the info we need on the Biz...then ops alone are fine. Unless something changes that you feel we need to know about. That's my take on it.

    Content: The mix seems pretty okay to me. All writers are also readers, and most of the stuff you've recommended usually really are worth it, so...keep it up. :p

    Excerpts: I agree with you on that score...and as a reader, I find it sort of annoying to find excerpts. They're either incomprehensible without context or they make me want to read more. Nothing annoys me as much as wanting to read more and not being able to.

    Features: I personally liked the features you used to do. Maybe one or two fixed features a week...but personally I feel it should be related to the content of your blog. Personally, I dislike link-fests. Clicking on ten links to find out what the author wanted to say annoys me, unless it's ops or something worthwhile.

    Giveaways: Seriously...when it comes to giveaways, anything is fine. He who looks a gift horse in the mouth...as the saying goes. :p Books are always appropriate to the writing community (and to readers of course). CD's are good too. Anything artistic would be, really. Since you don't HAVE to do giveaways, I've always just been amazed you do them at all.

    Guest Bloggers: Nah. I come here because the content is helpful, entertaining, or both all at once...and the source of said info is "proven" and "known" as it were. I don't really know what guest bloggers could add besides a different viewpoint or opinion...and for that I could just as easily visit their blog myself instead of reading it here.

    Humor Posts: Keep them as is. I think you a good balance of serious and humorous posts.

    Promo Posts: I don't mind reading them. As a reader, it's nice to know a bit more about the book from the author's point of view...and as a writer, it's also nice to get a glimpse of the "process" as another writer experiences it. Perhaps you could link Promo with Features? Do a monthy feature/interactive thing? It would please your readers.

    Template: I don't mind if the look changes...as long as things stay where I can find them. :p If all the info, links and stuff remain somewhere on the page where people don't have to look for them, I don't think changing the look will matter too much. SOmething you might want to look at: if you do change the look, maybe add something where a viewer can toggle between dark on light and light on dark? Some people have trouble with reading black on white (or white on black) and being able to invert the text/background would really be nice to have.

    Writing Posts: Yes. It does.

    'kay. Done. Now...back to scribbling...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't know that I can offer anything worthwhile, as I don't seem to be your target audience. Although I'm a writer, my days are so full that I can't take advantage of the advice. I have to stop checking out new programs, free downloads, free goodies.

    You're more like a friend I like checking in with, just to see what's happening. Maybe even an inspiration.

    So long as you keep your mix going, I can pass over the freebies and the technical jargon, and enjoy the illusion of intimacy.

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  8. No change needed : )

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  9. I like the blog just the way it is, but if you wanted to try out a new look, I can adapt.

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  10. I like the book giveaways and posts about what you like to read, watch, or whatever because we have similar tastes and that way I get to find authors etc. I might not otherwise have tried.

    No problem on the promo posts. They're not that frequent and when they are, it's usually promo plus like showing off your new cover (or bemoaning it ;)).


    I think having the story posts linked is better, especially for people who might be receiving this on a phone, and I enjoy humorous tales so I wouldn't want to see them gone. It's better to teach though comedy.

    Finally, I'm the last to comment on the template. I only change mine when pressured :). It looks fine, it works fine, so what's the problem?

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  11. Hi Ms. Viehl :)

    I think your blog is terrific so I am hesitant to suggest a change. Your posts are interesting and I've suggested your blog to a number of people interested in writing. I always enjoy visiting. If you make changes - seeing what you have done so far with PBW - those changes will be great too!

    :) Abigail

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  12. This is a great evaulation post. I too like how you are currently maintaining the blog and don't think there's a need for any major changes.

    I think you do a great job with balancing different topics (Content). I'm not a fan of features such as Friday Five because they do tend to get a bit repetitive and boring. I like
    PBW because I never know what to expect, and so each post is like a pleasant surprise. What IS consistent in this blog is that there's always a healthy mixture of
    informative and entertaining information that really engages readers. I hope that makes sense. :)

    I have nothing against guest posts; I think that they're a good way to collaborate with other bloggers and also change posts up a bit every once in a while.

    ~TRA

    http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

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  13. I love it as is. I'm not actively writing, I just love your books and have gotten to discover many other authors as a result of reading this blog. I love reading the comments almost as much as the posts themselves, especially in regards to the books other people are enjoying. Love the humor posts, and as someone who has won something from PBW in the past, thanks for doing those. ;-) The technical stuff on writing, while not always directly applicable to me, is an interesting read, and I have passed your URL around to some aspiring writers (and other people who happen to be looking for a new author to try, of course). As far as layout goes, I like it. Some bloggers get super fancy and not only does it get visually distracting, but it's also harder to sneak read them. Ha!

