From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Question for YOU

It's been a while since I've dedicated a post to getting feedback from you guys, and it's about time to do that again. I may ask some of the same questions, so I apologize to those of you who've been here long enough to answer some of these. But I would still very much love to hear your answer, even if its a repeat, and there are some new questions too.

This, for me, is one of the best ways I know to figure out how I can grow and improve as a writer on the internet. I want to know what you think, and what is most beneficial and interesting to you. Yes YOU. I would love to hear your answers to all or any of the following questions.

1. What blogs do you visit most? I basically want to know which blogs are your favorite (in addition to this one, of course ;) and I'm thinking that one of the best ways to gauge how helpful a blog is for you is to see how often you find yourself going back. So which blogs do you go back to again and again? Give me your top two or three, or more!

2. What book are you reading now, and how/where did you discover it?

3. How do you feel about the following on author blogs: Personal stories/essays, flash fiction, poetry, photo essay (ie. pics from the bloggers personal life and excursions) or "home-made" comics/illustrations (kinda like Hyperbole and a Half or Debbie Ohi).

4. Do you regularly watch any YouTube channels? If so, which ones?

5. Are you currently subscribed to any author newsletters?

6. What Reader do you use for reading blogs? Bloglovin? Feedly? FriendConnect? Something else? Or do you visit blogs one by one?

7. What is the number one thing you spend time doing on the internet? Facebook? Pinterest? Blog reading? Shopping? YouTube videos? Reading fan fic? Gaming?

8. Any ideas or suggested changes that you think would make this blog more useful, entertaining, or easier to read? Seriously, I can take it. If there's something you love from other blogs that you think could be incorporated here, let me know. If there's something here that bothers you, let me know. Any random thoughts? Let me know.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer any or all of these questions. I truly appreciate it, and want to hear as many ideas and perspectives as I can to make this blog the most helpful and entertaining for you that it can possibly be. Your feedback is always welcome and valued. Thanks again, I very much look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Write on!

Sarah Allen

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SUBMISSION OPPORTUNITIES:

  • University of Iowa Press: Two publication awards are given annually by University of Iowa Press for first collections of short fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction are eligible. Due Sep. 30.
  • The Filid Chapbook: The Filid Chapbook is looking for BLUE content. (The color, the music, the range of feeling—we're looking for explorations of the theme). We accept poetry, nonfiction, short fiction, visual art, and pretty well anything else that interests us. Due Sep. 26.
  • Clockhouse Magazine: Clockhouse, a literary journal published in partnership with Goddard College, seeks submissions from emerging and established writers for its 2015 issue. Clockhouse is devoted to a variety of genres, publishing fiction, poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, and dramatic work. Due Dec. 1

SPOTLIGHTS:

17 comments:

  1. Okay, here we go:

    1) The blogs I visit the most are from those bloggers that comment on mine, because I always visit and comment in return. That's only polite, and usually, the posts are pretty good. Otherwise, I seek out blogs that help me with my writing and blog/book marketing. I also love lifestyle blogs of people whose lives I admire.

    2) Currently reading Snowblind by Christopher Golden which I discovered on the blog Hollywood Spy.

    3) My favorites are either tips on writing and marketing or glimpses into the author's life. And, of course, updates on their new books.

    4) None.

    5) No.

    6) Bloglovin.

    7) Blogging, blog reading, and promoting my own work on social media.

    8) I really love your advice on writing. Maybe a bit more about book promotion too, because I'm absolutely awful at that ;-)

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    1. Oh awesome!!! Thank you so much :) These are some fabulous thoughts. I've been thinking its about time for me to start doing some more promotion advice posts. Now off to check out the Hollywood Spy blog :)

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  2. I visit a variety of blogs, so no one thing attracts me. Once I've made a friend, I just keep visiting.
    No specific channel on YouTube. I do watch a lot of clips from shows, like Jimmy Fallon's show.
    I do subscribe to several author newsletters. Most of them are speculative writers.
    Online I'm mostly blogging.
    I use Feedly but I still click the GFC button.
    I think the only thing I don't like in a blog is really long posts. I'm a slow reader and I just don't have the time to invest in really long posts.

