Wednesday, March 12, 2014

#IndieLife Oh, that #blog: #authors does and dont's #IamWriting


Welcome back to my blog. This week I wanted to write about blogging. Some authors dread it while other authors love it. The blog can be your best friend if you use it properly and can be one of your best tools in keeping your readers happy. If you readers have read one of your books and are left craving more from you but you don't have anything new to offer them you may loose them forever. That's where your blog comes into play. But you need to carefully manage your blog. The blog is a tool to keep your readers not sell them your book. So how do you properly use a blog?

1) Make a schedule and keep to it. 
You readers want to know if they read someone one day they can come back the same day a different week and get new content. Here's how I manage my settings.

Sat/Sun - Author Spotlight
This section is where I invite authors to blog about their latest release.

M - No blogging

T - I blog about historical or cultural events that are related to my most recent release. For example, I have been blogging about Progressive Era America lately because my book Elsa takes place during that time period. I also have blogged about Marion, Ohio, discrimination and Aspergers because they all related to my book.

I also participate in a weekly blog called "Express Yourself" every Tuesday.

W - I participate in two blog hops. On the first Wednesday I blog for the Insecure Writer's Group and on the second Wednesday I write for Indie Life. You generally do not want to write about writing too much on your blog unless you are trying to attract other writers.

TH - I blog about historical or cultural events that are related to my next release. For example, I have been blogging about Irish history lately because next book, Bailey's Revenge, takes place in Ireland.

F - I participate in the "Celebrate the Small Blessings" weekly blog tour.

So if my blog is about historical fiction then why do I participate in the weekly blog hops? Because your blog not only is a place for your target market to find information relating to your book but is also a great place for your readers to get to know more about you. Readers want to feel like they are friends with the author.

2) Participate in Blog Hops
This is the best way to gain more attention to your blog. You want to be careful when choosing which
blog hop to participate in. There are A LOT of blog hops out there. You want to chose the ones that will bring more exposure to your blog from your target market. For example, my blog is geared towards history, anthropology and writing. I do not need to participate in a sci-fi or fantasy blog hop. That's not my genre. Next month I will be participating in an alphabet blog tour. Each of my daily posts will be centered around an historical event, person, or place. Why? Because I write historical fiction.

3) Don't think your blog is going to sell your book
Blogs are great tools. They are the perfect place for your readers to keep reading your work while you are working on your next release. NEVER EVER post something on your blog that tells your readers to go out and buy your book. If your readers want a blog where they can find a book then more than likely they are going to check out a reviewers blog not an authors. They visit an author's blog to read more work by that author not to buy anything. You can advertise your books just as I have done on the side of the blog. I'm starting to get to the point where I have more books out than I can put on the side so I created separate pages on the top of my blog where readers can go and view all of my books.

4) Cover Reveals
Cover reveals are a great way to announce your next book release. I generally try to do my cover reveals a week or so before the release of the book and then when the book is out I will do another blog post that announces the book. I'm getting read to do an announcement this weekend for Bailey's Revenge.

5) Interact with other bloggers
You never know who is following another blogger because not everyone who visit a blog will sign up to follow it. For example, my blog on average receives around 500 visitors a day but if you look to the right Google says I only have 103 followers and Networked Blog says I have 86. These people have chosen to follow my blog and receive updates in their email whenever there is a new post.
How do I get more followers or visitors?

A) I'm participating in blog hops. Every time I sign up for a blog hop my blog name and address are posted on a list. Blog Hoppers can go to that list, click on the link and visit my page.

B) I blog hop a few days a week and leave comments on other people's blogs. Every time I leave a comment using Google it will leave my information for other visitors. They can click on my profile and Google will show them my blog address.

C) Register your blog with Networked Blogs, Blog Lovin' and Blog Nation.
These registers offer their members the opportunity to follow your blog on their sites. It's free to join for bloggers and readers. Every time you blog something new it will send out a tweet and post to your Facebook site. Just be careful when it does this because you can get three announcement on your twitter and Facebook. You just need to decide which one you want to be on your Facebook and delete the other two. I generally delete all three and then cross promote it myself.

D) I cross promote. Which brings us to #6

6) Cross Promote
We've covered a little bit about cross promoting. But here 's where I will go in depth. Cross promoting your blog is great because not everyone is going to see your blog post just by coming to your blog. Whenever I have a new post I will copy the link of that posting and then post it in on my Facebook Author Page. Once I have it there I will share it with my personal page, some groups and/or the book page. For example, when I wrote about Irish history last week I posted in the Irish Twist of Fate series Facebook page and then share it to my author page, my personal page and couple of Irish groups.

Another way to cross promote is to include links in your blog posting. In the above paragraph I have linked my author page and my Irish Twist of Fate Facebook Pages. This way anyone who clicks on it will be redirected to that page. Other bloggers love it when you link their page to yours because your followers will be exposed to their blog. Also anytime you use mention someone or something they did go ahead and tweet about it to them on twitter or send them a message on Facebook about it. Don't be afraid to connect with other artists even if they are famous. I have met some wonderful people just by doing that. You can also link their website to your blog and tell them you have done so.

7) NEVER EVER delete your old posts
You just never know who has bookmarked something you have written or have linked it in their blog. I have an instance where someone read one of my historical pieces, liked it so much she included my blog in her historical database with a link to that posting. That means more followers for me.

8) Let your audience know before time if you change something
Your readers expect consistency. If you are going to change a topic then blog about it a week before you do so. For example, I will be changing the topics next week because Bailey's Revenge will be released this week. That means on Tuesdays I will be blogging Irish history and on Thursdays I will be blogging about the Salvation Army, WWI and Marion County, Ohio. Why? Because those topics are issues that have to deal with my next release, Field of Grace. So tomorrow I will be introducing the changes to my readers.




MOST OF ALL HAVE FUN!

The blog can be your best friend. 
It's a great way to keep you writing and your readers reading. 

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