Blog Browser Day: 3rd August, 2013

Welcome to the inaugural Blog Browser Day!  I have opted to place this on a Saturday each week, depending on submissions received, as I believe this will give the majority the most time possible to have a good wander around.  Weekdays tend to have severe time constraints on what we can do.  A Saturday should, in effect, allow a full weekend for browsing.  The submission form and details will be available through the top menu, as for Book Promo Day.  Please try to get your submissions in by midnight GMT on the Thursday as I cannot guarantee later  submissions being included the following Saturday, though they will be carried forward to the following week if that’s the case.

Thanks to all those who have submitted blogs for this first edition!

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Barbara Ann Mojica’s blog

Twice weekly (Wednesday and Sunday) review of children’s books (up to and including young adult) I also update my own works, do occasional guest postings and author interviews. My goal is to keep children, parents, homeschoolers and teachers up to date on current resources for children.

Blog Class: Book reviews

Recommended by: Barbara Ann Mojica

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Thriller Writer

The blog provides distinct authors the opportunity to publish a Guest Post concerning some aspect of writing. The objective is to inspire and inform writers of any level. Contributors are both Internationally known bestselling authors and writers who have yet to reach that status. These posts are backed up by a social media campaign designed to attract maximum exposure to their work and help promote the material about which they write. A maximum of 2 guests per month allows for an extended promotion of each post and all participants have indicated that this has increase their book sales and driven more traffic to their own websites/blogs.

Occasionally the blog’s manager, thriller writer Eric J. Gates, will publish additional material, usually of a whimsical nature, related to writing.

Blog Class: Author

Recommended by: Eric J. Gates

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Seumas Gallacher

A personal blog by author Seumas Gallacher, in which he mentions his writing but also gathers a wildly varied collection of threads from all  over the internet.  You’ll not be subjected to hard sell, here, which is refreshing in an author’s blog.  What more can I say, apart from the fact that Seumas has a tremendous sense of humour and is incredibly supportive of others?  Not much worth saying, so let Seumas have the final words (I quote the opening of his “About me”):

Seumas Gallacher was born in the cradle of the Govan shipyards in Glasgow in the so-called “bad old days” which were in reality the greatest of days, where everybody was a real character of note.

Blog Class: Writing/Publishing General

Recommended by: Steve K Smy

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Kellie Elmore

Kellie Elmore is a published poet who is currently working on a novel. On her blog she posts on a variety of subjects:
* some poetry
* her experiences as she works through writing her first novel
* she hosts Free Write Friday. This challenge helps me explore my own writing. Kellie takes the time to read all entries and comment on them.
I have found Kellie and her blog to be an inspiration to me ever since I found it. Not only that, her poetry is beautiful to read.

Blog Class: Author

Recommended by: Colline

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


John Guy Collick — On and on I sped into futurity…

John posts about art, writing, films, illustrators, TV shows, sci fi, fantasy, with updates about his own writing. His articles are witty, pithy, beautifully illustrated and researched.

Blog class: General Blog

Recommended by: Jane Dougherty

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Musings of a Social Butterfly Turned Cat Lady

Funny and down to earth blog concerning the everyday aspects of life, love and figuring it all out,  without losing your mind.

Blog class: Author

Recommended by: Karie Thoma

Rating: 4 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.


Change It Up Editing

Offers posts and occasional reblogs of information that is helpful to writers and authors of both self-published and traditionally published books.

Blog Class: Writing & Publishing General

Recommended by: change it up editing

Rating: 5 stars

Confirmed Family Safe?  Yes.

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Blogging – Behind The Words A Person Sits

500 Likes

Imagineer-ing got to 500 likes earlier this week!  Really happy about that, and looking forward, now, to getting it up to 1,000…

I’d like to thank everybody who took the time to click the Like button, especially those who actually read what they clicked it on!  I regard these milestones as very important indicators of progress.  Like most bloggers, I would guess, when you start a new blog, you always wait nervously to see whether you will gain an audience.  To gain a good sized audience is an even greater achievement.  Every time you hit a milestone, you get the courage to continue.  You no longer feel that you’re talking to yourself!

To Blog Or Not To Blog…

When you first venture into the world of the internet, you learn that certain things seem to hold great sway.  Facebook, Twitter and blogs are forever being quoted as sources, interconnected and feeding off each other like cannibalistic bacteria.  You join Facebook and soon discover that, in the jumble of pictures and outbursts, many folk are repeating their Twitter tweets, or those of others.  Then there are those other posts, directing you to other web sites.  Some of these just go to ordinary sites, but many more go to blogs.  A quick search reveals that “blog” is the shortened form of Weblog, and that a Web log is a kind of journal site, ranging from simple diary types to very professional journalism.  Many are also out there to sell.  They may be selling anything, from some very dubious products to a the idea of buying services or products from a company.

After you’ve been around a while, and discovered that your hobbies interest others, you begin to consider the idea of a blog.  That’s when the first headache hits!  There are numerous blog platforms to choose from, and being a novice, you have no idea what to choose.  Sensibly, you do a quick survey of the blogs popping up on your Facebook and Twitter feeds.  In all likelihood, two platforms will stand tall: BlogSpot/Blogger and WordPress.  The first will probably outweigh all the others, so you toddle off and join there.  If you’re like me, though, you’ll soon discover the limitations and restriction.  No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get a really nice looking blog that suited my wishes.  I abandoned blogging because of that experience.  Years later, I had WordPress recommended to me.  Oh boy!  What a difference!

