IWSG – Jan 2024 – Crow, anybody?

Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh created IWSG — because Alex understands we need a place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.

On the first Wednesday of each month, you can write on any subject related to your writing journey or adopt the option of answering the month’s question. Either way, you’re in safe territory.

If this sounds good to you, sign up here.

IWSG’s Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and the hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, a specific question is offered, which may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or a story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you struggle with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

January 3 question: Do you follow back your readers on BookBub or do you only follow back other authors?

The awesome co-hosts for the January 3 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Olga Godim, Diedre Knight, and Natalie Aguirre!


Do you follow back your readers on BookBub or do you only follow back other authors?

First of all, Feliz Ano Nuevo everyone! I hope 2024 brings you happiness, peace, and inspiration.

I don’t belong to BookBub, so I don’t have an answer to this month’s question. However, I do have a blog and an Author FB page,  and as such I’m a strong advocate of the rules of Netiquette, the Golden Rule of treating others kindly. This applies to anyone, regardless if you’re a blogger or working the counter at Revenue Canada. I’m not suggesting you stand still while someone kicks you in the teeth, but sometimes when we’re stressed or unhappy, we forget that the world is filled with people with feelings that hurt just as badly as ours do.

Years ago, when a new author and blogger asked me how I managed to attract readers to my blog, I told him I replied to emails and visited my visitors’ blogs.

Exasperated he replied, “I don’t have time for that; I have a book to promote and more novels to write.”

I politely suggested that attitude was a mistake.

Today his Amazon BSR scores are quite high, but should any of his novels hit the best-sellers list, I’ll eat crow.

For your viewing pleasure, below are photographs of my neighbours:
It’s hard to discern but both yachts are over 60 meters long. Its helicopter went to PV and came back with several guests. As a writer, I’m having a difficult time imagining what life must be like aboard such a vessel.

Comments 34

  1. This was a really timely post for me. I’m pulling back a little on blogging because my life has gotten out of balance, with too much work and not enough recreation and downtime. Yet I agree that making connections, visiting and commenting on other people’s blogs and social media posts, are essential (and enjoyable!). Getting the balance right is critical, though–time for the day job, time for writing, time for family, time for self–and time to interact with writers and readers. I need a 36-hour day 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year to you, too! I’ve been learning Spanish on duolingo for the last two years, so I understood that. I can also ask where the bathroom is.

    I know a lot of writers have abandoned blogging because it is the most work of all of the platforms, but I still like it best. I feel like the relationships I make on blogs are more genuine than anywhere else.

  3. Maybe my attitude would change if I were a hugely successful author, but I believe engaging readers is the goal of any marketing strategy, and that it’s both smart and courteous to respond to people who take the time to read and comment on a post. But I also understand that it can take a lot of one’s time. In my early social media years I spent far too many hours online. Now I’ve pared down to what’s reasonable for my situation and think I’ve found a good balance.

    Love these photos, Joylene. Have a happy, happy 2024!

  4. Happy New Year, Joylene!

    Your neighbors could be on the Neighborhood Watch list 😉 But I bet you enjoy watching them.
    Writing in a tropical paradise must be endlessly inspirational.
    Connecting with readers through reciprocation is one of the most sincere gestures of gratitude and is likely to keep them reading. It’s time well spent, and you don’t even need a marketing degree 😉

  5. Bueno Ano Nuevo to you as well!

    I haven’t used BookBub either but I also believe in responding to as many of your readers comments in blogs and social media as much as possible. It shows your appreciation of them reading your works.

  6. I agree about Netiquette and taking the time to engage with other writers and your readers. Writing is a long-term investment, for sure. I woudl llove to be on a yacht like that just once to see what it’s like! But I’ve been on my last helicopter ride, so if there isn’t another way to get to the yacht, I’ll just use my imagination! Happy 2024!

  7. Happy New Years! Thanks for co-hosting this month and thanks for stopping by my blog. I used to read about a hundred blogs a week and then I got burnt out. I’m slowly getting back into the habit of appreciating blog content, but it is hard in such a fast-paced world. I do adore video blogs and podcasts. I’m at a place where my reading time is purely for pleasure and my writing time is focused on completing works in progress.

  8. Love your photo, especially the guy on with the beard. His cousin visited us and we took his picture, too.
    We have a friend trying to create a following to his newsletter. He rarely replies to the comments. I’ll pass along the advice folks are offering here. I think it could help build his readers.

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month. Wishing you and Ralph good health and smooth solutions.

