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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guest Poster - Lorrie Struiff


I’v been on many guest blogs as I’m sure most authors have. My question for this post is; Do you think blogging helps spread the word of your book? Get your name known? Does it help you sell books?

Now I’m not talking spreading it to each other. You know, the whole “preaching to the choir bit.”

How many of you really have a large enough fan base/ readers, not authors that follow your guest posts? How many of you have a fan base following your personal blog?

If so, give me numbers, please.

I guess I’m having a hard time believing doing all the promoting we authors must do is garnering us much notice in the writing/selling world.

Oh yes, there are a few who have small fan bases. We don’t have the following of the biggies like Konrath or others who post.

And of course I’m constantly reading that the more stories you put out there the more notice and fans you will get to follow. Is that true? I’m not so sure.

Write a good story, all say, and you will get a following. Well? Don’t we all write good stories? We think so or we wouldn’t work so darn hard on them.

So, tell me where you stand on blogging or blog hops.

I really don’t know where I stand. Of course I’m a very slow writer so I’d rather write than promo.

Sheriff Cole Walker has no choice when Beggar, a run-away ringtail monkey, decides to move in with him. Now, Cole doesn’t like any critters much, but he doesn’t dare shoot the ringtail that sneaks out at night to steal the townsfolk’s valuables and hides them under the bed. Why doesn’t he just shoo the animal away?

Because, Mattie Wells, a pretty woman, and new in town sure jingles Cole’s spurs. She thinks Beggar is adorable and takes a shine to men who love pets. What’s a poor sheriff to do but grin and bear it?

JJ wants to start a war with the farmers for rustling his cattle. But, are the farmers to blame?

To keep the peace in town, track down cattle rustlers, return valuables from the prowling night thief, Beggar. With his deputies Wade and Sully, and Beggar, his unwanted sidekick, Cole must find a way to win Mattie’s heart, find the rustlers, and bring peace once again to Cold Creek, Kansas. Yep, Cole has a heap of trouble on his shoulders.


Mattie hurried to look under the desk. “Oh, my, it’s a little monkey.” She crawled on all fours to reach for the varmint, offering Cole a tantalizing view of her frilly petticoat and pretty ankles. “Come here, you poor baby.”
“Miss Mattie, stop.” Cole rushed over, a palm on his pistol. “He might bite you.”
Mattie got to her feet, the monkey curled in her arms. “Oh, don’t be silly. He’s what they call a ringtail and he’s half-starved to boot. I had a school friend once whose dad was an Organ Grinder. He had bought one like this shipped in from South America.” Her eyebrows lifted, her eyes on his hand hovering over his pistol. “You weren’t really planning on shooting this little fella, were you?”
“Me?” He let out a chuckle and quickly hooked his thumb over his gun belt. “I’d never think of doing something like that.” He made a show of glancing around the room. “I was just sharin’ my lunch, but he sure made a darn mess of the place.”
She petted the monkey, cooing softly while it lay snuggled in her arms. She bit her lip her eyes twinkling. “Oh, I see. And now you’re sweeping up the scraps. How sweet.”
Cole shuddered at how she could handle the critter so easily. He tried to smile. “Yes, ma’am. Sure was. Cleaning the office and feeding him, that is.”
Her eyes narrowed as she inspected the creature closely. “This fella’s too thin, must not have eaten for a while.” She fingered the metal band around its neck. “We need something to wedge the clip lock off his collar.” A frown pulled at her mouth while her eyes scanned the office. “Oh, hand me that ring of keys hanging on the peg. You hold the monkey and I’ll work the ring under the clip.”
“Uh, you keep a hold of him. I’ll pry the clip loose. I mean since he’s so comfortable with you and all.” He snatched up the key ring and edged closer. His hands trembled. “Why we doin’ this for anyhow? Must be someone’s pet with this fancy collar.”
“Probably, but this collar has sharp edges. It scratches his neck.” She perched on the edge of the desk, holding the monkey firmly, exposing the lock.
Cole moved his hands slowly. “Ah, hold on to his head nice and tight now. We don’t want him wiggling.”
She giggled. “Don’t worry.”
Sweat beaded on his forehead, the heat rushing to his face nearly searing his eyebrows. He reached for the collar, his heart racing. The ring slid under the clip and he forced it up. It snapped open with a ping.
“Now pull the collar apart.”
He did. The collar pushed open wide enough for him to twist it off.
“Yeow!” Pain shot from his hand to his elbow. He dropped the collar as if he had grabbed the hot end of a branding iron. The metal band clunked and spun across the floor. He stared at the bloody strip streaking his palm.
“I told you it was sharp.” Mattie set the ringtail on the desk and led Cole to the basin of water sitting on the ledge in the corner. She soaped a cloth and bathed his palm while he glared at the monkey. Her soft, warm hands gave him a little tingle in his belly, until she poured the whiskey over the cut.
“Yeow!” Cole blew on his hand. He didn’t know which was worse, the cut or the unexpected whiskey wash.
The ringtail rubbed and stretched its neck, then clapped. Cole gave him a scathing look.

