Friday, August 19, 2005

Search me

When I was a kid, those two words meant "beats me" or "darned if I know," but now they just make me think of airports. And Google. Yes, I've been looking at my referrer logs again.

For those of you who don't know, a "search string" is the word or words you enter in a search engine when you're hunting for something on the Web. When the results pop up and you click on a site, that site's referrer log (a record of visits to the site) will show the search engine that sent you and the words you used to search--that is, your search string.

I get a lot of traffic from the search engines, particularly Google, and it's always interesting to see how new people discover my website and this blog. Sometimes the search results are tremendously flattering, like this one I saw a couple of months ago:

best romance novelist ever
I'm the third result returned by Google for that particular search. And don't think for a minute that I haven't bragged about it to all of my author friends. But while I do realize that particular searcher was probably just a fourth-grader working on a report for English class, I can hardly believe I beat out Jane Austen for the honor. Thanks for noticing me, Google!

But then I get stuff like this:

I HATE BRENDA
Yes, it was all in caps, the online equivalent of shouting. I guess somebody was pretty worked up. MSN directed that person to my blog several days ago. Like I'm the only Brenda on the internet? Give me a break.

Here's another one that made me blink. This person came to my blog last night:

bad romance novel writing
Okay, MSN, what is that supposed to mean? When somebody says, "bad romance novel writing," you automatically think of me? Thanks a bunch.

MSN was a busy little search engine last night. They also sent me a visitor who wanted to know:

how to write a romance novel in thirty days
Sorry, friend, but I don't have a clue. I suggest that you try Google.

I can't decide whether to be glad about being visited by this next searcher or not. Also from last night:

no rules
Flattering as it is that Yahoo is so familiar with my blog's name that it shot the questioner straight over here, I'm a bit worried. What if there's now a crazy anarchist bent on undermining my authority over this little blogdom?

I really have to stop looking at my referrer logs. Thinking too much about these search strings can't be good for my ego or my digestion.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

so what you are saying is that you found out more then you wanted,
;-D

Robin Lee Hatcher said...

This was fun! Thanks for the morning chuckles.

Robin

Anonymous said...

B, maybe the "no rules" person just wanted to locate an OUTBACK menu online. ; )
Mir

Anonymous said...

Talking about searching - after reading this post, I was curious enough to try to find something about your book “Finding Hope” and how well it did and what readers thought about it. I went to USA Today database on bestselling books and went to search and got nothing. Went to their book section, searched again and came out with 2 results directly related to your book - from Amazon and B&N. I went to my favorite online bookseller B&N and to my surprise, there was a 5 star rating for your book and with only 1 review. The reviewer’s name? Brenda Coulter, the author. Wow!

Brenda Coulter said...

I'm not sure what your point is. That I'm not a well-known author? Well, duh.

That's not a "customer review" over at B&N, but a synopsis of the book. Since you're pretending to be unaware of the difference, I will explain that I could find no other way to put that information on the page, and in order to post it, I was required to rate the book between one and five stars (there was no option to skip the rating). I'm no dummy, so I went ahead and awarded myself five stars.

Finding Hope has been out of print for almost a year and a half, although several of the online booksellers still have a few copies available. It sold very well as a mass-market paperback and it won two of the "biggie" awards in the romance industry (a HOLT Medallion and a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award), quite an accomplishment for a first-time author. The book has been reviewed by ten people on Amazon.com, none of them my friends, relatives, or writing pals (although I've become good friends with one of them since the reviews were posted), and all of them gave the book a top rating of five stars. To put that in perspective, most category romance novels are lucky to get even one or two reviews on Amazon. That's because the books come out, sell like hotcakes, and quickly go out of print.

Anyone who is curious about my writing can read almost the entire first chapter of Finding Hope on this page of my website.

Thanks for your interest. I think.

Anonymous said...

Brenda,

My point? Well duh....