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    1. Thank you Alex, as always, for the wonderful, wonderful comments! So appreciated. I totally agree about long posts; they can be too much for the time we have. Sometimes if they're broken up in manageable text chunks with lists and bullet points that can be okay, at least I think so.

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  3. Boy, am I being wordy today!

    1. What blogs do you visit most?

    My top three? WritersWrite, WOW (women on writing), and Jan Hardy’s Fiction University. Those are off the top of my head, btw, not in any particular priority. I have a list of blogs on my Blogger Dashboard that I read every morning with my coffee like some people read a newspaper.

    2. What book are you reading now, and how/where did you discover it?

    I’m not reading any particular book right now. But I just finished Anne Bishop’s Written in Red again. I can’t recall how I found it but I started reading her Black Jewel books years ago and have been hooked ever since. It’s what I do. Find an author by accident then snatch up everything they’ve ever written.

    3. How do you feel about the following on author blogs:

    I wish I could find writing blogs with more of a personal touch. I find it more interesting than the constant stream of advice and writing tips. Not, as you can notice from the blogs I said I follow.

    4. Do you regularly watch any YouTube channels? If so, which ones?

    I was about to say I don’t subscribe to any particular channel but I guess I do but none of them are writing related. All are strictly for fun and giggles–and because (and you know this!) Benedict. 
    .

    5. Are you currently subscribed to any author newsletters?

    No. I don’t want another piece of email. If I like a writer (or author) I put them on my blog list and read there.

    6. What Reader do you use for reading blogs?

    There are Readers? I didn’t know that. I’ve never thought about it or looked for one. If I like the blog it’s on my Dashboard and I read it there.

    7. What is the number one thing you spend time doing on the internet?

    Social media. Yes, I confess I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr a lot but I also do a lot of research on the Internet as well. I am as much at risk of frittering away time chasing red herrings as I am giggling at posts by friends on FB.

    8. Any ideas or suggested changes that you think would make this blog more useful, entertaining, or easier to read?

    Would it bother you if I told you I like it just the way it is? You share what you think would be helpful, like the writing opportunities at the end. You share the ways you express yourself, like the videos you make. I enjoy that, all of that. I like having a blog on my list that shows expression and process. I’ve found that it is uncommon. I’m kind of new to blogging and it’s nice to see a writing blog doesn’t have to be entirely about “how to write”. So go ahead–write or do what gives you joy–I’ll keep reading and even commenting from time to time. 

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    1. I LOVE wordy :) I truly do love hearing from you guys. I will DEFINITELY have to go check out those blog recommendations. And I'm a big social media user too, obviously. I'm exploring different ways of growing this blog so its good to hear you don't mind the personal touch. Thank you so, so much for the comments and kind words!

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  4. 1. What blogs do you visit most? Errr....um.....uh....haha, I've honestly JUST got back into reading blogs regularly again. It's a way to eventually inspire my own blog writing but I usually visit familiar bloggers that I've always visited (yours included!) and I am open to finding more. There's not one that pops up into my head as being my go-to blog quite yet.

    2. What book are you reading now, and how/where did you discover it?

    I need to go to the library! I am re-reading a book I've already read twice called "And Then We Came to the End" discovered in a bookstore browse (and purchased) several years ago!

    3. How do you feel about the following on author blogs: Personal stories/essays, flash fiction, poetry, photo essay (ie. pics from the bloggers personal life and excursions) or "home-made" comics/illustrations (kinda like Hyperbole and a Half or Debbie Ohi).

    I like it! I like the personal touch to author blogs, although granted I probably don't read as much of the fiction on someone's blog as I could/should.

    4. Do you regularly watch any YouTube channels? If so, which ones?

    No.

    5. Are you currently subscribed to any author newsletters?

    I probably am, but I never read them (no offense to any ONE author but I rarely read ANY newsletter I subscribe to). Also, I see "newsletter" different than an emailed blog post update - those I read.

