Building Your Readership Through Blog Comments

by Mike Duran · 41 comments

Growing blog readership can be a complex affair. But if you ask popular bloggers how to draw traffic to your site, almost all of them will include commenting on other blogs as part of your strategy.

One of the most humbling parts of blogging is the realization that your blog — no matter how personal, passionate, witty, informative, provocative, or visually appealing it is to you — is just a drop in the cyber-bucket. According to Wikipedia, “As of 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.” Which means if EVERY PERSON in California, Texas, New York, and Florida blogged, there would still be room for 50 million more bloggers. The chances of someone (other than your immediate friends and/or family) finding your blog and becoming a regular visitor is equivalent to hitting the lottery in one of those states. Twice.

So increasing your odds becomes a blogging imperative.

When I first began blogging (back in 2005), I spent a lot of time at Dave Long’s (Sr. Acquisitions Editor for Bethany House) now defunct Faith in Fiction website and discussion board. It was a great place to be, kind of like an electronic pub or SoHo in cyberspace. There was a cool vibe, a sense that we were on the cutting edge of something great. We hung out and talked about art and faith and the publishing industry. So many of those writers have gone on to publication: Mark Bertrand, Meg Moseley, Jeanne Damoff, Michael Snyder, Don Hoesel, and others. Back then I was unpublished, inexperienced, insecure, and a little brash. Nevertheless, I knew if I wanted to be heard, I couldn’t remain a lurker. I had to step out of my comfort zone and join the discussion. And as I did, I slowly found more readers migrating my way.

Which leads me to ask, Where’s your cyber-SoHo?

Where’s that crowd of like-minded folks who encourage you, educate you, kick-start your imagination, fire you up, and make you feel less an outsider? Are you fighting through your fears and making yourself heard there? Or are you still lurking? Are you bringing “your brand,” your signature, your “calling card” with you to those hangouts? And are you saying the types of things that will generate interest and respect, and win you potential readers?

Blogger Cathy LaGrow recently messaged me this encouraging note:

Not only do I appreciate (and agree with!) Cathy’s  observation, she illustrates an important dynamic of blogging. Even though I am the sole proprietor of deCOMPOSE, it is YOUR COMMENTS that make this site go.

Blog comments are often called “digital bread crumbs” because they lead a reader back to you.  I discovered this at work recently when I followed one of my regular commenters back to their own site and was pleasantly surprised to find a contingent of other regular commenters. Apparently, bloggers were finding each other through this community.

And this “cross pollination” is what makes blogging fun.

Of course, not all blog comments generate traffic toward your site. Several weeks ago I deleted a comment, which is something I rarely do, because an author dropped into a conversation and left nothing but a plug for his book. Listen, I have no problem with authors referencing their books or blog. That’s what we’re all here for. But if you’re trolling the web looking for comment threads to plug yourself or your book, it’ll show.

Call it bad “comment etiquette” if you want, but here’s a few ways to ensure that your digital breadcrumbs will go to the birds.

