Posted On October 16, 2017 by Print This Post

Are You a Comment Spammer or an Etiquette Queen? – by Helen Henderson

Helen Henderson

RU Contributor Helen Henderson discusses the dos and don’ts of commenting on blogs.

If you’ve read my previous posts this year, you may remember I am participating in a weekly challenge. One of the tasks is to visit the other authors in the challenge and leave a comment on their posts. Easy peasy, write? You’re an author. You’ve written a 50,000 word novel. Well, a 10 or 50 word comment is a different creature with its own set of rules. You might ask why you should bother worrying about comment etiquette. You just sit quietly in your backroom working on your novel or 1000 word posts for your blog.

Well, your book is out in the world, and now you’re being interviewed and need to interact with people who leave a comment. Maybe you need to respond to someone who left a comment on your blog or asked a question on your Goodreads profile. Over the course of the challenge I’ve discovered an unexpected variety in comment style. Now this post isn’t going to turn you into Miss Etiquette Queen, but I hope the ”do’s and don’ts” provide some insight into what has been called the unwritten etiquette for blog comments.

Short and sweet. Don’t write a blog post of your own in the comments. Or even worse, a novel. Add something relevant to the conversation. You can comment with a funny joke or story relating to the article or even just to thank the blogger for the interview. How long is too long? It depends on the goal and type of comment. A sentence or two is perfect for a thank you. If the post has a desired length, such as two-hundred word tip or a 400-word excerpt be sure to follow the blog owner’s rules.

It’s a dialog, not a hit and run. Comments are a way to form online relationships and not just with other bloggers or authors. Hopefully it is also with your readers. Make sure to come back to see if someone has responded to you. Many blogs have a click box to request notification if someone leaves a reply to your comment. Responding to a comment is especially important on your own blog. Just as you felt appreciated when someone you respect left a comment for you, pass the feeling along.

Like conversations, not all comments are positive. Practice respectful disagreement, not personal attacks. ALL CAPS IS YELLING. It’s really easy to get attached to your writing, but don’t ever show your frustration. If a negative comment appears on your own blog, don’t respond to criticism with anger. That said, you DON’T have to thank a troll for their nasty words. And deleting spam (or a troll) is always an option.

Don’t Spam. Only appropriate links please. Placing a link back to your sales page might get an extra notch on your site statistics, but if you are perceived as spamming the site where you left the comment, your comment can be deleted. Now you’ve lost an opportunity to meet new people, hopefully readers, and possibly gained an enemy. There is an exception to the rule. Some bloggers will allow a link to another post if the content being linked to is relevant to the comment. Just be sure to do it judiciously. You don’t want to become known as the drive-by author who goes everywhere and says ‘visit my blog.

There is the flip side to using comments–when you are the host.

Keep track of who is commenting and repay the favor. Automatic follows aren’t necessary, especially if you and the other person have nothing in common. The author of a sweet contemporary romance might not want to follow the blog of an erotic writer. But then of course, depending on the content of the blog, it might be a perfect fit.

Make sure your comment system is user-friendly, that it easy for a comment to be left. Captchas, moderating, trick questions may discourage spam, but can also make it more difficult when someone does want to leave a comment. How much of what form you use is a personal choice.

Don’t base your impact on the number of comments you receive. Comments tend to be as measured as stats are. A particular post may impact the reader but they just never commented for whatever reason. Reasons can vary from they didn’t have time or they got distracted and forgot, etc. If a post is read through email or a RSS feed, it is easy to move on rather than switch systems to go leave a comment.

Have a pet peeve about comments or something to add to the unwritten rules of comment etiquette? Leave it in the comment box below. Just be sure to follow the rules. 🙂


First Change: Legends From The Eyrie – October 2017

The dragshi are more than just a man or woman. Each are two beings–one a dragon, the other a human–sharing one body in space in time and able to change forms with the other at will. Their world and the adventures of the dragon shifters are recorded in the Dragshi Chronicles.

Within each of the chronicles, the ceoltiers, the keepers of the past and teachers of the present, recount some legend. As with all such tales, some contain larger than life deeds. Others are the simple story of a man or woman doing what must be done, regardless of the cost. Sometimes embellished, the ceoltiers use the stories of times and actions past to educate and inspire.

Unlike the previous works in the series which related to the trader girl Anastasia and Lord Branin Llewlyn, First Change features the real story behind the legends told in the previous volumes.

First Change contains five stories of duty and honor, love and loss, happiness and despair from the chronicles. As with all such tales, some contain larger than life deeds. Others are the simple story of a man or woman doing what must be done, regardless of the cost.

Available October 14, 2017. PreOrder at


Bio: A former feature-story writer and correspondent, Henderson has also written fiction as long as she could remember. Her background in history and managing a museum provides her with a unique insight into world building. Her heritage reflects the contrasts of her Gemini sign. She is a descendent of a coal-miner’s daughter and an aviation flight engineer. This dichotomy shows in her writing which crosses genres from historical adventures and westerns to science fiction and fantasy. In the world of fantasy, she is the author of the Dragshi Chronicles and the Windmaster novels.

Find her on online at her author website, at Goodreads or follow her on Twitter at Excerpts of her work, writing tips, and information on new releases can be found on her blog at

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4 Responses to “Are You a Comment Spammer or an Etiquette Queen? – by Helen Henderson”

  1. Helen,

    Excellent blog. Since I also blog, I do try to read and offer thoughtful comments in response to those of other writers. And it is a balancing act since we’re all trying to spend as much time as possible on our own creative process as well.

    Posted by Jacqueline Seewald | October 16, 2017, 3:14 pm
  2. One recommendation I would (also) make is to carefully proofread your comments to ensure you’ve used proper grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. As a writer, everything you write (even tweets and comments) is a reflection of your ‘personal brand’; sloppiness (no matter the length or depth of what you’ve written) is, in my opinion, unacceptable.

    Posted by Margo Karolyi | October 16, 2017, 6:41 pm

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