Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising discussion

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What makes a great author blog?

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message 1: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Blogging is a great way to meet potential readers and make new connections, but what makes a good one? I'm still fiddling with mine - I have three at the moment but want more because I'm a tad addicted - and I seem to be adding or taking something away every single day to try to make them more appealing. I read conflicting advice... talk about the book, don't talk about the book... have links to buy the book, don't have links to buy the book... share information about yourself, don't talk about yourself.

So, what do you think makes a good blog? And how about posting links to yours, so we can check them out and discover new and ingenious ways of making our blogs more interesting/appealing.

Here are the ones I've got right now

http://www.blog.utamarorevealed.com
http://ginacolliasuzuki.blogspot.com
http://dieneighbour.blogspot.com



message 2: by Elise (new)

Elise (elisechidley) Hi Gina, I'm new to blogging too, and wondering how to make it 'work' as a promotional tool. I haven't really pushed the site yet because I want to play around with it first and figure out exactly what I want it to be.

Have a look at mine and I'll take a look at yours. I'm at

http://www.elisechidley.wordpress.com




message 3: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Good question! Gina, I like that you have one for each book and then a more personal one. That's a rockin' idea. Man, you must be organized. And Elise's is very nice,too. I'm going to have to bookmark you guys.

Right now I am of the don't-say-much-about-the-book- or-myself ilk. Although I have been thinking about a blog just for and about writing. I'm curious what others have to say about this as well.

http://kappanohe.blogspot.com/

terrie


message 4: by Elise (new)

Elise (elisechidley) Wow, Thersa, how do you get those images? Are they your own photos? They're amazing....
Elise


message 5: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Terrie, I like your blog's title. I am a 'follower' of your blog. I like the 'follow' facility... it lets me keep up to date with new posts so I don't miss anything. And when people visit my blog they might check out what I'm reading and find new blogs to explore.

I don't say much about the Utamaro book in the Japanese print blog (except event notices), but I've gone in the opposite direction with the Benjamin Guppy blog... maybe because it's based on my personal experiences. The third one is a bit of both. I'm not sure which I like best.

Elise, how are you finding Wordpress? I can't seem to get the hang of it and end up back at blogger.


message 6: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I forgot to say... any blog that's got chocolates in the first post I come across has me hooked :o)


message 7: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 15 comments Hello All :^)
Oh God, another newbie! Yes, but a most intrigued one, which must account for something!

I couldn't resist commenting on this blog question. I find the very idea of blogging--much less writing--to be deeply subjective. Thankfully it doesn't seem to be near as devisive as politics or religion. So if I may, I'd like to add my one-cent worth (or economy stinks at the moment).

Admittedly, I'm very new to the blog game, and haven't the time to blog near as much as I'd like. I maintain one blog, and keep a lot of my own writing-type stuff on a separate site. Both are inter-connected for those who may wish to go back and forth. Certainly the blog is fresher, but you can't see as many facets as you can from the website.

Having said all that, I can certainly understand why someone would maintain multiple blogs. Personally, I prefer to simply create a different page within my blog if need be to keep content separated. I haven't reached that point yet, but I will eventually I'm sure.

From the looks of the blogs here, there's a whole lot of passion and genuine labors of love apparent in them. There is some beautiful work done :^)

Should anyone be tempted to read mine, I'm always happy to get feedback or comments:
http://avomnia.wordpress.com (blog)
http://www.avomnia.com (website)

Look forward to interacting with everyone!


message 8: by Elise (new)

Elise (elisechidley) Oh, and Gina, I just went over and viewed your trailer for The Wonderful Demise.... It's great! I can see that I'm just not techie enough, at this stage, to have a competitive blog.... I mean, where on earth does one go to look for 'free' images of chickens?


message 9: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Elise, that's a very good question! LOL

http://www.istockphoto.com

It's not free, but it's very affordable. The images can be used for books, marketing, etc. I had great fun searching through their images of vegetables. That makes me sound kind of whacky doesn't it?






message 10: by Elise (new)

Elise (elisechidley) Oh, thank you, Gina, for the image site! I will check that out. Then there's the question of how you created the slide show....
Oh, good grief, when will I ever find time to edit my next book with all this stuff to explore?
By the way,Gina, I have a friend who lived in Tokyo and attended a class on Japanese print making. She had to wait until somebody died to get a spot in the group (literally) and then for a long time she was only allowed to glue rice paper together, three pieces a day... Something like that, anyway. But she loved it.
Hi, JW. I will go over to your sites and check them out.
All I've been able to figure out on wordpress is how to write something and post it. That's it. Maybe I should try blogger...


message 11: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Gina, thank you so much, I will add your blogs to my blogroll. That is how I usually follow blogs -- just go down my own blogroll. But I think becoming a follower might make more sense. All this technology is just moving too fast for my wee brain.

