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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friends With Benefits

When you're a writer, you often find yourself incredibly alone. Most of us have friends and a community of peers we can rely on when we're low, but it's still a lonely profession.

Over the years, I've noticed some writers have friends with benefits. These are generally people of influence: big name authors, editors, agents, and mega-star bloggers whose every word is tweeted like Gospel. 

I read those posts with envy because unlike most of us, these writers bask in the limelight by virtue of the company they keep. I don't blame them for using that leverage. I'd take advantage of it too if I knew someone with that kind of tipping point. 

But it got me to thinking that even if we don't rub shoulders with the movers and shakers of publishing, we are all friends with benefits. Every time you link to someone, every time you tweet a blog post or retweet a clever remark, you are benefiting your friends and peers.

It's a pretty awesome superpower. We, in our own small way are making a difference for someone else. Think about it. Whether you have twenty-five followers or twenty-five hundred, one single mention could put your friend on the map.

I'd like to share some tips on how to best serve your friends and colleagues.

• Always link using the person's full name or blog name (depending on what they go by). 
This does two things: It helps search engines find them easier, and if he has an Alert on his name, it lets the person know that you mentioned them. (This way they can visit you and thank you properly.)
• Link to the specific landing page so your reader can find it right away.

• If it's good information, spread the word. Not only does it make you look smart, but it elevates the search engine standing for both you and the person you mentioned.

• Cross-link. For example if you're mentioning someone's book, link to the book and the person's web site or blog.


In an effort to put friends with benefits into practice, I'd like all of you to do me a favor. Will you stop by this blog and leave a comment? It is the blog of LD Masterson.

Some of you already know her as Linda Leszczuk.

Why am I asking?

Because Linda has decided to change her name and she desperately needs her NEW name to be seen by the major search engines. If you've ever had to change your name, you know what a nightmare this can be.

  1. Go to her blog and leave a comment. Just say: Hi, Maria sent me. She said there'd be cookies. :o)
  2. Add yourself to her follower list. This is really important. She lost ALL her followers trying to transfer her old blog to the new one. Be good pals and add yourself to her follower list. I know Linda would be glad to return the favor.
  3. If you're on Twitter or FB, invite your followers to try out a brand new blog.
  4. And the next time you post on your blog, maybe you can also add a quick mention and a link to LD Masterson
With any luck, we should be able to reintegrate her into the system so that Google and the other big search engines will find her.

Congratulations. You have now become a friend with benefits. Who knows, next time you might be the one who needs a friend with benefits. And lucky dog, you happen to be friends with me and Linda.

Karma. It's a good thing.


Clarissa Draper said...

You are such a nice friend.

Maria Zannini said...

Clarissa: It was the least I could do. :o)

Darke Conteur said...

Doing a two-fold; her blog and a retweet.

(BTW, changed my comment thingie and everything is working fine now.)

KarenG said...

The nice thing about blogging is that we can all have and be friends with benefits. It's a grass roots movement that is becoming more powerful with every click.

LD Masterson said...

Maria - thanks and hugs for sending people my way. You're a gem.

(When are you bringing the cookies? *grin*)

Anonymous said...

Great reminders. You're such an awesomesauce friend Maria.

Off to check out Linda's new home.

Maria Zannini said...

Sorry it took me so long to get back. Lots to do this morning on the homestead.

Darke: Thanks for the tweet!

KarenG: It truly is a grassroots movement and it takes so little time to do something nice for someone.

Linda: Do dog cookies count? You're welcome.

Raelyn: I had to help Linda. She owes me money. ;-)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Hah! Coincidentally i'm actually on my way over to her blog after yours! And man, i'm always envious of those peeps who are pals with so and so big name author or agent.

Angela Brown said...

Here to wag my finger at you, Maria. I missed the cookies (LOL!!!)

Great recommendation. Can't wait to read her next blog.

Kay Theodoratus said...

Guess I'll have to follow my guru and follow another blog.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I am never that lucky. Most of the people I know are average Joes and Janes.

Angela: I offered dog cookies (the only kind I have in my house) but nobody wanted those.

Kay: You'll like Linda. She's very sweet--whenever she's not busting my chops. :p

Michelle Fayard said...

I'm on my way over; I hope no one else has to go through what LD did in losing her followers. May good karma come back tenfold to both of you.

