Introducing the #ListifyLife Spring Challenge!

Listify Life Spring Challenge - Join up!

I love a list. There's something about that little itemized structure that does it for me. It's neat, efficient, and gets to the point. When I'm brainstorming a new book, all my thoughts are in bulleted list form. Maybe the hero has this in his background. Maybe the heroine met the hero when she was a kid. Maybe the hero has a dog. 

And when I plan, lists are my go to structure, too. That's why the Day Designer works well for me. Half the page is dedicated to a long To Do list. 

So, when I bought a beautiful new gold Leuchtturm journal, I had a plan to keep lists in there. BUT I am a notoriously failed journal keeper. And this felt a lot like keeping a journal. So that got me to thinking--what if there was some structure to the lists I keep in there? A challenge to keep me excited and focused. I started chatting about it with my friend and fellow writer Sierra Godfrey and the Listify Life Challenge was born.

What is it?

There are lots of lists type challenges out there, but maybe are daily and most seems to focus on heavier topics like goal-setting and deep thoughts about life or yourself. That's cool but not what I was going for. I wanted this to be fun, a little silly, something to look forward to. No therapy needed! ;) So this challenge is going to be a WEEKLY list challenge where there is one topic a week. You write down your list on any day that week and take a photo of it to share (or you can type it into a blog or FB or whatever works for you.) Use the hashtag #ListifyLife if your chosen social network uses hashtags and join up with others. :) This is meant to be a fun way to document your year and meet others without being too time-consuming.

When is it?

It starts next week. We're going to divide by seasons. So this first challenge is the Spring Listify Life Challenge and will run March 20 (first day of Spring) through June 19th (last day of Spring). If things go well, a summer challenge will start after that.

What are the topics?

Here's a beautiful graphic designed by Sierra Godfrey. Sierra has also made free printable cards with the individual list topics if you want to print and write your lists on those. (And feel free to post this graphic on your site or instagram to spread the word.)

2016 Spring Listify Life Challenge - Roni Loren

Where to post your lists?

This is the flexible part. This isn't going to be tied to a certain social network. Blog your lists, Instagram them, tweet them, Facebook them. Post in one place or five. It's whatever works for you. I'll be posting the photos of my lists across my networks. And I will blog them as well with added commentary.

Who can join?

Anyone! This isn't just for writers or a particular group. Two of the topics lend themselves more to people who love to read, but other than that, the topics should work for anyone.

Why should you join?

Um, because lists are awesome. And you get an excuse to buy NEW OFFICE SUPPLIES. That should be reason enough. AND you get one free day a week where you don't have to think about--what should I blog about? Or post on Instagram or FB? You have a built in idea. And did I mention the office supplies? New pens, people. Pens.

***

I'm really excited about this challenge and am looking forward to seeing everyone's answers for the different topics. I hope you'll join us and be a fellow list nerd with me. :) 

So, are you ready to play along?

Ebook or Print: When Do You Buy One Over the Other?

Photo by welcometolearn via Flickr CCSo yesterday Agent Sara put the question out to Twitter about book buying habits, and I briefly butted in on her convo with Miranda Kenneally. Miranda had said she buys print because she loves to put books on her shelves but buys ebooks when impatient. And that got me to thinking what makes me buy one over the other for a particular book.

I'm a reading omnivore both in genre and method. I have a Kindle Fire and love it. I also have a wall of bookshelves in my office that are so packed with print books that I have books stacked on the floor and stuffed around other places in my house. So I don't necessarily favor one over the other.

But then why do I buy book A in print but book B in ebook? Here are some of my reasons. But I'm really curious to hear yours, so I'd love for y'all to let me know in the comments.

When I Buy Ebook:

  • If it's a new to me author, I'll usually try them first in ebook IF the ebook is cheaper than the print.

This is an untested author. I don't have room on my shelves for books I'm not going to want to keep. Plus, I'm going to risk less money on an author I haven't tried before.

 

  • If the book is probably something I'm only going to read once.

This is not saying anything bad about the book. There are just some that are a great ride but not ones I need to go back to necessarily.

 

  • I'm a sucker for Daily Deal ebook sales, so I buy the crap out of those.

I'm a girl. I'm an obsessive reader. The ability to resist a sale, especially on books, is against my genetic makeup. Of course, I do this selectively. I only purchase ones I truly think I'll read or that come recommended.

 

  • If a book is only available in hardback, and I don't want to wait for the paperback to come out.