  9. Love that crow at the top of your post, Joylene! I don’t think you’ll have to eat crow! Visiting posts and leaving comments does take time, but it’s worth it. I have met so many wonderful people doing that! Like you! Your iguana photos are prehistoric looking. I can imagine it coming along that branch to eat me. Your yacht photos remind me of the yacht Diana and Dodi were on (as shown in “The Crown”). Like you I can’t imagine what that life would be like. Most days I’m very happy to be anonymous me. Enjoy the warmth. We can’t wait to get to Hawaii on the 14th. Hugs and love to you!

  10. I love interacting with folks online. I guess I’m a people person. Netiquette is a great word. Did you make that up? Gorgeous photos in paradise.
    Thanks for co-hosting!!

  11. Social Media is – for me – a double edged sword. I’ve gotten rid of everything except Instagram and I’m on there solely because I enjoy sharing photographs, short essays and engaging in the community that I’ve found over the years. Do I promote my writing? Only by mentioning that I’ve been published or that I have a new blog post up. Other than that, I don’t really follow authors. I’ve occasionally tried the whole I’M A WRITER hashtag battle but it’s always fallen flat and been more work than was worth it and I’ve never ever made a connection that way. It’s so odd how differently things work for different people. For now, I’ll just enjoy Instagram the way I enjoy it and use it for promotion “come what may”

    Happy New Year and thank you for co-hosting this month 🙂

  12. Cool neighbors!
    I used to work for a Yacht Sales Company as a boat-washer – yep, not exactly a glorious college gig, but I was out in the sun and enjoyed the backbreaking work because I was fit enough for it at the time. Most of the boats I had to wash were around around 15-20 meters, but we did see some in a nearby boat docking area that hit those huge categories – I remember they had crews on board: chefs, mechanics, wait staff, captains, etc, and I was told by one worker that they liked it because the crew had become her found family; the chef and head mechanic were married, the rest of the crew were like siblings. They watched out for one another and took care of each other. I don’t know if I can imagine what life would be like as the owners of those kinds of yachts, but I can imagine a little of what it would be like to work and live on board one.

  13. Thanks for co-hosting this month! And Happy New Year!
    I already have a blog, a FB author page and a Goodreads author profile. Didn’t have a BookBub account but after this month’s question, decided to join and check it out. Whether I’ll keep up with it, we’ll see…
    I try to visit other blogs and comment back. But I admit I’ve gotten a bit lazy about doing so lately. I’m better at abiding by the rules of Netiquette on Twitter and FB though.

  14. I love your photos! How awesome to live where you live! It is hard to write, promote and “be” there for everyone else. A happy medium must be obtained…

  15. Your writer example hits kind of home with me–in a way. I agree with your side about connecting with readers and potential audience–it’s what I used to promote heavily on my own blog. But from that writer’s side, I also understand how a blogger or someone on social media can become consumed with connecting and keeping relationships ongoing. When I first started blogging I’d spend up to 10 or more hours a day reading blogs and interacting with others. After my wife retired that changed. And then when I had computer problems early 2023 and never resolved them adequately, my time online diminished greatly. I’ve been doing other things. But I do need to get back to writing more.

    Thanks for co-hosting!


  16. No one has time to write and promote and connect to all of the social media now required if you want people to read your books, but somehow we do it.

    I lived in Southeast Asia for a while, so those iguanas are very familiar, and I have a few stories about encounters with them that I might have to share one of these days.

    Feliz Año Nuevo para usted también.

  17. Hi, and thanks for hosting.

    Not my kind of reading, but my grandma collected early to mid century UK school , stories.
    Only read a few, but one early book featured a shy writer stunned when she received a handwritten fan letter from a 12 year old.
    Every word rang so true, maybe this was autobiographical.
    I’d be thrilled by any feedback,

    1. Post
  18. I’ve never cared for marketing, but I love the connections I make through the interwebs. I always felt it was rude to ignore people when the whole point of posting online is to draw attention.

  19. When I started out, there was fan mail (no internet!). I answered every letter and included a bookmark. It took time but I cultivated a very loyal fan base. Some of them are still with me today – nearly 30 years later. I remind myself that readers/fans are a privilege, not a nuisance and treat them as such (which isn’t always easy when you’re on a killer deadline!).

  20. I’m with you, Joylene. I do the same–reply to likes and comments. I’ve met amazing people that way, but other bloggers say it takes too much time. I don’t even argue anymore!

  21. It’s only polite to answer emails. Some people have no sense. Hope 2024 is a great year for you. Thanks for cohosting this month.

  22. I have hit the best seller list only in my dreams! 🙂 Like Diane wrote, replying to emails is only polite. We do the best we can in marketing and remember: progress not perfection. Have a great year, Joylene!

  23. Happy New Year!

    I dread the marketing process. As an indie author we can only do so much unless we dole out tons of $ for marketing expert, and even then who knows what would happen.

    Wishing you much success in 2024!

    Thank you for co-hosting!

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