LD Masterson said...

Busting you chops? Say what?

Seriously, thanks again for sending so many great people my way.

Maria Zannini said...

Michelle: Thanks, hon. From your lips to God's ear.

Linda: You're welcome. You'll rebuild your list in no time.

Cate Masters said...

I am hopeless with Twitter (though I thank you for your retweets!) but I can definitely leave comments. :)

Cathy in AK said...

Maria, you are one of the best in socializing and keeping connections among friends I've ever seen! Thanks for that!

I popped over to Linda's to follow and will go back to take my time to check out her new site ASAP :)

Shelley Munro said...

Good hints, Maria. Doing these small things takes little time and trouble, but it brings benefits to everyone.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: Twitter overwhelms me, but I've decided, when I'm on, I'll tweet and I won't worry about the tweets I missed.

Cathy: I throw pretty good parties too. :) But I have to credit Greg with being the life of the party. Women follow him around like groupies.

Shelley: I discovered linking by accident one day when I was looking up my name. As I scrolled, I found blog after blog where people mentioned me--or I mentioned them. It's a powerful tool and so few people use it to its potential.

jackie b central texas said...

I guess that means I was one of the lost sheep from Linda's fold, good thing you are benefitting her today with your friendship Maria or I would never have known.

Heading over to sign back up to Linda's list of people who never miss a "groaner"!

I do not prefer cookies as a bribe though, a good hunk of cheese will suffice.

Maria Zannini said...

You're a sweetheart, Jackie. I saw your tweets.

jackie b central texas said...

I did some friend invites with GFC follower on Linda's site too, that is what we all need to do as it is the easiest way to spread the word to all our blog followers to check out Linda's new site and maybe even stop and join it.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I didn't know you could do that. You are always up to date on those things. Thanks!

Jenny Schwartz said...

Maria, your post made me quickly run through my life wondering if I ever met anyone famous ... nope! ah well ... someone here had better become famous -- Iko, start talking!

Stacy Gail said...

You are so awesome to do this for her. :)

P.S. Um... will there really be cookies? :D

Angelina Rain said...

I followed Linda's blog. it looks really nice.

What is this about having an alert on your name? Never heard of it. How do I do that?

Lydia K said...

I'll stop by for you. What a nice thing to do!

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: I almost met someone famous and then he changed his mind about meeting me. Story of my life.

Stacy: Honey, those cookies disappeared long ago. :) I blame the dogs.

Angelina: You don't know about alerts? Oh, darlin', let me fill you in. You can create an alert on Google or Yahoo. I use Google, but hubby uses Yahoo.

Go to

Type in your name, or your book's name or anything you want to keep tabs on. It helps if you put the topic in quotes so the bots know to look for that specific phrase.

Then tell it how often you want it to notify you. You can keep tabs on all sorts of things. Strangely enough, Greg gets different hits on me than I get on me, so it might be useful to use both.

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Lydia. Linda a good person. You'll like her.

Sarita said...

I love it that you just in-stride help others and do the right thing simply because it's, well, the right thing.

Around here, we always say, "What goes around, comes around." I know the good you spread will come back to you many times over.

And, thanks for sending me to interesting places. Off to explore...

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Sarita!
You'll like Linda. She's one of the good ones.

Renee Miller said...

Oh, Maria. You pretend to be all crunchy on the outside, but you're just a marshmallow beneath it all. I am still angry about the "cookies" you promised though.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: I am so, crunchy. It says so on my packaging.

Ref: cookies
Hey, these aren't never-ending cookies. You were late. Besides, only Harley would've enjoyed them. They were dog cookies.

Mike Keyton said...

You're a good egg, Maria. I don't know about crunchy

Renee Miller said...

No, she's not crunchy at all, but let's let her pretend she is.

And I'm sorry I was late, but I had fleas...the dogs had fleas. There's a lot of work involved in such a battle, especially when one of your dogs is a freak that can't handle the drops that would make life so much easier.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: a good egg
And irreparably cracked.

Ref: fleas
I hate fleas! We use a product called Program. Once you kill the adult fleas, you give this chewable tablet to the dog once a month. Any flea that bites him will become sterilized and can't reproduce.

We haven't had fleas in decades. It works.