Post #61 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
Whether Matilda and I are working with memoir writers, entrepreneurs or small business owners, we always encourage them to start blogging. No other activity expands one’s presence on the Internet as effectively as blogging. And what activity better plays to an author’s strength? We have the talent necessary to write our way to book sales. Now, there are tricks to making the effort more manageable and effective, but it still comes down to your writing.
I’ve selected the links below to help you get a sense of the range of things you can do with your blog. Let me add only a few bits of advice:
First, your book and your blog are different. Don’t cannibalize chapters out of the book you’re writing and to post them on your blog. Protect your book while you keep your blog content fresh. Use the material that didn’t make it into the final cut of your book. Turn to related subject material that you believe your readers would find interesting. If you’re a Baby Boomer writing about growing up in the 50s and 60s, for example, you could fill your blog with nostalgia, old news stories and anything that you think will appeal to your fellow Boomers. You could blog on Boomer anniversaries, such as the date the Hula Hoop was introduced. Share your experience with the Hula Hoop along with a little history. Boomers will love it.
Second, when you think book blog, think platform. You want to build a platform for your book, and a blog is the perfect vehicle. My Hula Hoop example above would help a Boomer build a platform. If, for example, you’re writing a memoir about caring for an elderly parent, you could build a blog around advice and resources for caregivers. When you finish the book and are writing your book proposal, you’ll be able to tell agents and publishers about the following you’ve built around the subject. This is what publishers are looking for.
Third, give yourself enough time to build a solid following. I won’t lie to you, blogging is work. Now, it can be pleasurable work, but it’s a commitment of time and energy. And your blog won’t take off over night. This can be frustrating, but you just need to know that it’s something we all go through. In fact, it’s the time that it takes for a blog to become popular that causes most bloggers to give up. Stick with it. Depending on your topic, it can take six months to a year for a blog to build a solid foundation of readers.
Now let’s get to the list:
Reasons memoir writers (all writers) need to start a blog…
9 Good Reasons to Start a Blog Diane Eble (Your Book Publishing Coach) has put together a good list. She’s right on all counts. And here’s a little bonus: Diane has interviewed several publishing experts and she has posted the free audios. One of these is with Cathy Perkins and entitled “Keep Your Blog Safe from Hackers.”
It’s writing…how hard can it be for an author?
The Author’s Dilemma: To Blog or Not to Blog Actually, I don’t think the title of Claire E. White’s article for The Internet Writing Journal does it justice. This is less a pros v. cons piece than a rich resource of ideas to help you get the most out of blogging: blog book tours, blogging your way to a publishing contract, the importance of being yourself.
On the same site, you’ll also find a list of the best author blogs. You might want to study these for ideas and models.
WordPress.com for memoir writers…
Lorelle on WordPress Lorelle VanFossen has been writing about WordPress.com for several years now. Not everyone wants to host a blog on their own server. They don’t want the expense (which is relatively low) or the maintenance (also minimal). If you’re not sure that you’ll stick to blogging, then by all means start out with a free blog. The best choice, I think, is WordPress.com. You can’t do everything you can on a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, but if you get into the process and want more, WordPress.com gives you a migration path to the beefier platform of WordPress.org. You may want to sign up for Lorelle’s email subscription so you’ll never miss one of her posts.
Invite guest bloggers to your site…
How Guest Blogging is Getting Huge Ann Smarty, writing for Search Engine Journal, helps you create a guest blogging strategy. How much time you spend blogging is up to you and depends on your blogging style. A post like this one, for example, is very time consuming. I’d have trouble doing more than one of these a week. And on Women’s Memoirs we include book reviews of memoirs, videos and memoir writing prompts. It’s a lot of work. But because Matilda and I want to post daily, we decided to open our blog to guest bloggers. Amber Starfire guest blogs about journaling each week and Bettyann Schmidt is our resident ScrapMoir expert. This is something you may want to consider. It’s a win-win for you and your guest bloggers, who gain access to new audiences.
