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Old 04-28-2010, 08:29 PM   #1
DaringNovelist
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What do you put on your blog?

I see threads on every forum where everybody lists their blogs or websites, but often these end up just lists of URLs with maybe a little more info.

I figure, though, that we're all writers. We're probably all thinking about how to build an online presence, or a brand or platform. I'd like to ask what do you use your blog for? How do you use it? What kind of things do you post? What's your strategy (if you have one)?

I started my blog as simply a place to post daily updates on a novel dare (something like NaNoWriMo, but ongoing and with lower daily goals) - hence the name "Daring Novelist". The point is mainly to keep my shoulder to the wheel in terms of my writing habits.

But since the point of a dare update is that other people will see it, and put pressure on you to produce, I do feel the need to keep it interesting. I figure most of the readers of such a blog will be writers, so I post thoughts and analyses on writing. Of course, the Writing Theory posts are easier when I am on a break from the novel (as I am now) because I can devote more time to it.

So what do you put in your writer blog and website? Or for that matter, what do you tweet?

Camille
http://daringnovelist.blogspot.com/
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:25 AM   #2
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My blog's a mix of writing news (how my work-in-progress is going, sales milestones, specially delightful reviews), and what’s inspired me, be it events from New Zealand history, places I’ve visited that have a special resonance, or little details of family history. Musings on anything from a stained-glass window of Saint Brigid to a set of toy soldiers.

My website is mostly to give extra background detail for the books. I have family trees of my characters, maps, some history of issues like education and women's rights in New Zealand. Also deleted chapters (the Extended Edition ), and a few short stories and essays.

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Old 04-29-2010, 04:49 AM   #3
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I have had a blog for three and a bit years. I write whatever comes into my head. I have a very common name, and I wanted to build an online presence so that when someone googled 'Helen Smith' they would be able to find me - and a handy link to my reviews. But you can't really be blatant about it, you have to give people something to read in return for pushing your name to the top of the google ranking, so I try to be as entertaining as possible. One unforseen outcome is that I have met lots of interesting people and made quite a few friends through blogging - I wrote an article for the Writers Guild magazine about it after the first year, which is online here. I wrote a follow-up about the joys of blogging and twitter on my blog recently, and the WGGB linked to that, too.

I have a static website here. I'm also on Twitter. I never, ever try to sell my books on Twitter and I don't follow celebrities. I'm there because I like the people I interact with, I find interesting links to all sorts of sites and articles through them, I laugh at their jokes, and I post things I think they will laugh at or be interested in, too.

I don't sell on my blog, either, though there are links to my books on there. I will mention if I have got a play on, or something else that qualifies as news. For the first time ever a few days ago, I mentioned in a post that readers could find my books on Amazon or on the TygerBooks website. But I said it somewhat apologetically, as if mentioning a trip to an STD clinic, and so far as I can tell none of my readers actually took any notice of that, and I went back to the matter in hand - which is to write as if I'm having a conversation with a clever friend in a pub.

From checking my statistics, I can see that my blog is read and has been linked to by the Writers Guild of Great Britain, the Guardian newspaper and several influential British playwrights. Someone from the UK office of one of the biggest publishers in the world (not my publisher) stops by every day to see what I have written, someone from the National Theatre stops by weekly, as does someone from the office of the biggest and most successful West End theatre producer (though I wonder if that might be someone I know, I just need to work out who.) Plenty more subscribe in google reader. I'm very happy to have built a fairly influential readership over the years, and to have made lots of friends, many of whom are writers. I wouldn't want to insult any of them with sales pitches or writing tips, any more than I would lug a box of books to a dinner party and start trying to flog copies of them for five quid between courses, or stand up, ting my glass with my fork and say, 'Of course, the best way to write a book is...' I mean, who knows?

I try to observe the same etiquette here and on other forums. Obviously, one of the attractions for me in coming here is that I can promote my book in various threads - and I do it heartily and gratefully. But elsewhere, I want to join in and behave like a decent human being. There are some very funny threads over in the Lounge, for example, and I have posted in there, though I mostly lurk. But I think that if your sole intention in hanging around is to find an opportunity to say, 'Funnily enough, that reminds me of something I have written about in my book...' then people are going to scatter as quickly as they would if they went out for a quiet drink and saw the pub bore sitting at their favourite table.

