Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Make-Over

I'm doing what any self-respecting gal in relationship trouble will do and getting a make-over. Your relationship is in trouble? No, not my relationship with my significant other, but my relationship with my publisher. Our problem is not one about my writing, but about marketing. I need more of a platform, more readers, more followers! No biggie.

I'm giving my blog a make-over. What do you think? I'd love to attract more readers and invite more interaction, but only if it's organic and authentic, only if I truly connect with more people. So I'm asking you, dear ones, what would you like to see me blog about more regularly?

I blog a lot yes, but the topics are always varied. Should I commit to regular columns? I just had an inspirational chat with my friend Keith in Atlanta, Georgia, who has got me thinking about all of this stuff. Madeleine Mondays? Therapeutic Thursdays? Writer Wednesdays? Freaky Fridays? What Would Oprah Do Tuesdays?

I've changed the template on blogger cosmetically, but I am seriously thinking about amalgamating my very unsexy website, www.lenaroybooks.com with this blog on wordpress. I so wish that I could hire someone to do this for me! (This is why my current website is so unappealing - I am a DIY kind of gal. Oh yeah, and a financially strapped kind of gal.)

Feedback is wanted and encouraged!


  1. I suspect that the bloggers who succeed, the ones who get the billion comments and zillion hits, do so by generating authentic content that they are passionate about -- but also because they spend a good amount of time at the outset reading and commenting on other people's blogs and paying attention to what the stats say about which posts generate more traffic.

    Themed blog posts could be a good idea -- but then again, they could also be limiting. I suspect that you sometimes want to write but struggle with what to write about. Multiply that by 10 if you are struggling with what to write about Madeleine or what to write about writing...

    In her book Lit, Mary Karr writes about how another memoirist tells her not to be afraid to look like an idiot, to expose herself, to let her dirty laundry flap freely. This is a slippery slope, but as a person in recovery myself, I've always enjoyed what you've shared about your own addiction and recovery and how it informs your writing.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment so thoughtfully! I really appreciate it. I DO struggle, as do we all, and I like the freedom to write what comes up for me organically. We all also struggle with only having so many hours in a day, right? Thank you again for introducing yourself the other day by commenting. Now I'll hop over to your blog!

  3. Awesome!

    So, as Seth Godin, a best-selling author & marketing thought leader down the street from you in Hastings on Hudson, would say: "Instead of trying to find readers for your writing, find writing for your readers."

    You are helping readers find the words, not only for their creative lives, but their real ones too.

    And think about this. What attracts us to news and magazines (online and off) is the fact we clearly know what to expect: features, opinion columns, standard departments, etc.

    Let me know how I can help!

  4. Léna -- ack! -- the idea that you might actually go read my blog makes me equal parts starstruck and feeling the need to censor myself! I made a comment on my blog about Edges the other day that seems oh-so-snobbily-cavalier when I think of YOU actually reading it. I apologize in advance for being a total idiot. I really did love Edges. Read it twice -- when it first came out -- and then again after I'd been going to AA for a few months.

  5. You are on the right track because you are willing to jump in there and try something new, to make changes.

    I think noiseandhaste is on the mark when she said visiting other blogs will garner you reader as well. The down side is it does take a lot of time. I have 70 Followers but rarely hear from more than the usual 10...but 70 was thrilling at first and the number is better than three!

    I also like you idea of certain columns...allows readers to pick up on subjects quickly, to come to look for their favorites. I was caught by Madeline Monday. There surely must be a lot of people who loved your Grandmother's work that would love to see her through your ten year old, 20 year old, 30 year old and writer eyes.

    The addiction...I am sure others would find that interesting...and then how do you write...where, when, your struggles, etc.

    Try everything and see what sticks!

  6. No worries! The fact that you read it twice speaks volumes, and I expect that you are trying to find your own voice when it comes to these things. Will you give it a shout out on Goodreads and Amazon? (If you are able w/o it being a PIA.)

  7. Thank you for weighing in, Bookie and Keith! What do you think of this new design - is it more reader friendly?

  8. Everything I read in the blog-o-sphere says you've got to put in the time commenting on other people's blogs. So maybe finding some peeps blogging about your interests and things you blog about. maybe searching Twitter by hashtags. I'm trying to do this myself, of course, and my traffic flow is bigger to my blog. Still, nowhere near what it would need to be to really get recognized.