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  14. Anonymous5:15 PM

    A new look never hurts, other than that I like what I read and come back lots to see what's up.

    I'll miss John and Marcia but I'll get over it. :-)

    Thanks for your hard work.
    Ron

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  15. I like things the way they are, however, if you want to try out new things that's okay too.

    And by the way I disagree that John and Marcia have been exhausted.

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  16. I'm one of the silent masses who don't comment much, but I definitely check in every day. Overall, I think your mix of humour, wit and useful/interesting info is what keeps me coming back. As others have said, like stopping by to check on a friend.

    Otherwise, to answer your feedback items:
    Biz: The sub ops are perfect. I'm glad you stay out of the net brouhaha

    Content: perfect as-is. Keep up on books you like, as I've added a few to the pile because of it.

    Excerpts: Yes, please keep linking. Better to have them in one space rather than break up the PBW commentary.

    Features: I would rather see them come and go as the interest exists, that way they will be fresh and interesting, rather than filling a 'slot.'

    Giveaways: I can't see a way to improve on your generosity (with thanks), and the books idea keeps the theme.

    Guests: While I would miss your commentary, I have trust that you would invite someone with something interesting to say. That would be the most important thing.

    Humour: You mean the blog isn't funny? :-) Seriously, your wit and observations tend towards the humorous. As Warren Miller said "Don't take life too seriously, no one gets out alive." I enjoyed John and Marcia immensely, and variations on that theme are always good reading.

    Promo/writing: I think you should promote your books on this blog. After all, you did them! What might be interesting, and combine with the writing category, is to go into detail on the whys and hows of wht you did in, say, a particular scene or subplot. Sort of relate it to the work somehow, in lieu of more abstract examples. I know it may fall flat on those who haven't read or caught up on the work, but that's about all I can think of to improve. To answer your question, yes, you keep the writing portion interesting.

    Template: no, don't change it, unless you're tired of it. I find it very readable, without a heap of junk in the margins or vexing visuals leaping about.

    I've rambled on enough. The most important thing you bring is you. You post every day, and bring some sort of insight and interest to the topic at hand. I thank you for the efforts, and look forward to many more posts.

    All the best,
    Rowan

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  17. I love the humor posts and feel like there is always room for some fun.

    I have no problem with the promo posts either. I'd have to agree that sometimes it seems like we don't hear enough about your books.

    I enjoy your blog a great deal.

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  18. Anonymous7:37 PM

    Your blog is a great resource, I have shared it with a few other family members who are also interested in writing, including my daughter. She really liked your article/links on writing contests.


    Your mix of topics is great!

    I'm not really fond of those daily themed things, I like not knowing what to expect when I pop into your blog site.

    Book give a ways are my favorite.

    I like hearing about your upcoming releases, I like having a link to the excerpt instead of the excerpt taking up the blog entry.
    Your recent Best of 2010 post was a great wrap up for the year.
    Thanks for all you do.
    Stephenia

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  19. I like your blog the way it is too! But, that said, it's your blog and sometimes change is a good thing.

    I'm not going to touch on everything, but I'll give you this:

    I LOVE John and Marcia! The more the merrier there.

    I come here for you. If you feel a driving need to put a guest blogger here, okay, but know up front I might not even bother to read it.

    I think you're more than generous with your giveaways however, since this blog has been geared to the "mechanics" of writing as much to the readers, maybe once or twice a year you could give away a five page critique? Something along those lines?

    I really enjoy reading about all the creative things you do. You're one of the most versatile artists I know. And really very good in every medium you choose. I can't tell you how many times you've inspired me to try new things.

    I miss the Friday 20, but I understand. How about a Monday 5? ;o)

    Absolutely keep promoing here! I love it and as you said, this is your web presence. You should use it to it's full advantage!

    That's about it, I guess.

    On a side note, I'm hitting the post office tomorrow :shh:

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  20. I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus that I enjoy Paperback Writer just as it is.

    Many blogs I used to read have gone off balance lately, offering more and more promo posts (nothing wrong with those in moderation) and less content, turning into shills for certain e-reader formats or the blogger went off the deep end and started posting more and more on politics, global warming, health care reform, religion or whatever other cause has grabbed their interest and less about what actually caused me to read them in the first place. But through it all, Paperback Writer has remained a consistently good blog.

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  21. This is my favourite blog. As others have already said, what makes the place magic is you. So whatever you bring here will be fine.

