Welcome to Book Blogging 101, a weekly feature on Parajunkee’s View that answers your questions and strives to share great book blogging tips and some helpful hints to help you on your way.

Hi! I, like quite a few others, use WordPress. I’ve seen Google’s blog post about cutting non-Blogger sites access to GFC in March.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas? – Amanda

With Google Friend Connect’s shady history and spotty workability, can we blame them for shutting down the function? They are saying that they are limiting it to non-Google sites, but the way it is worded they are acting like it is a non-producing product. Here is the quote via Google’s blog:

Friend Connect allows webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a few snippets of code. We’re retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012. We encourage affected sites to create a Google+ page and place a Google+ badge on their site so they can bring their community of followers to Google+ and use new features like Circles and Hangouts to keep in touch.

Let’s face it, the GFC gadget has not been what it used to be after the Google update. Half the time it doesn’t work. It is lovely to have that nice follower count up there, but really, you might want to look at the facts, do all those followers really come to your blog or read your posts in Reader? So, think of it as your chance to take a stand and an active roll in getting new followers, in new ways.

What does this mean? Now it is time to transition off of GFC! This is also helpful advice for Blogger users too, because maybe you want your followers to visit you in different ways, expanding your network instead of just relying on the GFC reader.

Step 1: Sign into google.com/friendconnect and go to your blog. You can send a newsletter to all your followers. Utilize this before the shut down and send out a newsletter to all of your followers, urging them to add your RSS directly to their readers. Include your RSS link in the newsletter and explain to your readers that the GFC gadget will not be working.

Step 2: Set up a subscription service on your blog, use Feedburner or a plugin via WordPress or your other CMS program site that you are using, this way they can have it delivered to them directly in their inbox. You can even include the HTML of the subscribe gadget in the GFC Newsletter that you are going to send.

Step 3: Throw up a blog post, maybe a “CHECK IT OUT” gadget and point it towards your subscribe form.

And as a follow up —

Hi Rachel,

I was really annoyed this week about the news of GFC being discontinued in March 2012.

I use Blogger, so I’m not *directly* effected, persay, but I do wonder what kind of flow-on effect this will have, not just for the book blogging community, but the blogging community on a wider scale. Basically, GFC has become a blogging standard. It’s a really easy way to collect info on your followers, and keep track.

I know it’s not practical to keep something in service that’s only being used by a minority of people, but I can’t help but feel this is just an effort to push people onto the Google+ platform–something I’ve deliberately held out on. I DO NOT NEED another social network in my life.

Anyhow, long story short: this will effect Blogger users, too, in the long run. We’ll have to accomodate for the shift in the best/’standard’ way to handle followers.
Cutting out GFC doesn’t seem practical, but I hate the idea of having two follower widgets on my site.

So, my actual question: Do you have any ideas on how you will be handling this shift, and how bloggers, both on Blogger and other platforms (I suppose non-blogger platforms ESPECIALLY) should handle this change, and what the repercussions are?

I’m so sorry for the long-winded question. Please feel free to edit me down, ignore, whatevs 🙂 – Sarah

The repercussions will be that someone might come up with a better product! And don’t feel sorry for the long-winded question. I think GFC is something we just got used to and maybe need to look into other more realistic ways of delivery, like email subscriptions mentioned above. That is how I’ll handle it. Since my shift to WordPress my blog has gone down in numbers and comments. I expected that, I guess when GFC goes away it will happen again. But as long as I keep up my twitter presence, Facebook and maybe even Google + – I’ll get the word out about the blog. Not to mention the crazy SEO

How will it effect Blogger people? Well, what if Google decides to cut it for everyone? It is not a widely used product, it is just used for personal blogs. How does Google profit from this product? It’s been really wonky lately, half the time not working, that doesn’t bode well to me. It is one of the reasons I transitioned to WordPress. I have a feeling Google + has something up it’s sleeve as far as blog followers and things like that, change is in the air. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to implement email subscriptions.

I would suggest pushing people to subscribe via email instead of GFC. IF you have a contest you can check if their name is on your email registry much easier then you can check on GFC 😉

Why do some blogs not accept self published books? I’ve just got a request and I was wondering the reason behind it. Thanks! – Molly @ Reading is my cup of tea

Stereotyping. Self-published novels tend to have a lot of issues, spelling, grammar and non-flushed out plot. Self-published authors tend to take too much interest in their reviews and get upset over negative reviews. Is this all self-published books? No. But unfortunatly with the ease of self-publishing there was a lot of really bad work mucking up the gems and at a point you get tired of wading through the crap.

The climate is changing, though, self-pubs are getting a better rep, so you should make up your own mind before you say yah or nah to self-published acceptance.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll tell you why I wasn’t accepting self-published.