    I am also wondering if I should switch to Wordpress. Not sure why I think so. Why are YOU?

  9. Léna - so true, I am. I'll head over to Amazon now to give it a thumbs up.

  10. I never thought the old design was bad, Lena, but I will admit this one is light and airy. I think the layout invites reading!

  11. I like this look and especially the play on the word "Lit" Keep it up. Look at all the comments you got. For what it's worth the word "makeover" really grabbed my attention. Who doesn't want to know what their friends are doing in that department? Right? That was a great hook. Even if it did remind me of how shallow I can be. jeanne

  12. Hi Hope - wordpress would be a better vehicle for a true website, so that I can amalgamate both. But I'll do some more tooling around with blogger!

    Thanks again noiseandhaste, Bookie and Jeanne! And Jeanne - the play on "Lit" was always there - just lost in all of that orange!

  13. Hi Lena-I'm certainly no expert on blogs, in fact I'm in the process of trying to keep up my own but I would like to give you my perspective. I've been on a three month writing hiatus due to our family's cross-country move. The move has been a very good thing, but extremely exhausting, especially with four kids. (I promise I have a point!)

    A couple of weeks ago, I started writing again, and checking out my blog list again. Your blog was one on my list that I was most looking forward to catching up on because I like your 'voice' and the fact that you throw real life into it instead of keeping it strictly about writing.

    That being said, I like your make-over. I agree with Bookie that it's now light and airy. I've always liked your blog title and I'm on board with Madeleine Mondays, after all, your grandmother was the link between me and your blog.

    One last thing. I'm really looking forward to reading Edges but I promised my daughter I'd (finally) read The Hunger Games, so after that...I'll let you know what I think as soon as I'm done.

    Thanks for the opportunity to ramble!

  14. Hey hey! I think the blog looks great! And yeah, like other people have said, the only way to get noticed is to be OUT THERE a lot. On twitter, on facebook... interacting!

  15. Nice new makeover, Lena! Good luck with your social media goals! ;)

  16. Cari - it's great to hear from you! I'm glad things are settling back into some kind of "normal" after a huge move. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Edges!

    Anne and Cherie - I could do a lot more with the time I designate for social media. (The husband and kids already think I do too much - what I've got to do is make it more specific and meaningful.)

    Thanks so much everybody for weighing in!

  17. Thank you for your feedback! I changed the font and made it a little bigger. Is that better?

  18. Léna. . .I think your blog is fabulous. . .I know the state of publishing is Dreadful with a capital D. . .but, there has been a lot written lately about writers going in all different directions--sure, everybody wants that advance and the "prestige" of the big publishers. . .but, truth be told. . .you're a writer. . .and you need to write. . .your goal for you is to reach as many people as possible. . .I added you to my blogroll. . I enjoyed your book and look forward to the next one. . .it's all good. . .as to content. . .I blog about EVERYTHING. . .my interests are so varied. . .so I put in books, music, photography, parts of three books I'm writing, and politics. . .and I can do the rants and screeds. . .is anybody reading it. . .sure. . . .I've got some loyal readers and lurkers. . .but, I just started mine a little while back. . . .what have I learned through the process? I've got to post every day--if you make it the document of your life. . .people will come. . .

    . . .and enjoy the hell out of it!

    Regards. . .Floyd


  19. Thank you so much for your comment Floyd! (I am now following yours too . . .) I love your support of me writing anything and everything - I will continue to do that, but hopefully with more focus on exploring world views/ belief systems - focusing on hope and the resilience of the human spirit.

  20. I like what you've done already, Lena. I struggle with some of the same things--the idea of a platform, trying to keep up with social media, trying to market myself, being pigeonholed--with the obvious difference that my book is not published yet . . . Still, I like to blog about whatever strikes my fancy. I like your idea of themed days of the week. I might copy you, just know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And now . . . I need to follow Floyd's advice. But I don't WANT to blog every single day!

  21. Oh Alison thank you - I don't think I can go with themes after all - too much pressure! But I am more and more realizing what my "platform" really is - I'm a writer, a teacher, a mother, a former therapist and a spiritual seeker, and I marry these together pretty much in all of my posts anyway, but now I will do do with more intention.

  22. small world, or coincidence??? another blog I follow, "The Great Book Challenge" also uses this background. I like it!!!

  23. thanks Kirsten! This is also the wallpaper we use at Writopia Lab's physical space!

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