Wednesday 2 February 2011

I do not read and comment, just so you comment back. I'm actually INTERESTED in what you have to say. How about you?

This blogging community is awesome and I'm amazed at the amount of support there is from you all on a day to day basis, but there is something ON TOP of this that I'd like to address today. I know that there is this general rule that we should comment on what we read, and should try to make the rounds to as many followers as possible to maintain a readership. But there's something about this, that only recently, due to my follower count growing, that is giving me a very painful stitch.

I follow all who follow me as a general personal rule. But there is no way that I am going to be able to read and comment on 500+ blogs daily, or weekly, or even monthly for that matter. And I hope you understand why. So, since achieving this wonderful amount of followers, which I appreciate IMMENSELY, I can only read and comment on posts that spark my interest - and that includes having a good title to make me want to click on your post in the first place.

I have to say though, I really do adore all my new followers (and old!), and I'm having an amazing time getting to know as many of you as I can. Unfortunately the pressures of getting my novel ready for release this year is really restricting my ability to keep up as much as I used to. I hope you can understand I'm doing the best I can, and I love you all.

This is really hard to admit to, but I'm just trying to be honest and realistic here. I don't want you to think I'm a one-sided blogger. I'm not. I LOVE INTERACTION. And if you have your email attached to your profile you're bound to receive personal replies from me. But I'm just not super woman! (Though, I wish I were.) So what I've been doing lately is scrolling down my dashboard to see what takes my fancy, from the titles alone. Then I'll read the blogs of my VERY GOOD friends. (Mind you, sometimes I don't even have time to do that.) Then, if I have time later in the day, I'll have another scroll to see if there's anything else I might want to read. That's all I have time for anymore. Unfortunately. Now, I'm praying - PRAYING - that admitting to this isn't going to make some of you disappear. Because it's not personal. It really isn't. All it has to do with is TIME.

So, I'm going to let you in on a secret. This is what I like to read:

All posts that deal with the craft of writing that offer a unique slant. By a unique slant I mean opinions from you - your own experience with the craft - not something you are reiterating from a book. I also love to read anything that reveals your true personality, no matter what the subject. What I love most about blogging is learning about all of you. When I go to your blog, I want to read about how YOU deal with things. How YOU live, love, learn, write, cry, plead for a helping hand. I want to KNOW ABOUT YOU. If I wanted to know about another author, I would go to their blog to find out about them, not yours.

However, if you have a post, you wish for me to read, or you need my help or support plugging a contest, blog fest, guest author, interview, whatever, send me an email saying, "Hey you, get your butt over to my blog, pronto!" And I'll be there.

And remember, it's all in the title. If you've got an appealing title, I'll click on your post, then it's your responsibility to keep me there with your wonderful way with words. And I'm sure this isn't just the case with me, it's the case everywhere. Why do you think newspapers have such teasing headlines? It's all in the title, folks. Best tip I ever received. :o)

What makes you want to read someone's post? Do you believe it's all in the title? Do you read and comment merely for the reciprocation, or are you  genuinely interested in what your fellow bloggers have to say?


  1. Hi Jess! No, I'm definitely not going to disappear, LOL! I appreciate your honesty here. As a general rule, I also follow all those who follow me...but wait, no, I don't think I do. There were about two who followed me but their blogs just aren't my cup of tea which is really very rare, so I did not follow. I will not be offended if they unfollow me for not following them in return because I don't find anything in common at all with our blogs. One of them posts extremely explicit photos of women which is really just something I don't want to see. So, my answer is yes, I follow blogs that are interesting and those I think I have common interests with.

    ...and to your questions, some posts, especially the new ones have to be in the title because I don't know them yet but once I've been to the blog a few times and I like it, I go and visit when I can. But I must admit, I cannot visit all the blogs regularly, even the ones I love the most! :( Because of time. The whole on-line writing community is awesome and I'm learning a lot from all of you guys.

    Lastly, I can't promise to have the most awesome title, LOL, but I will try! All the best with your writing! :)

  2. I don’t follow everyone who follows me but I do check out everyone who follows me to see if they write the kind of stuff that interests me but if I find I’ve been following a site for several months and found nothing to comment on I usually delete it from my feedreader – life is short. Yesterday I spent all day working on a review and by the time I check out my unread feeds there were 180 of them and the best I could do was scan them, leave as unread the ones I thought I might read, and go to bed. This morning there were another 110 posts. There are a few I read faithfully and almost always comment on but only a few.

    A title might pique my interest but it’ll be the content that’ll decide it for me. I’m good at scanning – can’t speed read to save myself though – and so I usually have the gist of an article in a few seconds. Usually what I do is go through all my unread feeds and delete the ones I know I’m not going to read and then take my time over what’s left.

