Tag Archives: wordpress

Not so glorious spam!

Before proceeding further, I would like to make it crystal clear that I value all my followers irrespective of how you follow this website. The majority of my followers choose to follow this blog using the WordPress Reader, while others subscribe via Twitter or Facebook. A small percentage receive posts via email. Its important to me that those who have neither a WordPress blog, a Gravatar, don’t use Twitter or Facebook have the opportunity to easily access my content, hence the presence of the button enabling people to subscribe using email. Indeed I subscribe to many sites using the email button and (as I’ve already said) value the ability to receive posts by email.

Turning to the matter in hand. Approximately 10 days ago I noticed a steady increase in email subscriptions, all of which emanated from the outlook.com domain. I was, of course delighted to have new followers (who wouldn’t be?). I did, however think it somewhat odd that all these new subscribers where subscribing to Newauthoronline using the same domain (outlook.com). Yesterday (Saturday 21 January) all became clear. I received an obviously spammy comment from a user at the outlook.com domain. I duly deleted said attempt to spam my site. As of now I have received 9 spam comments (all of which have been deleted). Every one of these attempts to spam came from entities using the outlook.com domain which does, I feel sure explain the unusual spike in email subscribers using Outlook.

I have no intention of removing the ability to subscribe to newauthoronline.com via email. There are many good reasons why a reader might choose this method of subscribing, including not wishing to utilise social media/not having a WordPress site and/or Gravatar. I will continue to treat each comment received on its merits irrespective of whether it comes via a Twitter, Facebook, WordPress or email follower and I’ve no intention of changing this practice. I will, however be keeping a sharp eye out for unusual activity such as a spike in subscribers from a particular domain whether that be Outlook or any other provider. Of course I have had spam comments from WordPress users. These are, however extremely rare but, again I shall be keeping a weather eye out for spammy comments irrespective of their source.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I welcome all subscribers irrespective of how they choose to subscribe. The vast majority of people who follow this (and other blogs) do so for genuine reasons. Likewise the overwhelming majority of comments are from those who truly wish to have their voice heard/make a contribution to a post. Finally, I don’t assume that anyone who uses the outlook.com domain to subscribe is upto no good. You are welcome to subscribe using that or any other method – but not to spam!

Kevin

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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Blogging From The Perspective Of A Poet?

Licence to use image obtained – Copyright: 3dlabs2015 / 123RF Stock Photo

What are the pros and cons of blogging from the perspective of a poet? To answer this question one needs to consider matters which touch wholly on poetry, and issues pertaining to blogging more generally. The below should be read baring in mind the caveat that (to state the blatantly obvious) poets are individuals and what works for one will not (necessarily) work for another. With that caveat on the table, here are my pros and cons.

Pros

1. Publishing your poetry on a blog brings it to the attention of a wide audience. The poet gains followers who, in turn spread the word regarding the poet’s work, thereby increasing the blog’s following and enhancing the exposure of the poet’s writing.
2. Having a blog allows the poet to publicise upcoming poetry readings and, of course provide links to their published works (if such exist) on platforms such as Amazon.
3. One of the questions asked when I signed up for an Audio Book Creation Exchange (ACX) account was along the lines of “do you have a blog/website and, if so how many followers do you have?” From the perspective of ACX, they want to know that books published on their platform will sell and a person with an online following has an obvious advantage when it comes to selling books, as (to state the obvious) the more people who are aware of your writing (poetry or otherwise) the greater the number of titles you are (potentially at least) likely to sell.
4. Having a blog enables poets to connect with fellow poets thereby building up a community of like minded individuals.

Cons:

1. Responding to comments can be time consuming (time the poet could be spending writing). One can, of course disable comments on a WordPress blog (WordPress being my platform of choice). However (in my view) a blog without the ability to comment is a dead thing. Comments equal vibrancy and engagement which is why I positively welcome them.
2. Blog followers do not (necessarily) equate to book sales. People follow blogs for many and diverse reasons and some (having subscribed) will forget about your blog and never comment and/or like posts.
3. If all (or significant numbers of your poems) appear online, why should readers buy your books? (they have, after all already read your poems online).
4. Poems published online may (as with any other form of writing) be stolen. One can (and should) include a Copyright Notice on your site. This will, however not prevent the possibility of theft.

Conclusion

If I were not of the view that blogging is not of advantage to me as a poet, I would cease to blog. The fact that I continue to publish and engage online demonstrates that I believe the pros of blogging (from the poets perspective) outweigh the cons.

My Experience of Organising A Book Launch

As many of you will be aware, I held a book launch for my recently published collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind” on the evening of 5 July.

I am pleased to report that the evening went well.

There were, however a number of “lessons learned”, which I have set-out below.

