Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to Drive Blog Traffic and Comments

Mention TWILIGHT.

Better yet, praise it.

And the ultimate: criticize it.

Ha! Actually, I do think it inspires a thoughtful discussion. There are many valid points on both sides of the table, and while there are examples where it could have been written better, I think it was clearly written well enough (even if it wasn't always written clearly).

That's my smart ass observation for today. If all goes well, I will atually have a fresh and funny post tomorrow. Topic has been selected, just need to write it out.

43 comments:

Laurel said...

That is too funny! I have been flirting with running an experiment on my own blog (well, actually on Nathan's but posting the results on mine). I wrote an entry called "Jealous" about the vitriol people spew over successful books. I want to plant a comment with a reference to a different best selling author every day for a week and count the number of comments from us wannabes describing every way that author or their book sucks.

I dearly hope that one day people hate me as much as they hate Stephenie Meyer. It will mean I am a very wealthy woman.

WV: drywoo. I'm not sure what it means but it sounds dirty ;)

Laura Martone said...

As a wannabe fiction writer, I take offense, Laurel (I say that somewhat jokingly, of course - please don't spew any vitriol on me)... There are plenty of bestselling authors I don't begrudge - Koontz, King, Shreve, and Rowling, to name a few - but while I enjoyed aspects of the TWILIGHT books (such as characters like Jacob, Alice, and Bella's dad), I don't quite understand Meyer's success. To an extent, it irks me, and then I remember... timing is everything. She lucked out there, that's for sure.

That said, I dare you to try the experiment on Nathan's blog... I'm sure Mira will end up arguing with somebody! And I'll be laughing my arse off.

Laurel said...

Don't be offended, Laura. You're not the sort of commenter I had in mind. It's just as valid to not like something as it is to like it.

What seems ridiculous to me is the "it was the worst piece of trash I've ever read I can't believe it ever got published who are the idiots who read this crap" crowd. Not only is it mean spirited, it's short sighted. I'm sure agents besides Nathan read his blog. Not a good idea to offer a wholesale indictment of a bestselling author, their agent, their publisher, and their buying public if you want to get published yourself.

Meyer's name comes up the most because she's still hot right now but there have been some other bestsellers mentioned who sustained some heavy handed criticism as well.

Rick Daley said...

Can you say "Dan Brown"?

Just wait until his new book comes out in September, then the Meyer debate will go away and the DaVinci bashing will begin anew.

For the record, I loved THE DAVINCI CODE (the book, not the movie). I finished it after about tow and a half days of very compulsive reading. There may have been problems with the writing, but I didn't notice them, I was too engrossed in the story.

I imagine that is what many TWILIGHT readers experienced, and in a way I'm jealous I didn't get it too because I love to get lost in a book.

Laurel, your idea is interesting and I would bet the results would be quite telling. I would caution you to be careful and not to abuse the platform Nathan has established for us all. In that sense, make sure that when you post you do it in a manner that is relevant to his post so you don't hijack the thread.

Not that I think you have ill-intent, just a word of advice. Of course, I'm very interested to see what the results are!

And you can always count on Mira to hijack the post for you ;-)

Laurel said...

That's the only reason I haven't done it yet. It seems a little disrespectful to Nathan. I wonder sometimes if it isn't awkward for him to have people putting up those kinds of attacks on authors/books.

And of course if I did it I would be in stealth mode! It might be a non-sequiter but I would somehow link it to the topic...

Barb said...

How can you have a post about "Twilight" with five comments and not a mention of the sparkling?

It's just not right.

Laura Martone said...

Barb - I'm not sure what you mean... did you like the sparkling or think it was a mite silly (as I did). I mean, what self-respecting vampire (I'm talking about Spike here, of course) would allow himself to sparkle - ever?

Laura Martone said...

Oh, and Rick, I loved THE DAVINCI CODE - as well as ANGELS AND DEMONS. The books, of course - not the movies. Well, I shouldn't say that... I found the movies entertaining - the two women were especially well-cast, but I thought Tom Hanks could've been a much better Langdon.

I should also admit... my husband and I are religious conspiracy nuts, so those kind of books (whether some consider them well-written or not) are right up our alley.

P.S. Laurel, I agree with Rick - perhaps you should save your jealousy experiment for an open thread day... so as not to derail the day's topic. Just a thought!

Rick Daley said...

