Thursday, February 26, 2009

Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Welcomes the Fabulous and Prolific Barbara Vey, Editor and Blogger Extraordinaire for Publishers Weekly!

Time really got by me this month. I did a lot of traveling, hosted a library event and announced a huge Anniversary Party for my Publishers Weekly blog, Beyond Her Book. So when Debbie emailed me Thursday to remind me of my promise to write a blog for your terrific group, I went into panic mode.

After I calmed myself down with a Subway sub and lots of diet Coke, I thought that this would be a perfect theme for the blog. What to blog about when there's nothing to say. I hear this complaint a lot from authors.

Now I write my BHB blog 6 days a week, but after nearly 2 years, I've finally got some kind of a system.

Monday: This, That and the Other Thing - I rely on information from authors, publishers, editors, publicists and readers to let me know any new and interesting things going on. I'm happy to report on any charities an author is involved with, special events like conferences or retreats, and any kudos or awards anyone may receive. Or even something unusual or fun (just had a baby? daughter will be on Survivor? son won a Pulitzer? you made it on The Price is Right?).

Tuesday and Thursday: Random thoughts I have and feel the need to share.

Wednesday: WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs - regular readers read the books and write blurbs about them and how they felt about the stories.

Friday: Your Turn Friday - I tell what I've read lately and invite you to share your latest book recommendations. Lots of people make lists from your comments.

Saturday: Occasional special WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs and hope to move on to feature Young Adult readers. (But usually my day off unless I'm at a conference)

Sunday: Sunday Matinee - I post book videos that have been sent to me. They aren't labeled, just like when you go to the movie theater and never know what the next coming attraction will be shown. Enjoy them and maybe get some great book ideas.

When I attend conferences, the system is put on hold until I return home. It's been working pretty well for me.
One question I get a lot is "How do you come up with things to blog about because I only blog every other week and I can never think of anything to say?"

The answer actually is not that hard.

1. Talk to people (and really listen to what they have to say) Lots of times they have things they've been wondering about and you can blog about their questions, your answer and request answers from those reading your blog.

2. Join Twitter. Twitter is a social network ( where you follow what people are doing and write in one sentence what you're up to. People link to interesting sites and I get a lot of ideas from there.

3. Hang out at the library. I walk up and down the aisles and ask people what they're looking for and what they're interested in. Sometimes I suggest authors they may be interested in and once they start talking to you, you may get an idea from what they've said. Or I stand at the checkout and make comments on what they're reading. People love it when you're interested.

4. While at the airport. This is an amazing place because people are usually waiting a long time in one spot and love the opportunity to talk about whatever they're reading (and I always approach readers). Because they're travelers, they have stories about who they've met and experiences they've had.

5. Read Yahoo News. I gravitate to the Odd News section because the stuff there is unbelievable, but makes for good blogging. (It doesn't always have to be about books. Last week I wrote about Barbie's 50th Birthday.)

6. Check out other blogs. While you don't want to copy what they've said, something in it may give you an idea for a blog.

7. Browse your own bookshelf. Seeing a book that brings back memories can stir your mind to a "remember when" blog.

8. Think of a question and then where ever you go that day, ask someone to answer it for you. When I started my blog, I was told it was about Women's Fiction. I started asking people their definition and the answers were all over the place (I asked both sexes and all ages).

9. Brainstorm with friends. Anything goes, so be open to new ideas.

10. Try something new and write about it. I blogged my experiences joining MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

I hope that gave you a starting point and you now feel more comfortable about the blogging process. And remember, you can always email me when you need a brainstorming buddy.
Barbara Vey at February
Georgia Romance Writers
Thanks to Barbara for today's post. Please check out her wonderful blog at


Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Barbara:
I really appreciate this post! What great ideas. I plan to use them on my own blog. Happy Almost Two Year Blogging Anniversary!

Nicki Salcedo said...

Barbara, thank goodness we take turns and don't have to blog as much as you do! You are amazing.

I'd be curious to know what you consider the benefits of blogging for writers. Does it really help get your name out there? Does anyone really read my blogs besides my sister?