Elise, thank you! I use to fancy myself a photographer, back in the day when you had to develop film and worry about apertures and shutter speeds. Now I'm all digital, but I looove taking pictures.

I just looked at JW's blog and it is lovely. I must say, I wish there was a way to package and sell that odor (the old book smell). Or maybe make an incense of it. I'm going to look at your homepage now. I getting my HP made now and have been researching and taking notes on websites for months now.

I must look at Gina's book trailer that is next on my list to become obsessed about. Gosh, I remember when the only way I found out about new books was when I got those scholastic order forms at school. What a wonderful world we live in.

t


message 12: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 15 comments Thersa wrote: "Gina, thank you so much, I will add your blogs to my blogroll. That is how I usually follow blogs -- just go down my own blogroll. But I think becoming a follower might make more sense. All this te..."

Thank you so much, Thersa :^) As rattled as I was about my engine croaking, just the scent of those old pages soothed me. It's just this side of disturbing, but wonderful all the same.

And I must say, strawberries and chocolate were hand-picked by God himself to complement one another!


message 13: by Thersa (new)

Thersa I love that "this side of disturbing". Someone should write a book with that title. Actually, here in Japan (it's super humid) we get these tiny, almost transparent, bugs in older books. Very disturbing.

Also, various nuts and chocolate. The Maker done good when he did chocolate. Darn it. Since I wrote that blog I've had four people present me with MORE chocolate. Diet starts....next month.


message 14: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 15 comments Thersa wrote: "I love that "this side of disturbing". Someone should write a book with that title. Actually, here in Japan (it's super humid) we get these tiny, almost transparent, bugs in older books. Very distu..."

LOL! Next month! I'm cracking up. Reap what you sow ;^) And as for that line, now that I see it parsed out all by its lonesome, I rather like the look and feel of it. I may just have to crib my own writing for a title!


message 15: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Elise wrote: "Oh, and Gina, I just went over and viewed your trailer for The Wonderful Demise.... It's great! I can see that I'm just not techie enough, at this stage, to have a competitive blog.... I mean, wher..."

Too excellent sources for images free to use:

http://flickr.com/
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mai...

Both host images either in the public domain or released under Creative Commons licenses - which give others permission to use the images free of charge, some with attribution only, some not for commercial purposes, some you can even edit and use!


message 16: by Chariss (new)

Chariss Walker | 18 comments Gina wrote: "Blogging is a great way to meet potential readers and make new connections, but what makes a good one? I'm still fiddling with mine - I have three at the moment but want more because I'm a tad addi..."

Gina, Thank you so much for sharing your blogger info and experience. I only had time to visit one of your blogs (blogger.com/google) but I loved it. I have heard repeatedly that blogging is great self-promotion, but had not taken the time. I did begin to set up a blog with google after seeing and admiring yours. Thanks for the inspiration and push to do it! Chariss


message 17: by Elise (new)

Elise (elisechidley) Bernadette, thanks for the free image sites! I will check them out. Elise


message 18: by Mike (last edited Jan 21, 2009 03:03PM) (new)

Mike (mikerm) If you're using WordPress, there's a great plugin called PhotoDropper which makes it really easy to find and add Flickr photos to your posts. It only searches for photos which have the level of rights you set (for example, noncommercial or commercial), and automatically puts in the photo credit for you. I love it. I use it for my professional hypnotherapy blog, which is the only one I run on WordPress. I have three other blogs, though, all on Blogger:

The Innocent Man, my personal blog where I talk about whatever comes to mind, which is named after a character in:
City of Masks, my adventure novel set in something like Shakespeare's Italy in a city where everyone must wear masks. Blogging didn't exist when I started it, or I could well have written it on a blog, as I did with:
Gu, a very geeky SF novel which was a lot of fun to write but probably isn't commercial.