  • Amens and attaboys. It’s fine to leave a comment saying, “Good post,” “Preach it!,” or “I agree”… provided that’s not the only thing you say. In doing so, many commenters come off as groupies, adding nothing to the conversation other than their obsession with the blogger. Like spiders poised on their web, waiting for a posting Alert. Comment trackback potential: ZERO.
  • Advertisements. If you are commenting on a post, please show that you’ve actually read the post by adding to the discussion and not steering it to yourself. Some comments just scream VISIT MY SITE! They usually have the opposite effect. And if you are going to plug your book, at least do it in the context of the subject matter. It’s bad enough dealing with spam bots without having humans acting like them.
  • No link back to you. What’s the point of posting Anonymous? Really. And if you’re a writer without a website or blog, shame on you.
  • Being late to the conversation. Readers migrate to the hot topic, and with web content constantly changing, getting into the discussion early can be a great way to get your comments seen. Of course, this is not always realistic. And being perched at your computer waiting for the newest post from your favorite blogger is uncomfortably close to stalking. Nevertheless, the further you get away from the original post date, the more your chances of being heard diminish.
  • Sloppy, incoherent, poorly-reasoned, uninformed, grammatically-challenged comments.  Sure, no one expects perfectly edited or expertly reasoned comments, especially in the course of an ongoing discussion. Rapid-fire responses are supposed to be unpolished. However, if you’re a writer, detail is part of your stock-in-trade. Every misspelled word, run-on sentence, misquote, and incoherent thought takes a bite out of your credibility. Dude, is it too much to ask that you switch on your spell check?
  • Dominating comment threads. There’s a fine line between being engaged in conversation and hijacking a thread. Most of us want to see people coming to our site and conversing. However, there’s a point when can lose sight of the subject and unduly insert ourselves into the conversation. Lots of comments can be great, but when comment threads are dominated by any one person the sense of community often withers. So learning when to leave a question unanswered and/or take the discussion off-line is an important part of blog commenting.
  • Combative tone. Controversy and dissent can be great for generating traffic. But you must be careful — it can also turn readers off. Visiting blogs just to dissent or rebut is troublesome. Of course, if someone agrees with your objections, you may win a reader. However, the downside can be steep. For if you come off as a troll or a troublemaker, disrespectful of the webmaster and the community of commenters, you reduce your chances of trackbacks and alienate potential readers. Unless they just want to see the freak.
  • Personal attacks. The web thrives on vigorous debate. But a conversation will ALWAYS end quickly when comments get personal.
  • Sidetracking the conversation. Keeping a discussion on point may be one of the hardest things for a blogger to do. We want to get people talking, but doing so opens the door for rabbit trails and wild goose chases. It’s a delicate balance. Sometimes a sidebar conversation can be great and actually add another layer to the discussion. But do so with caution. Nothing will dampen a good conversation like a commenter whose “rabbit trail” leads to nowhere.

Leaving good blog comments on others blogs is one of the best ways to draw people to your site and build your own readership. So what are some of the things you think makes a good blog comment? What are some of the mistakes you think most blog commenters make? And what advice would you give to a lurker for overcoming their fears?

 

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Banks July 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Difficult to make another suggestion to what makes a good blog comment when you’ve covered it so well above! For me it is trying to be true to yourself without being sycophantic (see my 1st sentence!) or aggressive. The trouble is when you feel passionately about something it is hard not to go overboard when commenting. So here is my main ‘original’ bit of advice: If you cannot comment without losing it, don’t comment, go and write a blog post on that subject!

PB

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Carradee July 5, 2011 at 11:28 AM

I’m not sure I agree on those odds for being noticed, because blogs (should) have niches. The niche narrows the playing field somewhat, though it also narrows the audience. Some niches have high blogs-to-audience ratios; some have very low ones.

It seems like the blog comments with the best click-through rates are ones that say “I blogged about this just last [week/month/year/etc]” and include a link to that post to clarify the poster’s comments.

That said, a major “good” comment technique is to use your head. Be reasonable. Polite. Even pleasant, if you can bear it. (I couldn’t resist that bit of tongue-in-cheek.) Impassioned extremist comments can get a lot of retweets, but they don’t make you the company folks want to go hang out with.

Humor, now, that’s dangerous to include in a comment. Some folks will “get” it and look forward to hearing more from you. Some will miss your point entirely and avoid you. But I’ve found the online friends you do gain from expressing your personality end up being more enthusiastic about what you say.

At least, this is my completely unscientific opinion on the matter. ^_^

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Mike Duran July 5, 2011 at 12:20 PM

You’re right about the odds of being noticed, Carradee. Perhaps they aren’t as steep as I suggested. But there is a big difference between getting people find your site and become a regular visitor. Unlike the state lottery, getting people to your site is not a strict gamble. There are ways to do attract readers. However, just hoping people show up w/out doing anything IS a gamble. Thanks for commenting!

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George Anthony Kulz July 5, 2011 at 11:38 AM

You make some great points here. I myself am guilty of not having my own blog, sort of. Mine is still sitting on my (sadly outdated) MySpace page. I do update it now and then, but I really need to switch to something else.