(Thanks for taking that mass picture of us at GRW. Don't think anyone has ever gotten so many of us in on shot before!)

Sandy Elzie said...


It was so nice to meet you at the GRW meeting and we appreciate you sharing your Pearls of Wisdom (aka experience) with us about coming up with blogging subjects/content. Even though we chare, it's still sometimes a challenge to think of something fresh and interesting. Yikes! My day to blog is coming up soon...maybe I had better reread your article! Thanks much, Sandy

Walt Mussell said...

I agree. You're amazing to get out as much stuff into as blog as you do.

It was great meeting you at the GRW meeting.

Barbara Vey said...

Morning all! Thanks so much for inviting me and thanks to Debbie for remininding me.

Nicki: I think anytime you get your name out there, it really helps an author. When a reader's in a bookstore and has to choose between thousands of books, if they see your name (they might not remember where they saw it) and they'll think, "Here's one I recognize" and pick up the book. That's the first step of sale.

Then, it just takes the right person to read your witty blog and over coffee, tell their friends about it and pass along your name.

I'm a prime example of blogging working. 2 years ago I didn't even know what a blog was and today I have lots of readers (sorry, I'm not allowed to give the number), over 1600 followers on MySpace, 1200 on Facebook and 1100 on Twitter. And I never wrote a book!

Sandy: Maybe your blog could be about how something from my blog helped you write yours and how you as writers you help each other with things when you're stuck.

Walt: it was wonderful meeting you and I'm not so much amazing as I love what I do.

Cyrano said...

I think the concensus is, WOW, you're a force of nature.
Like the others, I get nervous about blogging. But all of my sister bloggers are so talented, so inventive. Each day I read their words, whether humorous, poignant, or incredibly wise and I'm inspired. They've given me the encouragement I need to tackle the blogging beast, wrestle it to the ground, set my foot on its chest and roar, "I can do this!"
And I have.
And I love it!
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with PFHT today.
Keep up the good work and have a lovely day.

Barbara Vey said...

Thanks Tamera. You know, my son gave me the best advice about blogging. He said, "Mom, just pretend you're sitting down with your friends for a cup of coffee and talk to them."

So, that's what I to friends.

BTW, the top picture was taken at Stardust Restaurant in NY where the whole waitstaff sings songs while serving food. They let me hold the microphone, but to protect everyone's appetite, I didn't sing.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Barbara! What a great post! I'm lucky in that I blog with The Romance Bandits and with 20 of us, there's always something interesting going on, and something one of the other ladies writes about usually sparks something for me if I'm at a loss. I love all the info on Twitter and Facebook you gave. I'm still figuring out Twitter, but it's sure fun. (I can already see I'm going to have to restrict myself on that...)

*waving* to all the Petit Fours/Hot Tamales authors, I know many of you FROM facebook! :>


Barbara Vey said...

Hi Jeanne, nice seeing you here and the Romance Bandits do Rock!

Really, if you aren't on Twitter, get on. It's the fastest growing place to get yourself seen and heard. Then find me at and I'll be glad to help you out.

Kate said...

Hi, Barbara

Thanks for all that great advice about blogging and reaching readers. As a result I am now all a-Twitter!


Patricia Altner said...

Like so many bloggers I'm always hunting for interesting subjects and wanting to add variety to my posts

What you wrote today is so helpful. It's certainly a keeper. Something I can pull out when I need to get the creative juices going.


Linsey Lanier said...


Wow what a great post. What an inspiration you are! I love the talking to friends over coffee idea. You make me want to go write a blog article right now. Unfortunately, I'm at work, so that will have to wait till I get home. Glad it's Friday.

It was so great to have you at our GRW meeting. Taking that picture was a hoot. I think that's me in the back. Hope you'll come back soon.

Thanks for being our guest blogger today.


Barbara Vey said...

Hi Kate, Patricia and Linsey, glad you stopped by. I loved my visit to Atlanta and will be there again for the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. Hope to see everyone there!

Debbie Kaufman said...