  3. This is a problem I think many of us are dealing with. I know it's true for me. I've had to cut way back on the number of blogs I read and. We do what we have to do, and as writers, writing has to come first.

  4. i always reciprocate and will for now. I have a round of blogs I go to. Close friends if you will. But sometimes writing comes first and I might not get to as many. But titles and length of post def. make a difference. Just like books - titles are huge!

  5. You're not alone in feeling overwhelmed. I'm over 100 followers behind you, and I'm feeling it.

    I comment back on everyone who comments on my post. I used to visit their blogs the same day, but now Im having a harder time keeping up. And I used to try to hit non-commenters, but that's sporadic now.

    If you want to get my personality and take on hair, you may want to read my newest post. No pressure.

  6. Thanks for making this post, Jess. I'm not sure I really would have understood it when I first started blogging, but now that I've been doing it for over a year and have to balance it with my writing, work, and life...I get it.

    Don't worry about pleasing everyone. First, it's not possible and second, you're doing great! <3


  7. Good post! I don't comment just for reciprocation, but I do know that the more blogs I comment on, the more views I'll get.
    As a rule, I do not follow those who follow me. I follow those who comment or who I know personally (or agent/editor blogs). Then I tend to comment first on friend and commenter's blogs. If I have time, I'll scroll through my dashboard and comment on those posts. And if I have more time I'll click on blogs from comments I see on other blogs. :-)
    So that's how I do it. That said, I always try to come up with catchy titles.
    Congrats on being busy with your book! Stressful, but exciting!

  8. I'm so glad you said this. It's not something I have the time to talk or write about a lot, but it is frustrating. In the beginning, when blogging is all new and shiny and you have 15 followers it's easy as pie to be the nicest person in the world, but now, at this point, it's just not possible anymore.

    I'm as addicted to blogging as anyone I know, and I love it, I really do, but there is just no way to follow everyone back, let alone read all their posts.

    The titles of my posts are really lame though, so please don't hold that against me.

  9. I can relate to being to busy to make the rounds. My "real" job takes up so much of my time, some days I don't get a chance to read, much less comment.

    Also, I agree with you on the titles. I do my best my titles interesting, whether or not I succeed. It's fun coming up with creative titles.


  10. I think you said it best. I have trouble with my followers let alone 500+. Lord, I would have a nervous break-down. But I did post about ME today :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  11. Mostly it's the title (yep, yours grabbed my attention), plus I always try to comment on my blogging friends' posts. It feels different commenting on their posts compared to that of a stranger. Almost like I'm at home (minus the mess). ;)

  12. Dang! Fucking Topology Of Time.

  13. I suppose it has to do with personal choice, but I prefer reading thought-provoking articles about writing and the journey than what someone's dog did yesterday.

    I choose continue to follow people even if they don't follow me back, once they are writing stuff I find interesting. Most of the time though, I lurk without leaving any footprints.

    Agree with you on titles. A play on words will make me click every time.

  14. I don't have as big a problem yet, as I am only at 159 followers so far, but I imagine I will get there. People probably feel I don't comment enough, but I tend to comment only when I feel I really have something to say in response to a post. Every once in awhile I will put a comment just because I haven't commented in a long time on a blog that I really do like. I have to admit that I lose some interest in those blogs where they show no interest in me. They have to be really darn good for me to keep reading them in that situation.

  15. I have to admit I sometimes read a post based on the title. It's impossible to read every post from every person you follow every day. I try to set an amount of time to go through what I can in that time and then check back several times during the day. Sometimes I read a post and don't comment. Sometimes I do comment. If there was all the time in the world, then it would be easy to read and respond to my heart's content. So, basically, don't feel bad about not getting everywhere. We understand. :)

  16. The titles help, but really it's all about the content. I always try to read at least the first paragraph or two to see if it's a topic that piques my interest.

    And I don't comment just so people will reciprocate; I only leave a comment if I have something worthwhile to add to the conversation. (Although, others may argue about my comments' actual worth. Like this one, for instance. Frankly, I'm surprised you're still reading.)

  17. For me, I don't use a reader or my blogger dashboard anymore. I simply can't keep up. I've admitted it to myself.

    I try to do two things:
    1. Reply via email if possible. I will admit that there are days I don't do this because I have over 100 comments, and the sheer number of that scares the crap out of me.

    2. Open my comments and click on the people who left one for me. This takes me to their blogger profile, where I can then click to their blog.

    If I have the time to do all this, I read their post and comment, no matter what.

    I used to be able to do this about 2-3 times a week, but... I'll admit I haven't done it for a couple of weeks now.

