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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Tell Me Your Favorites

Today's post is going to be a cheater post of sorts. For all the planning I do and all the ideas I have running around in my brain, I somehow managed to not have a post ready for today.

I've been busy with edits, which is always fun. It means I'm honing my skills, getting to know new people, and expanding my horizons. Always a good thing!

This may seem a little early—and it in no way implies that I'm actually organized about it—but I'm looking ahead to next year and what it means for this blog and my business in general. As I plan out my weeks and months and seasons of 2019, I'd like to get a grasp on what interests my readers the most.

Honestly, I have no idea how many people read this blog. A look at my analytics tells me I have hundreds of followers. I have hundreds of views per month, on a variety of posts. But I have only about a dozen regulars who comment. And I love the comments, not just because you guys are loads of fun—and the comment section can often be more interesting than the post itself—but also because they let me know who is actually reading. For all I know, half the numbers are bots.

Are my readers experienced authors who already know what I'm writing about? Am I just confirming good information and reassuring them that they're doing it right?

Are there new writers out there who have never heard some of this stuff before? Am I a helpful resource for commonly tricky topics? Jack Tyler's blog, Riding the Blimp, has a huge variety of topics (depending on the day) but his advice posts are geared toward young/new writers who need basic guidance on how to start off well. I'm certain he saves a lot of newbies some relearning time in the long run. The IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) blogs about writing and resources and publishing, and it's geared toward writers old and new. Writers After Dark has a library full of resources and checklists, a writers' podcast, blog posts from award-winning authors, and—if you just need a break and some laughs to refocus—a "Wit Without Wisdom" podcast that covers all the topics on the internet no one else will touch.

What would you like to see for the upcoming months? For next year? I have a handful of authors lined up for Book Talk, and I'm excited to introduce them to you. I'm sure I'll never run out of Circular File examples to share, where strangers ask me to work for them for free. I have a few multi-post series ideas up my sleeve. But what is interesting to YOU? Is there a topic no one else has covered, or something you struggle with in your own writing? I'd love to know.

Let's have your best ideas, folks! Tell me your favorites, if you've had any, and let me know what you'd like to see more of. I'm open.


  1. Good day, Milady, and my thanks to you for the shoutout! I may have to rethink my rollback now that you've told everyone where to find me.

    And that leads into your subject this week. I, too, have a lot of followers, but a relative few commenters. You can be sure that followers are seeing your work; they're notified when you post, and they like what you give them enough to sign up with you.

    As to the rest, I can't tell you. I backed away from my lessons for newbies features because all of this stuff is out there, and I have to assume that anyone interested in writing has avidly sought it out much as I did... and if they were too ignorant to learn from the free advice offered by the likes of Stephen King and Evan Marshall, why would they listen to me? Or you?

    But you bring a product to the net, as I do. You tailor it to a certain audience and hope they make use of it. The fact that you have hits and followers tells you that you have an audience, but you don't control what they do with your product once they make it theirs. For us, the thrill comes in seeing it considered by others, and the occasional comment; my favorites among those are the ones that lead to multi-post discussions. That's when you know you've really reached someone!

    As to what you should blog about, that isn't for me to say. You turn out a good product that I enjoy. I'm less interested in the technical discussions that include passages from the Chicago Manual, but even in those I sometimes discover that I'm not quite as smart as I thought I was! I know I'm going to hell for this, but I'm less interested in author interviews unless it's someone whose work I already know, and given the 5000 or more books that are published daily, the chances of that are vanishingly small. I know it would kill me to know that I had done an interview that readers were skipping past, but it just doesn't do it for me. Wait for other opinions before you act on this, though; I'm sure I'm a distant outlier in that opinion!

    But you have a well-established voice that people enjoy; the number of followers confirms that. I wouldn't make changes just for change's sake. Keep doing what you're doing. Your regulars love it!

    1. Jack! After I posted this, I headed to your blog (haven't commented yet because I got interrupted and these things take thought) and saw you'd said you might be backing off for a while. I'm ignoring it because I like what you write and I like what you blog, and I trust that you'll be there anyway.

      I do love when the comments take over the post! It's some of my favorite stuff. It's why I blog and it's why I invite discussion. Sometimes the comment section is better than anything I could have come up with, and I love that people feel free to do that.

      I hate to break it to you, but Book Talk is here to stay, at least for a while. I do it because I work with authors who may never be famous, but I enjoy what I'm working on with them and want others to try them out. I always figure it's free promo, even if it only reaches a couple dozen of my readers. I wouldn't even mind a guest post now and then, but it would have to be someone who writes like I talk . . . I don't want it to have the "oh, here's the substitute teacher" feel.

      I appreciate your super comment, though! It's nicely thought out and makes me smile to know your thoughts (especially the flattering ones, which I know are sincere because you're not a false flatterer).

  2. Well, you already know some stuff about me -- the stuff I'm willing to share, that is -- because you read my blog.

    I only follow a few of what I call "writer's blogs" because I'm too pig-headed to take most advice on my so-called craft. And usually, when I do follow one of those blogs, I follow it less to learn something and more because I like the writer's "voice." Your blog definitely fits in that latter category. It doesn't hurt that you and I seem to share a lot of the same dislikes, especially where writing and English grammar in general are concerned.

    I don't follow any blogs to actually learn from them (see "pig-headed" notation above), although I'll be the first to admit I'm not perfect and could probably use a suggestion here or there. (Okay, maybe I'll be the second or even third to admit that I'm not perfect.)

    Blog about whatever you want, even if you do so hesitantly at times, wondering if you're somehow off-topic whereas your conception of this blog is concerned. I trust you.

    1. It's funny that in a blogless, internet-less world, you and I would probably never have met. But here we are, two people who share a lot of pet peeves (and interests here and there, but let's face it—the peeves are where the fun is) and who like to interact with our readers. I've learned all kinds of fun stuff from your blog, and I am pretty sure you've stretched my knowledge of the comic book world immensely. Thanks for the encouragement!

    2. Most of my readers are not comic fans, and it's rather gratifying that I keep getting comments from people who read my "Comical Wednesday" posts anyway. But although I post a CW article almost every week, I try to have at least one other post on Saturday or Sunday.

      You're right that without blogs and the 'net, we wouldn't have met. (Hey, that was almost a poem.)

  3. What I think works for you is that all advice given is from an editor's point of view . . . as The Silver Fox said above, most writers actually don't want to take advice from their peers, so you have the upper hand on that type of topic in the writing community. Go you! lol

    I'd love to see a series like a column advice here. People ask questions and you answer them. Ask the Editor or Ask Lynda the Awesomest Editor . . . whichever you like best. Not that I feel you need anything new here, you're doing just great, I'm just looking forward to your cheeky answers in your funny Lynda way.

    1. Thanks, homie! I guess I keep forgetting that, even though you've told me before about writers not really trusting the advice of other writers. Maybe my particular POV helps them to trust because I'm not competing with them for an audience. My recent guest post on IWSG ended up with a lot of commenters saying it was nice to hear what I was telling them from an editor's standpoint. And the couple times I've done podcasts with you on Writers After Dark, it was a lot of good back & forth between our editor/author views, the way they meshed and the way they clashed. Hmmm.

      I kind of have a good feeling about Ask Lynda the Awesomest Editor! You always come up with the best names, and who could resist reading a post with a name like that? I could even just start using those initials after my name when signing things and people will assume I have a snooty degree in something extra-special (editing-wise of course) but I would know the truth. XOXO, Lynda Dietz, A.E.

  4. Hi Lynda - I love your down to earth style ... about whatever you feel like writing - which probably isn't very helpful ... but I only blog and am open ended as to my interests ... if I like the person and the blog content then I'm a follower and will be around to comment ...

    But you've 3 good commenters here - helpful with ideas ... take care and see you next time ...

    I do the #WAWTB and WEP - which makes me post out different takes away from my 'normal' style of posting ... you could do that perhaps ... I await your answer ... perhaps in another post? - cheers Hilary

    1. Thank you, Hilary! I'm glad you enjoy my style, and that's every bit as helpful as anyone else's comments. I'm starting to get the feeling that I can add what I want to try, but that I don't necessarily need to change anything just to keep everyone's interest.

      Your interests are so varied, I always feel like I learn about the world far beyond my doorstep when I read your blog. You're an adventurer, you are. And I love that you share it all with us.

      I have done #WATWB with my personal blog, and enjoyed it quite a bit but have had to drop it for a while because that blog was starting to feel like a chore, even though I enjoy blogging about non-editing things there. I'll probably get back to it because it's just such a positive group.

      As far as the WEP post, I think you did a bang-up job with the most recent theme! It may have been away from your norm, but you certainly looked like a natural. I'm considering doing the A to Z here this year with a completely different, non-writing, non-editing theme. Just something from the other half of my life. We'll see . . .

  5. I love reading your blog and you always tolerate my sometimes cheeky responses. I love when you do a blog series and thanks for having me on book chat. I like the advice column like Dear Abby but for self conscious artsy types. But you should add Bestest on there too . As a new blogger ( I think I have 3 followers , and no comments ) I think having lots of people listening is a good problem to have . So I liked the rules that are not rules series . That was informative and fun . So I guess more like that.

    1. Thanks, JT! I guess I don't have as much to worry about as I'd thought. It's still good to hear everyone's perspective on the likes and dislikes, and the fact that each person likes "most" of what's going on is an encouragement in itself.

      I feel the most like myself when I'm giving real advice in a snarky way, so I suppose you all should brace yourselves for more of that.

      And hey! Glad for the reminder about the blog. I had read your first post back in July and then completely forgot. I've gone over and signed up now, and I'll toss you in my sidebar so others can visit you, too.

  6. I'm almost sorry I take up your time with my off-trail comments, but I like your writing style in general, so I read your blog. And if something strikes me, I offer it up, as kind of a 'thank you' for your bringing up the topic.

    I don't follow many bloggers, and I am not likely to need your services, but good, coherent, cogent, intelligent bloggers are rarer than you think. So I look forward to your posts. I don't do podcasts or read interviews, so the posts are sometimes not my cup of tabasco sauce, but who cares - the world doesn't revolve around me.

    Do what you like - your tribe will find you.

    1. Don't ever be sorry for commenting! I'd rather interact with the readers here than to shout into thin air every couple weeks.

      Thanks for the encouragement! I like the idea of having a tribe. I keep telling my kids to be themselves and to not change according to what they think others want, and yet when it comes to things like this blog, I worry that I'm not putting out content that's appealing. I guess I should take my own medicine, eh?

    2. Definitely. Write what interests you, what's happening to you, your opinions - there are many people who think the same way you do, but who don't or can't write.

      For me, it's easy: I don't have the energy to write anything to order. Or rather, I tell people what it would cost them per hour of my time when they ask for something I could 'easily produce, after all, you're a writer.'

      But you could produce to order - do you want to spend your time that way?

      Discoverability is the hardest part of writing; as is persuading people who like our writing to tell others. Let me know when you have a certain solution to that problem.

    3. I am definitely not someone who can produce to order. Not for writing, anyway. I need to be motivated to make the time, and I need to be inspired with ideas. I had to all but drop my personal blog because I was trying to keep it on an every-two week schedule and just didn't have enough that I wanted to share. Some of the things I wanted to write about the most, in fact, were things I couldn't share because they'd damage someone else. So that blog sits until I'm inspired, and if it's random, then so be it.


I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog. (Note: if the post is more than a couple weeks old, your comment will automatically go into the "needs approval" folder, but I will still publish it and reply!)