Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My Top Ten Blog Posts

This week, my blog got its 100,000th view!  I know there are hundreds of blogs that get a hundred times that, but I'm pleased with it, I thought it was a good time to do a rundown of my most popular posts since I started it, in March 2012.  

I never meant to start a blog, but I sometimes used to write articles to post on Facebook ~ people kept saying that writers need blogs, so I started off by just copy-and-pasting the Facebook ones, then thinking, what now?

Since then, I've realised what an excellent thing a blog is.  Often little ideas pop into my head about something that would be amusing to do; I used to just do them anyway, as word docs, and send them to friends; they'd have an audience of about ten...

Here they are, then, in reverse order!

Just click the title to get to the post...

10.  On the nostalgia theme at number 10 - in July 2013 I wrote a post about the cosmetics of my youth.  So many people identified with this; 1162 read it.   See Black nail polish, Charlie perfume....

9  Creeping in at number 9,  will you be joining the 1189 who wanted to know which is.... the grammatical error that even the most intelligent people make???

8.  Next, one from a blog tour started by a couple of British writers in 2013.  With 1277 views, here's my contribution, in February of that year to A VERY BRITISH BLOG TOUR

7.  At number 7, here's a post I wrote in June 2013 about my Twitter zodiac!  1504 people found out their Twitter 'sign' in THE TWITTERSCOPE!!!

6.  This is my absolute favourite of all my posts, ever!  It's actually three different ones, all on the same theme; links to the two others are provided at the beginning of this one.  I was doing the ironing one morning and thinking how amusing it would be to see people like JK Rowling, Jackie Collins and the woman who wrote 50 Shades trying to get their books known on Twitter.  Then I thought about Kerouac, Jerome K Jerome, Bill Shakespeare.... here's the result!  Total of 2292 views, written in summer 2013

See If the literary greats were self-published....

5. Into the top 5, and a post I wrote in October 2012 that's been passed around a great deal ~ Twitter tips!  It's fairly out of date now, and I'd definitely revise some of the strategies if I wrote it again; for instance, I've changed my mind about doing loads of retweets all the time, and would not advise anyone to do as I used to do, ie 2 sessions of 100 a day!!!   Like many noobs (I'd only been at it for a year), I thought it was mostly about getting retweeted.  But there's still some good stuff in the post.  2459 views - hope it helped some of them!

See Twitter Tips for Beginners

4.  At number 4, a guest post!  In April 2013 Julia explained why you need a proofreader.... it's a good one, written when she was just starting up on her own.  Since then she has gained a reputation for being one of the best, and speaking out against the 'cowboys' who waste writers' money by not doing their job properly. 3154 views.

See  Why do you need a proofreader?

3.  WHY has this one had so many views?  Don't get it.  3237 of them since March 2013.  I imagine it might be because these blog award things are a chain, and get views via other blogs.  Oh well, it shows they work, anyway! See my contribution to The Liebster Blog Award

2.  This one is still being passed around now ~ since May 2013, 3492 people have wondering....
How do you mend a broken heart?  

1.  ....and here it is.....the winner!  Since October 2012, no less than 5602 people have wanted to know some.....

Thus, I can safely conclude that my average blog reader is an intelligent woman of a certain age, who reads a lot, is maybe a writer too, uses Twitter, still believes in true love but is a bit cynical about relationships...  oh yeah, that's me, isn't it??!!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

So, you're not just a little square head????

Yesterday I did something I haven't done very often in my life, and which I find exciting yet just a tiny bit daunting...

I could just leave it there and let you guess, but I won't!  Here is what I did - I met up with an online friend.  This time it was.... Carol Hedges!  For anyone who doesn't know her, Carol is a fellow writer I first met on Twitter a couple of years ago

The meet was Carol's suggestion; she lives in Hertfordshire and me in Tyne and Wear, so it would have been unlikely ever to happen had Carol's husband not wanted to see Watford (not Arsenal...!) playing Middlesborough (I always think Carol's BH - beloved husband - is called Bernard, though he's actually not at all - you know how you get these things in your head?  No?  Oh, okay, it's just me, then....).

Because of traffic problems, Carol was an hour late, which meant that I'd spent the time wandering around the Toon (Newcastle); the inclement weather turned my smooth and glamorous hair into an explosion in a mattress factory, about which I only complained ten times during the afternoon.  We met in a restaurant....

.... where I was delighted to discover that, like me, Carol isn't a 'foodie', will eat what is put in front of her and is more interested in vino and chatting than gastric delights.  We both had a starter consisting of smoked salmon, rocket and capers, loads of wine (I admit to having the lion's share, which is fair enough as I am a Leo) (good excuse, huh?), and that was all!  Anyway, we were talking at such a rate that a larger meal wouldn't have stood a chance.