One thing I wanted to point out, and this is in no way a comment about you or your blog, since I’m relatively new here. But I’ve noticed in others’ blogs that there are plenty of opportunities for the blog owner to comment on people’s comments, but usually the blog owner never comes back to respond to any of said comments. If one of the purposes of a blog is to encourage discussion, then you would think the blog owner would participate in discussions. I find many times that a blog poster will throw something out there, and then that’s it. Almost like they’re listening to themselves talk but not listening to others that might agree/disagree/whatever. I understand that people get busy, but then maybe a different format is more suited to what the blogger wants to accomplish.

Just my (way more than) 2 cents, and hopefully I didn’t go too overboard. These are just my observations.

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Mike Duran July 5, 2011 at 12:30 PM

George, it’s a good point. I purposely try NOT to respond to every commenter. I like to listen to other people and don’t feel I need to rebut every objection. Also, some bloggers tend to stuff their comment thread with their own comments, which gives an appearance of volume. Sure they got twenty comments. But when you look closer, 10 of the comments are the blog owner’s and 4 others are from the same commenter. And two others say, “Amen” and “Attaboy.”

That said, you’re right. And I am guilty of that sometimes. In all honesty, right now I am thinking about my NEXT post as much as I am this one. So sometimes it leads to a bit of a disengagement. Nevertheless, I agree. While I don’t need to see the blogger respond to every comment, or mine personally, I do need to know they are listening. Appreciate your thoughts, George.

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MGalloway July 5, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Thats something else that is important, too…the blog owner also needs to keep generating content (hopeful useful and engaging content) on a semi-regular basis. I can’t count the number of times I’ve clicked on someone’s link after they left a blog comment somewhere only to find their own blog hasn’t been updated in a year or two. I probably would have subscribed even if they only half-maintained their own blog.

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Luther July 5, 2011 at 11:58 AM

I am relatively new at this and I still have more lurkers than commenters but there is a steady following that is building.

I agree that you must read the post and be sincere in you comments while being gracious in disagreements.

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Bruce Hennigan July 5, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Mike, I think you touched on one of the important facets of blogging. It is an extended community. That is what I crave most as a new author. I’ve learned so much by following your blog the past few months including not only your posts but the comments. I’ve never been one to indulge in commenting on blogs. I usually get my skinny latte and sit in the corner of the coffee shop and observe. When you put yourself out there and open your mouth, you set yourself up to be criticized, judged, and possibly ostracized. But, if you never take a risk, you stay in the corner.
I think this is what I have learned most about commenting. Don’t say anything unless you have something of substance to say. And, when you do comment, say something that facilitates discussion and keeps the ball, or in this case, the blog rolling.
Thanks for a great post!

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Richard Mabry July 5, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Mike, Excellent points, and some that need to be re-emphasized on a regular basis.
You say you were “…unpublished, inexperienced, insecure, and a little brash.” I wish you wouldn’t feed me straight lines, but something tells me it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to make the obvious comment. : )
Seriously, thanks for sharing some excellent advice.

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Morgan Busse July 5, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Great post :) Wish I had read something like list this a few years back. At least I stopped lurking around.

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Johne Cook July 5, 2011 at 12:58 PM

My cyber SoHo is here. Thanks, Mike.

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Jeanne Damoff July 5, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Wow, Mike. Seeing my name smack in the middle of that list of awesome people made me feel like quite the cool kid. (Dear Mike’s Readers, Pay no attention to the woman behind the link. I am the cool and awesome Jeanne.)

Also, I love Cathy LaGrow. She’s a doll. Great story teller and very funny.

As for your post, terrific observations as per usual (even though I don’t always say so). I agree with you about the importance of comments and their content, but I admit I’m a bit conflicted in these matters. It feels icky to comment on a post if my main or even subordinate motive is to make a splash in a community for the sake of attracting attention to myself. Even the idea of having a strategy to drive traffic to my blog sits wrong with me, though I do love traffic when I get it. In Jeanne’s Ideal Bloggerhood, a passel of fascinating people would simply show up, following the parade of laughing babies by day and the singing fireflies by night. (Me on glue? Of course not.)