I hope this post proves helpful to others considering a physical (as opposed to a virtual) book launch.

Pros:

1. The venue (a pub called the Railway Bell) is within easy reach of Gipsy Hill station, making it simple for those attending the launch (and using public transport) to access it.

2. The venue being a pub, meant that it was easy to arrange for the provision of alcohol (and other drinks) to my guests. I provided wine and orange juice, while my guests had the option to purchase additional refreshments at the bar.

3. The management where extremely obliging and went that extra mile ensuring that things ran smoothly.

4. There was good audience interaction with a number of interesting questions being addressed to me.

5. I sold (and signed) a number of copies of “My Old Clock”.

6. People stayed on afterwards for a drink in the pub garden which was most convivial.

Cons:

1. I advertised the event on my blog and Facebook. In addition a number of bloggers, friends and acquaintences very kindly shared the launch on social media including Twitter, Facebook and reblogs on WordPress.

This was all very much appreciated and I would like to send a big thank you to everyone who took the time to share the event.

However, despite all the publicity (including the news releases sent out by the publisher to local poetry/literary groups), those attending where all known to me either as friends or acquaintences.

It was, of course wonderful to have the support of close friends, however having new faces at the event would have been the iceing on the cake.

WordPress provides an effective platform for building and cementing a following and I greatly appreciate every single person who takes the time to follow, like and comment on my poetry and other posts.

My blog has enabled me to reach out to people all over the world and form valued connections with those with whom I would never otherwise have become connected.

However the vast majority of my followers are not in the UK so (although many of them generously shared the event) they could not (for obvious reasons) attend.

Consequently while WordPress is a wonderful platform it possesses limitations as regards getting “bums on seats”.

Facebook didn’t yield any new faces at the event (despite it having been advertised on local Facebook groups), which appears to further underline the limits of social media as a means of drumming up support for events.

2. I scheduled the event at too early an hour (6:30).

Given the London rush hour and issues with transport, I decided to hold off until approximately 7:20, which meant that most people had then arrived.

In retrospect I should have specified a starting time of 7 pm (with the expectation that most people would arrive between 7 and 7:15) and I will certainly do so the next time I organise such an event.

3. While beer and books are a fantastic combination, beer on books is not!

On entering the pub I enjoyed a quick pint prior to the event starting.

I had hung my bag of books on a hook under the bar (they where in a padded envelope within a carrier bag).

I managed to spill some of my drink into the envelope but luckily (and much to my surprise) none of my Fosters got onto my books.

Next time I shall keep my books well away from alcohol or any other liquids!

4. Any profits made from the sale of books require to be balanced against money expended in the provision of refreshments.

However even where spending on refreshments comes close (or even eats into any profit made), one has to consider the benefits obtained from the publicity generated by the event.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the event was a success.

People enjoyed my reading, there ensued an interesting discussion following the reading and a number of books were signed and sold.

While it was wonderful to see so many old friends there, it would have further enhanced the event where new faces to have appeared alongside them.

As previously stated, I possess a loyal blog following and I’m grateful to all my followers for their ongoing support.

However given that most of my followers are located outside of the UK they can not (for obvious reasons) attend book launches and other similar events.

I will look into streaming events live the next time I launch a book enabling the event to be seen by as broad a range of people as possible.

(“My Old Clock I Wind” is published by Moyhill in paperback and ebook formats and can be found here, http://moyhill.com/clock/

A blog dedicated to rhyming poetry

I recently came across “Rhyme”, https://rhymepoetry.wordpress.com/about/. The blog aims to promote a love of rhyming poetry and it’s owner invites readers to recommend poems for possible inclusion on her site.
For anyone who enjoys rhyming poetry, I recommend checking out this blog.

My Interview on Roberta Pimentel’s Blog

Thank you to Roberta Pimentel for interviewing me about why I began my blog and other aspects of the blogging experience. For my interview please visit

http://robertapimentel.com/2017/02/03/todays-special-guest-4/.

Kevin

The importance of the “About” page

On visiting a blog for the first time, I frequently click on the “About” page. I have lost count of the number of occasions when I have been greeted with the following words:
“This is an example of a page …”.

It is, of course entirely a matter for each site owner to determine what is displayed on their pages. It is, however disappointing for a potential follower to click on a blog only to find that the “About” page still carries the standard wording provided by WordPress.

I understand that people value their privacy (I do too)! However you don’t have to provide your home address and other personal details. In my opinion just a few sentences about why you started the blog and perhaps a few words about yourself create a much better impression than leaving the WordPress wording quoted above in place.

If, for whatever reason you don’t want an “About” page perhaps consider deleting it (although, in my view this would be a mistake).

In short, keeping the standard WordPress wording can create a poor first impression and may mean the difference between a person clicking on your blog following (or not following) you.

Kevin