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Friday, July 1, 2011

GUEST BLOG: CELIA YEARY

The Perfect Blog

During my forties, I made an appointment with a dermatologist in order to rid my face of dark spots caused by too much sun exposure on the golf course. At the doctor's office, I pointed out these unsightly spots I wanted removed. He whipped out his aluminum nitrogen bottle, told me to hold still, and begin to blast each one. When he finished my face, he moved on to my neck. Zap! Zap, zap, zap! Before I could utter a sound, he began on my forearms and the backs of my hands.

Within ten minutes, I had burn spots covering all exposed skin. I said, "I only wanted my face done." His reply: "But I like perfection."

Decades later—just a few, mind you—all my exposed skin is still free of those spots. It's not exactly perfection, but I like it.

This soliloquy is to describe "The Perfect Blog," a sequel to "The Perfect Excerpt" I wrote for "1st Turning Point."

A blog may be very good, but none is perfect. The opinion is all in the eye of the beholder. Each one is unique, and if it's a good one, it showcases the author. In other words, a good blog really is about The Author and Personality. Since authors are the best source of material, I asked several to describe the parts of a blog they liked, and parts that did not seem to fit. Here's a summary of their excellent points.

~*~


1. Cater to your audience. If you write fiction, then write to your readers, even if many are writers, too. Readers generally enjoy personal posts, and since you are a writer, be creative! Use photos from your recent vacation; recipes connected to your book or to your region; tales about your dog; tales about your cat; an anecdote about your childhood; an anecdote about an unusual experience; the worst manuscript you ever wrote. Entertain your audience.

2. Don't do too many writer-based posts, because most of your audience doesn't care about POV, Show-Don't Tell, or Grammar Errors.

3. However, if you are an editor or publisher, write posts that teach or can launch a discussion.

4. Find a balance that fits you and your audience. (Too often vs. Just right?)

5. Try not to make any post too long. Trust me—you will lose your audience.

6. If you use photos, make sure they are good quality.

7. Reply to each comment. Many readers return to see what you said about her comment.

8. Forget that you are not the Center of the Universe. Yes, the blog is about you…but somehow learn to make your readers feel important and wanted.

9. Have an easy sign-in to comment. If a reader must go through too many hoops, they'll turn away. (If you get a bad comment, you can always use that little Trash Can and delete it.)

10. Keep your entire blog page clean. Too many items on both sides of the text is distracting and sometimes annoying. Find a pleasing visual balance. Ask a few friends to critique the appearance.

11. Create a tagline that describes you and your books. I changed mine several times until a reader suggested that I should keep my blog "all Texas." I try, and my tagline became: "Celia Yeary…Romance, and little bit of Texas."


Celia Yeary is a seventh-generation Texan, and her life revolves around family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been her home for thirty-five years. She has eight published romance novels, two “coming soon” novels, and published essays with a local magazine. The author is a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three boys, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university. She meets with The Write Girls on Tuesdays at a local coffee house.

Buy Link for TEXAS TRUE:
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com
http://www.celiayeary.com
http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com

24 comments:

Lindsay Townsend said...

Great advice, Celia!

Barbara Edwards said...

Good blog, interesting points. made me think about my own blogs.
thanks,
Barbara

Clover Autrey said...

Great tips. I've been revamping my blog this last week, trying to keep it interesting and attract more followers so this is timely for me.

Mona Risk said...

You're so right Celia. Keep it short and sweet is the name of the game. So many time I see very long blogs and get discouraged about reading them or I skip the end.

P.L. Parker said...

Good thoughts Celia - I have to admit, I tend to skip through if the blog is too long. Short and sweet is the perfect result.

Linda Swift said...

Celia, your blogs are always timely, interessting, and thought-provoking. You do an excellent job of keeping the Texas theme in the background. I don't miss any of them and I know you have many other loyal followers. I wish you success with TEXAS TRUE. All of your Texas stories are wonderful. Linda

Maeve said...

