Category Archives: Blogging

A reminder: Facebook, Twitter, email newsletter

Here’s my annual reminder: This blog isn’t the only place to find me online. I hang out around the Net, and offer several ways to keep up with information about my upcoming books, conferences and conventions, and courses I’m teaching. To encourage you to check out these sites, I will also note: sometimes I give books away through Facebook, Twitter, or my email newsletter.

Find me online:

MegGardiner.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/MegGardinerBooks

Twitter: @MegGardiner1

Sign up for my email newsletter.

For future reference: stuff I don’t do on the blog

Lying for a Living is where I talk about writing, life, and, sometimes, crazed monkeys. This blog is my house party, and I invite everybody who’s interested to come in and join the conversation.

It’s not a billboard for rent, and neither is my reputation.

Recently I’ve received a number of requests to post articles or promote books by other authors. The people making these requests sometimes offer to pay me money. Sometimes they offer to reward me with “engagement” and “exposure.” I’ve also been asked to interview authors and publish features about them, and to review their books. So, for future reference:

1.  I don’t post ads on my blog.

2. I don’t post paid-for content on my blog.

3. I’m not a freelance feature-writer or book reviewer.

4. This is not a book blog. That is: the purpose of this blog is not to interview authors and post reviews. Many terrific blogs do that — this just isn’t one of them.

Publicists, marketers, and salespeople: Repeatedly requesting that I post your paid content will not convince me to do so. Especially when you promise “to pay handsom ($20).” This weekend, such a salesperson wanted to know my reasons for declining their out-of-the-blue requests. I replied: “Even if I posted somebody else’s article, I would never choose content from a source whose emails contain 12 errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Doing so would damage my own reputation. Sorry.”

Authors: If you’ve hired a publicist who sends me marketing materials for your self-help book and asks when I can schedule an author interview, you’re wasting your money. Likewise, if your publicist’s strategy consists of having you write to people you don’t know, saying, “I’d love to work with you on the release of my memoir,” that strategy is likely to backfire. Especially when all the work would seem to be on my end — reading your book and then “posting about it however you’d like (review, blurb, article about a particular issue, etc.)” before “giving away the eBook (for free) to any of your readers who share the post on Twitter/Facebook/Etc. (Or any other kind of incentive you’d like to use.)” Because guess what? You’re not actually offering me your “clout.” You’re asking me to spend at least 20 hours promoting your book for free. Ain’t gonna happen.

Spam update!

Yesterday’s post talked about the message that I found in the blog’s spam filter — the message that said, “You are the worst author”. Today I found a new message, caught in the spam filter in response to that post:

Do you have any video of that? I’d care to find out more details.

I hate to tell the spambot (named “project freedom”), but I don’t. I don’t even know how an author would get video — what, of the wanton use of adverbs? Stories with characters made out of such flimsy cardboard that they’d melt under a garden sprinkler? Plots with holes so big that the Blue Angels could fly through them, side by side?

I’m waiting to see what spam delights come next.

And I’m off on a long flight to the USA. Back tomorrow.

2012: the blog year in review

As 2012 winds down, here’s a roundup of the posts that were most read on the blog this year:

Just in case, you know, you need a handy list.

Reminder: find me on Twitter, Facebook, and via newsletter

You all know I love this blog, and love talking to you here at Lying for a Living. But I’m also online at other places — places where I offer quick thoughts, post links, chat back and forth with people, and provide tell-all-exposés about my past life as an assassin nun in the Rome of the Borgias. Little things like that.

I’m on Twitter @MegGardiner1.

I’m on Facebook.

I write an email newsletter. Not often — not often enough to clog your inbox — but a couple of times a year, generally when, well, I have news. Generally about a new book coming out. And to receive it, all you have to do is click this link and add your name and email address.

I hope to see you around.

New stuff coming soon

Besides typing like a maniac on the first draft of a new novel, I’m working on some new content for MegGardiner.com. It’s not a secret project, but it’s taking me a little time. And I hope you’ll enjoy it.

And that’s it for the moment.

Anything weird or wonderful going on out there in your world?

Today in my spam filter, or the do’s and don’ts of “liking”

Behind the scenes, WordPress.com runs a robust spam filter that catches fake comments — about payday auto loans and pretty young Ukrainian girls who are dying to be my bride — before those comments are posted on the blog. I always check the filter, because every now and then a legitimate comment gets netted and put in the pen.

The “names” attached to these spam comments are usually things like “Ergonomic C1 al is” or “a;soif3aenr.” But today I found one that sounded both desperate and trendy: “Buy Facebook Likes.”

Note: If you think buying Likes sounds like a plausible plan to help you market your product or yourself, back away from the computer.

