Monday, January 4, 2010


I'm a good girl. I read my "How to Blog" missives and take special care to avoid those sticky blogging no-nos. Like making my blog the unofficial Nicole Baart show or blabbing on endlessly. Of course, sometimes I'm feeling blue and sink into whining, and I've always been long-winded. But the number one tip for a successful blog has always eluded me. It seems that everyone who has something to say about blogging etiquette is convinced that bloggers have to give something to their readers. That completely stumps me. What do I have to give?

I tried doling out writing advice. Turns out everyone and their dog has something to contribute to that topic of conversation. Besides, it's not like I'm some decorated writing guru. Then I tried (and I'm still trying) to take the counsel of fellow bloggers literally and give something to my readers. Namely: books. My mid-month book giveaways still garner more attention than any other blog posts. And that's great with me--I love introducing people to new authors. But I can't do that every day... Argh. It's an ongoing battle.

Thankfully, a reader of mine gave me a new idea. Just last week Katie Ganshert, a friend, reader, and fellow author asked me a question in the comments after a blog post. I'm curious...what kind of writer are you, Nicole? Do you outline, or do you just sort of wing it as you go?

Not only is that a great question, but it gave me an idea... Maybe instead of trying to read your collective minds, I need to just ask you what you want. Imagine that. If you're a regular reader, what keeps you coming back? If you're a first time visitor, what would draw you back? What do you want to know? What would you like to see more of? What totally doesn't work for you? Can I introduce you to the wide world of publishing (or at least what I know of it)? Or would you like to know more personal things? Either way, I'm game.
So here's the deal. I'm opening up my blog to my readers. Ask me anything and I'll answer it in an upcoming post. Within reason, of course. ;) In return for your question, I'll highlight your blog and include the link for my readers. We may be online, but we're still a community. When it comes down to it, all we've got is each other out here in cyberspace. How was that for cheesy?
Thanks for reading! Stop by Wednesday and I'll answer Katie's question. In the meantime, if there's something you want to ask me, leave a comment!


  1. I like any and all of those things you listed. What I most prefer in any blog I read are relatable topics that are presented with care, whether it's about life, writing, reading, or getting last night's spaghetti stuck in your hair. :)

    I do have a "question," hopefully one you haven't covered in past posts: Describe what it felt like when you held your first published book in your hands.

  2. Nicole –
    First, I’ll read your blog regardless of what you write about:)
    My question for you is – How do your stories start?
    Do your ideas start with a random encounter or are they sparked by a memory or past experience?
    I ask because my writing just…happens. When I see or experience something I just start listening then I start writing. I figure any story I have isn’t mine anyway. I’m just the lucky one He has revealed it to. I feel like it is my duty to tell it the best way I can.
    So, when do your stories begin?

    MSgt Vansandt

  3. Excellent idea!! Can't wait for Wednesday's post.

    What keep's me coming back to read your blog? Probably the fact that I'm obsessed with your writing and I like to cyber stalk the people I admire. But I promise not to turn psycho on you. :) Also, I think you're a pretty cool, genuine, authentic person and I admire your life style.

    Looking forward to Wednesday! I'll be sure to ask more questions when they pop up.

  4. I have to apologize as I always read your blog...well, everytime you update it, that is...but I fail to comment, which is one extra reader that you may think isn't reading...but I DO! :)

    My question...which I have often thought when reading your how to you balance being a wife (to a pastor, no less), raising kids AND writing your novels? When do you do most of your writing??

    I will correct my error and be sure to let you know that I am reading! :) I appreciate you taking the time as you often encourage and uplift me with your words!

    Smile!! :)

  5. So you may have covered some of these topics in former posts but here are some questions for you.

    How did you get your first book published? Did you send it off to publishers or agents?
    Did you have rejections at first?

    How did you meet your husband?

    Did you want to be a writer when you were a child?

    And because I love books, how about your list of all time favorite books?

  6. I think there are basicaly 2 type of bloggers. One who follow the rules, use implied science of blogging, care about all the techniques & do's and dont's of blogging.They are the wannabe rockstars.While others simply reach out to a few discerning souls, connect with them and make them the avid readers of their blogs.Both are noble pursuits, depending upon an individual's approach...Nicole, I am sure, you do not belong to the first category. Whatever I have known you from your blog is that you have a beautiful soul and your writing has that feel that makes someone connected to you.What would make me come back to your blog will be redemption of that faith in you, in your writing as well as in your judgement.Therefore, whatever you write naturally & it a random thought or a poetic mood; your life style or day to day experiences from LIFE equally accepted by me as a reader.

    P..Being an insider to the Indian publishing industry, I am intersting in your journey to the publishing world and how things work there?

  7. Thanks so much for your feedback and your thoughtful questions! I'm looking forward to answering them... And to spending more time at your blogs and getting to know you. I do pop in you know. ;)

    Bina, don't feel like you have to comment all the time! If you have something to say, great. If not, no biggie. I read several blogs but rarely comment unless I really want to. I don't want you to feel strong-armed into writing something!

