Today I would like to continue talking about the ins and outs of book promotion. Before I get too deep into the post, I’d like to share a link with you. A great interview was brought to my attention this week. It is with Kim Castillo, a freelance personal assistant. She helps out such authors as Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Jo Putney. You can read what she says about book promotion HERE.
Okay, now for today’s topic. I want to talk a little about the #3 favorite method of book promotion:Blogging.
Blogging can be a great way to connect with your readers. By posting new information daily, weekly, or monthly, people can learn more about you and what makes you tick. You can also direct people to special appearances, new releases, and other important information that is more current than what may have on your website. It also helps to foster a sense of community among your fans. Depending on how busy you are, you can have an Individual Blog, a Group Blog, or wait until your book is released and go on a Blog Tour.
But, blogging isn’t for everyone. As with anything else, there are ups and downs, pros and cons to writing and managing a blog. I have attempted all of the different types of blogging mentioned above. Some have worked and some methods haven’t. Below, I will take each blogging venture in turn and let you in on some things that I’ve learned.
The Individual Blog
When I first decided to become a writer, I wanted to do an individual blog. I read that it was a good way to practice writing and show your writing style to potential agents and editors. I registered through wordpress, set up my site, and developed a plan of how I was to going to write new, topical posts five days a week, fifty two weeks a year.
Yeah, okay, whatever.
I quickly discovered that writing a blog is HARD. Coming up with new and different topics that people would find interesting is a challenge. Doing it daily is almost impossible. Even doing it once or twice a week can be a chore. And it’s not just writing the blog, it’s the editing and sometimes, the research. It can take hours out of your day. People do it, and a lot of them are very successful at it, but I learned that this wasn’t for me. Honestly, I don’t have that much to say — nothing interesting, anyway. I struggled with what to write and agonized over every word. At the end of the day, the blog got very little, if any traffic, and it just didn’t seem worth my time.
That’s not to say that individual blogs won’t work for some. You don’t necessarily need to post every day. If you want consistent traffic to you site, however, you probably should think about posting new material at least a couple of times a week. The advantage of an individual blog is that it is wholly your own. You can design it the way you want and talk about what you please. Your personality can really come through and everyone who reads it is interested in you and/or your books.
I don’t think I have to go into this very much, since you all can probably guess that this venture worked well for me. Joining with other authors can take a lot of the burden off of running a blog. Co-administrators can help with promotion and brainstorming. One person may be good with computers, another good with promotion and networking. A third can write inspiring posts that draw readers in and leave them wanting more. Dividing the labor can help you gain more followers and leave time for something very important: writing your next book.
That’s not to say that group blogging doesn’t have its drawbacks. We are fortunate at Embrace the Shadows that Barbara, Dawn and I all have the same vision for the blog. We all work hard and are willing to put in the time required to make the blog successful. I have heard of instances where this isn’t the case. It’s very important that the authors involved are all dedicated to making the blog work and that they have a common vision. There is nothing worse when two people don’t see eye to eye on how things should be run. Blogs end up dying slow, painful, deaths while administrators argue over designs and content. Sometimes people change priorities and posts get forgotten. Other times things are said that don’t necessarily reflect the views of the other administrators. Feelings get hurt and friendships ruined. I can safely say, though, that when all of the authors involved are on the same page, a group blog is fabulous. I have achieved things with this blog that I know I could never do on my own. Together Dawn, Barbara and I were able to take this blog to the next level and offer some new and creative things to entertain our readers. We used each of our unique connections within the romance community to bring new authors to the site for you to enjoy. I’ve met a lot of new people as a result of this blog. It has been — and still is — a great experience. At least for me. 😉
Sometimes even a group blog can take up too much time. For the very busy people, maybe you want to save your blogging for when you have a new release. In this case, you can schedule a blog tour that targets the promotion of a specific book. Now, you can do this yourself by actively pursuing bloggers and asking them to guest post or do an interview. How do you find these blogs? You can visit different blog sites or ask other authors. You can start out with this site and go from there. Pump Up Your Book Promotion is an example of this type of company. While with individual and group blogging, you’re talking with the same people each day (or week, or however often you post), with this option you are exposing yourself to new audiences every time you blog. If you choose your blogs carefully, you may even target readers who may enjoy your book. (Promoting your new nonfiction “Cat Care” book on a science fiction blog site might not be the smartest marketing move. 😉 )
The drawback is you are doing a lot of blogging in a short time frame on the same topic – your book. After two or three blogs, you run out of things to say. Sure, you can submit the same post to different blogs, but I find that some readers and fans follow you from blog to blog. You don’t want to dissapoint them. While a lot of your content can be the same (like the back cover blurb) it would be wise to provide a few new bits of informtion to keep your fans coming back for more.
The Time Commitment
Any type of blogging takes time and commitment. You have to research, write and edit your blogs. You have to promote them and brainstorm how to develop a following. With all types of blogging, the drain on your muse can be crippling. The key is finding the best balance that works for you. The goal is to get your name out there and reach readers, but not at the expense of your writing.
If you feel that your muse is being trampled by the blog-o-sphere, maybe the best thing to do is to take a break from blogging for a while and focus on your writing. Then you can come back refreshed and rejuvinated. Your readers will thank you for it. 😉
Today I want to hear about blogging. Do you have a blog? Is it individual or a group blog? Have you ever been on a blog tour? What has been your experience? Is it worth it?
If you’re a reader…what attracts you to a blog? What keeps you coming back for more?
Tell me about it!