I find blogging a good way to write books (I'm also bringing out a book based on my hypnotherapy blog posts at the end of January) because you can do a few hundred words here and there, you're not as tempted to procrastinate by going back and revising instead of creating something new, and in theory you can interact with your audience as you write, though I'm not seeing that last one yet.


message 19: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments I don't mind an author promoting his/her own book on his/her own blog-many times, I'll go to an author blog to learn more about either the author or the book. If you are uncomfortable with blatant promo on your blog, you can blog about any and all topics in your book.


message 20: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (discipleshirley) | 49 comments You guys have great ideas, I must admit blogging has intimidated me.


message 21: by Rai (last edited Jan 21, 2009 04:25PM) (new)

Rai | 86 comments Hi everyone,

This is a great topic. I have often wondered about this myself, and with my blogs, I am just feeling my way through. I'm not a super active blogger, but my main blog is on my MySpace page:

Rai's MySpace page

My second blog is on my Amazon.com profile:

Rai's Amazon profile

I used to use the one on our website, which I then added an RSS feed to my Amazon page, but now I use AmazonConnect blog, so I post there directly.

These are the things that I do with my blogs:

* on MySpace, I will add our latest 4 & 5-star reviews
* on both, I will add interesting news about the book, such as our profile on Storycasting.com where I cast a movie version of our book
* on MySpace, I will post a blog about a recent notable event that inspires me, and movie reviews

I mostly try to keep it light & entertainment focused.

I am very interested in learning more about what others are doing with their blogs. One of my favorite author blogs is Steven Payette's on MySpace. He posts lots of helpful blogs for authors regarding publishing, agents, etc. Here's the link to his page:

Steven Payette's MySpace page

Thanks for this great topic!

Rai Aren, co-author of Secret of the Sands







message 22: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 15 comments Shirley wrote: "You guys have great ideas, I must admit blogging has intimidated me."

The worst part of blogging is getting the blog set up. It's a reflection of you in a two-dimensional environment, so there are lots of aesthetic choices to make. Once you have that part done, the writing and commenting is a lot of fun, and it's incredibly dynamic, never stale.


message 23: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) JW, I found that the most difficult part was starting the blogs up to begin with. I fiddled with the blogger style sheets to get the pages looking more my own, but then didn't know how to begin. It was much easier after the first introductory post... once the ice was broken.


message 24: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 15 comments Gina wrote: "JW, I found that the most difficult part was starting the blogs up to begin with. I fiddled with the blogger style sheets to get the pages looking more my own, but then didn't know how to begin. It..."

I had the same problem. But now it's much easier and far more enjoyable. I know there's a Good Reads widget somewhere that I can add, and I want to get to that at some point.


message 25: by G.R. (last edited Jan 23, 2009 07:14AM) (new)

G.R. (grcollia) For anyone who's on Facebook, have you joined Networked Blogs? You add your blog and can then join other people's blog networks, build up a readership. I've noticed a distinct increase in traffic to my blogs since joining up. My page is here:

http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks...

Just search for 'Networked Blogs' and add the application.

I've also found some really interesting blogs there, and made some new friends.


message 26: by Philip (new)

Philip Lee | 3 comments Gina wrote: "Blogging is a great way to meet potential readers and make new connections, but what makes a good one? I'm still fiddling with mine - I have three at the moment but want more because I'm a tad addi..."

Thanks Gina for this tip. This looks promising. Although the challenge becomes how to stay interesting once you have a larger following.
Best, Philip Lee
www.philiplee.ca


message 27: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Philip wrote: "Although the challenge becomes how to stay interesting once you have a larger following.I..."

Especially when blogs require frequent updating if they're going to retain that following. If I try to post twice a week on each blog, that means I have to be interesting six times a week. Ideally I should post three times a week... that would be nine posts.. that's a whole lot of interesting!




message 28: by Philip (new)

Philip Lee | 3 comments Yes indeed. And there are so many places for readers on the web to go, they are quite fickle. Have a bad couple of weeks and you end up starting from the ground up again. One solution to some of the writing pressure is a group blog.


message 29: by Margay (new)

Margay | 5 comments Gary, it may not be the reason you became a writer, but if you want to spread word about your writing, it's one of the quickest and most efficient ways of doing it. You can reach so many more people in a single post than you can in person and it doesn't cost you anything to do it. It's a wonderful promotional tool and in today's day and age, promotion falls pretty much on the author's shoulders, especially a new author, as I learned when I first became published.
Margay


message 30: by Philip (new)

Philip Lee | 3 comments I think we are quickly entering a time when this may quick and efficient, and the only way of connecting with readers. The publication of my latest book has been an eye-opening experience for me. Philip www.philiplee.ca


message 31: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Kulman (AndreaKulman) | 23 comments Gary- I don't like to blog either. I do, however, like to read blogs. :~D


message 32: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Margay wrote: "Gary, it may not be the reason you became a writer, but if you want to spread word about your writing, it's one of the quickest and most efficient ways of doing it."

