Friday, January 06, 2006


I have only one regular feature, the Monday Ten List, here at PBW, but I'm thinking of adding another. Before I do, I have some questions for you regulars, new visitors and lurkers out there:

1. How often do you like to read posts about an author's past, present, or future novel releases on the author's weblog?

2. How often do you like to read posts about books by other writers that the author recommends (or liked, loved, quoted for, etc.) on the author's weblog?

3. Is there any regular feature (like the Monday Ten List) you'd like to see on PBW?

Answer as many as you like in comments. If you're uncomfortable posting under your handle, feel free to comment anonymously. There are no wrong answers.


  1. I like reading about books that are upcoming when the author is someone whose books I read or think I'd like to read, but I read author blogs by authors whose books I don't like but whose blogs I find entertaining or informative. I enjoy reading about the many writing processes out there.

    Regular feature? How about a Tip of the Week?

  2. How about: "Tales from the Trenches," cautionary tales for tyros who haven't yet waded into the publishing biz? I'll bet you have more than a few. I enjoy your weekly lists, but I also love it when you get all dishy about the biz.

  3. It all depends on how it's written. I enjoy reading about almost anything if the description is entertaining.

    It's not really about the subject matter.

    Unless you're talking about pets. I never read any blog entries about pets.

  4. Anonymous4:07 AM

    I like to read about the person behind the book, their likes and dislikes, their working practices etc. Writing Magazine here in the UK has a regular "My Writing Day" spot where the author describes how and where they work, what is important to them, what key tips they have to offer, and so on.

  5. Anonymous4:43 AM

    Can we readers get another peek into the file of Authors Behaving Badly? I sure wouldn't mind seeing another episode of "Characters Visiting the Author" (put a whole bunch together in a book and I'll buy it).

    Though this has nothing to do with your Q&A, I picked up Rebel Ice and read it in one sitting. *looks at PBW hopefully* The next one's coming out real soon? As in, next week? Right? 'Cause the end of Rebel Ice? Oh, yeah. I've GOT to know what happens next! Go ahead and let the publisher know they've got my money coming to them.

  6. Anonymous5:07 AM

    I'd love to hear more about your current and future releases - I have often found that a book has been published for a few months and I have not known about it as you publish so many.

  7. Anonymous6:11 AM

    I'm a shameless wannabe, so I'm probably not typical.

    Q1 & Q2:
    If the comments are technical in nature, then as often as possible. This also encourages me to buy the book.

    If they're just book recommendations or plugs, I'm happy to see them, but don't give them much more weight than recommendations from my friends.

    Q 3: A regular feature relating to writing, story crafting and the challenges of the writing life would be good. But that's what your blog's 50% about anyway.

    Happy new year

  8. I'm with Doug, more dish on the biz please. You and Holly are pretty much *the* blogs I turn to for inspiration so I like the craft/tech angle in your blogs.

    And Harry is missing out. Pet posts are the best :)


  9. 1. How often do you like to read posts about an author's past, present, or future novel releases on the author's weblog?
    Up to three months before they come out to up to three months after (unless they're up for a big award). Maximum, three posts a year. Of course for certain multi-genre, multiple books a year writers *cough* four to five times a year wouldn't be so bad.

    2. How often do you like to read posts about books by other writers that the author recommends (or liked, loved, quoted for, etc.) on the author's weblog?
    Three to five books in one big post once a month.

    3. Is there any regular feature (like the Monday Ten List) you'd like to see on PBW?
    A recommended blog POST, article, or book about finding an agent or publisher, entering good contests/what makes a good contest, writing a good query/cover letter, signs of a scam (any writing category), etc.
    This week's recommended...

  10. Anonymous8:10 AM

    1. Often. I also love reading about the process of writing, ideas, methods, and inspirations.
    2. Well, there is a lot of mutual promotion going on in the blogosphere, so when I read posts like this, I'm not sure whether the blogger truly thought the book in question was great, or it was just a 'you praise my book, I praise yours' trick. (Shrugs)
    3. Um... don't know. I like surprises :)

    'Tales from the Trenches' sounds cool too. I also love evil industry gossip. Because I'm evil :)

  11. I like reading about the biz, technniques, and yes, I love hearing about future releases. And I admit, if you hadn't talked about Dark Lover, I probably wouldn't have found it. At least not for a while. So I appreciate you talking about new authors that you feel are good.

    Things that make me skim a blog? Q&A sessions with visiting authors. I just can't get into them. But that's just me.

  12. Anonymous8:19 AM

    1. Always. *-* Honestly, it's the only way I usually know something is coming out, and it gives me a chance to know a little about it before I hit the bookstore.

    2. I don't usually take someone else's recommendations, but it is interesting to see new people that impress an author. Also, I won't deny that it's a great promotional tool for the recommended authors, so I can't see it being a bad thing.

