Paying the TimeKeeper – Blogger’s Debt

Song of the Day: Paparazzi by Lady Gaga

So, let’s talk about author blogs. Commentaries, musings, chronicles, running narratives of a writer’s life, there are a bajillion out there. But are they effective in bringing in sales and new readers? Or are they another time sucking black hole?

The answer I’ve come up with – yes and no.

Blogs are great tools in developing a web presence, especially when following a few tips. Blogs should reflect the blogger’s personality, be entertaining, and offer something (education, advice, links, prizes, a good knee-slapping laugh, etc.) to readers.  Length can be whatever the blogger is comfortable with, but shorter is sometimes better, especially when blogging often. (Not today. Sorry.) The blogger should make every effort to reply to every commenter. Personal touches go a long way, showing the blogger is not a cold, unapproachable, one dimensional being.

There is no question blogs are important to writers, whether they write them or not. Commenting on blogs regularly is an easy way to gain name recognition. They (whoever ‘they’ are) say it takes seven times for a person to see a name before that name becomes recognizable. That’s what we want, right? To be recognizable? Okay, maybe we won’t walk outside and be blinded by dozens of paparazzi flash bulbs. But we do want people to remember us.

Let’s go back to my original question. Are blogs another chupacabra sucking us dry of our precious time?

A question to ask yourself is who is the target market for your blog? For many of us, our circles of followers are other authors. This is great because writers tend to form supportive, tight knit communities. And in this industry, we need to each other’s back. But how far will that go in terms of sales and readership? It goes back to becoming active in the blogosphere.

We want to expand from the bubble of friends. We want to draw in readers near AND far.

Many authors do blog tours. Any way you slice it, blog tours are time consuming. Consider the time spent looking for and corresponding with other bloggers for a guest spot. Also consider that the content posted will need to be fresh and unique for each site. Don’t forget the time spent replying to every commenter to your post.

If you have time for a blog tour, I say go for it. Got a couple of tips for you, too. Keep the blog tour to a manageable amount, be that 10, 25, or 50 stops. Offer prizes. People will likely ‘follow’ you (think Grateful Dead’s Deadheads) on your tour if they have a chance to win something. Have a boilerplate about yourself and your book’s information already prepared. The boilerplate can easily be copied and pasted into each blog written. Don’t just hit up all your writer buds for guest spots and interviews. There are endless blogging opportunities out there. Expand on blogs that have content you may be interested in. For example, if your book is about a dragon-slaying pastry chef who falls in love with a racecar-driving homicide detective. You might consider looking for blogs about Renaissance festivals, Nascar, baking, and law enforcement and write a blog relevant to those topics. And if you have a boilerplate at the end, you’ll be slipping in that PSA on your book, upcoming release, or YOU the future best-selling author.

Need help finding blogs to appear as a guest? You might try Myguestblogger.com to get you started. Or try Googling ‘guest blogging sites’ or ‘guest bloggers wanted *topic*’. There is also The Cheap, a blog for authors and readers who welcome guest bloggers. Then there is MuseTracks.  That’s right. Want to do a guest blog here, contact one of us!

If tours aren’t your cup of ale, you can still use these blog tips to your advantage and at your leisure. Keep at it regularly and you will likely pick up a few loyal followers. That translates to readers and sales.

Just as with keeping up with the Joneses (damn you Jones- shaking fists in frustration) on social media sites, it goes back to managing your time to fit in a couple of blogs a day/week to visit, comment, and write.

For me, I recognize that my plate is full. I don’t have the time to do a blog tour. I will gladly do interviews, and I always try to put a fun spin on each one. But I am human and I know I can’t do more at this moment.

What about you? Do you blog? Love it? Hate it? Any advice to share? Let’s hear from you!

16 Responses to Paying the TimeKeeper – Blogger’s Debt

  1. dandilyon says:

    Great post and well put. I blog daily and think it has been a great tool. I use it as my center of operations. I have so many different promotional branches going on, the blog is my way of tying them all into one neat package. Between answering emails, trying to do guest articles, networking and I won’t even start on all my other stuff, I think I’d have no time at all for a tour. I welcome tours tho and gladly volunteer to be a stop (I just hosted A.F Stewart) but I agree with you on not doing them myself.

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  2. jbrayweber says:

    I’ve considered doing a personal blog on my website, but honestly, it would be another item to keep up. MuseTracks is my main blog spot. And though I am a blogger elsewhere (waving at my Ruby-Slippered Sisters) I have not be able to show the attention I want to in either place. If only there were more mommy hours in the day. LOL.

    Thanks for stopping by, Dandilyon

    Like

  3. Angelyn says:

    Great post. I blog once a week on my site about historical places and events during the Regency period in England, frequently using excerpts from my novels where characters provide insight and comments. It’s a niche area of interest, admittedly, but it’s fun.

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  4. jbrayweber says:

    When it’s fun, it’s worth it all, isn’t it, Angelyn. I like the idea of adding excerpts. I bet that really generates interest and probably helps boost sales.
    Thanks for stopping by!

    Like

  5. This blogging idea is a perplexing one. As many experts that say yes, there’s that many that say no! In the end, it’s just like your mother always taught you. Moderation is the key to a happy, healthy life….Those moms- they’re always right.

    In NY at National, one author was very vocal about how she doesn’t blog at all. i thought this to be interesting so I went to pick her brain. She said that having a newsletter and a web site that captures emails is a much better use of time. Here at Musetracks, it seems we have the best of both worlds. It’s a blog, but it also goes out like a newletter. I think that’s the best answer!!

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  6. jbrayweber says:

    Yes – it was all very conflicting information from what I gathered in those workshops. It made my head spin. And so I maintain keeping a regular schedule for blogging that works for me. I wish I could do more, but alas….

    I hope others enjoy MuseTracks as much as I do.

    Thanks, Stacey!!!

    Like

  7. Anna says:

    Wonderful post and great advice. I blog weekly, but then I also have 3 blogs haha. Finding content for one of them is really rather difficult for me – it’s hard to write about one’s life. You have set me thinking about one important fact. I blog mostly about writing, which attracts writers, but in reality few writers will buy my book, or at least that is my experience. It may be time for some sort of change.

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  8. jbrayweber says:

    Yes, there is the conundrum when we write to other writers. It doesn’t necessarily help sales. To reach readers we have to write about things they would be interested in. Sometimes that is us, the author. But I think it takes more sometimes to draw them out with posts they feel strongly enough about to leave comments. I agree, finding meaningful content can be a challenge. here’s hoping we do all right, Anna. 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by!!

    Like

  9. Patricia Maxwell says:

    Thank you for your informative blog about blogging. I’m still standing on the edge of the pool trying to decide if I want to dive into the blogging world because of the investment of time. You’ve helped me in figuring this out.

    Like

  10. jbrayweber says:

    Patricia, I hope I provided you with the help you needed. Blogging is an investment in our time. We’ve got to figure out how to manage that time and what social media will work for us (and when).

    Thanks so much for popping in!

    Like

  11. To blog or not to blog that IS the question. Very good blog on the topic, Jenn. Wish there were a simple answer. LOL

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  12. jbrayweber says:

    Unfortunately, there isn’t. And like everything else in marketing, the sands of what works an what doesn’t, as well as the time we can expend, changes.

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  13. Wonderful post. I blog twice a week. Once doing excerpts and encouraging others to post as well. The second with guest authors. In between I reblog.

    Like

  14. jbrayweber says:

    Way to keep in going, Ella. 🙂 Plus, getting others involved is a great idea.

    Like

  15. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am
    satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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