Since you're pretending you don't understand my point, let me explain to you. I wanted to find out what people think about your book, plain and simple. Well guess what, here's what I found at B&N:

"Finding Hope
CUSTOMER REVIEWS
Number of Reviews: 1 Average Rating: (5 stars shown)
Write your own online review! >

Showing 1-1
Brenda Coulter (mail@BrendaCoulter.com), the author of FINDING HOPE, June 17, 2003,
Synopsis
Dr. Charles Hartman is a gifted trauma surgeon with all the people skills of a wounded grizzly bear. Although he maintains that he cares nothing for people or for God, he begins to believe differently after Hope Evans, a softhearted graduate student, slams into his Mercedes -- and his life -- putting a completely different spin on his carefully-ordered world. Charles has never believed in anything, but he learns to trust Hope's rock-steady friendship. When she falls for him and he is unable to return her love, the only honorable course is for him to walk away. But how can he turn his back on the only true friend he has ever known? Can he bear to give up Hope? FINDING HOPE is my first book, and I was thrilled when it received a 'Top Pick, 4-1/2 Stars' rating from Romantic Times BOOKclub. I hope you like it, too!
Also recommended: Read all of the 'Love Inspired' books! What I really appreciate about this line of 'inspirational romance' is the diversity of subject matter and writing styles."

You may think I'm a dummy, but I do know what a synopsis is. Even if I don't, it does say synopsis there. I always read customer reviews a lot of times when I like a particular book or when I am interested in trying a new book. Usually, they identify reviews as From the Editors, From the Publisher or From the Critics and then Customer's Review. Yours fell into the category of customer's review. From what you are saying now, I have to assume that you posted your own plug about your book by clicking on the "Write you own online review!" Weird but funny. And surprising! I haven't found this type of situation yet with any of the authors I liked and read.

Also, reading a first chapter is not my only idea of getting a feel for the book. I like to read people's input on it as well.

" The book has been reviewed by ten people on Amazon.com, none of them my friends, relatives, or writing pals (although I've become good friends with one of them since the reviews were posted), and all of them gave the book a top rating of five stars."

Should I take your word for this?

But thank you for sarcastically clarifying all these. I think.

EL

Brenda Coulter said...

Should I take your word for this?

Take my word for what--that the book got ten "five-star" reviews on Amazon, or that I didn't beg my relatives to write reviews? If the former, you can see for yourself. If the latter, I guess that's up to you.

But thank you for sarcastically clarifying all these. I think.

Well, it appeared to me that your first post was meant to be insulting. I have a terrible problem with flippancy and sarcasm, but that's not the Christian way, so I hope you'll forgive me for offending you.

Anonymous said...

Brenda,

It's funny that you should mention your terrible problem with flippancy and sarcasm. Most of the time that I read your blog, I find it quite like that. A bit snarky too. Maybe that comes with being contrary sometimes. At least, that's my impression.

PAX!

EL

Anonymous said...

Wow! When I read this kind of flame attack, it reminds me why I've got the comments turned off on my blog. Porn and spam are not the only attack methods. I don't think I'll give my name either because I don't like the feel of fire on my butt...

Anonymous said...

Do someone need to take a nap? The above comments sound rather cranky!

Brenda is a talented writer. And she has a blog which reflects her thoughts. You can read it or not, and participate, or not. But really, there's no need to attack her. (just wondering how many books YOU have published...)

Go away, you mean person!

Anonymous said...

You Tell them! No one is making them come here

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Does that person go into someone's living room and pick a fight with them? It's the same thing with someone's personal blog. If I had a blog, I might turn off the comments as well.

Brenda Coulter said...

Oh, stop. All of you Anonymouses (anonymice?) are cracking me up. I nearly fell off my chair at, "Go away, you mean person!" (Probably because it sounded suspiciously like my sister.)

Who knew I had such a fierce posse? ;-)

Anonymous said...

ya got to stand up for your friends don't ya!
we love ya Brenda

Anonymous said...

Suspiciously? Hmmmm...guess you know me to well. Made me laugh that I got caught!

yfs