    Like you, with 4 months to go until the release of my book, writing of other books, working, kids, family, I'm about to explode.

    I do the best I can. That's all that's required.

  18. There are some I read daily, because I know them or because I know I will be entertained. I, like you, am drawn to the title of the post. But lets face it sometimes we don't always put our best foot forward when it comes to our blog postings. Sometimes my blog does have a bad hair day. So Cheers to being honest and feel free to stop by any time. You are always welcome.

  19. I read.......not to get a reply back but because I'm interested in how other people live and write.

    Have a good day,

  20. oh i'm completely with you. I mean, i have over 1000 updates in my google reader. 50 of those are in my "must reads" folder for today alone.
    So i typically read a lot of blogs, BUT i only comment if i feel i have something worthwhile to say, something funny, something i'm passionate about, or something that will open up a conversation. I rarely, if ever, comment for commenting's sake and i certainly don't expect people to do so on my blog. Maybe i have less comments on my blog because of that, but the ones i do have tend to be awesome

  21. Oh man, I hear you on the time crunch. How do some people do it? And, yeah, a good title helps. Everyone likes a tease, right? Or is that just me? :)

  22. Hi, Jessica!

    What captures my attention is like what you said--it's someone's personal experience on writing or something that appeals to me.

    I can't visit 100 blogs a day like Alex is trying. It would cost my family or writing. It is tough, but i do what I can!


  23. I try to follow everyone that follows me. I'm just slow about following up on that act sometimes.
    It has gotten to were I have so many blogs I'm following that I had to simplify it so I could still have a life. I use google reader. I read everyone that has been faithful to me for so long and try to comment on them first. Then it is up to the title and the post. If the post is to my liking I will go to the post and comment. I read lots more then I comment on.
    I have unfollowed only people that have offended me. Which is few.
    Although yesterday I started cleaning up my reader and notice several who had quit posting or moved to wordpress which is very hard to follow sometimes.

  24. Hi,

    Yep, headers do it for me!

    Write a great blog headline and I'll check it out, so long as it's writer related.

    Like you, I'm not interested in whether the cat was sick, the new puppy made it beyond the back door mat for a pee, nor babs spoke a first word. On the other hand, post up images of where you live and surrounding area and I'll be there in a flash! ;)


  25. I don't auto-follow back. Only if their blog is interesting or I like their voice. I really only like my dashboard to display the blogs I want to read every day, since that's how I do it.

    And even then, like you, I sometimes skim through looking for eye-catching titles. Which is a downfall for me, as I'm terrible with titles. :)

    And I always make sure to hit my friends (with love. Not fists.)

  26. I open up my google reader and skim through all of them. I can't hit that "read all" button because I always feel OMG I may have missed something important. The ones that make me pause are those that draw me in with inspiration, or something that enhances my skills. Or if a blogger asks a question I can answer at the end. In short, it depends.

  27. my, what a leading question... Of COURSE I'm genuinely interested in what my fellow bloggers have to say. ;p

    I've had to put myself on a schedule of two blog round days/week. And then of course, I don't stick to it.

    Also, many times bleeps are saying the same thing (have you passed by Alex's today?), which is helpful. In those cases, I do skim and leave a note that I've visited (waves). I think it's as much about letting others know they're not writing into the ether as anything, so commenting helps w/that. But there's plenty of friends to help w/that.

    As Elana said, all that's expected is to do what we can. (I wish I could embed that "Superwoman" music video into this comment...) :D lol! xoxo <3

  28. I mostly comment on posts from a few regular blogs that I read and posts that catch my interest...Sometimes when I'm bored, I'll comment on as many as possible (with genuine comments, not surface-y stuff). I'm usually looking for book reviews. I like to figure out which book reviewers I can trust to accurately measure my interest in / likelihood of enjoying a book.

    And, there are random posts that lure me in. Like this one : )

  29. It does get tough to keep up as your blog roll increases in size. There are only so many hours in a day.

    I do try to comment regularly on the blogs of people who comment on mine. Not so much tit for tat, but more like those are the people I've gotten to know better, and so have more to say to them.

    And, yes, a good title doesn't hurt. ;)

  30. I TOTALLY understand! I spend an hour a day blogging and that's it. It's all I have time for. Even though I want to go to everyone who follows me. It's just too much.

  31. I read/comment/interact as much as I can. But I think it is impossible to do it all. I read and comment where I can. Also I read/comment without the expectation that someone will come and comment on my blog just because I've left a comment on their blog.