Where to find "A Heap of Trouble."

Heap of Trouble E-Book

Heap of Trouble Print


  1. Hi Marva, thanks for hosting me today.
    This is a question that gnaws at me. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time writing for guest blogs than I do, well, writing.
    Do blog hops help? I'm not really sure.
    I'd really like to read opinions here.

  2. I'm asking people to be opinionated today. Hope they show!

  3. All I know, Lorrie, is when I don't blog, tweet, FB, etc., sales really plummet. I think it has a cumulative effect!

  4. Thanks, Heather, for weighing in.

  5. I agree with Heather. My sales were great until I slowed down on promoting in May. Now I'm wondering if it's possible to find the perfect balance between promoting and writing. They say the best way to increase sales is to to write another book.

    I've tried a lot to see what works and what doesn' hops, Kindle giveaways, inexpensive ads in e-magazines. Did they help increase sales? Sadly, they didn't. I think it's important to keep your name out there whether it's through blogging, Facebook, hops or advertising.

  6. Hi, Kim,

    Yes, that perfect balance. Is there such a thing? Between FB, digests,commenting on other blogs for support, groups on FB, whoa, when is there time to write? To find that perfect balance and get more books out there?
    I can see the importance of keeping your name out there, but who really has a fan base? Are we only preaching to the choir? Or do readers also read the blogs?
    I know authors are readers, but I mean the readers that do not write.

  7. Good point, Lorrie. Do readers/fans also read our blogs? I really don't know. A few read mine but not as many as I would like. .

    Throughout this adventure, I've watched writers use amazon to manipulate their books in categories that have nothing to do with there books so they can be a bestseller on Amazon. I've watched authors pay for dozens of reviews at a time to post on Amazon because they were told you have to have 30ish reviews pre-release and the reviews are done using only the first 3 chapters of the books. It's frustrating to find that perfect balance without resorting to some of the tactics mentioned. I say, write a fantastic book and write another and another...

    1. Good point, Kim,

      Yes, the freebies are offered to up the ranking, but does that really help? I dunno. As soon as the freebie time is over, the ranking drops.
      I'm a slow writer, and like some, I can't put out book after book.I wish I could and I envy those who can. As far as reviews go, I don't believe you must have 30. And I can't see paying for reviews and to do them from the first three chapters is like cheating.
      I'm far from a Hemmingway or Nora Roberts, but I still like an honest review even if it's not so hot. Thanks Kim.

  8. I don't think I know many readers who aren't writers as well. I hope to connect with non-writers by friending and liking people who interest me. Just so happens most of them write!

  9. I'm throwing in my two cents. I have a handful of very supportive authors who follow my blog and follow where I guest. They leave comments and I appreciate them very much and I try to do the same for them. Rarely, do I get new commenters. I think it's discouraging and I have no idea if it helps with sales. I was told they other day, if you are going to promote over a social network, 75% of your time should be on Goodreads - That's where the readers are! I think that person just might be right. Now this being said, I will continue to do guest posts and having folks on my blog. It only takes one person to buy a book and spread the word if they like it!!!!!

    I hope this wasn't too much of a downer!

    1. Thanks for your two cents, Penny. And your thoughts are not a downer. I try to be as supportive of authors as possible. And I certainly appreciate all who support me and comment on my blog posts, like this one.

      I'm a member of Goodreads, but don't know/haven't learned how to use the site as yet. Of course we'll all continue to blog and support and just hope for the best.

      Besides, I love chatting with all you author friends. That's a highlight for me.

  10. I have no idea how you could quantify such a thing. Possibly, readers are overwhelmed right now with authors blogging here, there and everywhere. One thing to consider is that, even if you don't blog regularly, you should keep your site info updated. This month, I was part of TRR's Sizzling Summer Reads Party, and my hits went up significantly. Readers might not be able to check you out all the time, but sometimes, many at once will.
    I'm also very grateful for the authors who visit my guest posts (thank you, Lorrie!). Remember, too, that some visitors will read but not comment. It's always good to check out the site stats.

