Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Questions, questions

I received a few more awards recently, for which I thank the lovely people concerned. Since I recently had an award post, I'll save them for next week if nobody minds. For today, I've got a few questions for you all. Before I get to those, I just want to let you know that the fabulous Jen Daiker over at Unedited has interviewed Jen Violi. I mention this because Jen Violi's new book is called Putting Makeup on Dead People which I happen to think is a superb title for a book. If you pop over and say hi to one or both of the Jens you stand a chance of winning one of three copies. You know you want to win so that you can read it on the bus and tell people it's a 'how to' book. Or is that just me? Don't forget to come back after you've done that. I need your help.

Okay, first question. How many of you come back and read my responses to your comments? I love replying to you, but I understand that people are busy and there are too many blogs to read as it is, without coming back to the same post twice. Sometimes it takes me a few days to respond, although I do respond to them all. The thing is, I really do like replying to you so I was thinking either I could try and respond faster, the same day at least, or I could email a reply back to you. For those of you who email replies to comments on your own blogs, do you copy and paste the comment or is there something on blogger that will do it for you? There's no sense in me replying to your comment if you can't remember what you wrote! I'd love to get all your opinions on this one.

Now to my second question. Regulars among you know that I run my Musical Stories series on Fridays. It's been going for seven weeks now and I love it. Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed that last Friday I didn't announce this week's genre as I normally do. The main reason for this is that it was going to be children's stories. I had two songs in mind (no novelty records!) but it turned out that one which I thought told a sweet story of a lullaby was actually a song about suicide. (Sing by The Smiths if you're interested, it's beautiful). Which leaves me with one, which isn't enough for a genre. So that one goes on hold until I come up with two more. So far we've had SciFi, YA, Crime, Literary, Chick Lit, War and Fantasy. Without getting into sub-genres, can you think of any genres I've missed? If not, would you like to see the series continue, repeating the genres but with different songs (obviously), or would you like me to think of something new? I should add that it won't be running this Friday as it's a special date for me, so I'll be posting something else, for one week only.

Last question. What do you guys think of author interviews? Recently, someone who I follow released a book and I wanted to interview him. However, he had an awful lot of followers on his blog (not something I usually think about after I've hit the follow button) and I didn't like to ask him because I didn't think he'd see it as an effective use of his time. So this is a two part question. Would you like to see the occasional interview on this blog and, if you are a published author, would you see it as a waste of valuable time to be interviewed by someone with a relatively low readership? I won't take it personally, I'm really interested. I'm not even sure I'd have the nerve to ask anyone anyway, but it's nice to have some opinions.

I'm really looking forward to hearing what you have to say and, for now at least, I'll be responding in the comments box :)


  1. Sarah - I really like these question! First, I do return and read your answers to people's comments. I like the give-and-take that comments can allow, and I appreciate it that you respond when people comment. I really do.

    As to your second question, as soon as I read children's literature, I thought of Billy Joel's Lullaby and Paul Simon's St. Judy's Comet... I like that series that you do very much, as I'm a music lover. I wonder what music you might think of for memoirs and autobiographies...

    As to your third question, I do like author interviews. I like to learn a bit about the people behind the books, whether or not they are famous. I wouldn't want one in every post, but I do like them.

  2. If I leave a question on someones blog as a comment, I bookmark the page. I check back a few times and if there is no response or whatnot, I delete the bookmark after a week.

    Honestly I skip most interview blog posts unless something jumps out at me like the name or book cover. The reason is that they all tend to be about a book in a genera I am not interested in reading. However if the post also has other information and also includes an interview, then I end up reading it all. I would like to see an interview that was like something from Space Ghost.

    I don't think doing an interview is a waste of time. Everyone you do exposes your self and your work to a new audience.

  3. I saw that on Jen's blog - wouldn't that be a fun book to win?! I love the title too!

    Also - I think if I had a book coming out I would want all the publicity I could get. I can't imagine that he would mind, but that's just me. I'm sure he'd love to spread the word, and I always think an interview is fun. (just not forever long!)

    I think with your Musical Stories - that should be up to you. I think it was super fun what you did and would be fun to do again, but if you have an itch to try something new, then go for it! I"m sure it will be wonderful too!

    I don't always come back to read the comments, although I try to. Like you said, it's hard. I wouldn't stress yourself out about responding, but do it if you can. It just makes it more interactive and friendly. :) (just my opinion!)

  4. I'm the kind of person who very rarely goes back to a post once I've commented (I keep forgetting) so I've enabled comments to be emailed to me. That way I can reply to the individual comment and it'll have the initial comment quoted in the reply :)

    This is a really nice lullaby song if you need another one:
    Vienna Teng - Lullaby for a Stormy Night

    Steampunk would be an interesting genre to look at song wise - though there isn't that much of a wide song base that covers it.

    I'd love to see some author interviews, and I expect that most authors would be fine for an interview since it gives them exposure regardless of reader numbers.

  5. I love to go back and read comments and leave comments and reply to comments! It's a give and take between bloggers that just posting doesn't permit.

