I posted a letter to participants of our sister blog, The Book's Blurb Blog (TBBB), today about an ongoing incident. These were the authors that were scheduled for an appearance at the blog this week. Yesterday at about this same time in the afternoon, TBBB disappeared from my dashboard. Apparently, a little bit earlier in the day the blog had been tagged by a Google bot as being a spam blog. I had notified the authors yesterday when the blog went down and sent this letter today.
Now, we all know it isn't but Google's bots obviously thought it was and shut it down. I frantically search on things to do, found a restore button and pressed it. By doing that, I at least got the blog onto the review list. I had to go through about 3 different log-ins to prove I was human and go to their group forum. It was there I learned a lot about what does constitute spam on Google. We don't...even the blogs that we have planned for the next year don't either.
Needless to say, I've learned much in the last 24 hours about what is and isn't allowed on Blogger. Yes, people can earn money with their blogs as long as it is for legitimate products and services. If you continue to only loop through a few set blogs or have a 'Click for bucks' type thing, you'll seriously be banned. And rightly so...our blogs get a horrible amount of SPAM comments that many of the new ones planned will not have a comment option on them.
At any rate, the reason, I'm showing you all the letter sent to the authors is it has our plan for the next year. This is something we were going to reveal in December but because of the TBBB incident, we want to share with you sooner. Here's the letter in its entirety.
Just an update everyone. The Book's Blurb Blog or TBBB is still down and being evaluated for a restoration.
I still don't know what happened or why, although it could be any various number of things. It could be the fact that it was being promoted a lot and someone didn't like that therefore turning it in as a SPAM blog. Personally, I thought the purpose of a blog was to socialize and promote something...even Google defines it as such in one of the documents I read. I did find a definition of a SPAM blog though. Here's the definition from Wiki: A spam blog, sometimes referred to by the neologism splog, is a blog which the author uses to promote affiliated websites, to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites or to simply sell links/ads. There's a whole write up there if you're interested. Just so you know, I am not affiliated with any group or site. I don't do the Amazon affiliate thing and I'm sure the book vendors will be coming out with it as well. Why, you might ask, because I want to do what's best for the author. And IMHO, the more places an author is able to showcase their books, the better.
I finally did get help of a sort. Google suggested that I go to it's group forums where people post about such things. Apparently, Google has Top Contributors there that have direct lines on how to get things done. Even though I had submitted a restore ticket, I had to also go there to talk to people. Once that happened, apparently I was put into a better light for getting the blog back. I guess that Google worker bees regularly look at the forums, I don't know how the whole thing works. I can say, it did point me to a lot of reading material on the hows and the whys, not that I truly understand them. It also gives me some concern about TBBB's sister blog, The Log Line Blog or TLLB, and the ones I had planned to start in the next couple of months.
Next month, we (yes, I'm turning into a we as I'm getting some help via friends and family as this is a big project) had planned an extra bonus to everyone who has submitted or ever will submit to either TBBB and TLLB...they will automatically go on A Book Cover Blog...you can find the empty blog here abookcoverblog.blogspot.com. The first thing you will notice is there isn't a submissions page and there never will be as it is an added bonus for being on TBBB and TLLB. Again, it's totally free and will rotate as to what cover is up, one from TBBB then one from TLLB. All it's going to be is cover art with a buy link attached. No words and no one has to submit. It was just a little something that was planned as a way to give back and keep the book love going for the authors of TBBB and TLLB. Only positive comments would be allowed to help improve a cover but no flaming. The promotion on it won't be as heavy, one tweet and one Facebook notice via the TBBB and TLLB plus another through the new group to be set up in January, The Book Advertisers both in Facebook and on Twitter.