WordPress comes in two flavours: a .com and a .org.  The first means you don’t need a web site or domain of your own, but there are rules that must be obeyed and the space is restricted (not that I’ve gotten anywhere near closing on that maximum space allowance), plus certain things are not possible – such as most affiliate selling and full customisation.  The second is the framework platform which you can upload to your own site, meaning you’re only limited by whatever your hosts stipulates.  Personally, I believe that WordPress, in either form, is the best blog platform available.

Whatever platform you do choose, you have made the decision to write a blog!

The First Blog

You’ve got your platform chosen, and you’ve made it look as good as you can, using the themes that are available.  You have replaced any sample pages with your own writings.  Now, the big moment comes!  You have to write your first blog post.  Let’s say that you elect to write about the thing you love, your hobby.  Empowered by your feelings for the subject, you write something you’re really proud of, maybe even including some pictures.  You’ve finally entered the ranks of the bloggers.  You sit back and wait for the eager hordes to flock to your post and hit that Like button… and nothing happens.  Not one visitor!  You’ve just discovered why bloggers use Facebook and Twitter to advertise their blogs.  Without such advertising, no blog would get off the ground.  Those who fail to grasp that fact seldom remain bloggers for long.  And even with the advertising, it takes time to build a following.  You have to be prepared to be patient, to watch visitor numbers go from a flow to a trickle and back again, until you post something that hits a chord with people and you suddenly have a real influx.  With some effort, you may even keep these new visitors, and perhaps even see their numbers increase as they start spreading the word about your excellent blogging.  And that’s one of the big secrets of blogging – getting others to talk about your posts.

To Blog Readers

I appeal to blog readers, especially commenters: please remember that a real person sits behind every blog!  They are human, fallible and unique, capable of great thoughts and subject to human emotion.  They have views that are their own and may express them, and you may not agree with them.  That doesn’t mean that you should use the anonymity of the internet to attack them or their views!  If you have differing views, express them, but in a quiet, reasoned, unabusive way.  And even if you wish to express agreement or appreciation, keep your tone at a sensible conversational level.  Remember that you are reading the words of a courageous person, who has dared to put themselves out there and attempt to share something that they feel is worthwhile, and perhaps even helpful.  That doesn’t make them any less sensitive than you.  If you can think of nothing but inflammatory remarks, it is best to leave saying nothing.

A blog is often a very personal thing.  It may, deliberately or inadvertently, expose the blogger at a deeply personal level.  Blogs can be a rich resource not only for those sharing an interest, but also for students of human nature.  I know nobody who doesn’t say something about themselves whenever they write anything.  Blogs are wonderful places for amateur, and professional or prospective, psychologists.  And here I will reiterate.  Don’t abuse the blogger!  Remember, if a blogger’s posts are so revealing of the writer, then so can your comments be of you, the visitor.

~ Steve

Diverse Thoughts

I’ve been reading some articles online.  A couple of these have given me some cause for concern – or at least sponsored some thought.

The revelation that Indie authors like myself are faced with something of a dilemma shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.  Everybody and his dog knows of Amazon, that mighty empire of online selling.  Amazon’s Kindle e-reader is equally well known by now. It’s only good sense, then, to provide ebooks in a format suitable for the Kindle.  It’s a shame, then, that Amazon have created a problem.  It appears that they ask for exclusivity on any ebook, for an initial three months, which they then seek to extend.  For this reason, Smashwords don’t currently supply them.  Smashwords have several partners and supply just about every major retailer.  As such, they’re unwilling to partner with Amazon, and quite rightly so.  I know Amazon are the “big boys” but I, personally, prefer the wider spread of retailers that Smashwords offers access to.  The happy fact is, of course, that Smashwords still offer downloads in the format supported by the Kindle.  The unhappy aspect is that many sites actually want Amazon links and ratings for any ebook an author may have to offer.  It would be far better if these sites were less restrictive.

It would seem that we WordPress bloggers have a problem.  Apparently, Google’s Blogger doesn’t play well with WordPress or the OpenID system.  If we participate in commenting on the blogs of fellow authors who use Blogger, we appear to be bad mannered.  Blogger doesn’t permit communication with us, even if it appears to do so.  A Blogger user may send what they believe to be a direct communication, via email, and then receive no response from us.  Why?  Because Blogger only does half the job!  It doesn’t actually send the communication to us!  So, to allow Blogger users to contact us, we have to sign up for a Blogger account or insert our email in any comment we make!  And everybody knows that putting your email in an open post is a very bad idea!  It’s time that Google learnt to play well with others.

On a personal note, I’ve hit something of a blank period as far as writing is concerned.  Well, I say “blank” but perhaps I should say “overload”.  I can’t settle to write anything for more than a few minutes, but I’m inundated with new ideas for stories.  I guess the two are related.  I need to regain focus somehow, but I’ve no idea how to do that.  Associated, maybe, is an inability to concentrate enough to do any real reading.  In the last two weeks, I’ve read maybe two pages of a novel and one page of an ebook!  As an avid reader, that’s abysmal!  I hope that this state of affairs changes soon…

~ Steve