    6. What Reader do you use for reading blogs? Bloglovin? Feedly? FriendConnect? Something else? Or do you visit blogs one by one?

    FriendConnect and Email


    7. What is the number one thing you spend time doing on the internet? Facebook? Pinterest? Blog reading? Shopping? YouTube videos? Reading fan fic? Gaming?

    More than likely, I spend the majority of my time working on my own blog(s) and writing posts.

    8. Any ideas or suggested changes that you think would make this blog more useful, entertaining, or easier to read? Seriously, I can take it. If there's something you love from other blogs that you think could be incorporated here, let me know. If there's something here that bothers you, let me know. Any random thoughts? Let me know.

    One write does a weekly "it's okay friday" and I love that - it's just snippets of what happened during their week and I can relate to a lot of what they put. Another blogger will talk about her own personal writing journey and classes she takes (not anything instructive really but her own personal journey in writing). On your blog, I just love personal posts, really. It's something I would like to do more myself. I don't mind book reviews, fiction, but sprinkle a personal touch to bring people back. I'm telling MYSELF this as well as you haha.

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    1. I just realized I mistyped- in answer # 8, i put "one write" I meant, one WRITER - and her blog is called "Unpublished Life" - http://unpublishedworksofme.blogspot.com/.

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    2. Then We Came To The End has been on my list a long time. Clearly its worth reading :D Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments. I'll have to go check out that Unpublished Life blog...and I like that Its Okay Friday idea! I agree, I kinda like a mix of the personal on writing blogs. Thanks again, I am definitely going to think carefully about these ideas!

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  5. 1. What blogs do you visit most?
    I tend to wander virtually. From blogfest friends to fellow gardeners.

    2. What book are you reading now, and how/where did you discover it?
    I was reading The Daredevil's Manual...a book on escape techniques. My kids bought it for me cause they know I like 'research' books.

    3. How do you feel about the following on author blogs: Personal stories/essays, flash fiction, poetry, photo essay (ie. pics from the bloggers personal life and excursions) or "home-made" comics/illustrations (kinda like Hyperbole and a Half or Debbie Ohi).
    I love the personal stuff cause it makes me feel like you get to see another side of the blog persona.

    4. Do you regularly watch any YouTube channels? If so, which ones?
    I watch the funny ones that gamers do for laughs. Also the makeup ones.

    5. Are you currently subscribed to any author newsletters?
    Yeah,a few. Usually the ones that do a weekly roundup of writer stuff on the net.

    6. What Reader do you use for reading blogs? Bloglovin? Feedly? FriendConnect? Something else? Or do you visit blogs one by one?
    I visit them one by one.

    7. What is the number one thing you spend time doing on the internet? Facebook? Pinterest? Blog reading? Shopping? YouTube videos? Reading fan fic? Gaming?
    I'd have to say Twitter or Facebook...though Pinterest has really been taking my time lately.

    8. Any ideas or suggested changes that you think would make this blog more useful, entertaining, or easier to read? Seriously, I can take it. If there's something you love from other blogs that you think could be incorporated here, let me know. If there's something here that bothers you, let me know. Any random thoughts? Let me know.
    I love getting updates from fellow authors. It helps me stay connected.

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    Replies
    1. Gotta love Pinterest :) That one definitely takes up some of my time...and I'm glad you like the personal stuff on blogs! I'll have to check out some of those funny gaming videos on YouTube.

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  6. 1. top 2 or 3? there's just too many to list. I don't read that many author blogs but I do like to read blogs about life and books, music and movies and tv shows. also I like humorous blogs and book blogs to see what I might read later, so, sorry, I cannot name just 2 or 3 but I do have a reading list at my blog if you want to check that out.

    2. I'm reading a fiction book called Q by Evan Mandery - I found this book when I was searching for book titles starting with Q. But I find most of my books to read at book blogs and also browsing book stores' fiction section.

