Amanda Luedeke

November 15, 2012

Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 7


Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.

1. dabneyland is a blog by Dabney Hedegard

  • Super cute design!
  • I feel as though the goal of this blog is to help people navigate sickness/loved ones that are sick/etc? If so, I think a stronger, more obvious tagline would help set the right expectations
  • Your “About dabneyland” and “About the Blogger” page are very much focused on you, which is fine, but there isn’t anywhere I can go to get a clear picture of what you want this blog to do for ME as a reader. I suggest tweaking the “about the blogger” copy to make it more about reader takeaway value
  • Great blog posts titles; very searchable

RECOMMENDATIONS: You’re doing so much right, that my suggestions are pretty nit-picky. I’d write a new tagline that is makes it clear that dabneyland is a place people can come when they’re in the midst of an illness. I’d also reiterate that in either your “About” or “About the Blogger” sections.

2. The Word Butcher is a blog by Jerry Eckert

I’m just going to give you a list of things I think you could do to make this site fit with your book:

  • First, I must note that your memoir doesn’t sound like a memoir. It sounds like a short biography. A memoir doesn’t highlight every struggle of a person’s life but instead one snapshot of time…one theme that was lifechanging. It sounds as though your book is a hodge podge of things that have happened to you.
  • Whenย  you have focus to your memoir, make the title, tagline and content of this blog revolve around the memoir’s theme. For example: if it’s going to be about travel, it should have lots of photos with great stories of those countries you visited.
  • Once you have the content down, get involved online with meeting other bloggers an interacting on their sites. Do this consistently, and you’ll see readership grow.

3. In Search of His Face is a blog by Tracey Michaeโ€™l Lewis-Giggetts

  • wow, there’s a lot to like here. You have a great masthead, your book is prominent, and your blogging style is really great to read
  • I suggest making the background just a solid cover. The repeated image of you just doesn’t look clean and professional
  • I also suggest shortening your blog posts. There’s a lot of text there and without images to break it up, it can feel daunting to read in one sitting. I imagine if you posted shorter pieces, you may get more interaction.
  • You got a bit political with your writings. And though I think you had some good things to say, it’s always very dangerous to talk politics on a blog or on the Internet! So with everything you write, make sure that it focuses on your blog’s promise of searching for the face of Christ.

RECOMMENDATIONS: These were all nit-picky things, but I hope they’re helpful. I think your main goal right now should be to get your blog some notice. So post links to your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter…frequent message boards and other blogs that have readers similar to yours. And always end your posts with a leading question that gets readers to contribute!

4. Cathy Gohlke provided her blog for review

  • First, the fact that you had to tell me what to click on to get to your blog is probably a red flag. You want it to be intuitive. So my first suggestion is to change “Journal” to “blog”
  • I’m not sure what I as a reader get out of reading your blog. You blog about everything from family to politics to social issues to events you attend, so each post feels like a grab-bag of content. But since this blog lives on your author site, I imagine there’s an expectation for it to be more fan-centric. And it’s just not quite there.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Restructure your blog posts to be all about your readers, not about you. Pose open-ended questions at the end that encourage conversation, and dabble in giveaways and contests and fun ways to get people excited and sharing the posts online. Include some pictures in each post and be careful of length and readability.

Cathy also sent her Facebook page for consideration:

  • Can you find a different profile picture? It’s weird to have the same profile picture as your cover photo.
  • You provide really great content on this page! Every post either pushes readers to DO something or it offers them some sort of takeaway. Nicely done.

RECOMMENDATIONS: I’d say your FB page is a better space for your to interact with fans than you blog. I’d drive people to FB. So make sure that it’s very easy to get to FB from your website and other social media outlets. Then, continue to groom your FB page into a place where readers can learn more about your author career but also come away with great info on happenings that may interest them.

That’s it for this week! And I must ask…Any NaNoWriMo-ers out there?? How many words do you have done?!



Share :


  • Bethany Jett says:

    Loving your critiques!

    Still at 6,000 words for Nano. I feel tapped out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dabneyland says:

    Thanks, Amanda, for the helpful critique and for going easy on me. : ) I love your posts and continue to tweak my blog using your suggestions. I fugured you’d point out my tag line. It used to read “home of the professional patient”– which still leaves out the reader. I’ll work on this. Thanks again!

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    I’ve been enjoying your comments in this series — and learning so much in the process. Thank you!

  • Becky Doughty says:

    Great tips, Amanda! I’m beginning to see some consistencies with these posts – and consistent issues on blog sites. Very helpful as I’m in the process of formatting mine. Thanks!

    And I’m doing NaNo for the third time – first time, I only hit a little over 17,000 words, the second time, 28,000. Third times a charm, right? I’m only at 15,600 words, but I’m feeling good about what I have and not really discouraged at all. Love the challenge of pounding something out as I’m typically a self-defeating self-editor by nature and often get caught in my own quagmire. Kinda like I am right now. I’m off to write!


  • Robin Patchen says:

    I look forward to these posts every week. I’m still trying to get my website up and ready for visitors, but it’s a slow process. Or maybe I just don’t like it very much. But I am trying to apply what you’re teaching to make my site work. Thanks!

  • Karen Morris says:

    This is all so helpful, Amanda, especially for those of us new to blogging. Are you still accepting sites to critique? If so, I’d love to participate.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      I received about 75 submissions…so I’m going to get through those before I open the floodgates again. but maybe next year sometime!

    • Karen Morris says:

      What an awesome response! No worries, I’ll just keep reading and learning along the way!

  • Denise Hisey says:

    Amanda, I love reading your blog critiques! I learn so much from each one. I was wondering if you have some advice for me on getting a writer’s facebook page started? I am a bit intimidated by this. (I don’t have a personal FB page, either)
    And Yes! to NaNo! I’m a bit behind, but am at 17, 754 words.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Denise, If you don’t have a personal FB page yet, then that’s the place to start. Spend six months there with your family and friends. Then see how you feel about branching out to an author page.

  • Cathy Gohlke says:

    Thank you so much for giving your insights on my blog and FB author page, Amanda! I so appreciate your expertise and that you took the time to do this. I’ve struggled with blog writing–what to say–on what to focus, what it does for readers, how to connect. The FB page seems easier to connect with people and more doable. I’ll work through your suggestions. Many thanks, and God’s blessings for you!

  • Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts says:

    Thank you, Amanda. Your feedback is a blessing and much received! – Tracey, In Search of His Face

  • Judith Robl says:

    Amanda, thank you for this series of blog posts. I’ve learned a lot by looking at the submitted sites and reading your comments. There’s a lot for me to learn / clean up / rectify / improve. I’ll be using this knowledge for a long time to come.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Thanks, Judith! I’m glad that it’s helping regular readers as well as the bloggers that I’m critiquing!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.