    How about music for the romance genre? And a beautiful lullaby song that isn't one but a very few might know but is soooo lovely can be found here: it's so beautiful!

    I get so much email it would just be more to clog up the inbox... and I love the idea of author interviews..inspirational!


  6. I do visit quite a lot of blogs and comment. Sometimes I do read replies when I pop back the next time, but most of the time I forget, if I am honest. It's something that doesn't really bother me either way.

    As for interviews, as an author it's a massive honour to be asked about an interview. I am sure lots of writers feel this way as it helps with the web presence as much anything. If an author has many followers and is really busy or doesn't want an interview for any other reason, I am sure they will still be grateful to be asked.

  7. I don't return to read replies to comments unless I've asked a specific question. I always reply to those who comment on my blog (but not via email).
    Wordpress allows those who comment to get an email notification when a reply is posted but I've noticed that not many people who comment on my blog take advantage of the facility.

  8. I don't return to read comments unless I've asked you something...I honestly forget to come back.

    I like your music Fridays! Keep the jams coming.

    Author interviews are great, and I think a good use of time and blogging space.

  9. I don't really check back unless I ask a question. But now I'll make an effort to check back here anyway.

    It wouldn't hurt to ask your friend for an interview. I'd say yes. It's an opportunity for publicity.

  10. I usually come back and read replies to comments I've made on blogs - normally I just look the next time I'd be visiting the blog anyway.

    No one is likely to want to interview me (yet, obviously I'll be mega famous soon and they'll be clamouring to ask) but I think I'd be flattered if anyone did. The author might not have time to let you interview him (or might not want to for another reason) but I doubt they'd mind a friendly, no pressure enquiry.

  11. Here's my tuppance worth...

    1) I always pop back to read your replies, to mine and other comments.
    I feel like I should clarify that statement somehow, but that's it... yes I read them!

    2) Westerns! I don't know why that popped into my head. I've never read one; I only watch the films when it's a bank holiday and I'm feeling too lazy to find the remote!

    3) I find author interviews interesting. From a purely marketing point of view - and from someone unpublished - surely even one more reader reached is an effective use of time?

  12. Hi Sarah,
    My blog reading and commenting is in such snatched moments, and I try to get to as many people's as poss that I never remember to go back and check for replies, so for me, email replies are always the best. I'm so bad at replying as I'm super scatty, but when I do it, I try to by email, the only thing is that some people send from a 'no-reply' address, so they don't get the responses.

    I like an author interview once in a while. I think it's key that the questions aren't run of the mill and the interview isn't toooo loooong! (Be brave and ask - I did with the lovely Talli Roland, and that allowed me to meet her and film an interview, which was awesome fun!)

  13. I always come back to check comments if I ask a question or leave a longer comment on a post that made me think. If I visit someone's blog and they haven't posted since the last time I visited, I will check the comment thread for a reply. So it depends. :P

    I love the Musical Stories series. Genres you haven't covered? Um . . . Dystopian? Though that's sometimes considered a SF sub-genre.

    I enjoy reading author interviews, and I would think that being interviewed on any blog would increase the audience.

  14. In terms of comments, what I do now is reply on my blog and reply by email as well. Time consuming, but I don't want anybody to feel that their comment wasn't worth the time to respond to.

    We are a mixed bunch (writers), so I can't respond for anyone else, but no audience is too small for me to talk to. If you have 50 followers, that is an opportunity to reach 50 readers and.or persons who could become great buddies. Consider yourself invited to interview me if you like. :)

  15. I'll weigh in on your last question -- most of the authors I know like to connect with potential readers.
    Like J.L., no audience is to small for me to talk to. Most of the time the smaller groups are more interesting.
    Good questions Sarah.

  16. Margot - thanks for your answers, and for the musical tips. I'll check them out. I might have guessed you'd have a Billy Joel track for me :)

    SBJones - I thought I was the only one who bookmarked pages I commented on! I hate to miss anything. I had to google Space Ghost but I'll see if I can find an episode.

    Abby - thanks for your responses. I loved musical stories, and I'm strongly leaning towards repeating it at the moment.

    Jamie - Good idea about the email thing. I used to do that until I just decide to save all the pages. Thanks for the song idea, I'll have a listen later. I love the idea of steampunk, but it might be a little bit challenging. We'll see!

    Sush - thanks for your comments. I'll find the song and have a listen. Romance, of course! That one shouldn't be too hard!

    Rebecca - thanks. I hadn't thought of that. Even if people are too busy, I guess it's still nice to be asked!

    Sally - I used to use the email notification thing but it notified me whenever a comment was posted, rather than a reply to my own. Some people get a LOT of comments on their blog ;-)

    Emily - thanks for your lovely comments. It's looking good for giving the interview thing a go I think :)

    David - It's okay if you forget. My responses aren't very profound ;-)

    Patsy - you know your comment means I have to interview you some time right? ;-)

    Annalisa - Westerns, brilliant idea! You're a genius.