    Neetu, I think you're right, there are two types of bloggers. And no, I'm not the first type. Nor do I want to be. But I'm a hostess by nature... If I have a dinner party, I'll literally spend hours perfecting every detail so that my guests feel special--from scented candles in the bathroom to a beautifully arranged table to appetizers waiting for them when they walk in the door, nothing is left to chance. I sort of feel the same way about blogging. I've invited you into my little online world, and I want you to feel accepted, welcome, and at ease. I never want the conversation to be one-sided or to serve something that one of my guests is allergic to. Okay, I might be taking the metaphor a smidge too far, but I think you get the picture. ;) BTW, what's your role in the Indian publishing industry. (Oh, and I'm still working on whether or not you can get my books in India.)

  8. There are so many blogs that cover writing, publishing, and that cater to the readers.

    I, for one, love to read a blog that highlights the writer - not for the sake of popularity, but to share yourself, your thoughts, your insight, with those who want to know more.

    Maybe that sort of a blog won't be as successful as one that caters to the readers, but I think there are too few genuine blogs out there, and too many that are simply written for the sake of gaining comments, popularity, or money.

    So, I say, blog YOURSELF. That, more than anything else, will keep me coming back.

  9. I write whatever is on my heart at the time and I seem to have alot of people who read my blog...don't think there is any magic to it other than that for me, God seems to reach out and touch people and move them by his Spirit. I love that God is using my hands to give blogging squeezes....

    I love your photos. They are art to me. I also love your foodie posts as I,too, love to cook and eat. If you hope to use the blog to help sell books, then write more about writing. If you want to make friends, write more personal stuff. Hmm.. Don't have a question in here about this one. What kind of camera do you use? smiles-N

  10. I'd say the thing that interests me is talking about the writing process. What do you go through on a daily basis to get yourself ready and able to write, to be inspired to write. I'm sure it's not alwayw easy, or successful. That's what your readers want to read.


  11. Liked the concept of being a GOOD HOSTESS & DETAIL ORIENTED.That means, all your followers would be safe in your hands & thoroughly enjoy tehir stay @ your blog.Haha!!Well,I am Marketing Progessional by occupation and I had been assocaited with the selling & promotion of children fiction & non-fiction titles both in Indian & International markets.Also, I do represent a bunch of freelance artits that includes illustrators, artists and graphic designers etc and promote their work among individuals & organizations interested in book covers, layout & design elements.

  12. I know the name of my site will get this post deleted, i just wanted you to know that writing what you want is what makes a blog great. If it is visitors you want (and who doesn't), then commenting on other blogs will do that for you. I like your blog, would love to have the followers you have and the lengthy comments too. I'm not doing bad. I started in September of last year just to get a few things out of my head and now I post whatever I want. I like user friendly and user interactive posts. My latest post asked what people had in their Netflix queue. People like to participate, I have found. If it wouldn't be too offensive for you, I would like to add you to my blogroll I just started. If not please email me and tell me not to. I have a large female following that would enjoy your site though and for some odd reason, my opinion gets visitors for my blogroll. Take care and thanks for taking the time to read this.

  13. Aimee, I think you're right. Sharing yourself is really the point of any good blog (at least, the ones I like). Have you seen Julie/Julia? I adored that movie and the story in general... So real and honest.

    Nikolyn, funny thing--I go to YOUR blog because of the photos! Your kids are too cute.

    Todd, seeing your name here made me grin. I should have a chapter to you by tonight or tomorrow...

    Neetu, your job sounds fascinating!

    Tom (figure I'll call you by your real name instead of your site name...), nah, I won't delete your post. I'm not as easily offended as you'd imagine. I read the meaning behind your site title and I get it. I'm a huge Anthony Bourdain fan. Anyway, if you have a shameless blog title, I figure I can ask you a shameless question... You're independently wealthy--have you taken a gander at my other blog? My husband and I are the founders of a non-profit organization that works with an orphanage in Liberia. We're in the middle of a capital campaign, working to raise money for a second dormitory, a bathhouse, a security wall, a library, and more. Just sayin'... ;)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Hi Nicole,
    I visit your blog frequently, but am also one of those people who rarely comment. I visit so many blogs that I find myself running out of things to say. (Strange for a writer, I know.) Part of my struggle is that I also have two boys, (ages three and a half and twenty months) and I don’t have much time to be on the computer. If I am on the computer, I really try to be disciplined about working on my fiction, and, of course, keeping my own blog updated ( On your blog, I love the foodie posts and the posts about life as a mom, since that’s where I happen to be right now.

    Since I’m getting closer to publication, I have a couple of questions for you. 1) Does your publisher check on things like how many people are visiting/commenting on your blog? Do they care about things like that? 2) How did you go about finding the best agent for you? I have a couple of possibilities right now and I need to make a decision.

    Thanks! I’m working on getting a blogroll added to my site, and I’ll definitely add you.