You are so right, Celia! Perfection is truly a matter of perception. Well said!

Celia Yeary said...

Hi--
LINDSAY-Thanks for stoppiing by.

BARBARA--Good. Others pointed out things about mine when I asked, and I received some very good advice.

CLOVER--glad I could help a little. Good luck with your revamping. Sometimes it's good just to sort of rev up your creative juices.

MONA--I know. Just like a very long excerpt..I won't sit there and read it unless it is extremely riveting and I can't stop. That's happened, but not all the time.

P.L.The article I wrote about The Perfect Excerpt gave statistics on how long the average adult will keep his/her eyes on a page. Our attention spans are very short!

LINDA--Thank you so very much. One of the big things in my writing day is my blog. I do love it--but I only do about one a week. I think it would burn me out if I did more--plus, everyone else.

MAEVE--well thank you! I'm happy I said it the right way.

CELIA

Paula Martin said...

Great advice, Celia! i'd also add 'Give each blog an intriguing title' - because it's usually the title that grabs my attention when I'm scanning the list of blogs on the blogger dashboard.
I'm still trying to decide on my own tag-line :-)

Celia Yeary said...

PAULA--I forgot that, because you're so right--the title is very important. Like you, I respond to something catchy, unless it's something I'm looking for.
A tagline is not easy. I love to see what other authors use, and sometimes it goes with them, and sometime it seems off from left field. I can't wait to see what you do decide on. Celia

Sandy said...

Celia, I totally agree with you about the blog. I have a stat counter on my blog, and I can tell by the hits and how long they stay if they're interested in my blog.

Even though I have my book covers on my blog, I hardly every promote my books.

Great advice, lady.

Celia Yeary said...

SANDY--there you go, You have it down. I agree you have an excellent blog, very succesful. Neither do I promote my books on my blog--but the covers are up there all the time. Thanks--Celia

Sherry Gloag said...

Great comments Celia, thanks for sharing. Some are making me think of doing a major overhaul on my blog side-bars.

Laurean Brooks said...

Celia,

Thank you for the great tips. We, as bloggers and writers, can always learn something new, and can always count on you to supply it.

Celia Yeary said...

SHERRY--sometimes we need to stop and do a major overhaul. I'm glad you're thinking! Celia

Celia Yeary said...

LAUREAN--bless you, dear heart. But I don't know enough to help others very much. But I love my blog and call myself a Blog Junkie--I love blogs--so I know a little. Thanks so much for dropping by. Celia

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Celia,

You have such a natural gift for blogging. I'm glad you were summarized your strategy for those of us who aren't quite so gifted.

Take notes, folks. Celia is the Real Deal.

Maggie
romance and mystery author

Caroline Clemmons said...

Great sdvice, Celia. But, hey, I feel cheated. My dermatologist zapped the brown spots on my face, but they came back, only smaller. Rats!

Celia Yeary said...

MAGGIE--you're too genrous and sweet. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. It means so much to me. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

CAROLINE--sometimes I think we're crazy when we're younger. I had no idea those brown spots would appear because of the sun. I was just playing golf like crazy, never worrying about my skin. But then I was in my 40s and 50s. I'm so glad it all worked, because I've been careful every since. Celia

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I just never thought too much about a blog showcasing the person running it before. Excellent idea. I don't have one of my own, but love posting on others. It is a great way to learn info about not only the owner but those who comment. Thanks, Celia.

Celia Yeary said...

PAISLEY--actually, I didn't think that either, until a couple of more experienced authors and bloggers pointed it out.In a way, it's your "brand," how you write the blog, the topics, etc. Every one is different.Thanks--Celia

StephB said...

Celia, great advice - and it's good to hear those spots are still gone. I'd struggled with acne since I was 18- 27, all throughout my military career. I was constantly on Erythemisn (sp?) but when I got out I went to the derm and he gave me retin A. Haven't had a problem with my acne since!

Smiles
Steph

Naomi Musch said...

Nice post, Celia. Great advice.