The big question - were we as we'd imagined we would be?  Answer - yes and no! Carol thought I would be loud and quite caustic, but I'm actually fairly mild in company, unless I've known people for years, maybe quieter than my online presence suggests.  I thought Carol would be very nice and warm (which she IS!) and a sort of wise sage, but she was more like an excitable kitten!!!! More extrovert than I had imagined.  Dead good fun and interesting, which is what I had expected.  We had LOADS to talk about, and I think we'll definitely need a 'round two' to say all the stuff that we didn't get to say in the three and a half hours we spent together.

We had a token wander down to the quayside, because you can't visit the Toon without seeing the Tyne Bridge - and here is a picture of Carol with The Sage, Gateshead, behind her!

We also had coffee in a nice little cafe where a chap was playing guitar, which is just the sort of thing you want to chance upon.  

.... and when the man we shall call Bernard came to pick Carol up, they very kindly drove me all the way home - I live about 8 miles outside Newcastle. It seemed weird to have them drop me outside my house - no, Carol, you're supposed to be on my computer screen, not outside my house!! I pointed up to the window where I sit and write and tweet....  and here I am at my desk!  This photo was taken before I went to meet Carol - when my hair still looked nice! (Look, I know I'm a bit obsessive about my hair.  It's a Leo thing, all right??)

It was a fine afternoon, and Carol tells me that next time Watford are playing Middlesborough she will come up again - hopefully that time we can meet up with Jon Fletcher/Gardener too!  

I'm thinking of starting a Facebook page for pictures of writers meeting writers, but I don't suppose I will ever find the time... maybe when I've finished the current novel.

Cheersmy new real life friend!

ps ~ Twitter friend @WillowCWinsham just said to me that some of her best real life friends started as online ones.  Quick think - it's probably because you get to know each other first in the best possible way - by sharing thoughts, witticisms, experiences, preferences etc, without being distracted by others, getting pissed, prejudices over looks, etc.  So you already know that person is going to be on your wavelenghth ~ half the 'getting to know you' stuff is already done....

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Campaigning for the 36 hour day.....

Recently, I've read a few blog posts about etiquette on Twitter and in other aspects of our online lives.  

(nb: My Twitter community is based much around the world of writers, book bloggers, avid readers and moderately avid readers)

In an ideal world, all self published authors would have time to keep in touch with as many of our regular readers as possible. A priority should also be to support the wonderful book bloggers who give their time, free of charge, to help us promote our work, something I think is very important. 

As well as the book blogs, though, we see interesting posts by other authors, and want to comment on them, too, and share them around.  We want to look at their books, reading and reviewing the ones that interest us.  We want to make new contacts, be active on Goodreads, keep up our Facebook author pages, never ignore a Twitter message or an email.  We'd also like to help promote books we think are fab, reciprocate good turns done to us, and, of course, retweet back the people who retweet us (apart from those who do all their retweeting via @SomeCrapApp, of course!!).  We want to just chat to nice people who are nothing to do with the writing world, too, because writing is not all we are, right??? Yes, yes - we should do and want to do all these things!

I don't have a day job.  I don't have children.  I have a husband who doesn't make too many demands on my time, and who thinks my writing is more important than the housework.  I have very little social life - BUT!! I still find it hard to keep up with everything I 'should' be doing, although I do actually want to do most of it. I've just come back from a few days away, and have spent many hours catching up with emails, tweeting, retweeting, Goodreads fiddling about, blog reading, thanking people, following back Twitter follows - and I haven't even LOOKED at Facebook!  My plan has been to do all this today so that tomorrow I can go back to my current novel, which has been drumming its fingers and saying 'where the hell have you got to?' for the last six days.

Okay.  Look.  I try to support the blogs who feature me as much as possible. I do lots of retweets every day, but (I hope) not enough to annoy my followers, I keep up with emails, I - oh, you know.  I do as much as I can, while still leaving myself time to write, and occasionally push the hoover round and actually watch a bit of telly with my husband from about 9 pm onwards. I plan to read 2 indie books per month, but for the past two months it hasn't happened - Rose, it's not that I don't like your book, I just haven't had the time to get past 15%!  That's another thing; I've had to do quite a lot of research reading for the novel I'm currently writing, and much of my time has been taken up with that.

What I want to know is this: how on earth do people who try to do all this, AND have full or part time jobs, and children, ever find the time to write a novel to promote in the first place???? I sit back in awe of anyone who manages it!

I need 36 hours in the day, so what must it be like for them?

I suppose I just want to say, if someone doesn't RT you back, or hasn't answered your email yet, or hasn't reviewed your book when they said they would, cut them a bit of slack.  They may not be terminally rude (you soon suss out the people who are); they may just be very, very busy.

Okay, I know, I could have used the 20 minutes it took to write this post to do some retweets, instead.....