    1. Thanks Cate,

      I can see how readers are overwhelmed with blogging promos on FB. I'm overehelmed with them when I get on FB. But of course I belong to many author sites.
      I do check my stats, but who knows if they are readers or writers just checking to see if it's interesting. lol.

  11. I agree, Cate. Blogging does help. I try to blog a couple times a week. I did a giveaway during the TRR Sizzling Summer Reads Party. :) It's a blast on the site. I try to sign up for various cool things on TRR, Just Romantic Suspense, Night Owl Reviews etc.

    I also agree with Penny. I think as authors we need to focus more on where the readers are. I'd be more than happy to recommend a book on goodreads to my followers in exchange for recommending Reflection to your followers on Goodreads. If anyone would like to do the exchange, let me know. :) Just a thought.

    I'm also spending more time trying to get editoral reviews.

  12. I think we'd all love to find out where all the readers are. I sure would.

    Looks like I might have to dig into Goodreads and learn the site.

    All of us have tried various ways to reach a 'reading' audience, I think only a few of us have reached only a few.

    lol, it's a jungle out there. Thank goodness we support each other. If it were not for you authors helping authors, I don't know where I'd be. I've learned so much from each of you.
    Thank you.

  13. I have hosted many events on my J Q Rose blog and I have noticed the number of comments are not at all indicative of the views. On a recent Thursdays-this-summer Hobby Hoedown post, my guest author only had 2 comments, me and another author, but she had over 100 views! I wonder who ever started that rumor to blog to get readers. There must be some study to back up the claim somewhere. I just keep plugging along trying to make a trail through cyberspace and into reader's eyes and hearts. Good question, Lorrie, I wish I had the answer...!!

  14. Howdy, JQ,
    We'd all love ways to find out who are the people reading our blogs. With Heather on my blog that last few days, and we had a blast, I see 97 hits for just two of the three days.

    I wonder if anyone knows if a study was ever done. That's an interesting question. Who can we ask?

    Marvaaaaaa, you're brilliant at digging up facts. Hint, hint.

  15. From a reader's perspective (not a blogger but a reader of blogs and a reader in general!) I am not a big fan of blogs. I look at them but get bored quickly if the info isn't current (as one commenter said) or if I've looked at too many that day or if the info isn't really something I'm keen to read. That's the truth of it for me. I know what books I want to read and seldom do I read an unfamiliar author who isn't recommended by a book company who suggests something because I've read something similar. It might be because when I read it is, as I'm sure it is with most people, strictly for pleasure and I don't want to waste what little time I have on a book that isn't good. Sounds awful, I know, but for me, that's the truth of it.

  16. Reader,
    Thanks for sharing your opinions with us today. And I thank you also for your honesty. It's not awful, it's just what you like.
    We authors read for pleasure, too. For escapism or to learn something new.
    You are helping us by sharing your honesty. I wish more would join us and offer their thoughts like you did.
    Be well, keep reading.

  17. As always, Lorrie, I'm showing up with the true manaña spirit appropriate to the country I've chosen to live in.

    An interesting fact from Critique Circle, the on-line site many of us belong to. The results of the current poll on how many blogs the members follow is surprising. Sixty percent say "Blogs? None"

    I follow s number of blogs sporatically for various reasons but I can honestly say I've never even been tempted to buy, let alone convinced to actually buy a book by an autor because of these blogs.

    Right now, I'm following a blog by a writer who is heading a writing retreat in Bali. I had to sign up for it (free) and the initial paragraphs come to my email address and then I click to be transferred to another site to finish the post. She writes well and the post is full of excellent pictures so it's quite fascinating to someone who loves to travel.

    I can see how it would be a great marketing tool. She started the blog last year during the first Bali retreat and this year's trip was filled immediately after that first one was over. However, the retreat so far is limited to twelve participants. No one would be excited to sell twelve books, but, needless to say, the price of the retreat is significantly higher than the cost of a book. Even a hardcover. LOL

    I honestly think other things are in play to get people to read a book besides blogs. At least for me. However, they definitely serve for name recognition. Even someone like me with a memory of Teflón where everything slides off can remember the names of the authors of the blogs I follow.

    It's quite a mystery. Dan Brown should write a book about it. By the way, I don't follow his blog or know if he has one. His is the only name of a mystery writer I could remember offhand.

    Great question, Lorrie. Now if we could only come up with the correct answers.