It is indeed. The more you post about, the more your blogs show up on Google searches, the more people find you, and my blogs receive far more attention than my web site now... about three to four times more I think. Most of the people who write to me after buying one of my books mention the blogs, not the web site. And I'm working on a joint article right now that I wouldn't have thought of doing if a chap hadn't found me via my Japanese art blog.

Aside from anything else, blog readers get the opportunity to get to know you and your writing style, so they can make an informed choice when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy your book.






message 33: by Margay (new)

Margay | 5 comments Gina wrote: "Margay wrote: "Gary, it may not be the reason you became a writer, but if you want to spread word about your writing, it's one of the quickest and most efficient ways of doing it."

It is indeed. T..."


Gina, another thing to note is that readers are very interested in authors as people and like to connect with them and what better way to do that than on a blog? I wasn't very good at it at first and feared that I might be wasting my time, but I've persevered and guest posted on other blogs and the experience is priceless. I love interacting with the people who leave comments. It's truly a wonderful experience.



message 34: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Margay wrote: "Gina, another thing to note is that readers are very interested in authors as people and like to connect with them and what better way to do that than on a blog?...

I've persevered and guest posted on other blogs and the experience is priceless."


Indeed. There's a whole blogosphere out there, filled with interesting people, and you can build little communities... guest blog, exchange information, and make friends. It's important to go beyond your blog and really interact, and it's actually incredibly enjoyable once you get going.

I collect prints of rats, and a chap wrote to me to tell me that there was one for sale on the Internet. He wasn't selling it... he'd simply read my blog and thought of me when he saw the print. I thought that was really sweet.



message 35: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments I am also an invited guest-poster on several blogs related to the topic of my book, and I find it quite gratifying.


message 36: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Hey chaps, when did Goodreads add blogs to their author pages? Has that facility been there all along and I missed it? O_o


message 37: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments Must be new, I saw it for the first time today


message 38: by Thersa (new)

Thersa I think it is new as well. Oh Gina, is someone trying to get you to do another blog? Maybe?


message 39: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I think it's a conspiracy ;o)


message 40: by Roy (last edited Feb 23, 2009 01:44PM) (new)

Roy (mplwdscribe) | 8 comments Perhaps what it takes for a blog to achieve true greatness (other than being well written, of course) is for it to be far less schizophrenic in subject matter than my own - http://lineaday.blogspot.com/.

On the other hand, since I basically find myself writing about what is most pressing on my mind at any given moment, and this of course varies considerably with the passage of time, I suppose my blog has no choice but to have multiple personalities. Certainly I could discuss as many different aspects of a very specific topic as I was able to think of, provided that I ever became confident enough to declare myself an expert on anything in particular. But for the time being I only consider myself to be the most learned authority on the art of being me. Sometimes that means obsessing about a political campaign, the promise of Obama, the shallowness of Palin. Other times the world of sports is foremost in my thoughts. It could be a story dominating news coverage that I feel compelled to write about, or I might simply be taking an opportunity to do a little self promotion for a project I'm passionate about. Does such chaos of thought pattern result in a great blog even though it fails to fall neatly into a theme? I'd never make such a claim, but feel free to stop by A Line A Day and judge for yourself.

http://lineaday.blogspot.com/

Patches of Grey

Patches of Grey by Roy L. Pickering Jr.


message 41: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Roy wrote: "Perhaps what it takes for a blog to achieve true greatness (other than being well written, of course) is for it to be far less schizophrenic in subject matter than my own - http://lineaday.blogspot..."

I know what you mean, about a blog with multiple personalities. I can only write what I'm feeling at the time. I can't force a subject I'm not, in that particular moment, passionate about.

Of course, I'm only getting started into blogging, so I have no real tips to provide. :o)

~Jaimey Grant


message 42: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Roy, I think some blogs are successful because they focus on one subject, but others are a hit because of the person's outlook, writing style, use of pictures. There doesn't seem to be a formula, and a fair number of eclectic blogs are popular. Two of mine focus on particular themes: Japanese prints, and the Benjamin Arnold Guppy book. The third is random... recently I've blogged about snow, google earth, and a carrot.

I could make one suggestion, Roy... and every other blogger who doesn't have one... you could add a 'follow' button, so people can follow your blog at the click of a button. There's a 'followers' widget you can add. It's possible to copy the URL and add it to the list of blogs you're following, but people don't want to do it or don't know how to... the 'follow' button lets them add your blog in a second. Also, there are the 'subscribe' links... people like those too.





message 43: by Chelle (new)

Chelle Cordero (chellecordero) | 15 comments Basically I maintain 2 blogs as a writer.