How to get more comments…
Getting your readers to comment on your posts is one of the greatest frustrations for a blogger…especially in the early months. Although we probably shouldn’t, we all tend to rate ourselves on our ability to get comments. I’m going to give you several articles that will help you coax comments out of your readers. But let me say this: Don’t get too hung up on comments. And don’t let the lack of comments turn you off. Many avid readers are passive participants on the blogs they love most. Every blogger I know struggles to get his/her readers to share their thoughts. And remember, Google is your biggest reader…the one that’s going to help you get your blog on page one of the search engine. So keep writing. The comments will come.
10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog This is an older article (2006) by Darren Rowse for ProBlogger.
10 Ways to Increase the Number of Blog Comments by Marko Saric, HowtoMakeMyBlog.com in 2008.
How to Increase Traffic and Comments on Your Blog? This is a list of links on DailyBlogger.com.
30 Ways to Increase Your Blog Comments also by Darren Rowse but posted in 2010 on The Windows Club.
How often should you blog?
Ah, the age-old question. My simplest answer is the more the better. Matilda and I made the decision last January to post daily, and that’s when we moved from (depending on the day) the third or fourth page of Google to the first page. I think the more important aspect of this question is how do you make daily blogging manageable. We’ve found assigning topics to different days of the week helped us. Also, it’s efficient to spend a day writing many posts on a subject and saving them to post throughout the week. You’ll find you get on a roll and can write several posts in less time. Here are several articles that will help you increase your posting frequency.
Just How Often Should You Blog? Meryl K. Evans on Gigaom
Beginner Blogger – How Often Should I Post To My Blog? Grant Griffiths on Blog for Profit
Blog Posting Frequency Overview: How Often Should You Publish New Content on Your Blog? Susan Gunelius on About.com
Running a Successful Blog – How Often Should I Update the Blog? Jason on MorePro.com
One thing to remember: Whatever you set up as your schedule, stick to it. Don’t post every day for two weeks and then drop to once weekly or once every other week. You want your readers to get used to your schedule and not be disappointed when you don’t post.
Virtual book tour for memoirs (all books)…
Virtual Book Tour Tips Here’s an article by Sarah Danielson for Selling Books. I like virtual book tours of all types–interviews (both audio and video) and guest blogs because they help authors reach a large audience for very little cost. Here’s the thing, a stop on a traditional book tour is a one-time event. I know too many authors who have counted heavily on the book sales they were going to get on tour…only to be disappointed. They spent a lot of money traveling and had little to show for their money and effort. Virtual book tours can be captured (recorded) and reused and repurposed. You can create podcasts of your interviews and rework guest blogs for EzineArticles.com.
Graduating to a magazine style blog…
When to Use Magazine-Style Themes for Blogs? Steven Snell, for Smashing Magazine, does a great job of introducing the magazine blog. When Matilda and I first started blogging, we had three blogs: WomensMemoirs.com; RosiesDaughters.com (for our collective memoir, Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story; and TwoWomenBusiness.com. I can honestly tell you that keeping up practically did us in, and gradually we found that we were taking time away from the other two blogs to focus on Women’s Memoirs. We solved the problem by folding TwoWomenBusiness.com into Women’s Memoirs. Look at the categories (the paperclips) listed along the right-hand side of this blog and you’ll see what amount to 10 blogs. “Book Business” is the former TwoWomenBusiness.com. You’ll also notice Rosie’s Daughters; we’re in the process of bringing that blog into our Women’s Memoirs magazine site.
Act on this while it’s still free…
WP 101 WordPress Tutorial Videos Last week I received an email promoting the free download of 23 videos on WordPress 101 that will introduce the first-time blogger to the process of using a WordPress blog. They’ll walk you through the WordPress editor, show you how to create a new post, how to add categories and tags, embed videos, create links and more. I suggest you look into these while they’re still available…and free!
Blogging for writers…more important than ever!
Back in 2008, bestselling Canadian fiction author Cheryl Kaye Tardif posted this video on YouTube and called blogging a tsunami. All I can say is if it was a tsunami then, it must be a typhoon in 2010. She calls it the writing wave of the future that’s…well…here. I think you’ll like this video.