Yeah, we will be advertising books and some of the ways will always be free. MOF, every first week or two of one of our paid blogs will be done free, so authors can see what we have to offer. At this time we can guarantee nothing will cost more than $7 and one will get discounts for doing multiple months or posts and maybe multiple blogs but that hasn't been worked out yet. If prices ever go up, it will be only a $1 or $2 at a time...no huge price hikes for us! A lot of the collected money will go back into the blogs for design, domains, prizes for monthly giveaways, along with Christmas and anniversary giveaways. Right now, we're doing the designs though we're not designers, we haven't purchased domains but will probably need to when the blogs transition into regular websites and all prizes are paid out of my personal pocket. Yes, this is because I want to, not because I have to nor is this made known to guilt you into donating. I do it because I want to give back to the writing community that so richly supports me but having the blogs fund themselves would be great. Wouldn't it be nice to give away some sort of Kindle every month? Many of us would love to get into a place like Pixel of Ink or ENT but can't because of the cost and the wait time. BUT all our sites were going to be done on Blogger blogs to keep costs reasonable. Now we're wondering whether that's going to be the best course of action. We're looking into it right now...we might be able to do so just by getting it on a registered domain via Google...MOF, we wouldn't mind paying a small usage fee for the space and Blogger provided we'd never get shut down. Also, we'll never be doing Google Adsense because of the total disregard to placement of such ads.
In January, we had planned to open The 99cent New Release Blog. If you had a new release, one we define as being out 30 days or less, and it's selling for only 99 cents, you can get it posted here without jumping through the hoops that one might normally needs to go through. We were planning on showcasing up to 6 books a day. The submission requirements were easy, your book cover (large jpg), either your log line or blurb and two buy links. That was it...easy...and it too was totally free. You can see it here 99centnewrelease.blogspot.com.
Now I bet you're wondering just what else we had planned within the coming year. Just hop on over to The Book Advertisers to take a peek. On the site, you can see our plans for the next year or two, depending upon need and time, at thebookadvertisers.blogspot.com. The only sites active at this time are the ones listed in this blog. The others are blank slates at the moment. Each one of the listed blogs are something we propose to have in the future. None with price tags of more than $7 for any service on the site, services such as Book of the Day, cover placement, banner placement and regular book placement. All of those would go on the front page. Sure, we could have one blog with all those on separate pages BUT we felt it important to give each venue its chance. This site was just a parent site, which went over each opportunity offered by us so you could choose the one best suited for your needs. Some authors sell better on Kindle, some on the Nook and some even at Smashwords. Some just want to get noticed at those venues. There are plans to add a few for Barnes & Noble as well as for Kobo and maybe even Apple. It all depended upon how successful each blog became. Places like Pixel of Ink and ENT have hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook and at their website/blogs. Wouldn't that be nice to have that type of advertising at affordable prices?
We're all authors here and we know the value of a buck. We know that the places where we put our work to be seen can be one of the most important decisions we ever make. We place them on those sites to be seen by scores of new readers and to hopefully sell more of our books. It was always why each site would be kept at an affordable fee. The big sites listed in the above paragraph start at $25 for a small mention. In these economic times, $25 can be a lot...it can be the cost of a meal to feed one's family...and we understand this. Promotion need not be pricey to be effective. Free is always good and less than $10 for a month of promo is fantastic.
There you have it, our plans for the year and you are the first to know. We weren't going to announce them until closer to Christmas but with the challenge regarding TBBB, we felt we should tell you since you were slated for a TBBB spot this week. Right now, we're still on track for all of this with just TBBB being sidetracked until it gets reviewed. We are positive that it will be restored as we don't try to sell anything but we do offer a great selection of books and it's your choice whether or not to buy. We offer opportunities for advertising but we'll still do what we're doing REGARDLESS if you get a spot with us or not on one of the paid blogs. Even the free blogs will offer cover slots and some will even offer banner slots at a very low cost. If we make money, great as it can make the prize opportunities even better as well as the blogs themselves; if we don't, oh well, the idea is to get great authors out there for all to see and if we do that, we've done our job.
Thanks everyone...have a great day everyone...we'll talk to you soon!
(PS ~ Yeah, this is before the signature, I know. We'll be posting this later today on TLLB as a notice to our readers and followers as to what is happening. Thanks again!)
Please keep your fingers crossed for us while TBBB goes through Google’s review process. And thanks for being such great supporters of it and The Log Line Blog...we greatly appreciate it!
Lynn and Staff