Barb,

I'm not going to argue with Stephanie Meyer changing the world of vampire mythology to make them sparkly. I prefer vampires that burst into flame in sunlight, like in the movie NEAR DARK. Those were some cool vampires.

The scene with the sparkling in the movie, however, is one of the cheesiest, poorly produced segments of film in the past decade - if not all of film history. Had they done it in parody it would have been hilarious, but because they were being serious it just makes it bad.

If someone did a Scary Movie type remake of TWILIGHT they could leave that scene in as-is. Actually, they could probably leave 2/3 of the movie intact and re-bill it as a comedy.

Rick Daley said...

Laura,

I'm with you on the religious conspiracy bandwagon.

I liked DECEPTION POINT too but didn't care for DIGITAL FORTRESS. I haven't seen ANGELS & DEMONS yet, but I will when it comes out on DVD.

I read somewhere that Dan Brown envisioned Harrison Ford as Langdon. That's who I pictured when I read the books.

Laura Martone said...

Rick -

First of all, I already thought I liked you - after reading your blog comments for the past month or so - but now I'm sure of it! You like NEAR DARK? OMG, I love that movie... now, those are some grungy vamps. And, yes, while I can appreciate a writer's creative license - and the need to invent your own vampire lore - I do believe that exploding in sunlight is a prerequisite for any self-respecting vampire. That's the whole point of the trade-off - immortality with limitations. Sheesh.

And secondly, as to Dan Brown's Langdon, that's exactly the problem. I never knew that he envisioned Harrison Ford, but while reading his two Langdon novels, I thought of Indy anyway - after all, they're both professors who are supposed to kick ass in the field. And, unfortunately, as much as I love Tom Hanks, I just didn't feel he demonstrated the right energy to pull off the character. Also, Brown relies on entirely too much exposition - which doesn't always work in books or in cinema (take, for instance, the big explanation scene at Teabing's mansion in THE DAVINCI CODE).

Anyhoo, I digress...

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Laura. I think NEAR DARK is one of the best vampire movies ever. It's the way they live- wild, reckless, but always on the run and still with the element of fear.

Add to that the human element of the father looking for his son, and then the sister in danger...so many great elements to that story.

Ron Howard and Tom Hanks changed the exposition scene in the film version of DAVINCI, making Langdon more skeptical instead of in full agreement with Teabing. I bet it was Tom Hanks wanting to preserve his reputation among the most faithful by showing an element of dissent.

Laura Martone said...

Yeah, I noticed that change from book to movie (TDC), and I was none too pleased... especially since you're probably right - it was a way of staying on the "good" side of the religious.

Even though I'm a die-hard atheist, I worry sometimes that my novel will alienate religious readers... it's pretty clear that the central location (the underground village) is a socialist utopia where all religions (or no religion), sexual persuasions, and cultures (including mixed marriages) are accepted. Yep - it's a sure bet that I'll piss somebody off. ;-)

ElanaJ said...

I totally wanna know if this works or not! :)

Rick Daley said...

Elana...15 comments including this one. I just checked my prior posts and 18 comments is the most so far, so we're almost there.

Laura, don't be afraid to piss someone off. One of Murphy's Laws states "If you try to please everyone, no one will like it."

The characters in my novel reincarnate. Before they star a new life, they plan it out- feee will to chose what they will do, who they will meet. Once they are born those choices are locked in as their fate. They don't know about them and can't couldn't change them if they did. So lives where bad things happen - people die young, lose loved ones - it's their own choice, not the incomprehensible doings of a deity.

That will probably ruffle a few feathers somewhere along the line.

Another one I'm contemplating is a quirky humor novel about God trying to decide how to end the world. He wants to be original (i.e. no floods, or fire and brimstone) and He's stuck for ideas, so he comes down to Earth and hires a consulting firm to advise Him. That should do the trick, too.

Laurel said...

Rick and Laura:

I AM religious, the kind that gives you hives, most likely. Southern Baptist. Yep. You heard that right.

And Rick, that is the COOLEST concept! I can't wait to read it!

Laura, sure, some people will be upset. But I'm not one of them. One of the ideas I am trying to insert with a light hand into my own work is not the importance of one faith as being right but the importance of seeking God no matter what name/church/synagogue/druid worship site He shows up in.

For the most part I find that extremely religious people are not necessarily all that spiritual and on some level they know it so it is a little threatening if someone challenges their chosen framework of worship.

Laurel said...

