I'm pleased and not a little flattered by the responses to my readers' query, both on RedRoom and on LiveJournal. I'm also surprised.
On a listserv where I mostly lurk, a couple of Big Name authors who I admire have said that neither of them does a lot of self-promotion. One in particular wrote that the best way to succeed as a writer is to keep writing books. I liked that, of course, because it jived with my own belief.
And now, my beloved readers have weighed in, and I think my belief has to change. Well--to change is to grow, is it not?
Unscientifically, I think we have a sort of consensus: Blogs are useful, it appears. Not so much because it's effective to blog about one's own glorious achievements, but because a blog is a good source of information. Most of the responders expressed distaste for the most egregious self-promoting blogs: lists of interviews, reviews, and so forth. It's the second-party mentions most readers find effective. In other words, if one blogger mentions another author's books, the reader might be tempted to buy one of them. Which means we're back where we started before the age of blogging: word of mouth sells books.
Several responders also mentioned learning about pseudonyms (making Toby very happy), and one said blogs help to alert her to anthologies in which her favorite authors have stories.
This was fun, and I never once scuttled under the couch. Many thanks to one and all, and I think I'll go write a book now. I'm pretty sure that's the best use of my time.