Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogging for promotion

Camy here, answering a question I received just this week about blogging for promotion.

First off, NO, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BLOG TO PROMOTE YOURSELF.

(I heard Julie heave a gigantic sigh of relief.)

It’s true. Some people simply don’t enjoy blogging and that is perfectly all right. You will not make or break your career by not blogging.

Different people are gifted with different ways of interacting with people. Some people are good at blogging. Others are good at contributing to conversations on email loops or forum boards. Still others are great at booksignings. Others excel at meeting bookstore owners.

Whatever your particular gift, use it. Don’t be stressing yourself out, trying to develop a skill you simply don’t have.

Yes, it can be useful to start blogging even before you are contracted.

It is never a bad thing to make your name known before you have that book contract. Blogging won’t contribute significantly to your marketing plan when you submit your proposal to a publishing house, but it will make it easier for you to jump-start sales when your book releases.

A blog can also be a good place to showcase your writing style and voice. For example, my blog is just like my fiction writing—irreverent, funny, chatty. People who like to read my blog posts will like to read my novels because they’re very similar in tone.

When you blog, make your blog tone and voice similar to your novel voice. That way, your readers will be attracted to your writing through your blog voice. Try to pick topics that your readers would be interested in, and write them in a voice similar to your novels.

For example, if you write historicals, you can blog about little historical tidbits, or your vacation to a historical town, or even chat about your family’s history. You can mix up your posts with current events or other things that readers would be interested to hear, but keep the tone of your writing the same as in your novels.

Also, you never know if that editor you submitted to goes to check out your blog to see what kind of a person you are, and what kind of a writing voice you have in your blog. If she likes what she sees, she might be more inclined toward bringing your manuscript to pub board.

Blogging can be a good promotional tool, but it requires commitment.

You will notice that the successful blogs in the blogosphere have authors who post regularly. Three or five times a week, every week. Very few missed days.

Readers are more likely to return to visit a blog that has new content every time they visit. This means committing to post on your blog.

Of course, if you can commit to posting on your blog, that’s great—you’ll eventually see your readership grow, and you’ll develop followers who will be foaming at the mouth to buy your book when it’s available.

Do some research on how to blog well.

One of my favorite blogs is ProBlogger, who posts about effective blogging. His focus is blogging for income, but his tips on the elements that make good blog posts is very valuable. You can subscribe to his blog via Feedblitz and get his posts in your email inbox everyday.

Another useful handbook I’ve found is the Suite101 guidelines for their article writers. While blogging doesn’t require use of pure third person (no I’s), a lead paragraph or subtitle, the guidelines they have are still useful for bloggers to blog effectively.

I also wrote an entire series of articles on blog marketing at the CAN Marketing blog.

Once you get into blogging, you’ll be glad you did—it can be a useful tool for promoting yourself without seeming to promote yourself.


Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!

21 comments :

  1. Camster, I heard Julie's sigh way up here, LOL!

    Thanks for the very good points about blogging. It can be an unnecessary drain on a new author's time or a wonderful boon to his/her creativity. You're right, it comes back to loving it and commitment.

    And since Camy's off enjoying the high life in the Twin Cities (Go, Vikings!!!!) let's raid her refrigerator...

    Hmmm...

    Raw fish.

    Old cartons of soggy Chinese veggies.

    Soy stuff.

    Something green and fuzzy of indeterminate origin.

    Poor Captain Caffeine!!!! No wonder he's hooked on strong coffee!

    Okay, gals, ix-nay on the Camster's ood-fay...

    Wait, let me scrub my hands here....

    Okay.

    I have a cold so I haven't been baking today. More like whining. Big time. BUT...

    Panera's has agreed to bring us bagels, danish and stuffed croissants. (these things are very addictive and easy to make at home. Seriously)

    Ann, where are you? Bring coffee if you stop by. That Kona blend was SWEET! Or chocolate velvet. To die for.

    In the meantime I have Cappuccino fixings, or go to latte'... My foamer thing-a-ma-jig is alongside the coffee pot for foaming your milk. And no I didn't get soy stuff. Yuck. A girl has to have standards.

    :)

    Ruthy

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  2. I agree with the committment part...I try to post to my personal blog at least 3 times a week, but sometimes that falls by the wayside like now when I'm guest blogging all week at NovelSpotters for their "Behind the Scenes" feature.

    I did post early to let my readers know and I'll probably run over to my blog and post a little something today....but I can only focus on one-at-a-time.

    One thing I've found helpful is to write posts in advance. For instance, when I got the reminder about Novel Spotters, I sat down and wrote the entire week's posts. Of course it still takes time to post the acutal content, but hey, I'm a step ahead of the game.

    I do this for my personal blog too. When I get inspired, I'll write a bunch of posts then all I have to do is post them.

    Great info and advice!
    PamT

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  3. You are so right, Camy. I love blogging but I don't like actually networking with live and warm bodies..terrifies me.

    To each his own.

    You are right about posting ahead of time, Pam. But honestly I do it for a living and often find myself playing catch up even though I use an editorial calendar. The best laid plans...

    wow I am a plethora of cliches this am....

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  4. Good morning Seekers! I was busy yesterday in meetings. Saw Mary and Carla.

    Then I stayed up way too late for the second night in a row brainstorming with a couple of people.

    Margie Lawson's EB session starts this morning.

    I'm up, but I'm not awake.

    What was the topic again? Oh, blogging. I'll get back to you on that!