    Template-wise, did we get a hint there that you fancy trying one of those "very attractive alternatives"? If so, it'll be fun to see what you come up with. If not, it's fine the way it is.

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  22. (can't stand it, I have an opinion on everything)

    Biz posts - The current mix works for me - sometimes you mention opportunities I haven't heard of, or haven't checked recently. I appreciate them.

    Content - Makes sense that most of us writers are also readers, so including books you're reading makes sense to me. I've gotten the impression you probably only mention a tiny percentage of what you read. I'm always curious what writers themselves enjoy reading. Then again, my reading can be quite random and/or eclectic, enough so that I'm not sure I'd be willing to share an honest tally of everything myself.

    Excerpts - I don't care where you post them, as long as you link to them. I tend to forget that the stories blog is even there unless you mention it specifically here. Though I never did care much for Scribd.

    Features - I definitely like the Nano updates. Friday 20, I missed when it first disappeared, but don't really notice it now. The memes aren't worth doing (or reading) unless you have something worth sharing that "fits" that meme - though a lot of people do them just because they're there doesn't mean they'll be quality content. What I did miss, though, was Left Behind and Loving it. I also really like seeing what I think of as your collection posts - can't remember what you call them. (The "5 or 10 things for..." whatever you happened to be searching for recently-type posts.)

    Giveaways - they're fine just as they are. :)

    Guest bloggers - hmm. Doesn't really matter one way or the other to me, but it'd be ok if they were a good fit. Since most of the point of guest blogging is to entice readers to check out their blog, too, it has to be something that interests me enough to hit that "add to reader" button. "Who" matters a whole lot less than the content of the post.

    Humor - I like them. You make me laugh, often when I really need it. But it doesn't need to be constant. I appreciate the occasional spice in my PBW meal. And if John and Marcia have something they want to say, I'm always happy to see them - but I'd rather them visit when they want to, rather then force it on them.

    Promo - I think you've got a pretty good balance. You mention your books when you have something to say, and it isn't the theme of every single post. I can't be the only one here who was first a regular blog reader, and later devoured your books.

    Template - The template's fine, but if you're bored with it, or you want a feature one of the new templates has, try it out. My only request is, please, whatever you do, don't make the background white. Or have bright orange or yellow as main color elements. Too hard on the eyes. I appreciate the simplicity of this one, and it is your words that draw me here, not bells and whistles. (For example - I detest Holly Lisle's new theme - don't like the logo at all, and the colors are a headache. So I've gone back to reading it in the RSS reader, rather then actually visiting the site as has been my habit.)

    Writing Posts - Happy here, but I'll always take more. :)

    Workflow, creating positive writing habits, repeatable methods that work - that's where my interest lies at the moment. But I'll read anything - never know when something might "click" that I needed to see.

    And I'll second the interest in voice software info - I've used the dragon on an intermittent basis, but haven't ever gotten into regular use. Still think it might be useful to me, but can't seem to move into a productive working relationship with it.

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  23. (can't stand it, I have an opinion on everything)

    Biz posts - The current mix works for me - sometimes you mention opportunities I haven't heard of, or haven't checked recently. I appreciate them.

    Content - Makes sense that most of us writers are also readers, so including books you're reading makes sense to me. I've gotten the impression you probably only mention a tiny percentage of what you read. I'm always curious what writers themselves enjoy reading. Then again, my reading can be quite random and/or eclectic, enough so that I'm not sure I'd be willing to share an honest tally of everything myself.

    Excerpts - I don't care where you post them, as long as you link to them. I tend to forget that the stories blog is even there unless you mention it specifically here. Though I never did care much for Scribd.

    Features - I definitely like the Nano updates. Friday 20, I missed when it first disappeared, but don't really notice it now. The memes aren't worth doing (or reading) unless you have something worth sharing that "fits" that meme - though a lot of people do them just because they're there doesn't mean they'll be quality content. What I did miss, though, was Left Behind and Loving it. I also really like seeing what I think of as your collection posts - can't remember what you call them. (The "5 or 10 things for..." whatever you happened to be searching for recently-type posts.)

    Giveaways - they're fine just as they are. :)

    Guest bloggers - hmm. Doesn't really matter one way or the other to me, but it'd be ok if they were a good fit. Since most of the point of guest blogging is to entice readers to check out their blog, too, it has to be something that interests me enough to hit that "add to reader" button. "Who" matters a whole lot less than the content of the post.

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  24. Humor - I like them. You make me laugh, often when I really need it. But it doesn't need to be constant. I appreciate the occasional spice in my PBW meal. And if John and Marcia have something they want to say, I'm always happy to see them - but I'd rather them visit when they want to, rather then force it on them.