Yeah. So, I read a LOT of blogs, and I comment on posts when I’m moved or burdened or amused or inspired. I comment if I feel I have valuable knowledge or experience to add to a conversation. Otherwise, I’m mostly quiet. And often, when I do comment, I never make it back to the conversation again, simply because of time and . . . oooh! Shiny!

Conclusion. I will most likely never be famous for blog traffic. But at least for a day (and forever in the archives) I get to hang out with the cool kids at Mike’s place. Thanks, my friend.

Jeanne

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Cathy July 5, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Well….I kinda think Miss Jeanne walks on water.

And Mike is like the Class President and valedictorian. So…I’m keeping very good company, these days.

That’s all. Not a sophisticated or erudite comment, but there you have it.

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Mike Duran July 6, 2011 at 5:18 AM

Cathy, any comment that bestows “Class President and valedictorian” upon me is a good comment!

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Jessica Thomas July 5, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Oy vey… So much pressure to always be “on our toes”. But I can’t disagree with your list, in fact, I’ve made some of those mistakes (though hopefully I’m not making any of them right now…ouch…I could really start second guessing myself).

You’re right, too. Blogging is very humbling. It makes you realize just how big the Web really is. You can say things in “public”, but it doesn’t mean anyone will be listening.

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Sherry Thompson July 9, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Hi, Jessica! I’m essentially breaking one of Mike’s guidelines by responding to this so late. I just got so wrapped up in his next one, I forgot the check this one out.
Any-who, you wrote, “You’re right, too. Blogging is very humbling. It makes you realize just how big the Web really is. You can say things in “public”, but it doesn’t mean anyone will be listening.”

Old song title, “One is the Loneliest Number”.

I’ve had an LJ blog since the tippy tail end of 2007. However, I don’t post on it as often as I should–I can never think of anything to say given my boring retired life. And when I do have “events” to report, they’re often depressing or frustrating, so I keep my mouth shut. It’s very frustrating!
I -am- trying to get better about posting to other people’s blogs. Mike’s subjects certainly attract me, so this is a pretty painless activity.
Until I discovered YAAYNHO, my “SoHo blog” was Written Remains, the name of our local writers’ group. I love the people but frankly we don’t generate many posts–or responses.
Now, I’m an every-three-week contributor to YAAYNHO (my new SoHo) and I get lots more responses to my entries there than I ever get at my own site. What helps, of course, is that the YAAYNHO blog is a team effort. Much less stress to produce! Yet, we have enough people to put up an entry every couple of days. This is something to consider–besides Mike’s great breadcrumb guidelines–if you have trouble keeping your blog filled with interesting stuff, then invite guest bloggers or take on a partner or two.

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Katherine Coble July 5, 2011 at 1:46 PM

I got lucky in that I was involved in the Nashville Is Talking paid-blogger experiment from 2005 until it disbanded. That has left me with a Cyber So Ho of sorts that revolves primarily around the Nashville blogging community. This year I am making a conserted effort to expand my CSH to other fora, just for my own personal growth. Hence my bad behaviour over here.

I will say, though, that you left off the #1 way to drive readership to your blog.

Have one of your entries inspire a lawsuit.
http://mycropht.wordpress.com/2007/02/28/jl-kirk-associates-my-story/

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Mike Duran July 6, 2011 at 5:41 AM

Wow! I haven’t been sued yet. But if my stats drop, maybe I should try to be…

Really appreciate your comments here, Katherine.