    3. "Tales from the Trenches" is definitely appealing. Maybe weekly reminders of mistakes that are common (or even uncommon) in writing/publishing? Sort of a weekly tip of something to avoid or be cautious using?

  13. Anonymous8:54 AM

    1 - works in progress are fun to hear about once in a while. But not constantly, fwiw.

    2 - love the recommendations. I'd like that to be a semi-regular feature. You seem to find books/authors I've not heard about.

    3.Definitely keeping up regular posts on the biz. I've learned so much here and from your archived posts on Forward Motion.

  14. I like hearing about an author's books, as long as it isn't a constant drumbeat of promotion. I like hearing what led to an author writing a particular story and then how that story or characters developed.

    I love book recommendations. There are countless new-to-me-authors I've picked up from buzz on websites and blogs.

    Your posts on the biz and "In the Trenches" are remarkable.

  15. 1. Depends. A prolific author needs to keep her fanbase updated, but who wants to read about the SAME release -- maybe the ONLY release an author has for that year -- four times in one month?

    2. I could see that as a weekly feature. I read DARK LOVER on your rec and it hooked me, big time. (I think I'm in love with Zsadist, which undoubtedly hints at something unpleasant in my nature.)

    3. I like Doug's idea about Tales from the Trenches. I also enjoy anything about process, but you may have covered it all in earlier posts.

  16. Anonymous10:50 AM

    I like to read about ALL of the blog writer's releases as they happen and any info regarding releases past or present the writer wants to share.

    I haven't bought many books on blog recs yet, but that's not to say I won't.Now that I'm not reviewing for RT anymore I have more time to read what genuinely interests me.

  17. Anonymous11:05 AM

    1. I'm always curious to hear about any challenges or struggles an author is having with their current WIP. Holly does an excellent job with this on her blog. It's always reassuring to know that published authors still struggle with the same things that writing tinkerers have.

    2. I think the book recommendations you've made in the past were great because they were done in a way that let me know you'd actually read the book. Please continue to share these, I've bought two books based on your recommendation and they were both excellent. As far as frequency? If you're inspired or enjoyed it, please share. I wouldn't say you need to nail down a frequency. I might recommend an archiving system, though. A link to "PBW reads" would be fantastic.

    3. I have enjoyed reading the "insider information".

  18. At the risk of being a breathless 'me too'er, I agree with Doug: Tales From the Trenches would be a good feature.

    Nick Mamatas does a 'Free Idea Friday', which I'm thinking of blatantly ripping off because it's fun. He does it mostly tongue-in-cheek, being Nick, but I think it's an interesting idea.

  19. Anonymous11:25 AM

    PBW, 1.) I like updates on your new books. Past and present are great, too. (Love hearing about your struggles/triumphs)
    2.)Anytime--and I mean anytime--you want to share what you recommend is great with me.
    3.)I'd cut off my left pinky finger (well, almost) for a weekly CHEETAH feature.
    --Ann nominous

  20. 1. It really depends on what I'm on this author's blog for. You're an author I read quite a lot, so I am very interested in upcoming releases, etc. I love reading novel-in-progress thoughts and issues, too, like Holly Lisle often does. It's tremendously educative, and increases my interest in buying that particular novel.

    2. Maybe once a week or so. Most writers' blogs I read in order to get to know more about the writer's life, not for recomendations about what to read. Too many ads for other books is off-putting, because it would come at the expense of other things I really want to read on this blog.

    3. I would love to get some insight into your writing process. I know you've done a lot of tutorials on this blog, but sort-of-regular feature like, how many words you've done this week and what your goals are, and how you organise a typical day... that would really be interesting.

  21. I second a lot of what has been said already. Regular book reviews, even a few words like "Pick this one up!" or "This one stinks!" would be very nice.

    As for letting us know of your own books, please do!

    I would like to hear more about how you pick what you are going to write and identify your markets. I would enjoy learning the day to day stuff too.... 'cause I'm nosey.

  22. 1. As long as it's a mix of information (not just promotion), and often focuses more on the process of getting the book written and the nuts and bolts of publishing it, then I'm happy with once a week or even more.

    2. I've been buying a lot of blog recommended books lately. I'm in Borders once a week for my critique group, so really frequent recs would mean a serious blow to my pocket book. Maybe once a month, and perhaps maintain a sidebar link like "PBW Recommends".

    3. Maybe every Friday would be a great time to link to anything crazy you've found on the internet, writing related or not.

  23. Anonymous12:20 PM

    I'd love to hear about your books.

    As for book recommendations, I've loved all that you have, thus far, told us about - so I'd be happy with knowing some more!

    I'd also like to reread your short stories... Whether that would be in the form of links or Monday blog posts...

    I'm not picky!

  24. I like Doug's idea, Tales from the Trenches. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with respect to some of the "sacred cows" of the writing business--critique groups, promotion, signings, etc.

    As for books, I've read several you recommended and I've liked them all.

  25. Anonymous1:52 PM

    I pretty much like it all. Well, besides the shameless promotion thinly disguised as something interesting and/or real. You wouldn't do that, though which is one of the reasons why I read you in the first place. :-)

    That said, I am a sucker for book talk. On anyone's blog, not just authors'. I love to to know what people are reading, what they like, what they hate and why.

  26. Just to re-enforce what several have already said. I like knowing when I can expect a new release to hit the shelf, but too much promotion puts me off. Too, I'm not much big on the step-by-step process wherein the writer tells us exactly when she/he received copyedits or had a new proposal approved and or has just received a contract. Unless something is unique about the situation, I don't mind skipping from "wrote this" to "book's on the shelf X date."

    Rather, I love hearing stories about how the novel came to be; problems, how names were chosen, how answers or solutions were arrived at. I guess this qualifies for "in the trenches" stories, which I thoroughly love and find very helpful.

    Love, love, love the idea of a weekly tutorial or tip of the week kind of feature.

    As for recommendations, I picked up Dark Lover based on PBW's recommendations, so I'm all for them. I like that idea of having a "PBW Recommends" on the sidebar.

  27. 1. I like to hear about novel releases often enough that I know what's coming up and when they'll be available.

    2. I love reading posts about book recommendations.

    3. I love reading what you have to say about writing and publishing. I'd love to see a Q&A feature where people can ask questions and you can answer the ones you have expertise in and want to talk about. :)


  28. Anonymous3:50 PM

    I'm always interested in what you have written, are in the process of writing and what I might look forward to in the future. Thanks to your blog, I have found a couple of new to me anyway, writers that I have really enjoyed. Keep it up. I also enjoy the fact that you tell it like it is. Keep it up.

  29. I love reading about upcoming releases - and even some behind the scenes type stuff. Holly does some of this, and it lets us "up-and-coming" authors know that even the pros-and-the-published hit rough spots and do really work at it. Sketches, excerpts, research ideas - all good.

    I love recommendations, too. Especially when an author shares what really grabbed them (or didn't) about the book. That gives me insight into whether I'd like the book - and a little insight into the author, too.

    As for regular features...hmmmm...I love the Ten, but wouldn't mind seeing something like Authors Behaving Badly or other feature that shares more do's and don'ts of the biz. :-)



  30. I love anything that has to do with the 'story behind the story,' whether it's songs, movies, or books.

    Tails From the Trenches sounds great. I love anything about the writing process. Tips and tricks of the trade, etc.

    I also like the idea of a Q & A, [if it's not too time consuming for you].

    I don't mind reviews of other books, but not all the time. Four times a year was mentioned, that seems about right.

    Mentioning release dates is helpful, because I can't remember anything for more than a couple of minutes.

  31. I like hearing about upcoming releases, both from you and those you recommend (I would have picked up Dark Lover anyway, but it shifted to the top of my pile thanks to your recommendation). I don't really care for authors plugging other authors when they haven't read the book. I much prefer a personal "I liked this part because" or even dislikes (kindly). More Tales from the Trenches would be great too, as well as Authors Behaving Badly. I also like behind the book extras, like what you find on a DVD. Tidbits of research, what inspired the original story idea, etc.

  32. Anonymous7:53 PM

    1. I enjoy reminders when books are being released or reading how authors work through difficult parts of what they are working on.

    2. LOVE recommendations ! Really would like more recommendations.

    3. No opinion

  33. "Authors behaving badly" -- how could I have forgotten that? I think I came on board here at PBW too late in the game. I missed many of your "authors behaving badly" post, and so, as a result, I worry that I am not properly immunized against behaving badly.

    If authors behaving badly gets old, there's always agents behaving badly, publisher's behaving badly, my ten-year-old behaving badly -- whoops, different kind of blog.

  34. Anonymous12:48 PM

    I love your blog as is but would love more info on upcoming books and works in progress. I would have never picked up several of my now favorite authors if you hadn't mentioned them here on your blog - it caused me to widen my scope of reading. Your humor is fantastic and love your tales of the business and when your characters interact with you in real time.

    Marie in RI

  35. Anonymous11:15 PM

    I love reading about upcoming preojects. I order ahead!
    I love recommended books: I've read a lot of books and discovered a lot of authors I really enjoy through reading writer's websites. I usually look for the new authors' websites too and get to "know" them a little bit too. I especially enjoy the whys of a recommendation.
    I like tips and regualr fetures.
    And pet posts. The new puppy is cute!