P.S.:

Rick, I meant the chosen destiny concept. I also think the God hires a consulting firm one has good potential, too.

That should put you to 17...

Scott said...

Rick,

I like that story idea. You could kind of go along the lines of the Pacino/Keanu Reeves movie from a few years ago.

What is it about Vampire stories that continues to draw us in? I have to admit, I'm as guilty as the next blood-sucker want-a-bee. I loved most of Anne Rice's books. Lestat was kind of an anti-superhero.

Anita said...

Hey! I'm just starting the book in about 10 minutes! I'll let you know what I think (whether you want me to or not). :)

Laurel said...

So this is a new personal record on blog comments. You've struck gold with the magic formula...

Twilight + Religion!

Rick Daley said...

Sweet, 20 comments, that's a record. This is 21. A magic number. Makes me want a drink.

Laurel, my father-in-law was a Baptist minister. He passed away in 1999. He had deep faith and held close to his beliefs, but he was also a very wise man and he was always on the quest for knowledge. I am not aware of him holding prejudice against non-believers (although we never discussed my stance). He also had a great sense of humor, and was well loved and respected in his community. I wish more people were like him, regardless of their religious affiliation.

I'm glad you all like the concepts behind FATE'S GUARDIAN and the unnamed end of the world spoof. I even know how the world will end. It's going to implode. Most people would make it explode, but God really did hire a top notch consulting firm, really out-of-the-box thinkers.

Now I just need to come up with the 60,000 words to fit into the middle part and it'll be ready for queries.

Someday you will see them in print. Or on a Kindle. I'd settle for that. Although I prefer print.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Rick! I'm #22 - woohoo!

I like the concept behind FATE'S GUARDIAN, but I REALLY like your spoof idea... I would definitely read that one! So, ahem, I hope you're serious about it.

Rick Daley said...

I just check the MS for EARTH'S END (working title). It's 343 words so far. And since you expressed interest, here it is. If you start to get offended, please stop reading immediately because it will only get worse.

It starts off with an argument between God and Jesus. Except God calls his son Joshua, because that's what his name really was. Jesus is a Greek translation of Joshua...

God looked down at the Earth. Among all his creations in the vast universe, earth always held special favor with Him. Until now.

It’s not that humanity failed Him, as it had so many times before: Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Noah and the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the countless other times He was forced to smote Earth’s cities and citizens. Humanity was especially gifted at fucking up. And now humanity’s time had come. God never intended for this Creation to last forever.

God always knew He would end life on earth in a spectacular fashion. He looked over at the sun. He watched as the atoms smashed into each other, the simultaneous fission and fusion causing the great chain reaction the exploded into space, generating heat and light. God loved a good explosion.

But God had a problem. For all His greatness, and despite His omniscience, He just didn’t know how He wanted to destroy the earth. He always planned that it would happen; He just put off deciding how it would happen.
He needed help.

He turned to His son. “Joshua, I need you to go down there and-“

“No way. I hate it down there. We had a deal. One time. Sacrifice yourself, save their souls, and it’s over.”

“But they are expecting you to come back,” God said.

“Not my problem. You let some stoner tag on a science fiction ending to the New Testament. We both know that wasn’t part of the original manuscript.”

“But it was some pretty vivid writing. I still like it.”

“You like anything that puts you on top.”

“I am God.”

“Yeah, I know, and for some reason omnipotence itself isn’t enough. You need a constant reminder.”

“I never said I wasn’t vengeful and jealous. That was you, ad-libbing this crap about me being all-loving.”

“I was caught up in the moment, sorry. Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.”

“Don’t throw that BS line at me. I’m surprised they bought that. I don’t have a lenient track record with sinners.”

Laurel said...

Rick,

I think that is a really fresh concept. The writing is great and I love the dialogue.

I am obviously NOT your target market here and you're right...it will definitely cause waves if it gains commercial success. The upside is you will get a ton of free publicity on Fox News and talk radio. (That was actually why I bought the first Harry Potter. I wanted to better understand the collective apoplexy.) If you don't mind the potential heat, this would sell. Just don't be disappointed if Lifeway doesn't want to stock it!

I hope I have not provoked any political discussion here with references to conservative outlets. One of the things I love about author and publishing blogs is the dearth of political discussion...

Rick Daley said...

Laurel,

I would count on the notoriety to help drive publicity, and therefore sales!

