As a new author, I spend time earning a living, with a career I enjoy and using my spare time reading and writing. Blogs have almost overtaken my mind with so much to read (mostly great), so many to join, and so many contacts can be made.
I’m now in a bowl of blogs, feeling like I’m losing control of where I go, which way I spin, but either way, unless I change, I’m going down the pipe into the forgotten sewage of cyber-space. (Hence, the “earthy” comparison pic).
How did I arrive to such an unpleasant situation? Back in 2009, two millennia in cyber-time, my first self-published novel “Act of Redemption” came out. After years of painstaking writing, erasing, losing discs, re-dos, edits, dollars, my new book was displayed on amazon! After my purchase of some overpriced marketing “packages” with some results, my last departure with my hard-gained earnings was a “social network package.” Within a week, I had author accounts on email, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, and probably some others I’ve forgotten. A website was considered mandatory, so it was set up for around two thousand dollars for me, and I was given excellent email videos about dissecting the password mumbo-jumbo codes with helpful people to make changes for a little above three hundred dollars a year, with extra charges for any image changes.
Part of the package was my first blog. It was through wordpress, (not a punch to wordpress, guys & gals) fashioned with a black-grey-red print and anything I posted would blaze in red. So what do I say? “Hey, check out my book “Act of Redemption!” About a month later, “Hot New Series!” I did equally bad posts for several more months. When I really couldn’t take it anymore, I closed the blog and re-started with Blogger, found because a FB friend directed me to the hilarious site “How to Write Badly Well.” (I highly recommend it). That’s when I discovered Blogger, which was easier to use for me, the non-cyber expert. Later, I had the website removed it as well.
While in the process of the above, I asked another FB friend if a new writer needs a website + blog, or just the blog. He told me an author such as myself, could avoid some charges by just having a blog. Multi-published authors have a lot more to show, so it makes sense they have a website. Now I’m happier as I’ve turned “blog-only.”
Now here comes the $64K question: How do you get people to read you blog? It’s almost as difficult as getting a stranger to read a non-edited manuscript for free. The social network experts give good advice: work at blogging. Every day. Write thought-provoking articles. Promote the works of others instead of being self-centered. Pictures. And last, but not least, interact with other bloggers on their pages and they will be more likely to visit your blog. Twitter is an excellent service where you can see what people are doing, and before following, I try to check out their blogs. If a new author is not working Twitter and is still able to make good contacts, I’d love to know their secret.
So, why do many of us have unvisited, uncommented blogs? Competition in the blogosphere is understandably abundant as the air we breathe. Another issue with blogs is the frequent sign-ins, which are security reasons that I may not understand, but I do understand the importance of cyber-security. With every sign-in, there’s a password, then some blogs take you off the page you want to see in order to do that, and when one has a short attention span as myself, I’ve already clicked my way to another blog or the Coach site for the handbag sale.
How can new authors avoid being total losers in the blogosphere? My answer: I don’t think we’re losers, we’re just new. People with huge websites/blogs/thousands of FB friends/tens of thousand of Tweeps have often been around for years. Success doesn’t come overnight as the saying goes, and it’s often true for the new author. So far what I’m doing is some articles with my finite wisdom (my catch-phrase on Twitter), Tweet regularly, visit my FB friends, as there you can have better interaction with network experts. Also, follow some blogs and if you’re short on time to comment, checking them out leads to good information and contacts. For new authors, I also recommend the site Goodreads, where, as you write longer, will see the same people you see on Twitter. I also like The Blog Farm, because they really try to help you to make your blog look better, remind you that the links you post need to work (who me? I did that?) and they syndicate your blog, allowing reach to a broader audience. Book Blogs, Book Marketing and LinkedIn (should be SwallowedUp) are some of many sources for readers , reviewers, and fellow bloggers.
When it’s raining outside, do your Tweeps a favor and go to their blog, and make a comment or two. With newbies like me, it doesn’t take much to keep me happy. Stick to the blogs you like to visit if time is stretched; nobody has time to regularly visit them all. I’m working on an organized approach to visiting blogs I’ve joined. And make no mistake about it: blogging and promoting is hard work. It won’t lead to slimmer thighs, but in the long run it is enjoyable and brings rewards for both the new author and the blogger.