Better yet, read “How to get more likes on Facebook: Don’t do this.”

Go on. It’s a cartoon. Read it, and then tell me which of the creative suggestions for actually getting people to like your work is your favorite. Personally, I choose “Paint a portrait of George Washington defeating Skynet while riding atop a bald eagle.”

Web site update is off and running

My web site has been updated and spiffed up. In addition to some new photos and a new look, it also now has information on my next novel, Ransom River. Take a look when you get a chance: MegGardiner.com.

Heads up: web site revamp coming

Just to let you know, my main web site MegGardiner.com is getting a refresh. It won’t be vastly different — I’m not going to go nuts and add crazy eye-popping magenta graphics or automatic voiceovers of me singing the Hallelujah Chorus. But the site is getting some new clothes, so to speak. I just warn you because I know how it feels when a site changes its look. It’s like walking into the supermarket and finding out that all the Junior Mints have been reshelved on Aisle 5, and now the taco seasonings are waaay too close to the cake frosting. Who did this? What’s happening? It feels crazy, like the world has been turned upside down.

Well, it seems that way to me. You may feel differently. You probably do. I hope so. In any case, the changes will go live in a day or two.

A note on WordPress’s new procedures for leaving comments

I’ve been getting messages from commenters that some of you are having trouble leaving comments — that to leave a comment you’re being asked to log in to WordPress.com with an email address you’ve used before, or that’s associated with a Gravatar (those little pictures that go with your comments). This has to do with upgrades that WordPress.com, which hosts this blog, has instituted to fix bugs and improve security so commenters don’t get their online identities spoofed or stolen. I haven’t changed a thing on my end and certainly don’t want to discourage any of you from commenting.

You can find WordPress.com’s explanation here. They’re aware that commenters have been frustrated by this change, and say they’re working to make things smoother and simpler.

Your options: You can sign in to WordPress, or use another email associated with Facebook or Twitter, or complain some more to me. I’ll try to help you get your comment posted, and I’m sorry about the hassle.

Update: This from WordPress:

If commenters have forgotten their password they can request a reset:
http://wordpress.com/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword

Bloggy updates

Don’t freak out. Because I know you will. You’ll take the slight changes in the appearance of the blog as clear and frightening sign that the 2012 Apocalypse is imminent. It’s like going into the supermarket and discovering that the Doritos have been moved to Aisle 5. What’s happening? Oh, God, the Mayans were right…

Or not.

In any case, I’ve toyed with the header and sidebar, to mess with your heads and because I like to keep up to date with kids these days. Those wacky kids, always Facemiming and Tweetsquawking and such. I’ve added a Twitter feed, so you can glimpse what I’m up to in 140 characters. Yes, social media is coalescing into a huge hive mind. Its various forms are banding together into a seamless and unstoppable whole. Resistance is futile.

Wow, I need to put down the William Gibson and turn off Star Trek. And probably drink less coffee.

How’s your Monday?

About this week’s literary dustup

There’s been some online verbal boxing between readers, authors and agents in the last week or so. Publishers Weekly reports.

Should Authors and Agents Weigh In on Citizen Reviews?

Is it time for a Miss Manners intervention? These days it’s tricky to keep up with the name-calling surrounding citizen reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Twitter.

In other words, this isn’t powerhouse publishers sniping at reviewers from Publishers Weekly or the New York Times. It’s authors venting at readers who failed to rave about their books.

In the biggest recent dustup, over a one-star January 13 Goodreads review of Kiera Cass’s The Selection – a YA novel about a lottery that allowed 35 teenage girls to compete, a la The Bachelor, for a handsome prince – the war of words got heated enough that one commenter referred to a citizen reviewer as “that bitch.”

My thoughts:

1. Writers: Rise above. Unless a malicious troll is deliberately trying to destroy a book or its author with diatribes and libel, leave it alone. Resist the urge to slash back. No matter how infuriating it can be to read a lousy review, don’t yell and call names. To the outside world, it comes off like a forty-something engaging in a screaming match with a six-year-old. Everybody who sees it thinks: Who’s the adult here?

Clue: Be the adult.

2. In the annals of reviewer-bashing, this dustup is small potatoes. For raging, out-of-control writer vitriol, nobody can top Aaron Sorkin, who not only waded into the comment forums on Television Without Pity but then wrote an entire episode of The West Wing that ripped apart online discussion groups. (Search for the phrase “sitting in a muu-muu and smoking Parliament Lights.”)

3. Remember what an actual, serious problem looks like: Salman Rushdie has pulled out of the Jaipur Literary Festival because intelligence sources warned him that underworld figures were sending assassins to kill him.