While I don't subscribe to traditional Christian beliefs (I don't believe in the resurrection, or that Jesus was the only Son of God) I do try to adhere to the basic tenants of his teachings. I'd have to look up the book / chapter / verse, but at one point Jesus states that the "golden rule" is the only one you truly need to follow: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I also believe that god has a great sense of humor. Why else would he have let our current political system form, with all its bickering and in-fighting?

Also, the platypus. But someone else has already used that line.

Laura Martone said...

I, for one, love PARADISE LOST - I love the idea that Satan is the sympathetic one and that God is a merciless tyrant... the start of your manuscript, Rick, hints to Milton's view.

And, as previously stated, I love religious fiction - especially that which pokes fun or tries to view things from a different perspective. So, keep writing. I'm hungry for more. (And I agree with Laurel - while the zealots might despise you, the negative publicity will only make others curious... I know plenty of Christians who still enjoyed THE DAVINCI CODE - they just didn't "believe" it - they read it for what it was... fiction.)

Rick Daley said...

I haven't even considered Satan's role in this yet, thanks for reminding me ;-)

He's going to have to try to help destroy the Earth but screw it up, which will inspire God to hire the consultants. Or he may have a worthwhile investment of some sorts on Earth (many living souls already pledged to him that will be forfeit if the world ends) and he tries to thwart the destruction in order to protect his investment.

Or perhaps both. I have about 59,485 words to go (added some this morning, now up to 515). I think I can squeeze it all in there.

Laurel said...

I LOVE the idea that Satan is out to save the world. He's the Prince of the Earth, after all!

Plus, has that ever been done before? God is out for the destruction of creation and Satan wants to save it?

Rick Daley said...

Laurel,

I don't think it's been done before. I'm generally an out-of-the-box thinker. In other words, I'm odd. It can be a blessing and a curse. In this case, I think it may be a blessing.

I'm only 500 words in, but this style of writing is what I'm best at. I think FATE'S GUARDIAN is really good, but the quirky humor is what flows naturally.

Laurel said...

I'm jealous. I'm not at all out of the box on concepts but on details I am very unique. I'm pretty linear with enough of an artistic bent to describe things creatively.

And yeah, I concur about the humor based on what I've read on your blog. Right up my alley, too. My own sense of humor leans towards the absurd.

Vodka Mom said...

I'm just going to mention Grey Goose over and over and over and PRAY that they hear me........

Rick Daley said...

Grey Goose would be a cool endorsement, assuming they give you a free lifetime supply of Vodka.

Then your next step should be a quality olive distributor.

Crimogenic said...

Rick, I'm interested to know if you little experience worked.

I too understand the debate on the Twilight books and can appreciate the points on both sides. Everyone knows by now my thoughts on the series. But more importantly, I'm going to get back to writing now :)

Rick Daley said...

Crimey,

I think it worked. It inspired more comments and dialogue than any other post on this blog.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

You hi-jacked your own thread - I'm here almost by mistake but then Twilight came up and I just had to....
really had to read them because me and Muse are 'like that' ...
loved the story because I knew so much of it already ...
(I'm working on my McCarthy-esque punctuation style)
but, don't you like your characters to behave in character? Bella doesn't - she starts to behave like her Mum - nature verses nurture?
No further thoughts on God but could I off Arctic Monkeys!

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

That was supposed to be 'offer' Arctic Monkeys but now I come to think of it ...nah! I love the boys in that band and I couldn't love the song 505 more if it was an actual member of the family - I have brothers I like less!

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Elaine. Some great thins happen on accident. Goodyear came up with tire rubber when something spilled on the stove.

Offing Arctic Monkeys could be a very cool premise. You just need to come up with reasons for why someone wants the monkeys dead, and how they got to the arctic to begin with.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Half the world's monkeys are facing extinction in their current habitats and hang-outs - wouldn't you emigrate some where different?
All they'd need is a warm coat - no natural predators there - aliens notwithstanding!

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

I've been looking for things to write 'boy's' YA fiction for a while I think you've just sparked the 'sparkly' creative genius.

Laurel said...

And this would be FORTY!

Go Rick!

I still think it wasn't just Twilight...religion got mixed in a little too.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

41
It was also a dull weekend on the Bransford Blog - no Mira!
I was looking for the new post?!

Rick Daley said...

Sorry, it's been a busy weekend. My wife's office party was last night, we were out late, then making up time with the kids today.

I'll get something posted soon!

Monica said...

i like that whole premise about god hiring a consultant, it could totally work. 43, i think.