As an author, I'm constantly looking for the most effective ways to promote my book - like all writers. I have my own blog and I belong to several online sites for writers and readers. I contribute regularly to those sites.
I've been doing some investigating lately and I discovered that, although I've posted several blogs on many of those sites, I seldom get any comments. For example, I have 13 posts on my Crimespace blog and only 2 comments total. Is blogging on these sites a waste of time? What are your thoughts?
See? Here you've posted something moderately interesting and gotten several responses. The way to get people to reply is to ask questions or offer new information. It's like any other conversation. Say something interesting and people will answer you (because, let's face it, we're only here when we're avoiding our own work).
Of course it's still a complete waste of time by just about any measure, but at least you've had an interesting conversation.
That's funny, Jon. I consider my posts to be at least "moderately interesting" too but I still haven't gotten views or comments on them.
You made an important point which is actually why I asked the question in the first place. We all have our own writing to do but we also need to be active participants in social networking in order to promote our writing. The trick is to figure out what is the best use of our time. What works.
You're absolutely right though - this has been interesting. I thank everyone for their comments.
As others have noted, I don't think anybody reads the blogs anymore, much, because they're such a bottomless pit of mindless self-promotion. Post something fun on the forum and you'll get a response.
I think if you dislike "social networking" it's probably not going to be worth your time as a promotional tool. Do it if you enjoy it, but if it's a chore that you make yourself do because it might sell a couple of books, I wouldn't bother.
For the most part, I do enjoy social networking. I'm a bottom line kind of girl and I simply want to find "the best bang for my buck," so to speak.
As for blog posts that are not used for advertising: Yes, we've all done them. Frankly, I don't believe anybody writes a blog post without wanting it to sell some books. Why else bother? They are set pieces that take time to put together. On the whole, they aren't going to be very entertaining, simply because they tend to discuss the author's views on her subject, or how she came to write the book, or why the subject is great fun or important, or why people will feel enriched by learning more about the subject, or by partaking in the characters' travails, or whatever. The entertaining blogs tend to be about matters other than the author's profession and workday, and (heaven forbid) her family, pets, weather, vacation, political views, etc.
I read two or three blogs regularly: Detectives Across Borders (by a non-writer), A Newbie's Guide to Publishing (by an author but about nuts and bolts of the job), and The Passive Voice (No idea who the author is, but this is a collection of the better blogs about publishing).
Having said all this, I have just obligated myself to writing a blog for a historical novel site. I don't expect results (books sold), but am doing it in appreciation of having been invited to their site.
I know exactly what you mean, I.J.
Good luck with your blog on the historical novel site. I guess we never know who will read something we've written, wherever it is, and decide to buy our book/s.
I think facebook and twitter are probably the best vehicles for doing a bit of low-intensity book promo, although I find twitter exhausting--so much pressure to come up with an endless stream of clever one-liners. Blogs and longer form stuff considerably less so--I don't think anyone actually reads them anymore. My editor wants me to write for Macmillan's crime fiction blog, but it sure looks like dead air over there for the most part. A lot of little blog posts by people I never heard of and not much response. And there's also a potential negative return--maybe it's just grouchy old me, but I tend to unsubscribe from facebook "friends" who flog their careers too relentlessly. After awhile it just turns into this boring, annoying, self-congratulatory "look at me" fest without any real content or personal connection going on. Phooey on that, says I.
Well, my two cents about blogs. It's not an intrinsically bad idea---it's just that now everyone is doing it, and people are getting bored or jaded by the overwhelming chorus of bloggers. It may be fun for the blogger, but most people don't want to spend the time reading them, unless it's something specific to their own interests.
Many blogs suffer from bad writing and many are ego-ridden. I have a website---I'm a painter---but hte majority of artists don't sell from their websites. It's kind of expected that you have a website, so I finally got one. Perhaps it will bring local people to my studio---but there's no guarantee. I briefly considered having a blog, but decided not to, for the very reason that I don't want to add more redundant observations about art in general. Pretty much anything I've got to say has been said before. I've heard a number of people say they just don't read blogs.
The handful of blogs that do tend to be successful (getting a lot of viewer/readers) are very interactive---asking other artists (or writers, as the case may be) to share work and comments. The self promotion aspect is secondary.
Thanks for your thoughts.
You're welcome, Patricia. The thing that's interesting to me about all of this---and it's true of the visual arts too---is that these days everyone is expected to do self-promotion to a greater or lesser degree. That wasn't always the case---writers had publishers to do that, artists had galleries. Of course you have to "sell" yourself to a publisher or a gallery, unless you have an agent, but before blogs, before Facebook and Twitter, there simply was no way to do this. Even if one "frowns" on self promotion, it's the nature of the game---the rules seem to have changed, and when there are tools, you may feel obliged to use them, even if you dislike it. ( I'd rather be doing my own work than blogging about it). But you have to do what feels right for you, and see how it goes.
If something is a waste of time for you then don't do it. Pick something you enjoy and something you will stick with for the long run. That way it will be more effective for you.
Also a lack of comments doesn't mean no one's paying attention. What's best is to promote on blogs with a lot of members and viewership. It's not helpful to promote on just any old blog. If the person gets five viewers a week, that probably won't help you. LOL! So one thing to do is pick blogs that will get your material in front of your audience.
But you certainly don't have to do blog posts, etc. It's about finding what works best for you and what you like. Some authors say Facebook is the best for them. Some say Twitter. Some say Google +, some say blogging and guest posts, then of course some use a combination of things. It depends on what you like to do because if you force yourself into doing something you don't like, you won't stick with it.
I know authors who don't do much promotion at all. Some do a few tweets a week about their books and guess what, they're selling pretty good. Some have said they don't do any promotion except writing the next book because that's the best promotion. Then some authors are on every single social network, every blog and every site and say it doesn't pay off.
Bottom line is there is no guarantee. Promotion is for the long haul so take your time and find what you like to do. You don't have to bust out doing everything at once. You're gonna have to promote your books for a long time so you have plenty of time.
Lately I've been on Twitter a lot and a lot of people seem to read blogs on there. I have come in contact with a lot of interesting new blogs that I learned about from the site as well. So if you're not doing this already, when you write a blog at Crimespace, share it with your social networks for people to read like you would your personal blog.
Hope I helped! LOL!
How nice of you to take the time to write this comment.
I agree. It's all about finding what works for you. And, it isn't about how many comments you get on a post but it is about how many people view your post. While I'm happy with the response to my personal blog, the blogs I post on some of the social networks, like Crimespace, aren't getting much attention. It's not that I don't like doing them; I don't want to "waste my time" posting something no one reads. :)