    3. I like reading them as long as they don't spend too much time writing about trivial things but people's interest varies so I cannot say I like reading personal stuff all that much but it certainly gets me to get to know the author. anything that is created and the creator wants to share it with the public, I'm okay with.

    4. now and then but mostly, I watch my favorite channels but rarely expands to others but my favorite is 'screenjunkies' channel and whatever I find funny and sometimes tutorials as I often search for how-to's but mostly I don't bother much with youtube.

    5. lets of bloggers that offer blog info/tutorials but no author newsletters as I rarely subscribe by email since I prefer to read blogs directly.

    6. I visit blogs directly, one by one but I sometimes uses the Blogger dashboard to the blogs that I've subscribed using the expired but still working friend-connect, I do not have google+, so I can no longer subscribe to blogs this way.

    7. Reading blogs & shopping and sometimes watching some movie trailers or tv shows that aren't widely available

    8. I don't have any suggestions on content as I think it's fine. design-wise, I have a few comments. I do like the white as a very personal preference as I think black or gray text on white background is easier on the eye.

    a. I'm never a fan of the 3-column blog but if you must, I would recommend some division between the sidebars and the content, perhaps a vertical line or perhaps background color to set them apart from the content.

    b. also some division between posts would be good too. and adding the label gadget on the sidebar as well so people know what your blog is about.

    c. I also think you can move some sidebar items to the footer. I'm not a fan of having too many badges and links on sidebars so using the footer is one way to declutter a little. I know having content at the top is ideal but I think if people really want to find something, they will.

    d. I would definitely put the subscribe/follow gadgets together - it seems there are many and a bit scattered.

    e. I think the red v-shaped graphic is just too much and too large. I know they are use to direct readers to important things but I just don't like them.

    f. the background of the black plant/flower graphic is not working for me. I do not know why it is there as it sort of distracts from the whole of the blog.

    have I said too much? I hope not. most are really just my own preferences so, you don't have to follow them but I believe blogs should look good to complement their content. as a graphic designer, a good looking blog usually attracts me first, that is, other than the content.

    so, there's my 2 cent. have a great day.

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    Replies
    1. Lissa, thank you so much!! This is so incredibly helpful. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out like that. Obviously I've incorporated some of your recommended changes, and I'm still in the process of tweaking and making things better. I always want to make this blog nicely designed and easy to read, so thank you for helping me reach that goal!

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  7. I prefer to keep this more general.

    I have one motivation--my goal. It's to be the best writer I can be. I follow author blogs that help me toward that goal. I want to know what steps an author took to improve, and what things I should consider when writing, researching, branding myself online. Where to submit or if a publisher has an open call.

    Hope that helps. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette


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    Replies
    1. Wonderful! Great thoughts. And yes, the blogs that I find the most valuable are helping me with exactly that...being the best writer I can be. I also really like open call notifications, so I've been trying to include those in the weekly blog posts. I hope those are helping you out!

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  8. Hmm...let's see, let's see.

    1) I wander around between a few writer's blogs and general purpose blogs. I have no faves per say, but the ones I keep reading are those who had commented/followed my last two blogs.

    2} Walter Mosley. Don't know the title as I just picked it up from the library and got into from reading his latest "Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore.

    3} I have a tendency to skip over most stories/essays from an author nowadays. Pics are fine.

    4} No YouTube channels.

    5} No author newsletters anymore.

    6} No reader, I use the RSS feed button on my IE to subscribe to blogs (like this one).

    7} On the 'net I spend most of my time catching up on my blog subscriptions and sub-three minute visits to Facebook.

    8} Other posting more than once a week, there is nothing else I can think of.

    Father Nature's Corner

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    1. Great thoughts!! Thank you so much. I'll have to check out that Walter Mosley. And I'm in the process of adding another day per week to the blog schedule with something new and different, but I still have some kinks to work out. That's partially why I wanted to get some feedback from all you guys today, to help me work out this new thing I want to do on the blog. Thanks for your feedback!

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I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

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