Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, August 14, 2012

Another day of great variety, and only one with much focus on “craft.” Where to begin? Where to begin? Oh, heck, how about here:

  • “Doctor Rita,” a.k.a. Dr. Rita Hancock (@RitaHancockMD) warns on WordServe Water Cooler that SEO is Not Enough To Grow Your Blog Subscriber List! Her point is that while SEO (Search Engine Optimization) done right will get you initial hits/visits thanks to the search engines finding your blog, there are three other value-adding things that will cause one-time readers to become subscribers: forward links out to other blogs or web sites, back links coming from other blogs or sites to yours, and the emotional connection the content of your blog makes with readers. If they feel it, they’ll read it. And come back to read it again.
  • This giving value is what Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) discusses in a way, today, when she counsels Give Them What They Want. Now I admit have more than a little discomfort with the way this post begins–while acknowledging the sometimes-necessary utility of the philosophy–but when Rachelle gets to the end and reminds us to follow submission guidelines, I’m all over it. Cold-hard-world reminder: publishers, editors, and agents DON’T have to buy your work. It’s the Golden Rule of Business: he who has the gold, rules. If you can’t, won’t, or don’t follow their rules, don’t be surprised when they reject you for failing to do so.
  • Still in the vein of doing your homework, C. Hope Clark’s (@hopeclark) guest post on Writer Beware identifies The Red Flags of Writing Contests. Clark lists half a dozen things that can warn you away from entering your work in a contest, ranging from the contest being brand new to one that demands ALL publishing rights from the winners. A very useful post if you’ve ever considered entering you work in a contest.

Fair warning: these next two posts are quite long.

  • Porter Anderson’s (@Porter_Anderson) EXTRA ETHER: Bookstore Bake Sale on Jane Friedman’s (@JaneFriedman) blog is a response to Sarah Callender’s (@sarahrcallender) Writer Unboxed plea, Imagine Saving a Life: An Indie Bookstore Pledge, in which she advocates making a commitment to regularly buy books from independent bookstores to keep them open. To summarize, Anderson disagrees with Callender’s suggestion (which he calls a “bake sale approach”), the “misguided” idea that is the enemy of the independent bookstore, and the lack of creative thinking on the part of independent book sellers and their advocates to create a market niche in which they can not just survive, but thrive. Controversial stuff, maybe, but thought-provoking.
  • Finally, speaking of Writer Unboxed, comes Therese Walsh’s (@ThereseWalsh) Interview with Yuvi Zalkow on the occasion of the release of his first novel, A Brilliant Novel in the Works. Now, I realize the wry, neurotic, self-mocking style of Yuvi’s WU videos (and the book trailer, viewable from the interview), which apparently carries over to the novel, isn’t for everyone, and the interview deals a lot with his process of creating a likely very “literary” pseudo-memoir featuring a protagonist named Yuvi Zalkow. So if you’re not into self-revelatory memoir or fiction, most of the interview may not be for you. But Yuvi’s final comment, to Therese’s request for his advice to writers is, in Yuvi’s typical style, worth repeating here: “Never pretend like you know what the hell you’re doing. Keep stumbling.”

Stumble on!