  32. I'm so with you on this. I LOVE my blogging friends, and am so amazed at the beyond-blog-relationships I've developed. I try to make my rounds, but like you, sometimes skim, and often can't comment. I like to read blogs while waiting for my husband or in line-ups at the bank, grocery, etc...but it's hard to comment from my phone.
    Rest assured hon, I'm not going anywhere :-)

  33. I agree that it's really hard to go around all those blogs. I love blogging, and my blogging friends, but sometimes it gets overwhelming. Most days i try to make it to as many as i can, but not always.
    I think you just have to do the best you can do, we'll still love ya.

  34. I understand totally what you're talking about. My reading and blog visiting is some of all those things you say. I do try to reciprocate, if I see titles that grab me I'll check it out, and I am genuinely interested in what most of the bloggers have to say.

    The things that might cause me to not comment or read:

    Long videos -- I have too much to do as it is that I'm not doing. I'd love to watch all the videos but if they're too long I usually don't do it.

    Posts I can't relate to -- Deeply personal things like family activities that are not written in any unigue or interesting way.

    Posts that are overly long or require a great deal of thought or study -- Believe me I want to and try to--these are probably some of the most important posts. I sometimes intend to get back to these but often never do. There is just too much to read in the blogs, let alone the book and other reading I want to do.

    A lot to think about from this post.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  35. I think everyone pretty much understands. I have trouble right now getting everything in because of work, kids, writing etc. Blogging on top almots puts me over the edge. So if I have time, I just scroll to the beginning of the day adn work my way up- titles catch me, as do my friends. I don't usually read book reviews. Then if I have time, I'll click on people who left a comment if I didn't get to their blog yet. My rule thoughw ith following, is I only follow YA aspiring writers. Its just too much to follow everyone who follows me.

  36. oh and I follow YA authors, and agents as well as any other writing advice type of blog.

  37. Great post, with a great title too! I am feeling very flattered that you stopped by my blog today. =) I faced this exact same dilemma and came up with the same answer. I just can't let blogging become a stress, so I read what I can and what strikes my interest.

  38. This is so me! I don't even have 500 followers and I can barley keep up with everyone else. I really admire bloggers who seem like they stop by everyone's blogs and leave a comment wherever they go. I just can't work that quickly.

    Add in work, family, writing and blog communication gets the short end of the stick quite a bit!

  39. Spooky! I was just thinking this very thought yesterday.
    I feel as though I spend all day blogging and never get around to reading everyone's stuff and I follow because I enjoy others stuff and to support and encourage them. I tend to be reminded to comment on others when they have commented on mine and therefore prioritorize those who have commented on my blog that day. :O)

  40. I'm totally with you! I don't have as much time as I did when I started, so I generally comment/read what I can that seems interesting. I know my posts don't always sparkle so I don't expect everyone to read/comment on mine daily either.

  41. Titles and pictures pull me in. I like to read what inspires other authors and maybe some tips on writing too, if they're not too preachy. But time is definitely not on our side with this reciprocity thing! I sooo appreciate comments and I email people back, but this I comment/you comment thing takes FOREVER! Still, I comment on those who commented at least once a week.

  42. Good titles, huh?

    I’ve written before about how long you have to get someone’s attention on various media. Books, you generally have a chapter or two. Movies, a few minutes at least. Television, maybe to the commercial break.

    But online, with links literally everywhere and the temptation to go somewhere else so strong, you basically have NO downtime, no margin of error to pull readers in. They will click away from you (or me, or him) in less than a heartbeat if the rhythm starts to fall…

    And that’s about as hard as it can get for a writer…

  43. How many I follow: 600+
    How many follow me: 450ish
    How many read my post per day on average: 250
    How many posts I read per day: About 50.
    How many posts I skim per day: About 400.
    How many posts I comment on per day: About 50.
    Posts I like to read: Writing related, movie/tv related, simple blogfest posts, contests, book reviews in genres I like to read, misc interesting posts.
    Posts I don't like to read: Religious ones, book reviews in the genres I don't normally read.
    Will I read posts of those who don't comment on my blog? Yes.
    Will I read and comment on posts that comment on mine? I try, I really try.
    Great post.

  44. Some days I do much better than others, hitting more blogs. But lately, I've been more disciplined about writing first, and blogging/reading blogs second. Those days, I have less traffic to my blog, but that's got to be okay, right? Writing has to come first.

    Great and insightful post!!

  45. Blogging can definitely get overwhelming (and I have less than half the followers you do!). I try to do the best I can. I try, on days I post (MWF) to get to as many people as I can. I make it through my blog roll about half the time. A quarter of the time. I get everyone and the other quarter... I get no one besides my Very Good blogger friends. It isn't a personal thing. It really isn't.