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Tracy Krauss July 5, 2011 at 2:09 PM

First let me say that I find your blog to be one of very few that i actually find engaging, in terms of the discussion. (Case in point: the ‘Why Christians can’t agree about Christian fiction’ is still generating comments, no?) I guess part of what makes for good comments is the fact that you first of all ASK a question – something relevant that makes people want to join in and be heard.
I must admit, I have done the ‘good post’ quicky, but sometimes this is just so that the person actually knew I was there and read their post.
I think it takes time to build up your ‘cyber’ presence through leaving comments. I’m now taking your advice and leaving my blog addy :)
http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com

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C.L. Dyck July 5, 2011 at 2:42 PM

I don’t really *have* a cyber-SoHo, oddly. I’m not a regular reader of…anything. I just follow topics of interest wherever they pop up, when I have time to do so. It’s probably something to add to the “not to do” list, as far as building a site’s following.

However: I first encountered you via a Novel Journey post, and you took the initiative to connect with me on Twitter after I commented. That made me feel comfortable continuing to follow your writing and online dialogues, because it provided a tangible indication of welcome and openness.

I think that’s especially important where a blogger’s writing style communicates strong opinions and strong no-nonsense boundaries. Those of us who try to be more conscientious of good online etiquette may hang back rather than risk transgressing a community’s unwritten interaction dynamics. The text-only limitations of the net can make that dynamic difficult to measure, and accidental misunderstandings suck.

Additionally, I’ve had to ban a couple of people from my site, which is geared to thinking expression and balanced cultural engagement from a conservative Christian women’s perspective. Having to deal with trolls and persistent doofuses (including a misguided male ego seeking a “helpmeet” with the brains to appreciate his awesome genius) is not the fun part of online.

I’d always rather start out on the right foot with my own commenting. So, I’d say it’s good for bloggers to take initiative in turning passing exchanges into longer-term dialogue and engagement with their commenters. It helps overcome the weirdness of the internet.

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Luther July 5, 2011 at 8:09 PM

If there were not weirdos this would not be the internet but conversely we would not meet and converse with interesting people either

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C.L. Dyck July 6, 2011 at 12:23 AM

LOL So true. So like hi! :) I’m Cat from Scita > Scienda blog. As a writer, I often work with speculative fiction author Marc Schooley (I’m very proud of him right now because he finds out on Monday whether he gets a Christy Award), and as an editor, I freelance and mentor. Also, I love your blog design. Very striking. Next to look at the content… ;)

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Luther July 6, 2011 at 7:40 AM

Lol…which design? I have been switching from blogger to wordpress over the last several days so I am not sure which design was up.

I freely admit that I am not as talented a writer as others who haunt this place but I do believe my ” one talent ” is to bs used.

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Mike Duran July 6, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Cat, I really do appreciate people who comment on my stuff and try to show it. Although I am not always prompt, nor do I personally write every commenter, it is something I like to do. Anyway, thanks for reminding me how important that Tweet was to your readership. Blessings!

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C.L. Dyck July 6, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Luther, the WordPress design–open book, antiqueish background. Nice.

Mike, sometimes you have so many commenters that I’m sure you’d never get another book written if you answered them all–your word count would get used up dealing with the blog. :)

This post has me wondering how much commenter behaviour divides along gender lines, actually. From what I’ve seen, women are more likely to use content as a means to relate (and sometimes end up almost having a policy of answering every visitor individually, even if there’s nothing to really say, because relating is an end in itself), while men seem more apt to relate around content as an end in itself, if that makes sense.

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Luther July 6, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Just visited your site awhile ago C.L. and I enjoyed what I saw.

I have made several online friendships through blogging/twitter/facebook and I feel that God has lead this individuals into my life for a reason.

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Alan Oathout July 6, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Once upon a time, I was heavily into David Long’s FIF as well…miss those days.

Cyber SoHo is here, now…and I make time to check up on Tim G and Katherine C’s latest thoughts, as well…

I first learned of you through your comments on other blogs. Liked your thoughtful approach…followed you here and found that you had an excellent non-fiction “journalist” voice. It was like reading a good magazine article or essayist every few days.

Love the community here, and enjoy “people-watching” the different personalities through the comment threads.

My problem with you is, you spark too many thoughts…and because you talk about things of substance, it’s hard to reign it in and keep responses reasonably short. That would be the comment mistake I’m guilty of most often…

At the risk of committing an “attaboy,” your etiquette list should be required reading on all 156 million blogs.

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Mike Duran July 6, 2011 at 8:29 AM

I appreciate this, Alan. Interesting that you found me through a blog comment on another site. My writing / work schedule doesn’t permit me to visit all the blogs I’d like anymore. So I try to make the best use of it when I can. Anyway, it’s good to know that something I said elsewhere drew you here.

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Alan Oathout July 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Should be “rein” it in, not “reign” it in….btw.

Katherine added a footnote about homonyms to one of her posts a few weeks back that I enthusiastically agreed with…and now I’ve committed the sin… self-righteousness is a hard lifestyle :)

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Jen J. Danna July 6, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Thanks for a great post, Mike. I’m currently struggling with just this issue – I have a fairly new blog that doesn’t see a lot of traffic yet (I know, it’s early days still…). I know that I’m responsible for bringing people to the site, but I’m having such trouble managing my time currently that I’m not out commenting as much as I should be on other blogs. But I’m not the only person who works full time, raises kids, is married, is trying to manage a second career and is in first draft hell for her WIP. It can be done. I just need to figure out how to manage it better.

My take home message from this is that I need to get out there more and I need to do it in a timely fashion. Thank you for a much needed reminder!

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Johne Cook July 6, 2011 at 7:09 AM

Jen,
Sounds like your plate is full. There are other ways to get your name out there than regularly service your own blog (which can feel like just one more bleeping thing on one’s plate).

I recommend praying about it and seeing if there are other ways to get your name and character out there. I’ve essentially let my personal writing blog go quiescent, and have funneled my energy into the co-op sites I’m a part of. In my case, that’s the AuthorCulture blog – with Linda Yezak, Lynette Bonner, Katie Weiland, and John Robinson – and Ray Gun Revival, our space opera short story e-zine. Being a part of a team or teams means I can still keep my ‘brand alive while dealing with all the other rigors of a busy modern life. It also means I have more time to serve in church and family, which I highly value.

Being a part of a co-op blog can keep your name current and out there while not requiring the daily or near-daily ministrations of a solo blog.

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Jen J. Danna July 6, 2011 at 7:49 AM

Thanks so much for the advice, Johne. It’s definitely tough trying to keep all the balls in the air, but I sense that you’ve been-there-done-that yourself.

I’ve thought a lot of about co-op sites, but I have to admit that I side with Kristen Lamb on this one. When I think about co-op sites that I read from, I have to admit that I don’t necessarily know the authors there. You can get lost at co-op sites in a way that you don’t when you run your own website and blog and name recognition carries a lot of weight. My middle ground on this is that I only post once a week. I know I should post more often, but I simply can’t manage more and still give the time to all the other things in my life that need the attention (including my writing, which is why we’re all here, isn’t it?).

But thank you for the suggestion. I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my comment…

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Jill July 6, 2011 at 9:21 AM

I’ve discovered that I have to leave comments on numerous blogs in order to bring traffic back to mine. And the more I leave comments, the more I see followers on my site. I’m not all about stats or followers, but I like to see that what I’m doing is working, that I’m not talking to myself or wasting time. On the other hand, it’s easy to feel that writer-bloggers are playing a selfish game to build their platforms. Yet, I’ve watched others form friendships, find writing friends and critique partners, as well.

“Back then I was unpublished, inexperienced, insecure, and a little brash.” Except for the inexperienced part, that statement describes me. I guess I have a slow learning curve.

Sigh. I’m not very good at this kind of game. I like to debate, though, to talk about ideas, and I feel badly that I don’t often have a clue how aggressive and argumentative I’m being.

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Lynn Mosher July 6, 2011 at 9:53 AM

I so agree with Miss Jeanne. Love her, though I don’t always get to comment on her posts. This is a cool place, Mike! I know so many who have commented!

I also agree with Jill. I’m not about bulging numbers; I care about the people. But it is nice to know that the list of followers and commenters grows.

You have covered the territory very well. For me, commenting is sometimes difficult, not because of the blogger’s content but because of the fibromyalgia that interferes many times with my cognitive ability. It is difficult to formulate a bit of chit-chat. Very frustrating!

You have hit the one problem I find on my own blog: puffed up stats. Since I write devotionals and inspirational pieces, I want to personally thank each person who has taken time to read my posts and comment on them. That said, I hate that it shows a false number. I am also dissatisfied with Blogger’s comment system. I’m seriously thinking of implementing another system, something like you have.

And thank you, Mike, for your knowledge and encouragement to the rest of us fledgling skywriters, er, cyberwriters! Since I don’t like Starbucks, your place is now my Panera hangout! ;p

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John Robinson July 6, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Mike’s post puts me in mind of another little SoHo group I was part of years ago, called Cafe Barcelona. It was full of CBA ex-pats who mulled over the future of gritty Christian fiction, and the then-dearth thereof.

And I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been remiss about keeping on top of my own blog; our genial host’s thoughts here have filled me with resolve. I’ll try to do better, God willing.

And while I’m at it, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Johne and the AuthorCulture crew; I’m very blessed and honored he asked me to be a part. IMO, you couldn’t ask for a more happenin’ group of hep cats and swell eggs (sorry, got caught in a cross-dimensional timewise slang wormhole thingie for second; I’m cool now. With a reet pleat).

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PW Creighton July 6, 2011 at 8:03 PM

While spam comments can be a royal pain, I feel it’s the lurkers that are more discouraging than most. You pour yourself into a post and find no one wants to add to the conversation. Jody Hedlund touched on this recently when she polled people and found most writers reason for not posting comments was “they had nothing new to add to the conversation.” Comment etiquette is certainly responsible for the interaction and strong ties between readers and writers.

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Katherine Coble July 7, 2011 at 9:19 AM

This happens to me all the time.

I’ll write what I feel is a halfway decentish post and then…crickets. Or Cicadas, depending on which year it is.

Then, a week or two or three later I’ll come across a person at church or in a restaurant whom I was unaware even knew I HAD a blog, let alone read it. Then they start quoting me to me (like Bruno Kirby in When Harry Met Sally…said, it’s a wild feeling) and go on and on about how they loved what I had to say.

And I’m all sheepish and thanking and demurring. But in the back of my mind (and on the car ride home) all I can say over and over is “Then why don’t these people leave a comment?!?”

Blogging is so often dancing without applause.

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Johne Cook July 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Snort. /Writing/ is so often dancing without applause. (And by the applause sometimes does come, you don’t remember what you thought made that thing special, you’ve moved on emotionally, and receive the acclaim as an almost distant spectator.)

I’ve said for awhile that I’m working on building a back-catalog for some fan to find years in the future. ; )

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Bob Avey July 9, 2011 at 9:41 AM

My cyber SoHo is right here, Mike.

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Guy Stewart July 10, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Speaking of making comments on blogs…just thought I’d let you know that I posted the last article using your writing advice! It’s here:

http://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/2011/07/writing-advice-last-mike-duran.html

If anyone’s interested in reading the other entries in the series,go to my blogspot: http://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/
just go to the right under LABELS, click on the last category Writing Advice and there are ten articles prior to this last entry! All comments will be cheerfully read and responded to!

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Meg Moseley July 11, 2011 at 4:56 AM

I’m sorry to be late to the party. My husband just told me you’d mentioned my name in regard to the old F*i*F community, so I scooted over here to see what’s what. I’ve never seen anything quite like Dave Long’s discussion board. I miss it. I also enjoyed Suzan Robertson’s Cafe Barcelone. (Hi, John Robinson!)

Like Cat, I tend to follow topics of interest wherever they pop up. I enjoy Cat’s blog and the Rabbit Room because they focus on good stuff like being true to Story. Novel Matters is another good one. Mike, your blog has been one of my favorites for a long time.

I love online conversations with other writers, and one of my goals for the coming months is to get more involved. It’s not as good as meeting in person, but it’s a close second.

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