So, anyway - I thoroughly recommend having a blog, joining Twitter, etc. But if you're doing it only to sell, what's the point? After you have said, 'Buy my book,' what is your next post going to be? 'Buy another one'? There's no reason for anyone to keep coming back.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:06 AM   #4
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I took over http://www.bewritebooks.blogspot.com pretty recently from a blogmaster who tended to use it simply to announce new BeWrtite Books releases. I'm still learning the ropes and, fortunately, my few followers so far are writing, reading and publishing pals I've known so long that they have the patience to let me find my feet.

What I'm aiming for is a happy balance between chatty general on-topic news and discussion and gentle promotion of our wee publishing house, its authors and their titles. But the commercial aspect, I feel, is of lesser importance than the promotion of interest in reading, writing and publishing developments generally.

With this in mind, anyone here whose own blog touches on these subjects would be welcomed with open arms if they'd like to exchange links or even swap guest articles.

Best wishes. Neil

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Old 04-29-2010, 08:07 AM   #5
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Usually, it's about updates on how my current works are progressing. At times, I post about how sales are going, and from time to time I touch on things going on with my personal life. I'll throw in my viewpoint about this and that, and I ALWAYS take the time to thank people who buy my book in my posts.

BTW, if you're curious: http://enterthevein.blogspot.com
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:31 AM   #6
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Edit.

Last edited by dadioflex; 12-15-2010 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:54 AM   #7
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***it's depressing that talent isn't the paramount factor when deciding who gets published***

But talent is what gets an author remembered and read, and read, and read, Dadio ... and that's what really counts. Neil
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:53 AM   #8
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I just tend to rant on my blog. Its seperate from my writings which will eventually appear on Smashwords. (Probably for Free)
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:35 AM   #9
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Some nice rants there, MJ. Thanks for the link. Neil
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:48 PM   #10
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Okay, here is something interesting.

I've been hanging out and commenting on writing blogs a lot in the last two or three days. I've been writing some deeper analysis of some scenes from movies on my own blog. And I joined Twitter (where I have a sum total of FOUR followers and as far as I can tell, nobody has retweeted any of my tweets - which basically consist of announcements of blog postings each night).

I have not mentioned my ebooks (maybe one oblique reference to having done some self publishing).

I have had a little increased traffic on the blog, and a very few new followers.

I have had a sudden rash of sales on one of my books on Kindle (The Wife of Freedom). It was selling one book every four days, and suddenly it sold 9 and counting in the past couple of hours. (There is a little increase in sample downloads on both of my books on Smashwords.)

Is this due to the increased social activity? Did someone mention it somewhere? Or is it really good kismet to analyze scenes with Daniel Craig and Carol Burnett on your blog?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Camille
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DaringNovelist View Post
Okay, here is something interesting.

I've been hanging out and commenting on writing blogs a lot in the last two or three days. I've been writing some deeper analysis of some scenes from movies on my own blog. And I joined Twitter (where I have a sum total of FOUR followers and as far as I can tell, nobody has retweeted any of my tweets - which basically consist of announcements of blog postings each night).

I have not mentioned my ebooks (maybe one oblique reference to having done some self publishing).

I have had a little increased traffic on the blog, and a very few new followers.

I have had a sudden rash of sales on one of my books on Kindle (The Wife of Freedom). It was selling one book every four days, and suddenly it sold 9 and counting in the past couple of hours. (There is a little increase in sample downloads on both of my books on Smashwords.)

Is this due to the increased social activity? Did someone mention it somewhere? Or is it really good kismet to analyze scenes with Daniel Craig and Carol Burnett on your blog?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Camille
Try Googling yourself or your book title and see what comes up.

I have been posting everyday to my blog for a year and a half. I post updates, background information, and excerpts. I also write about anything that piques my interest and do some mini reviews of books I read.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:27 PM   #12
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I think I finally found the source of the sales. There's a blog called Books on the Knob which posted a "bargain books" post today. This would explain why just that book, and why just on Kindle.

Camille
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:49 PM   #13
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I currently put stories on my blog, but I'm seriously coming round to the idea that I'm just pandering to some need for validation.
Well... without validation, I wouldn't write as much.
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:52 PM   #14
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As far as a lack of hits on a blog or web site, I found it takes some time to build up repeat visitors. As an example, my drive-in movie theater site took over 2 years to get my page views and repeat visitors up.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:48 PM   #15
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Hi all,

I am using the blog for two purposes, to announce any developments regarding publicity on the book, and to tell readers of the 12 year project it was to finalize it. So far it seems I do get readers, for when I do a link to a new post, I get five times the traffic.

www.tulagihotel.com

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