    BTW, Camy's had no more sleep than I have and she's fresh as a daisy.

    Sigh.

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  5. Hey Ruthy, I have the Chocolate Velvet. Just perked it up and it smells heavenly. Hmmm. I wonder if heaven does smell like fresh perked coffee?

    Camster, your blog is terrific. I get so jealous every time I go there because you are so techy and have so much fun stuff on it. I wish I could do all that. I really love all the book reviews. That is so great because when you go to a book store and see so many books, its great to find out about them ahead of time.

    Have fun at ACFW all of you there. The rest of us are writing away.

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  6. Great stuff here--again! I love blogging--it's helping me learn. ;)

    Here's a shameless plug: We do Fiction Fridays (at Patterings) every week and it's been fun having a day specifically for posting fiction. We'd love to have you join us!

    Enjoy the conference! (if you're there. LoL)

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  7. Camy, you know me SO well!! But come on now, I enjoy blogging ... it's right up there next to writing synopses and query letters for me, as a matter of fact -- sheer fun!!! NOT.

    I am forever indebted to you, my friend, for setting me free from the dreaded promotional blogging disease. I leave that for the true professionals like you, Tina, Myra, Mary, Cheryl and Missy.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  8. For some, maybe we should be calling it 'bogging' instead of 'blogging'. I love my blog...sometimes. But when you feel you have to blog every day...mercy, me. I felt that way at first, but I've scaled back to once a week. And when a writer sees 0 comments, that gives less motivation to keep up.

    I signed a contract for a romantic historical novel entitled 'Surrender the Wind' due out next fall with Abingdon. I decided that my blog would be the best place to write about the journey. It's a mystery to many new writers what happens after you sign the contract. So I am going to be keeping a journal about the process , hoping it will remove a bit of the mystic.

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  9. Thank ya, ma'am. I enjoy blogging about anything outdoor Carolinas. Just recently I began embedding photos in my posts. Why did I wait so long? No idea, but now I have to update older posts. I'm wondering what else I'm missing. Thanks for the resources. I'll check them out.

    And yes, blogging regularly is difficult. I generally do it once a week (though I'm a week behind right now.) But mine depends on our ability to travel around the area. I would say it's an expensive endeavor, but I would explore the area even if I didn't blog. So why not blog about it?

    Tina, I'm with you on networking with hu-mons. How I got snookered into teaching two computer classes, I'll never know. It's almost time to face them, so I need some caffeine and prayer time.

    Hope everyone is having a grand time at ACFW.

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  10. I love reading other people's blogs when I find the time, but I'm afraid I'll never be much of a blogger myself because it takes committment, time and energy. It's hard enough to work on my wip every day without adding anything additional! I admire writers who can do it all (like Camy), but I know my limitations and I've learned to accept them.

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  11. I love blogging. I've met so many awesome people . I do get bummed, though, when I find a great post, then return the next day, the next week, only to find it never updated.

    But hey, blogging isn't for everyone, right?

    It's awesome hearing about other people, their daily lives, especially published authors. They are a wealth of information to those who are unpubbed. They share their stories, their struggles, and their successes.

    Thanks Camy for the blogging advice.

    Have a great day Seekers.

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  12. Pam, drat that young un'! She always looks good. What's up with that?

    Hope you guys are having a ball. And also hoping you left us better food in your kitchen than Camy did in hers, Pammers.

    Do people really eat stuff that looks like sprouts and twigs? For real?????

    Ruthy (enjoying Sandra's chocolate velvet coffee to the max... Hey, someone hand me a Danish please? Yeah, the cheese one looks great!)

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  13. We're in agreement on the time commitment.

    But for me, the time commitment is worth it. Maintaining my blog is easy because I pretty much always have something I want to talk about, and participating in the blogging tours for new releases helps to fill in the gaps.

    I think it's about selectivity as to what blogs you frequent in addition to maintaining your own blog. Because in order for your blog to be effective, I believe you have to frequent and support other people in their blogging efforts.

    You get what you give.

    However, you don't have to support everyone's blog.

    I read author blogs that provide writing craft lessons and editor/agent blogs for industry knowledgte. A few blogs of critique partners and authors with whom I've become friends.

    And I periodically review my blog subscriptions and pare them down, usually only to find them back up to original numbers a few months later. LOL!

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  14. Hey, guys. Sorry to be awol.
    Love you all.
    FYI
    Just cuz I don't know all the lilngo doesn't mean I don't know how to write, OKAY???!!!!!!!

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  15. Back in the room for a moment. I attended portions of Margie Lawson's early bird session today.

    She is the best teacher I've ever heard. If you ever get the chance to go to one of her workshops, do it!

    The conference officially opens at 3pm...in about 30 minutes.

    Talk to you later!

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  16. Oh, yeah, I saw Mary, Myra and Missy too. lol All the M's!

    And of course Squirl. She's feeling a under the weather, so pray for her and Cara Putnam too.

    They have to speech and that's no fun with a scratchy throat!

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  17. Hey guys, I'm still in Minnesota (stayed at Sharon Hinck's house). Thanks for commenting! And Ruthy, you are EVIL, woman! I happen to have lots of great organic veggies and fruit in my fridge! As well as a delectable creme brulee that you can have if you're nicer to me ...
    Camy

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  18. Great stuff, Camy! Thanks for the links. I've never heard of the Problogger or Suite101.

    Missy

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