On Blogger I have my author blog http://chellecordero.blogspot.com/ This is kind of an "all me" blog It is 95% about my books. I try to keep it interesting by varying what I am posting; I include excerpts, back stories, conversations with characters and author appearnces, etc. I read somewhere that a good author blog will often lead back to the books but allows the site visitors to "meet" the author first.

Another blog I maintain is http://www.xanga.com/cce613. I post other writer's book promos and reviews, profiles on women, and guest blogs about writing. Once in a while I may throw in a promo or review about one of my books, but this is mostly to help other authors get exposure. Anyone interested in appearing, please write to me at bylines@optonline.net and put Xanga in the subject line.

While I wouldn't say it is "maintained" I also blog on MySpace http://tinyurl.com/rikkiblog
and here I include a smattering of things including my books, writing, politics, life and anything that is pressing on my mind.

While I notice that the visits to each site is getting higher, most people do not leave comments ;< I certainly would love more feedback.


message 44: by S.I.R. (new)

S.I.R. Pierre (ShairanXIII) | 5 comments Chelle wrote: "Basically I maintain 2 blogs as a writer.

On Blogger I have my author blog http://chellecordero.blogspot.com/ This is kind of an "all me" blog It is 95% about my books. I try to keep it interes..."


Completely new to the site and a newly dubbed "author"... But my blog is very similar to Chelle's... releasing excerpts, etc... I'm actually releasing my entire book through my blog (sans artwork), since I don't want to saddle people with a high priced book at a time when we're waiting for the sky to fall...

I also use my blog to post trailers and upcoming event info... and yes... I only have one... this is a very interesting thread...

check out my blog if you would like and let me know what you think about the stories:

http://sirpierre.blogspot.com/


message 45: by S.I.R. (new)

S.I.R. Pierre (ShairanXIII) | 5 comments Okay... so I started following a few of your blogs and I have to say that I've been inspired and this seems like it makes a lot more sense...

Gina... I love how your blog expands on your book world... excellent entry portal... I'm doing something similar with my book as well... except... I'm also releasing book content directly to the blog...

Thersa... love the vids and the graphic... alive feel of your page... very inviting... doesn't seem like you're shovelling isht at me...

JW... your blog reminds me of those old SNL skits quiet time with bill handly (or whatever it's called... haven't watched the show in years)... couldn't find the follow button though so I couldn't subscribe...

JoAnne... I think it's awesome that you're using your blog as a portal for other writers...

Anyway... today's gonna be a busy one for yours truly... I'll go through the rest of your blogs tomorrow and follow the ones that catch me interest...

My Blog goes "live" today... so feel free to check me out http://sirpierre.blogspot.com/

Off to the "real world"...


message 46: by Ginnetta (new)

Ginnetta Here is my my blog if anyone would like to visit. http://lambchop2.wordpress.com/





message 47: by Thersa (new)

Thersa Wow, S.i.r, how incredibly sweet are you? I went and took a peek at your blog. Love the trailer, the music and the artwork, you really get a feel for the book. I especially liked those stark black and white pics at the end, the ones with the blood. Is the artwork.

"Homeless share wisdom..." What a lovely line.

Thanks!

Terrie


message 48: by Robin (last edited Feb 28, 2009 08:18PM) (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 39 comments Mod
I have an interesting writer blog - in that I'm not a writer. But I do talk about "the business side" of writing - everything from finding an agent to book marketing techniques. You can find it at:

At this link


message 49: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (jozanny) | 6 comments This probably isn't going to be a popular sentiment for the typical Goodreads female pecking order, but the best blogs I've seen come from already established publishing venues:

The Political Animal--The Washington Monthy
The American Debate--Philadelphia Newspapers Incorporated
The Plank--The New Republic
The Daily Dish (Andrew Sullivan)--The Atlantic Monthly

or Tina Brown's The Daily Beast, she is credited with saving The New Yorker

All of these know their subject, have established sources, and keep me informed on what I care about.

I can't say that about most individual blog sites I've come across, which is why I am ho hum about starting my own, but if I did, it would be about disability themes in literature, the fine arts, and perhaps occasionally touching on the ugly truth of disability activism.

I would not start one just to spam about your writing, because unless you have a really original lede to hook me, I'd care less, and skip it. Too many journalists and academics have blogs for no reason at all, including some Atlantic Monthly contributing editors who have a fetish about kidney transplants.


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