    1. Thanks Maria for giving us the info on the poll from CC. If 40% follow a few blogs (probably their friends) I guess that's a fair assumption.

      Many on this blog feel thier ratings and sales increase from blogging. I'm still skeptical. But, if it gets the author's name out there, that may be a good thing itself.

  18. Well, this discussion certainly brought out the blog readers. May I suggest one on-line tool which makes it much easier to follow lots of blogs.

    I have used Google Reader for a long time, but that's being shut down July 1st. When I knew about it, I found Feedly. It has a very nice interface (you can even change its theme to suit your fancy).

    I have 256 blogs (so far) that I watch. Each time a blog has a new post, I see it in summary form. If I want to know more, I can click to enlarge or even go direct to the blog post.

    Also, if you do blog, take a look at tools like Feedly or even how your post appears in summarized form on Facebook or Google+.

    That's my final two cents (maybe, I still might have some change in my pocket).

    1. As you know, Marva, because you help me so much with your computer knowledge, you will have to explain to me how to use this tool.

      This has been such an interesting discussion. I'm glad so many decided to offer their thoughts, and I hope more will today.

  19. I'm sure most of MY blog followers are fellow writers. A lot of writers are readers too, but since I write YA, I'm not reaching my teen readers-to-be with my blog. Blog tours can be helpful in getting the word out, but if the stops are all pretty much the same, I personally only read the first one, and then skim the rest/duplicates. People like variety and they have limited time. So having 50 stops in a blog tour doesn't necessary help, IMO. Unless perhaps there's a unique twist to them.

    1. Thanks, Carol, for stopping by with your thoughts. I tend to agree with you.

  20. I am not sure there is a one right answer to this question. My sales seem to fluctuate no matter what I do, so I have tried to stop obsessing about that. I blog and do some guest blogging, as well as host guests, and do some other social media, but I see no pattern in all of that. My sales have sometimes jumped when I have not been online much at all, and conversely, sales have dropped during some periods of active promoting.

  21. Maryann, that's about what I do. I've been asked to join hops but I prefer doing the same as you. My sales fluctuate also.

    I guess I'm wondering if I should do more guest blogging, but then who has time to write?

    If the blogging helped a great deal, I would jump right in there.

    I take it from the opinions here to guest blog once in a while and make it interesting, and keep opening my blog to guests. Sales will happen-or not. Name will get known by announcing on FB once in a while, and not inundating the readers with promo after promo.

    Those are my thoughts at the moment.

    Thanks for stopping.

  22. Sorry I'm late to the party, Lorrie, been battling allergies or a bad cold or something that's left me without any energy, but today I feel alive lol

    You ask a good question, and I gave it some thought.

    Every book begins as a single word. Every journey starts with a single step. Everything starts somewhere. You have to start small before you can grow bigger.

    Maybe it's hard to see the big picture because we're so close. But the most famous authors in the world started where we are now. What if they didn't believe?

    Sometimes you just gotta take that leap of faith. And enjoy the journey.

    Great blog, Lorrie. And A Heap of Trouble is a great book! Hang in there, girlfriend!

  23. Lorrie, good question. I keep wondering how much time JK Rawling or Sharon Penman or Stephan King spend on blogging, and how much time they spend writing. Maybe they concentrated more on finding a good agent to do the promo for them, while they write the best possible book they can, guilt free. With no answers to your question I guess most of us will keep on blogging and enjoy the friendships we make along the way.

  24. Hello –

    It all comes down to core competencies and time management. As starving artists, writing types we aren’t necessarily the best marketers or sales people – not our core talent.

    The problem is that with the adjective “starving” in our description we can’t really hire those resources that are. The complete explosion of social media in all its forms allows us attempt wearing those hats as “do-it yourselfers,” in developing a marketing strategy and trying to get more readers. At the same time if we don’t know our market and what our “brand” is we could be self-sabotaging are efforts.

    We may not be marketers or excellent sales reps – but we do need to understand our markets. So even spending 1 day to figure out whom we think would want to read our stuff and where they hang out is not a wasted effort. I remember reading that the author of “Lace Reader,” went to a few Wiccan fairs to sell her book about the ancestry of witches. Another author launched a book party at hot spot nightclub because the book dealt with a protagonist and his party hard lifestyle. The wonderfully talent Amanda Hocking and just a cool chick – relied a lot on word of mouth and dedicated readers blog to get her work out there.

    We should be able to show effort and correlate that to sales. If we can’t then we might as well ask our marketing strategies to a Magic 8 ball…or rather what did Einstein say about insanity…