OOOOH, Barbara:
I didn't know you were coming to Moonlight and Magnolias this year. Yeah! It will be so much fun to have you there.

BTW, I fought with this blog post to get labels on all your pics. It won, I was finger wrestled into giving up!

Shelley Munro said...

Great topic. I blog five - six days a week and sometimes worry about running out of ideas. I haven't so far. I like to have guest bloggers, which keeps things interesting. I do a lot of travel and often post photos or do travel-related posts.

And as Barbara mentioned, it's a good idea to blog hop and see what other bloggers are doing. I've made some wonderful friends this way.

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Everyone!!! Hi Barbara!

Thank you so much for stopping by PFandHT. I love reading your blog and I thank you for giving us so many wonderful ideas...

I try to blog 5 days a week on my personal blog and the only way I could come up with something to say was to do the theme days. That helped a lot when I was trying to come up with something new to say each time.

I'm glad I got to meet you at the GRW meeting and can't wait to see you again at M&M. With Nicki and Michelle running the show, I know it'll be a ton of fun!!! And I second (or third) the thank you for taking that photo. It's nice to see all of us in one picture like that...

See ya in October (if not earlier).


Ana Aragón said...

Hi, Barbara,

I was so disappointed when I heard you'd made the GRW meeting that I couldn't attend...son, Mark, is in his last year of college baseball and I'm watching every pitch he throws! I know you're a baseball fan and understand.

I'm one of those who never seems to have an original thought when it comes to writing a blog. I panic. I swear. But then some little morsel of an idea comes to mind and pretty soon, I've got a 750-1000 word blog.

Thanks for your suggestions. I'm going to try them next time, and hopefully won't waste that 2-3 days of stress and worry.

See you at M&M!


Dianna Love said...

What a great blog. This has to be the first time I've ever seen a blog on how to create different posts. And I think Barb's variety is amazing and so are the ones on PFHT.

I've never considered keeping my own blog(way more than I can handle time-wise), but I do love to visit several - this one, of course :). I like the mix of topics on the blogs i visit.

Mary Marvella said...

Excellent ideas for blogging topics. I think we make it too hard sometimes. I know I do!

Sally Kilpatrick said...


Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm going to have to file this one away to reference when I'm having trouble finding something to say. Maybe I'll accost a few more people in the library and the bookstore, too.

Do have any opinions on whether a blog is better than or equal to a website? Do you know of any advantages or disadvantages of one or the other?


Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara,

Thanks so much for your post! I've heard wonderful things about you!


Santa said...

Thanks for sharing your process. I have been hesitant to dive into the blogging world. I know it's a great way to get your name out there but the time demands of doing a blog overwhelm me at times.

So, I've dipped my big toe in a blog once a month with the pirate wenches over at Romance Writers Revenge. It's really works for me. The ladies there are witty and fun to blog with.

I do have to say that I get my name out there often enough with all the blogs I do visit on a daily basis. I lurk on a host of others. I enjoy the camaraderie a blog provides. I cut my teeth on the Avon board and Squawk Radio.

I've found Facebook to be a great venue for sharing my love of books both in reading and writing them with so many great people.

Considering starting her own blog....

Barbara Vey said...

Hi everyone,

I took a little time off and went to the movies with my son. We saw Frost/Nixon and Push. Time well spent.

Sally asked if a blog or website is better. I guess that would depend on where you are in your career. Speaking as a reader, I love to go to author's websites and read their bio, click on the page that lists their books chronologically, check where they will be appearing next and check out the latest contest.

But keep the website up to date. There's nothing worse than going there and finding the most current book is from 2006 when you know 3 more have been out in the interim.

I, personally, like the group blogs. It offers variety and the other authors usually show up to add their 2 cents worth. Hope that helps.

I want to thank Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for inviting me here today and thanks to all of you who took the time to read the blog and to those who posted.

Hugs to all,


Maxine Davis said...

I always enjoy your blogs. They are so fresh and interesting. Tell me it does get easier after a while.

Hope you can make another GRW meeting. It was so good to meet you.