I don't read hardbacks. It's not even about the price so much as the bulkiness. I don't have room and they're not as easy to tote around.

 

  • If the book is only available in ebook, obviously that's the version I'm buying.

This happens a lot, particularly in my genre. There are so many fantastic digital first publishers out there, plus there's lots of great stuff available in the indie market these days.

 

When I Buy Print:

  • If it's an auto-buy author, who I already love. I'm buying the print, often pre-ordering so that it arrives the day it release.

This is a good risk. They've proven that I like their writing. And for books I love, I want a print copy so I can go back to and read again or reference. This is especially true if it's in my own genre because I like to "study" what other authors do well and why that story worked.

 

  • If the cover is gorgeous.

So I can pet it and stare. Duh.

 

  • If it's a series I plan to stick with.

I've even been known to buy an ebook version, fall in love and then buy the print as well so that I can start buying the series to keep on my shelf.

 

  • If it's non-fiction.

Unless it's a memoir or something, I want to be able to use it as a reference, to be able to flip forward and back with ease, etc. All of my writing craft books are bought in print.

 

  • If the book is LOOOONG, I'm torn.

For some reason, I like seeing progress in a long book that isn't just a percentage on my e-reader. I remember reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander on my old Kindle and I loved the book, but I remember it feeling longer because of reading on the device. I felt like I was running and not getting anywhere. BUT I've heard the newest e-readers give you more info about time wise how much longer you have, that'd be nice. On the flipside, buying a giant book in print is a pain in the ass because you have to carry this brick around and if it's paperback, it's harder to hold open when it's so thick. 

As for the reading experience...

I love a paper book--the feel of it and such. However, more and more I find myself attracted the convenience of e-reading, especially now that I have an I-phone and can pick up where I left off in a book when I find myself stuck somewhere out and about with nothing to do. So honestly, in my ideal world, there'd be a set up to where you could buy the print and add on the ebook for a dollar or something so that I can read it in print at home but have access to it if I'm on the go or traveling somewhere. Maybe one day that will happen...

But in the meantime, those are some of my convoluted reasons for purchasing one or the other. But regardless of why or when, one thing is for sure. Since I've bought an e-reader, I buy more books overall. I basically haven't changed my print buying at all--I always purchased a lot, but I've added in the ebook buying. So it's probably twice as many books as I used to buy. :)

Now it's your turn: Tell me why you buy an ebook or a print book for a particular story. What makes you pick one over the other? Are there situations where you prefer one format but other times where you prefer the opposite? I want to know! :) 

13 Steps to Creating an Author Website Readers Will Love

Last week I posed the question--what do readers want from an author website? Thanks so much to those of you who chimed in! :)

So after reading your responses, I decided to update an older post I did on Fiction Groupie on this topic and add in the new information. 

 

Confusing Traffic Sign, Boston MA

Photo by NNECAPA Photo Library (cc)

 

13 Steps to Creating an Author Website Readers Will Love

 

1. Make sure a drunk monkey could navigate it.

Please, please, please make it easy for me to find whatever I'm looking for. I don't want to have to dig. I will move on.

 

2. Have a clean and quiet design.

Make the design eye-catching but clean. No black background with white text please (okay in the title just not in heavy text areas) because it's super hard on the eyes. And DO NOT HAVE MUSIC that auto-plays. 

 

3. Make it easy to read about and buy your books.

I'm amazed at how many author websites bury the info about their books like they're some sort of prize at the bottom of the cereal box. I want to be able to see the following:

a) Available Now - The books you have out now with blurbs AND covers

b) Coming Soon - The books that are upcoming and their blurbs and covers once available

c) Buy buttons where I can choose which store I want to purchase from.

 

4. Label your series and provide an organized view of your backlist titles.

 If you write series, LABEL them and put the books in order so that I know which comes first. It's sometimes hard to tell on bookstore sites what the order of a series is. Please help your readers with this. And even if you don't write series, have your backlist listed in date of publication order. If you have a lot of books, provide a printable/downloadable list.

 

5. A photo of you. Not your avatar or cat. You!

Get over your I-hate-all-pictures-of-myself thing. EVERYONE except maybe those kids on Jersey Shore hates pictures of themselves. It's normal. But I as a nosy reader want to put a face with the author name. And I don't care if you don't look like a supermodel. But believe me, if you have no pic, I will imagine you as a wart-covered troll. Just sayin' Also, a bio that rocks is a necessity. (Tips on that here.)

 

6. Provide links to all the ways I can stalk you.

Have links on your contact page with your twitter, facebook, goodreads, google +, email, etc. links. Recently, I've discovered a few authors have Tumblrs but I stumbled on that fact, it's not listed on their website. Don't make people track down their preferred way of connecting with you.

 

7. Don't have your blog be a replacement for your website.

This doesn't bother me personally, but readers mentioned it in the Dear Author post. Readers wanted a dedicated website, not just a blog to find information. Though I suspect if you use the pages feature in blogspot or wordpress where you have tabs, most readers would be okay with that. They just don't want to have to dig through blog posts to find information.

 

7. If you blog, don't phone it in.

If you hate blogging, we'll be able to tell. So if you are going to do it. Really do it. And for the love of all things good and holy, please attempt to make it interesting. And it's not about YOU, it's for the reader. I'm going to quote from a fabulous post over at Author Tech Tips: "Yes, yes, you’re a big famous author. But people still don’t care about you. They care about themselves. Think that is selfish? Take the plank out of your own eye before you can point the finger. If you offer something of value, your readers will want to come back. Photos of your kids will not bring them back." 

If you hate blogging, just have a news page (see tip 10) or do a less time intensive blog like Tumblr and feed it into your website. (See: Blogging solution for those who a hate to blog.)

 

8. Be addictive.

Give your readers a reason to want to come back. Do you offer something they can only get on your site? Contests? Super secret snippets from your current project? Deleted scenes?  Pictures of your characters? Playlists for your books? Think of takeaways that would excite a reader.

 

9. A website is not like a cactus--you can't water it every six months and assume it's going to thrive.

Going to an author site who has an update from months ago is like getting served stale chips at a Mexican restaurant. It makes your image feel stale. Like, wow, nothing exciting is happening with his books right now. Even if you don't blog, make sure that your release dates and such are up to date. Don't say coming soon and the book release date has already passed.

 

10. Be newsworthy

Have a News & Events page so that readers can quickly access what's going on (and not have to sift through blog posts). Are you going to speaking somewhere or did you win an award? Did you just find out you're going to be able to write a book about so and so character? Put that in your news section. It's a good addition or even alternative to having an active blog. Just make sure you keep it fresh.

 

11. Pimp Out Others

On Author Tech Tips, they quoted a survey that said a third of readers like to see what books your recommend when they visit your website. I think one way to do it is having other authors stop by your blog and do interviews and contests. You can also put a Goodreads widget somewhere on your site (like mine over there on the right) that shows what you're reading right now. That's a form of recommendation.

 

12. Be likable

Please do not use your site for rants or whining. It should be a positive, happy place for people to be--even if you write about serial killers. You want people to leave your site thinking that they could enjoy being friends with you.

 

13. Interact with your readers

Everyone is pressed for time and if you're Ms. Super Duper Hugely Famous author maybe you have an excuse, but try to respond to your readers. If they send you an email, try to respond. If they leave a comment on your blog, comment back. (I've not been perfect on this, but I'm working on it.) Show readers that you do appreciate them and are listening.

 

Alright, so those are my tips. What are some of the things that you like to see on an author website? What are some author sites you visit regularly--why? What did I forget on this list?

Author Websites: What Do Readers Want?

 

eBook Reader

Photo by goXunuReviews

I referenced this post on Dear Author about author websites on Fiction Groupie yesterday when I talked about Can You Know Too Much About an Author, but I want to touch on a separate issue today:

What do readers most want from an author website?

In the comments section of that Dear Author post, hardly anyone talked about blogs (except to say they don't like the blog to BE there in place of a website). Most of the things people focused on were pretty straightforward:

 

  • Have a clean, user friendly design (No flash, autoplay music, etc.)
  • Make your books easy to find and buy.
  • Make series lists and backlist titles available and clear so that people know the order of your books.
  • Keep things updated.
  • Provide a Current Release and a Coming Soon page.
  • Have an FAQ and Contact page.
  • Excerpts.

Basically people want to be able to find information easily and quickly. Period. If they have to hunt for your book information, you've lost them.

One of the commenters, KKJ, offered this list of those she thinks have good websites:

The good:
http://www.philippagregory.com/ 
http://julialondon.com/ 
http://tessadare.com/ – book trailers!
http://macleanspace.com/ 
http://mayabanks.com/
http://www.elizabethhoyt.com/

 These are good examples and I recommend checking them out. (And interestingly, many of these don't have blogs at all, but simply a news page.) But this left me wondering, beyond these basics, what makes an author website stand out? What do readers want to see when they go to an author website?

So I'm asking you guys...what kinds of things do you want on your favorite author's website?

Do you want a newsletter option? 

Do you prefer to have a news page separate from a blog?

Do you want "extras"?

If so, what kind of extras do you like--playlists, cut scenes, stories about how the stories came to be, interesting research tidbits, downloadable bookmarks, videos, live chats?

What would make you come back beyond just looking up the next release?

And I'm sure there are more questions I'm forgetting, but I really want to hear from y'all. So I'd love for everyone to let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on all these things.

What Makes the Chronic Finisher Stop Reading

Tired Runner

Photo by Rennett Stowe

So up until about a year ago, I had this problem when I started reading a book. Once I peeled back the cover of one, I was compelled to finish it. No matter if I was fully enjoying the book or not. It felt like starting a book was like signing some contract. I bought this book. I've chosen to read it. And now I must read it all. I was the Chronic Finisher.

But then a lot changed in my life. I got a book deal and started writing on deadline. My then angelic two year old turned into an intense three year old. And my reading time shrunk to this minuscule sliver of time. So I found myself putting down books that didn't capture my interest. And then I wouldn't get any reading done because I felt like if I was going to read, I needed to finish whatever book I had started. But I wasn't into that book so didn't pick it up at all.

Well, finally, I came to the conclusion that I had to put the Chronic Finisher in rehab. I was missing out on good books by forcing myself to read ones I didn't love. My reading time is too short and my TBR pile too big to be doing that. So lately, I've been giving myself permission to give up on a book if it hasn't grabbed me by page 50 or so. (I know many of you are less forgiving than that, but three chapters or 50 pages feels about right for me. I give it a shot in case it's a slow starter.)

And each time I put down a book in the DNF (did not finish) pile, the writer in me wants to evaluate WHY I didn't feel compelled to finish it. What was bad enough to defeat the chronic finisher? Here's what I've discovered.

 

What Makes Even the Chronic Finisher Put Down a Book:


1. Didn't connect with the characters

If I can't relate to the hero or heroine at all or if I don't like them, I find it next to impossible to get into the book. I must be emotionally connected by chapter 3 at the very latest.

 

2. There was no chemistry or not enough build-up between the hero and heroine in a romance.

Obviously, I write sexy romance and enjoy reading it. But nothing will bore me quicker than throwing two people together when there hasn't been any tension or chemistry set up beforehand. This doesn't mean you can't have the characters get together quickly, but the author better have done a fabulous job building up that tension. (Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun comes to mind for a great example of how to do this right. The characters have a love scene very quickly, but the setup and chemistry are FABulous so it feels like the right time.)

 

3. This feels familiar...

Tired plots and clichés. Lately, this has happened most in the YA paranormal genre for me. If a book is going to have a girl meeting dangerous, mysterious new guy--there better be a helluva twist to make it different from all the other stories out there like that. (Good example of how to twist a popular trend: Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy.)

 

4. The BIG secret is the only sense of tension in the book.

I am fine with a secret in a plot. That can be great. (And by secret, I don't mean twist we don't see coming. That's something different. I mean we, the readers, know there is a secret.) But what I will not put up with for long is a book that drags out revealing what the BIG secret is to the reader for no apparent reason but to pull you along. This is when characters keep almost revealing what the big, bad thing is, but then someone walks into the room and interrupts them. Gah! I'm much more a fan of where the reader may know the character's secret early on, but the hero or heroine is keeping it from another character for good reason.

 

5. *Yawn* Boring....

This one is obvious I'm sure, but I need a book to hook and excite me. If I'm at page fifty and I don't give a crap what happens, then you've bored me. You should have me by chapter one. If the book goes on and on with description and setting up characters and not giving me any true action or conflict, I'm bored. Maybe that's a result of our fast-moving culture, but it is what it is. A book is entertainment, so entertain me. Dance, monkey, dance. :)

 

All right, so those are my top five reasons for putting down a book. What are some of yours? How long do you give a book to hook you? Are you a chronic finisher?


Seven Things That Make a Book 5-Star Worthy

Credit: NASA

Like many authors, I have chosen not to post negative book reviews. I believe every reader has a right to an opinion (including me), but I also know that writerland is small and it's not worth burning a bridge or creating awkwardness just because I may have not liked someone's book. 

However, if I enjoy a book, I will post or tweet about it and give it a rating on Goodreads and/or Amazon. And sometimes the hardest part about doing that is deciding between a 4 and 5 star review--or finding the difference between "really liked it" and "it was amazing". I noticed that I rarely give 5 stars to anything because apparently I have a really high bar set for that, even though pinpointing where the bar was set wasn't so clear.

Then I read an advanced copy of Tiffany Reisz's The Siren this past week and immediately knew I would give it five stars (and no, not because Tiffany is my agency mate.) Why? Well, I realized I DO have certain criteria that launch a book to a five-star rating. Here's what I came up with...

 

A Five-Star Book...

1. Is a story I cannot put down.

This means I will forgo things that I love to do just to keep reading. I was on my anniversary trip in New Orleans this past week. I should've been walking around the French Quarter and eating beignets, but instead I had to take a midday break just to get in a few more chapters of The Siren. (Hubs didn't seem to mind since this gave him the chance to check in on the golf tournament.)

2. Has characters I will remember long after I finish the book.

Terrific exciting plots are great. Love that. But without richly developed characters that I can connect to, a story will fall flat. I want to finish a book and feel like I've just read about real people that exist somewhere in some alternate universe. 

3. Requires a period of reflection (or a grieving period) after I'm done.

This means that I cannot immediately jump into another book the next day. I need time to absorb, reflect, and appreciate what I've just read. If I pick up another book too soon, the book automatically pales in comparison--not because it's not a good or even great book, but because I'm not ready for a new relationship yet.

4. Makes me want to buy the author's next book or backlist RIGHT NOW even if I have a TBR pile that is threatening to bury me.

A five-star book makes me forgo all plans to read whatever I planned on next. I need more from the author and I need it now.

5. Is one that I must have a hardcopy of.

I love ebooks. I was a pretty early adopter with the Kindle and buy ebooks regularly. However, when a book turns out to be a 5-star-er, I want to have a hardcopy I can keep, flip through, and see on my shelves. 

6. Compels me to tell everyone I know about it.

Ah, that lovely word of mouth all authors want. These books are the ones that start that forest fire. You want to tell anyone you meet about this great book you just read. You turn into a book pimp.

7. Is re-readable

I'm not a big re-reader. I think this has something to do with my pantsing mentality--once I know a story, I don't want to read it again. But there are a rare few that even if I don't sit down and reread the entire thing, I will go back to favorite scenes and chapters and read them again. Some of this is because, as an author, I like to analyze what made the scene so compelling. But often, as a reader, this is just for my pure enjoyment.

 

Now, having said this, I don't want anyone to think a 4-star rating doesn't have some of these qualities. After all, 4-stars means "really liked it."  But I think when a book has all of these, it launches it into the rare air of the 5-star rating. And all I can say is I sure hope I've written some books that will end up on people's 5-star radar one day. :)

Oh, and if you want to find me on Goodreads and see what I've rated, here I am.

So what criteria do you use to separate the "really liked it" from "it was amazing"? Do you find you're very selective about the high ratings or give most books you enjoyed a five? Am I the only one who has a book grieving period or who buys a hardcopy even if I have the ebook?

What Do READERS Want From an Author Blog?

Photo by Terence S. Jones (creative commons) - Click pic for link
 Writers know they are supposed to have a social media presence. Writers know that ideally they should blog so they can connect with people (and eventually their readers). But there seems to be a big mysterious question floating out there in the writer blogiverse: what exactly do readers WANT when they go to an author's blog?

Yes, connection. I get that. That's what we're all looking for. But how exactly do they want to connect? Most of us have figured out how to blog for other writers. This isn't something that should be underestimated because the enriching experience of meeting other writers and finding people who become great friends is priceless. However, connecting with other writers and connecting with readers are not the same thing.

Yes, I know, writers are also readers. That's obviously true. But here's the thing--one we have a book out there, we don't want to be excluding non-writing readers by constantly jabbering about writing and publishing. Sure, some of that may be interested to a reader in doses, but not all the time.

So okay--channeling Kristen Lamb a bit here--we know blogging about writing indefinitely isn't really a practical long-term career goal (unless of course you're writing books about writing.) So once you've got your blog footing, have built your writer support group, how to you expand upon that to put up the "welcome" sign for readers?

Jody Hedlund has covered this topic before on her blog as well because, like me, she also has a blog about writing. Her conclusion was that most (non-writing) fiction readers aren't reading author blogs. From her observation, most readers go to author websites just to get info about the author's books. And frankly, that applies to me as well. I don't read my fave authors blogs regularly because most of the time it's just book updates and such. Not something worth reading daily/weekly.

But does this mean readers wouldn't be interested in an author's blog if it were um, interesting and engaging? Obviously people like Neil Gaiman, Meg Cabot, and Jennifer Cruisie have figured it out (of course, they've also written wildly successful books that attracted a lot of readers FIRST). But really, there aren't a lot of stand outs that I can think of off the top of my head.

So what's an author to do?

Kristen Lamb would suggest not doing a writing-only blog, to find other interests that you like to write about. In her workshop I went to she gave examples like an author who focuses on wine and books on her blog, so she's tapped into the wine people (and who may become people who want to buy her fiction.) And the lovely Tiffany A. White has a fabulous blog called the Ooo Factor where she reviews TV shows and keeps us up to date on what's new in TV world. 

But here's the thing--those examples are still niche-oriented. Just like a writing blog is. Niches are what work if you want to build a blog audience. People know what to expect from you and go there because they are interested in whatever that niche is. That's why I was able to build Fiction Groupie (my writing blog) to almost 1k followers before I even had an agent or book deal.

Niches WORK. But they also alienate those not in the niche. For instance, I'm not going to go to a wine blog because I'm not that interested in wine. I go to Tiffany's because I love TV and she does the work for me so I know which shows I should check out or not. But if someone else isn't a big TV person, they'll probably not stop by and visit her.

So where does this leave an author strategy wise? Build a niche blog so you can get a big following relatively quickly, but then be restricted by that niche when you do get a book published? Or be too random trying to appeal to everyone and have your blog will float off into the unread ether?

I have given this A LOT of thought, probably way too much. But here's the conclusion I've come to: Blogging for the unpublished author and blogging for the published author are DIFFERENT things.

Before you have a book out there, your main goal is to build a network and presence online and to meet other people like you. This is where a good solid niche blog comes in. You don't have to be so restrictive that you only talk about writing or whatever, but make sure people know what kind of content they are going to get when they go to your blog. 

However, once you are published, you have to realize that people who read your books or hear about your books from someone are going to get online and look you up.

And readers are looking for certain things from an author blog (as May talks about here at Smexy Books and Author Tech Tips talks about here.)

1. Easy to find book info including buttons to buy, the blurb, its placement in the series, if applicable.

2. Excerpts and teasers. 

3. News - Where you're going to be, what books are coming soon, etc.

4. Book recommendations from the author

5. To get to know the author and "see behind the curtain" but that does not mean boring posts about what you ate for lunch yesterday.

So here's what smacked me over the head when reasearching for this post--readers are a niche. Their niche is BOOKS. They come to you to learn more about the books they love and to get to know you a little bit.

Therefore, I think the published author's challenge is to write engaging post that show off you and your voice and entice the reader to come back. You don't necessarily need a big blog theme like you did pre-publication. The theme is YOU and your books. (As my friend Steena Holmes suggested on Twitter the other night, it's a shift from blogger/author to author/blogger.)

So all of us need to write posts that:

1. Are fun and entertaining.

2. Show off your voice.

3. Offer readers some insight into your personality.

4. Engage the reader in conversation.

5. Relate to your "brand." --KNOW what would appeal to your readers.--You write funny? Probably should have humor in your posts. I write romance so things like Boyfriend of the Week relate back to who I am as a writer.

And don't forget about why readers came to you in the first place--books! Don't be afraid to talk about what you're reading or what books you love or what books you can't wait for. My author friend Suzanne Johnson does a fabulous job on her blog Preternatura connecting with readers over books in her genre.

So all of this still makes my head hurt because I maintain two blogs and don't plan on getting rid of my writing blog anytime soon because I heart my writing community peeps (and I can't merge the two without losing all my blogger followers so that's not an option either). But I also don't want to have my book come out in January and not have a reader-friendly blog for people to come to if they want to stop by. It's a lot to figure out.

 

Alright, I know this was a LONG post. But I'm curious to hear what you think of this whole reader/writer blogging thing? Take off your writer hat for a moment and tell me, as a reader, what do you want on an author's blog? How do you feel about niche blogs?