    Promo - I think you've got a pretty good balance. You mention your books when you have something to say, and it isn't the theme of every single post. I can't be the only one here who was first a regular blog reader, and later devoured your books.

    Template - The template's fine, but if you're bored with it, or you want a feature one of the new templates has, try it out. My only request is, please, whatever you do, don't make the background white. Or have bright orange or yellow as main color elements. Too hard on the eyes. I appreciate the simplicity of this one, and it is your words that draw me here, not bells and whistles. (For example - I detest Holly Lisle's new theme - don't like the logo at all, and the colors are a headache. So I've gone back to reading it in the RSS reader, rather then actually visiting the site as has been my habit.)

    Writing Posts - Happy here, but I'll always take more. :)

    Workflow, creating positive writing habits, repeatable methods that work - that's where my interest lies at the moment. But I'll read anything - never know when something might "click" that I needed to see.

    And I'll second the interest in voice software info - I've used the dragon on an intermittent basis, but haven't ever gotten into regular use. Still think it might be useful to me, but can't seem to move into a productive working relationship with it.

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  25. Biz Posts: I do like them. Often I can’t find a fit among the links, but I’ve passed on your post to some friends. A few have made sales all because you posted about the opportunities. So, thank you.

    Content: I’m a reader and a writer so to me I find the mix useful and entertaining.

    Excerpts: I love that blogger added those pages. I like that you put the excerpts there and add the links in your post. I find it a lot easier to follow. And yeah, I do like Excerpts. Though, I also like to read things like what you posted on Ten Things about Stardoc. I find that stuff interesting.

    Features: I love the mix, but I understand wanting to change things up. Maybe post some pictures here that have inspired you? Or a recipe? Maybe something every couple of weeks or once a week. I also like when you share your personal likes or dislikes on books. I’ve found several authors and books because of you.

    Giveaways: You’re the queen of giveaways. Seriously, you’re the most generous person I’ve met.

    Guest Bloggers: Honestly, I come here to visit with you and your world. I’ve never been a fan of guest bloggers unless there’s a reason behind it. Like a friend did our takes on how we deal with our muses. Too often guest bloggers just want to talk about their books. Promo type things that I often end up just skimming.

    Humor Posts: I find a lot of your posts humorous and entertaining. I understand setting up another John and Marcia is time consuming. They were funny, though.

    Promo Posts: To me I feel like you don’t promo a whole lot and the way you do it doesn’t feel like I’m being pressured either.

    Template: Actually I thought I saw the template you’re using now under simple designs. But honestly, change or no change is up to you. I would still visit.

    Writing Posts: I personally find them helpful and I like them.

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  26. I enjoy the blog as it is.

    Like others, I think you're doing just fine. I enjoy excerpts if they're for books that are now for sale (I hate being tempted and then thwarted by a far in the future release date), and if they're not too frequent. I end up feeling kind of, I dunno, icky as a reader if it's all promo-all-the-time. The way you do it is perfect for me.

    As for the template, I like it the way it is, but if you want to change it up, go for it. My only request is that you keep a good level of contrast between background color and font. There's a new fondness for pale gray fonts and I can't read that. My eyes just aren't good, and it's too much of a strain.

    I would love more John and Marcia stories, or other similar types of articles, because a) they're funny and b) I love examples for learning.

    I always get a kick out of reading about what you've found in the bookstore, both the good and the bad, and it's been very helpful for finding new books/magazines for myself and gifts for family.

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  27. Like many of your other readers I like your blog just the way it is. I especially appreciate your posts on creativity, inspiration, and your own creative and writing process. They're encouraging, educational and inspiring.

    Many thanks for your giveaways. They are wonderful. Your generosity is a role model for me. I wonder if to keep costs down for postage, you might consider giving away more e-books (or making it an option where it exists) rather than p-books? Incidentally, you're the only blogger I know who regularly extends giveaways to the whole world, not just the U.S and Canada.

    I don't mind the promos. I like seeing your new covers.

    Excerpts: Your present system for excerpts is fine, as long as you mention it on your main blog when a new excerpt comes up.

    Guest bloggers: Please, definitely NO guest bloggers (although your daughter's review is fine.) I come to your blog to read your posts and writing, not someone else's, to hear your voice if you like. If I wanted to read another person's blog posts I would go to their blog. Guest blog posts always feel like a cop-out to me.

    Templates: It's fine the way it is. It's the content that matters.