    No pressure and we aren't all just suddenly going to disappear!

  46. I have my daily "can't miss" blogs and I try to visit anyone who took the time to comment on my own blog. Other than that, it boils down to what i have time for. When we get the higher follower numbers, which are wonderful, we just can't do it all anymore. I think most of us understand that. :-)

  47. Yes, we tackled the same issue today!
    I read a variety. Some for the movie info. Some for writing and other author/promotion type tips. Some for the images. Some because they are interesting people.
    And if you read for writing tips, why on earth do you visit my blog?! Crap, I need to entice some guest bloggers to write about writing, because I am sure not the expert.

  48. Ha! The funny thing is I've been in the same conundrum, revising an ms and trying to keep up with our most loyal readers, but I really needed to stretch my legs and get out more. And so I scanned my follower list -- and was immediately piqued ... by your title!
    The Middle Ages

  49. I try to stay really connected with my followers and the people I follow, but it does get harder and harder. That's one of the reasons I've never really tried to increase the number of followers I have. I want to keep it somewhat manageable.

    I have people that I know are in "the midst of something" whether it be something good like a book coming out, a 30th (or maybe even a 39th birthday, ha ha), or not good. I try to really follow those people, and I might skip someone who's just hanging out.

  50. I had a similar post on Monday. I love Google Reader. It’s better than the dashboard ‘cause I can quickly flip through posts. For me title is a biggie, a pic will usually grab my attention, then I read the first 3-4 lines to see if it’s a post for me.

    Good titles are hard to come up with though.

  51. I'm in the same boat. I had to give up on the dashboard because it didn't hold enough blogs. I use Google Reader now & I've got the blogs divided into different days of the week. That way hopefully I get to everyone at least once every 2 weeks. It's tough!

  52. My number one priority is visiting the bloggers who visit me. So, it doesn't matter if they are talking about their fingernail clippings or the most profound thing in the universe-- they get my time because I am so grateful that they gave it to me.

    If I have more time, I read more blogs, but time is always scarce for me.

  53. Like you, I try to follow most of my followers. And I read primarily those posts that spark some immediate interest (and, of course, those of my very good friends). You've got it right. Don't sweat it!

  54. Jessica,

    I think we all pretty much feel the same way. We love our followers, but we just don't have the time to comment.

    I took something you said to heart in your post. Lately I have been plugging contests, blogfests, blogs, etc. I haven't been giving 'ME" to my followers. I guess that's why I haven't been seeing I don't take it personally not to worry.

    Thanks for this. Now I will really think of intriguing subjects to seduce my followers to my blog.

    This IS the real world and we need to give as much as we wish to receive.


  55. I've been feeling so guilty because I haven't been able to comment on as many posts as I used to. There are so many blogs to read, books to read, books to write. I need some clones!

  56. I completely understand and agree with you, Jess. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with everyone, and I've no where near the amount of readers that you have.

    And, I'm with you on only reading blog posts that interest me. I don't do it for reciprocation at all.

  57. I try and visit those who I've been able to conversate with. It really has nothing to do with the title but with the blogger themselves. Although there are some blogs I will neglect if I don't see their name on my blog in comments but that's just me and my horrible memory. I use google reader to separate those of my faves to read and comment on. But I completely agree. I don't have all the time in the world but the blogs I do stop and read, I like to comment so they know I visited. Even if I just say hi.

  58. Thanks for putting this out there. I know EXACTLY how you feel and I'm only following 300. I wish I had time to read and comment on everyone but even at 5 minutes a blog, that's just never going to happen. I do exactly what you do. Hearing you say it though, makes me feel oooodles better.

  59. I'm deeply offended and I will not be following you anymore. Just kidding.

    I don't comment unless I'm interested and I don't follow unless I think I'll be interested in what that person will be continuing to write. I find that generally people that enjoy my blog and comment usually have similar interests/outlooks on life as I do. I think a blog sort of attracts like-minded people naturally so usually if someone comments I end up reciprocating because they interest me.

    My process for following people/reading people's blogs is that when they follow me I'll check out their blog and if looks interesting I'll follow them. Sometimes after a while you realize it just doesn't interest me even though I thought I would so I'll unfollow them because I'm never reading their blog anyway. Unless they only have like 10 followers then I wont unfollow, makes me feel bad.

  60. I'm so with you. I only comment on the blogs I read that really spark my interest or touch my feelings. Time is too precious to do otherwise. Thanks for exposing the ugly underbelly of blogging. :)

  61. I like reading blogs of writers and book reviewers, so if your title hints at either of those things, I'm in :)

    I do enjoy reading about other people's process and always love finding new books to read.


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris