Doesn’t get a lot more direct than that title, now, does it? So why are these things on my mind? Well, first of all, YA author Diana Peterfreund recently opined that blogs are not the ultimate marketing tool. Now, I’m going to have to agree with that. Everybody knows that skywriting has that slot, with blimps coming in a distant second. (Clearly I’m a big fan of flight.)

But when it comes to authors and blogs, I have to admit that I had not read a single book by most of the authors whose blogs I follow until after I began to read their online musings. I found most of them through comments or blogrolls on others’ sites, and followed them to their webly homes. (Yes, I’m perfectly aware that this makes me sound like a stalker, thank you very much.) I liked their writing, and I found that I rather liked them, too. Or what they let me know of them, at least. And who doesn’t want to read a book by someone who seems nice and turns out decent writing on a semi-regular basis? Of course, I had to find them first, which as Diana points out is often difficult for someone whose only publishing credit is a blog — or, I would add, for a published author whose books one has not yet read. Indeed, I usually find the more dedicated bloggers, either through their active participation in the blogsophere or through recommendations by other bloggers. Like much of the best marketing, it’s all about word of mouth. If bloggers are just sitting there waiting to be discovered but are not participating in the blogosphere, it’s probably not going to happen until or unless a bigger force — such as a recently released book — brings readers to them.

So, where am I going with this? Well, everybody knows I’m a fan of reading, which means that my default birthday/Christmas present is a gift card for a bookstore. And when it comes time to spend the loot, I often look to my RSS feeds first. I like to support my favorite bloggers, and I know I’ll get some good reads at the same time. Even as I type this, books by Jill Shalvis, Lani Diane Rich, Eileen Cook, and Samantha Graves (to name a few) are headed my way. These authors’ books are all new to me, even if their blogs are not. And I’m already saving up for another round (which will probably include some of Diana’s books).

To be fair, I also have a habit of looking up my favorite authors’ websites and indulging in their blogs as well, should they have them. In that case, the books led me to the blogs, and not the other way around. But blogging has helped me discover some amazing writers, ones whose books I probably wouldn’t have noticed on those crowded bookstore shelves had I not already known their names from blogging.

Am I alone here? If not, then stop by Diana’s blog, add her to your RSS reader (because you’ll probably want to), then buy her books to prove her wrong. Or hope that I sell the mess I’m currently working on, and then don’t buy the book because you get my blog for free. Your choice.

And because I am queen of my own blog (aren’t we all?), I will indulge my urge to continue pontificating by pointing out that brownies are evil, terrible things. Especially when warm and gooey and filled with chocolate chips. I went into this afternoon’s staff meeting with just one chin, and after an hour sitting within reach of a plate of the malicious goo, I walked away with four more chins. This is not a good look for me. Plus, my neck is getting tired from swinging that extra skin around. I’m just saying.

Your turn. Do you read your favorite bloggers’ books — assuming they have a book out? If so, which came first for you as a reader — the book or the blog? Or, alternatively, what is the most evil food you know? C’mon. Spill.