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  28. bluebamboo8:56 AM

    Echoing the general sentiment here. I love the blog as it is. I do have some thoughts though, if you're still open to them (took me longer to come back to this post than I'd planned, lol):

    Features - Funny you mention this. Lately I've been wondering what a writing-prompt feature here might look like. I can't see just a bare word/phrase with an 'ok, go' tagline as the whole post, but I could imagine you writing a bit about what led you to a prompt (whether it's a word, phrase, image, object, what-have-you) and/or giving a direction for interested parties to take (haiku, 100-wd limit, certain time period, written only in Hsktskt, etc.). I know I take a lot of inspiration from things you find inspirational from the universe, and lately my writing could use the kick of a weekly/monthly prompt.

    Guest Bloggers - Nah. As others have said, I come here for *your* take on things. Extended blog pauses for life-stuff are fully understood, respected and supported by the Yup-Us-Too Foundation. ;)

    Humor Posts - agree with the previous commenter who said I'd love more John and Marcia, but only if they insist on dropping by. Don't force them.

    Template - lol, I still see your current design as your 'new' template, since for so many years I saw the white, narrower-screen version. I'm open to whatever your creativity and imagination like -- I'll always read your blog no matter how it looks, as I know everyone else will too -- but I encourage you to err on the side of simple. I've had a look through blogger's attractive new alternatives, and I get the impression that while they are definitely lovely...they might not be *you*. Several of them seem like *me*, but I don't know if any of the options do the same for you. And that's of course for you to decide. Like I said, I'd read you no matter the appearance, but I encourage the simple.

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  29. I know this is unhelpful, but I love PBW mostly as it is. :)

    I tend to skim the Ten Things and sub ops lists. I like the humor, writing, and biz posts (would like more discussion of the biz, but not all the drama crap, just more of what it's really like day-to-day to be a productive pro writer).

    No need for guest bloggers, and while features would be nice, no need to do the linky ones. I used to love the Friday 20, by the way, and was sad to see it go.

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  30. I second bluebamboo's writing prompt feature too. It's a good idea. Also, as she/he said, not a bare bones one, but with a little meat.

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  31. Hi PBW,
    I would love to learn your take on Joe Konrath's blog dialouge with Lee Goldberg this week on selfpublishing ebooks (link below)... and how they seem to be making a tidy profit by doing so. Seems Goldberg has changed his mind here after experimenting with placing some of his out of print stuff on Kindle.

    Personally, I've thought it was fabulous of you to share your work for free online (and I also applauded your whistleblowing re Scribd) -- but heck, Lynn, I'd be more than happy to pay $2.99 for your stuff and I bet lots of other folk would too. Would you consider placing some of your stuff on Smashwords, for example? Do you like the idea of control over the entire publication (including the level of pink in cover art)?
    Is this contributing to the death of brick and mortar stores, as well as print books?

    Again. Would really love to know your thoughts on this growing trend - and since there's a lot to it, I'm suggesting that it might be worth a blog category or post series.

    Thanks!

    link to Konrath's Jan 21, 2011 post at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing -

    http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/01/guest-post-by-lee-goldberg.html

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  32. Reba, while I appreciate the suggestion, I am not going to comment on the author's self-publishing endeavors or this related discussion. While I have an opinion, expressing it over this kind of thing makes me into a target for the trolls, flamers and other disgruntled souls who come here simply looking to start trouble. Also, it won't change anything.

    Reba wrote: Personally, I've thought it was fabulous of you to share your work for free online (and I also applauded your whistleblowing re Scribd) -- but heck, Lynn, I'd be more than happy to pay $2.99 for your stuff and I bet lots of other folk would too. Would you consider placing some of your stuff on Smashwords, for example?

    Right now I would rather give away free e-books versus self-publishing for profit. I make enough money from the royalties from my print novels to pay the bills, and after my unpleasant experiences with Scribd.com I'm not in any hurry to do business with the digital self-publishing crowd. Please understand, this is not to insult anyone who chooses to do the opposit; it's just not for me.

    Do you like the idea of control over the entire publication (including the level of pink in cover art)?

    Lol. Yes, I do like being in control, which is another reason to keep doing the free e-books. No one touches them but me, and since it's not for profit, I can have a lot of fun with them.

    Is this contributing to the death of brick and mortar stores, as well as print books?

    I think it's too early to tell what sort of impact the new trends in digital publishing will have on booksellers and publishers. Back in 1999 everyone was saying that e-books would wipe out print novels in less than ten years, and that didn't happen.

    If anything, I'd like to see the popularity of e-readers and e-books as a huge opportunity for Publishing to undergo a Renaissance and become more in march with the times -- but not at the expense of readers.

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