So. As of today I’ve been blogging for 2 years. Thank you all for
putting up with me hanging out with me and making this blog a pure joy to write. I could write all day about what this blog has meant to me, but I’d rather make it a celebration of YOU – the reader. So let’s start with a giveaway, shall we?
There are two items up for grabs (get it? The repetition of the “2” theme??). First is a $25 Amazon gift certificate. I figure as the holiday season rushes in, everyone could make use of this. Second is a critique from yours truly – either a picture book manuscript or the first 10 pages of a work in any other genre. For both I will provide a “big picture” analysis of what is working well in your manuscript and areas that need attention. I will also provide line by line comments. You should come away with some concrete steps you can take to improve your work.
So how do you win? First, you must be a follower of the blog. If you are a new follower, please tell me how you follow – email, RSS, Networked Blogs, etc. Second (see how we’re still on the “2” theme?), I have asked four questions in this post (Four being 2 x 2). To enter the contest, you must you leave a comment and answer at least one of the questions. For each question you answer, you will receive one point. For those of you who are keeping track, that means you can earn a maximum of four points. (I know, I know. You’re all saying to yourselves: “Wow, she can write AND do advanced math!!!). Please also tell me which of the two items you’d like. I’d appreciate tweets but unfortunately I’m not going to count them as points this time because it’s Thanksgiving week and I’m trying to keep things simple for both you and me. You have until next Wednesday, November 23rd to enter. I’ll announce the winners on Thanksgiving Day! Now that’s something to be thankful for…
Last year, I asked four questions that came from a post entitled, 8 Critical Questions You Should Ask Yourself as a Blogger. I only got 7 responses, so it didn’t give me much of a sense of what my blog readers really think. Since my number of followers has grown quite a bit this year (woo hoo!), and the questions are still very relevant and important to me, I figured I’d try again. In order to gear up for the next year of blogging, I’d like to hear more about you and what you would like to see on this blog (and blogs in general). So here goes:
1. Are you blogging about your passion?
This is an easy yes for me. I am passionate about writing, certainly, but I am also passionate about my family, my dog, nature, reading, cooking, traveling, etc. I try to balance posts about writing and posts about my life. This year, for example, I chronicled my family’s stay in Italy this summer as well as launching a series for writers – How I Got My Agent. I enjoy writing about a range of topics and fear I’d get bored (and the blog would suffer) if I limited myself to writing. BUT, I would like to know if you think the my passion comes through in my blog posts, regardless of the subject du jour. Should I be putting more personality/passion in the posts or I am I already at risk of revealing TMI?
2. Do you know your audience?
Some of the sub-questions here ask whether you know what your readers want and don’t want and whether they find your posts useful. I believe my most active readers/followers are fellow writers, but I also know that I have quite a few non-writer followers who don’t comment as often but read most of the posts. I try to serve both audiences without being schizophrenic. So I ask you, if you are a writer, do you still enjoy the more personal posts? If you are not a writer, do your eyes glaze over when you read the writing posts, or do I manage to make them interesting to you?
3. Are you building a community?
I think so. I try to ask thought-provoking questions at the end of most posts to get people excited to engage in a conversation. I joined the third Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign, participated in a few blogfests and attended Kristen Lamb’s blogging course. I’m on Twitter and Facebook. I do giveaways here and there. Are there other things I could do to “up” the community quotient of the blog?
4. Are you solving your reader’s problems?
Let me be frank. I can barely solve my own problems, so I doubt if I will be able to solve yours. If I had all the answers, I’d probably be a multi-published author bringing money in hand over fist right now. If I had all the answers, my kids would behave perfectly at all times, my cakes would never sag in the middle, I’d weigh about 20 lbs less and my house would be featured in Architectural Digest. In the meantime, I hope that as I flounder, learn, flounder some more, and then learn some more, that my posts about that process are helpful to you too. It’s not so much “misery loves company” as “company alleviates misery,” so let’s stick together. Do my posts provide help or inspiration to you, and what do you think would make them more helpful?
Now for some totally useless statistics. Last year I posted my top five most-visited posts and my top five favorites and thought it would be fun to do it again. It’s interesting how in both years there was no overlap between the two.
Top Posts (post with greatest number of hits)
- 100 Random Things – every day I get at least one “random things to write about” search reference that brings someone to the blog.
- Osama bin Laden’s Death – No surprise here. I got more than 800 hits the day the post went live. Controversy sells.
- How I Got My Agent: Corey Schwartz – Go Corey! Not only is she a terrific writer, but she was the first brave soul to participate in this series.
- How to Write a Winning Query
- How I Got My Agent: Tara Lazar – Go Tara! Our own PiBoIdMo organizer and another fantastic writer.
Top Five Personal Favorites
- On Impermanence
- Here Piggy, Piggy
- Adam Rex Rocks the House
- Yes, I Do Believe in Miracles
- The Long and Winding Road
Last, but not least, I have a public service announcement. Fellow picture book author Susanna Leonard Hill has started a wonderful new Friday feature called, Perfect Picture Book Friday. In the same vein as Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, folks passionate about picture books will choose one and provide a short synopsis and a note on what they like about the book. So go visit her to find some amazing picture books. I will be participating myself starting next Friday.
Whether you comment on this post or not, THANKS FOR READING! I appreciate each and every one of you.