I had no qualms about accepting self-published when I started. In fact, I thought it was awesome that people self-published. Then I wrote my first negative review about a self-published novel. The author got mean, REALLY mean and called into question my morality in a public forum. Then she had her “fans” which all sounded like the same person attack me also. All within comments. It was fun, *sarcasm* but I defended myself, because they accused me of attacking the author personally and even back then I never went that route. Just because I wrote the book was terrible didn’t mean I said the author was a hag…

I blew it off, one crazy author. It was very badly written, she didn’t proof the novel at all, it was full of spelling errors (really spell check, right?) and grammatical problems and run on sentences. I read a few more self-pubs and started noticing the difference between an edited book and a non-edited book. But, I gave self-pubs some credit, we can’t all have a 6 figure editor on staff. Then another negative review went in for a self-pub and I got a very nasty email, saying I ruined them. That is so unfair! I felt terrible and in the same instance pissed off. My review. My opinion. If you wanted someone to write marketing copy and promo your book pay for ad space! By the time I accepted my next self-pub I was jittery. What if I don’t like it? Will the author get mad? Maybe I should fluff up my review a bit to not make it sound so terrible?

Nope. Nope. Nope. I wrote it, I didn’t hold any punches and then the PUBLIC comment went through. Delete and turn off comments and I went to my review policy and put up there that I don’t accept self-published novels. My conclusion, self-published authors took too much of an interest in my review and therefor got angry with a negative review, instead of published authors who had the security of being affirmed with an agent and publishing house (no matter how small). It makes the author insecure and thus quicker to attack. Was I stereotyping? Yes. Was I proud of it? No. But, three out of three negative reviews with bad feedback, along with witnessing the debacle that is Jacqueline Howett (BTW I think it is hilarious how BigAl stuck all those advertisement throughout his review LMAO – talk about profiteering! Jackie probably was the best exposure he’s ever had for his blog.) pushed me away from accepting self-published.

Now this was two years ago. This was before Amanda Hockings, this was before a bunch of indie presses began popping up and offering editors for hire and freelance editors began popping up left and right, specializing in this and that. This is before self-publishers began thinking that maybe this is a way to get your novel published and keep your money instead of paying it forward to a big House.

Tides have changed and my self-published stereotype might not be that grounded anymore. Do I accept self-published authors now? Nope. I don’t accept any authors request currently. I find it a lot easier to deal with publishers because they don’t have a personal interest and I have too many books on my shelf to guarantee a review. It happens, right?

I suggest reading the synopsis, if it looks good consider it. Maybe check out the author’s website and see if she has an excerpt. Accept a copy but direct her to a review policy that states acceptance does not guarantee a review (if it is not on there, you might want to add it).

What is unique visitor for blog? – primrose

Hi Prim! How’s Katniss doing? Ok, sorry. A unique visitor is a kind of silly term. They are a fan of your site. They come back for more, they are uniquely yours. They are actually measured by their unique IP address and even though they come back for more over and over again, they are only counted once. So — say you are being stalk by Sally with IP address 1.123.123.12, she visits 5 times daily and 25 times a week. Her hit counts as 1.

Webopedia describes it as:

When tracking the amount of traffic on a Web site, it refers to a person who visits a Web site more than once within a specified period of time. Software that tracks and counts Web site traffic can distinguish between visitors who only visit the site once and unique visitors who return to the site. Different from a site’s hits or page views — which are measured by the number of files that are requested from a site — unique visitors are measured according to their unique IP addresses, which are like online fingerprints, and unique visitors are counted only once no matter how many times they visit the site.

And for today’s needs a Prozac winner…

I still don’t believe you about bounce rate and low page hits. I think that just because a blog doesn’t have a high pageview count and a high bounce rate doesn’t mean that no one is reading it! I think everyone is reading my blog via Google Reader or just reading it and jumping off quick. They get what they need and then they leave. Bounce rates of 85% is not bad for blogs. I don’t think you know what you are talking about. – Anonymous.

Well, Anonymous, if you don’t think I know what I’m talking about, do the research yourself and see what they say about Bounce Rates. I’m just regurgitating what other people have to say about it, not like I work for Google or anything. But, ask yourself this – if they are not clicking a link (hence the bounce rate) that means they aren’t commenting. How many comments do you get on your posts? That might be an indication right there.

My suggestion would be, instead of writing people grumpy emails, work on that bounce rate. 😉 Because a Bounce Rate of 85% is bad for a blog.

Happy Turkey Day folks!

XO – Happy Thursday, Talk Less, Read More.

I can’t get to all the questions, but please ask your BB101 Questions here…bring it on.