Contest 2011: And the winner is…

A huge thank you to everybody who entered this year’s contest. We had more entries than ever before, and I laughed out loud at many submissions. I’m constantly amazed and delighted by the imaginative nuttery of folks who read my blog.

Before I announce the winner and runners up, I’d like to take a moment to single out some entries for Honorable Mention. (Come on — you knew I’d drag out the suspense. I’m a thriller writer.) These all made me smile.

Honorable Mention:

Chris: Mr. Peebles crosses the finish line to win Cousin Tater’s tots.

Tony: Embracing his new career in puppy-rodeo, George W Bush got ready to lasso him some chicken wings.

Lloyd: Perk of the job: highly-trained narcotics detection dog scores a whole noseload of the good stuff, but now he’s hallucinating, he’s got a monkey on his back.

Pop Culture Nerd: Lassie’s cousin Lessie’s career didn’t turn out as well.

Flakes: In an uncharacteristic outburst Ferd cries, “Screw you Mr. Peebles–screw you and the dog you rode in on!”

Rhonda Elston Mickelson: Devolution. (Extra points for brevity!)

Dru: Giddiyup, I’m the Lone Ranger on a dog.

Dana Jean: 

High Noon:

The bar’s doors swayed back and forth on their rusted hinges, squeaking an ancient hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye with every swing.

Peebles hippity hopped–the way monkeys do–out to the middle of the dirt road. He fumbled his gun and was cut down before he could hoot a “draw.”

Chunks of Peebles clung to every hooker on the weathered boardwalk–he was reduced to Rhesus pieces.

Susan: After the crippling expenses of The Wedding, the Queen insisted on severe cutbacks throughout the family exchequer. However, the savings realised on reducing Charles’s exhorbitant polo pony bills were more than offset by the cost of acquiring down-sized riders.

Astrid Y.C. Have: (Special recognition for being the youngest entrant, and writing in her second language. Astrid is eight, Danish, living in Beijing, attending an international school.)

I think that the monkey is on the dog because it is rescuing a person.
Or maybe it’s about to go home and change to his Halloween costume. And getting his bag for trick or treating. When he was done he went to meet his friends at the park. One of his friends was dressed as a dog. The other one was dressed as a monster and it frightened the dog so it ran as fast as it could from the monster. When the Halloween ended the dog ran home. The monkey was so exhausted after the party. He most got candies so he tried one and said ’’Um……um….well….I love it!!! And he was glad that Halloween was today! Next time on Halloween he knew what to do and that is not to meet others at parks but anywhere else. Or else one of them maybe will be dressed as a monster again so it’ll scare away the dog again.

Runners up: These two entrants will both receive signed copies of one of my novels.

Brian Cameron:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please accept my action photo for your next printing of Wheaties – Breakfast of Capuchins! Being the generous soul that I am, I plan on sending 10% of my (net, after expenses) royalty payments to charity.

–Mr. Peebles

Rich K:

Mr. Peebles demonstrates the intricacies of herding lawn ornaments in the National Gnomeo Finals.

And the winner, who will have a character named after him in my upcoming novel Ransom River:

Jason:

As Jo lay on the ground wrestling with Little Ricky, she looked over his shoulder and saw that the first of the Monkey Collie cybernetic hybrids designed in the bowels of China Lake’s military research facilities was bearing down upon her. Since Ferd had accidentally created a rift in reality with the creation of his own fully functional, artificially intelligent, katana-wielding, and unanticipatedly evil Seven of Jo-bot, Murphy’s Law had not only gone into overdrive: It had mutated and evolved into the writhing, tentacular force that now dominated their lives. Dolls had become possessed, evil schemes had been facilitated, and all those closest to Jo had been turned into living zombies controlled by her own evil borg counterpart. Jo had to destroy her. But first, she had to reduce Little Ricky to evil kindling and evade the Monkey Collies – which, when they sighted their prey, blew miniature horns modeled after those of Charlton Heston’s full-size pursuers in The Planet of the Apes. Couldn’t she ever just wake up in a nice frothy comedy? Or in a musical, singing ABBA . . . or would that be even more terrifying?

Well done, all. Congratulations.

(Photo credit: Dan Callister/Rex Features)

This week: Wales. And Contest 2011!

Wednesday evening I’ll be at Sandfields Library, Port Talbot, Wales, for “Meet the Author.” The author being me. Come on down. Speak Welsh to me. Talk about the Rugby World Cup. I’d love to see you.

Wednesday 12 October, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Sandfields Library
Morrison Road, Sandfields
Port Talbot, Wales
SA12 6TG
Tel: (01639) 883616
email: sandfields.library@npt.gov.uk

And all week, all weekend: Enter Contest 2011! You could become a character in my next novel. Or inflict that fate bestow that honor on a friend or relative.