    Laura - I think you nailed it there. I'd only interview someone if I could think of some original questions - and yes, shorter is definitely better :)

    Golden Eagle - Dystopian. Hmm, could be tough, but might be doable. I'll have to mull that one over. Good suggestion.

    J. L. Campbell - you were already on my imaginary interviewee list with all the stuff you've got going on, so thank you. I might just take you up on that :)

    Life 101 - thanks for your comment. I don't know why I was so nervous. Authors are nice people on the whole :) And you're right, small is beautiful!

  17. Hi Sarah. If I remember whose blog I asked the question then I try to retun to see what the replies are. Often I get the replies via my g-mails to blog questions.

    The songs genres seem fun so yes by all means keep them up.

    I've done 4 blog interviews of authors. I like to find out about authors, though I like to present the info in chunks. A lot of interviews are in one huge blogpost, which is difficult to wade through and rather time consuming when you have lots of blogs to read and comment on. In my view if you don't askyou don't get so ask them and see if they say yes. You ahve nothing to lose. I have only had one no in the form of an ignored request. :O)

  18. I like your questions. Hmm, I like email responses better, personally, because I'm all over the place, so that's the easiest way to get back to me. And as far as author interview go, I think any author would be happy to be promoted in any way (I'm self-published, and I know I would.) So it's worth a shot! No intimidation necessary.

  19. Congrats on the awards! Neat blog:)

  20. For the first question: I choose email follow-up :)
    For the second: I am looking forward to your post!
    For the third: depends on the topics!

  21. Madeleine - that's a good point. I could perhaps email answers rather than just general replies. Something else to think about, thanks :)

    Kelley - This prospective interviewee list is getting longer... :)

    Mark - thank you and welcome. I noseyed over to yours and the feeling is mutual :)

    Patsy - I could always interview the sphere...

  22. Claudia - I'm sorry, how could I have missed you? And fair point, I bet nobody enjoys EVERY interview they read!

  23. Hey, Sarah! These are great questions.

    I don't go back to anyone's blog and read the comment that s/he posted in reply to my comment. I just don't have the time. If someone leaves a comment on my blog, and there's something I want to make sure they know when I comment back to them (in case they don't read replies either), I'll drop them an email and tell them what I said in my comment back to theirs.

    I'll give you my take on the last two you asked as well.

    I normally don't read author interviews on blogs. When I read blogs, I want to read about other writers' personal experiences with writing and industry professionals' insight. Honestly, I haven't bought a single book because of an author interview that I've read on a blog. For me, it's word of mouth more than anything.

    Secondly, if I had a book release and someone with a low blog following asked to interview me on their blog, I would do it in a second. I mean, we all started at the bottom with zero followers - everyone's gotta work their way up on their own time. Plus, as an author, I would want to get my book info out to as many people as possible. So I think accepting interviews from those with low readerships, as you called it, is as important as accepting interviews from those with great followings.

    Hope this helps! And many thanks for commenting on my blog today! It's always great to see you! (BTW: I'm still loving the Liebster Blog Award in my right-hand margin, HAHA! :)

  24. I thought of one more thing, as if my previous comment wasn't long enough!

    When someone comments on my blog, especially for the first time and has just become a follower, it's more important in my eyes to go their blog/website and comment there - and when I comment, I make sure and thank them for visiting my blog. I do that because I know it makes me feel good when people whose blogs I've visited for the first time come to mine and reciprocate.

    Have a great night!

  25. Lauren - I love long comments! I like the consideration you give to the blogger in your comments. I'll be honest, I hadn't thought of it in terms of the blogger increasing readership but it makes so much sense. (This is why I will never be very good at marketing!)

    I agree totally about reciprocation. I may not end up following the person (although usually I do!) but I will always go and check their blog out and leave a comment.

  26. I usually click the button on blogger to get follow-up comments emailed back to me. I will always read them if they're emailed to me, so I know if someone's responded.

    I think author interviews can be a little trite. The questions repeat themselves and some of them are thinly-veiled publicity ploys. I say do interviews, but make it fun and different. Ask them to run Musical Stories that week, making them select songs that dovetail nicely with their new books. Or ask them serious questions about their publishing journey - since your audience is 90% aspiring writers.

  27. Phil - that's an interesting idea about combining an interview with Musical Stories. Thank you!

  28. Answer to your first question: Yes, I track any post I leave a response on so that I can see if the poster responds with something I need to respond. I will always respond to the response if it's called for. On my own blog, I always respond to comments. Often, I respond with a further question, but it's very rare that anyone ever responds the second time. Although I've been trying to figure it out for a while, I haven't come up with any way to prompt people into actual conversations.

    Answer to your last question: Having a blog with an even lower readership (followship?), but having a self-published book, I would certainly be up for an interview. I'd like to do some interviews at some point, too; I just haven't gotten there, yet.

  29. Andrew - Thanks for that. I'm heartened by how many of my readers have said they read my comments.

    When the campaign is over I may just come calling about that interview :-)


I happily answer all comments on my blog, and by email if it's not a 'noreply' address :-)