The first anniversary of my blog is fast approaching, and I thought I would pass along a few of the things I have learned.
I started this blog to promote my novel, In The Sticks, that had just been published. When I first started blogging I wrote about everything and nothing. I posted old Christmas letters, did a diary of my Alaska trip and even let my granddaughter take a shot at posting on my blog. I finally decided the blog needed to be about something. I started posting about writing. After awhile I realized that the people I wanted to reach weren’t just writers. I have nothing against writers, and love it when they comment on my blog, but I wanted this blog to be for everybody. I still write about writing, but not as much as I did when I started, and when I do, I try to make it interesting and funny so that even someone who has never written in their life might get a smile. I write about silly things sometimes, and I try to post once a week so people don’t forget about my blog between postings. Since I started posting regularly and humorously my non-writer followers have more than doubled.
When I do post, I try to put notifications up everywhere I possibly can: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, writer’s groups, etc. I have done some experimenting with this. The more places where I put up notifications, the more hits I get on my blog–duh. If someone comments on Facebook or a writer’s group about my blog, the hits go up tremendously. It’s like word-of-mouth. It is advertising: the more people who know about the product, the more people there are who will check it out—again, duh.
I visit every blog I come across, whether it is on Facebook, one of the writer’s groups or if someone visits my blog that has a blog of their own. If I can think of a comment, I will leave one. I believe if first-time visitors see a lot of comments, they figure there must be something to the blog and they might come back. I like to help out other bloggers whenever I can. By the way, I have come across a few writers’ blogs that will not publish your comment if you in any way indicate that you are a writer, and I don’t mean trying to hawk your book on their blog—I would never do that–but just commenting that you write. I guess everyone has their own marketing strategy. Mine is to get as many comments as I can from everyone. The only comments I have ever refused to publish are ones that are SPAM. I would refuse comments that are too obscene, used racial slurs or spoke derogatively of anyone but me. (I can take it. I have been a cop for over twenty-five years. You’re not going to call me anything I haven’t been called before.) As far as criticizing my writing, who knows? I might agree with you about that, too. As I have said before, I am a long ways from perfection. In fact, I’m not even in the same city as perfection—I believe it’s in Cleveland.
Now the big question: Does my blog help sales? I don’t know. I put a link to my book’s website on every post. Every time the hits spike on my website, my Barnes and Noble and/or Amazon seller’s rank goes up, so I know the book is being checked out before it is purchased. How many of those come from my blog, I couldn’t begin to tell you.
Sometimes blogging can be a hassle. It’s not always easy coming up with new ideas to write about, but once a week I like getting away from the characters in the novel I am working on. My mind needs to just get goofy now and then.
So a big thanks to all of you who have visited this blog on a regular basis. And thank you to everyone who is here for the first time, and thank you to everyone who visits occasionally. I hope to see you all again. Don’t take anything too seriously when you come here, and we’ll try to have some fun in the second year.