Is there finite number of words that each writer can produce—within each week or month or lifetime? Some writers seem prolific no matter what, but for myself, I think I have periodic limits. Last year, I worked about the same number of non-novel (meaning, paid) hours as I have this year, and yet I still managed to write a novel and a half. This year, my novel word count has tapered off drastically, and I’m even blogging less too. Why? Read more →
The buzzword in promotion is platform. Agents and editors want their authors to have a brand, a tagline, an expertise that sets them apart from everybody else. For nonfiction writers, this concept is fairly straightforward. If I’m writing a book about training cats to line dance, then I must establish myself as an expert cat trainer—by blogging, giving talks to cat therapy groups, and writing articles for publications focused on all things feline. But how does a fiction author establish a platform/brand?
This month I’m hosting two authors who are on blog book tours to promote their new releases. Mark Phillips, author of THE RESQUETH REVOLUTION (a book I’m proud to have edited) will be here on Tuesday the 17th to talk about writing action scenes. And JA Konrath, aka Jack Kilborn, will be here on the 27th to discuss his new release, AFRAID. JA also wrote an interesting post on blogging in general.
So blog touring has been on my mind, and I’m starting to plan my tour for this September when SECRETS TO DIE FOR is released.
The strategy for most tours seems to be: find blogs that relate to your novel and line up guest appearances every day for a month. (See the guru for more on this.) It seems straight forward, but hugely overwhelming to write all those Q&As and/or guest blogs in such a short timeframe and interact with guests every single day. Especially for authors who have day jobs. What I’m wondering is: How important is it to guest blog every day during a single month? Wouldn’t it be just as effective to guest blog every other day for two months? Or be on tour three times a week for three months?
I’m also wondering how many people actually follow an author on his or her tour, reading each blog stop on the way. And if you do follow tours, at what point do you buy the novel? Or do you already have the novel and are following just for fun? The real point of a tour is to reach new readers at every stop. In a traditional book tour, the author is on the road stopping at different bookstores every day because of the nature and convenience of travel. But from the comfort of your own home, couldn’t a book tour be more leisurely? Or does the everyday blogging in new locations actually build more momentum?
Tell me what you think. Are there other strategies I’ve missed?
I started to blog this morning about McCain’s VP pick, then realized it was not a good idea. This is not that kind of blog. If you had to break down blogs into only two categories, they would fall into either opinion blogs or promotional blogs. As opinionated as I am, this blog falls in the promotional category—it’s about reaching out to readers and writers and letting them get to know me (with the idea that eventually they’ll buy my products).
And so, there are many subjects that are off limits to my blog, and many things about me that I can never share. There are many books that I will never review on this site. It is too easy to alienate people (readers) just by mentioning, hypothetically for example, that I don’t read books that have cats on the cover or in title. I would never say that here. There are too many cat-loving readers and writers out there who would be offended. (As info: PS Your Cat Is Dead by James Kirkwood is one of my favorite books.) So my goal is to be a gracious host and blogger and keep politics (and many personal opinions) out of the conversation.
Other bloggers blur this line, vacillating between opinion and promotion with occasional side trips into the too-personal. For them, anything is fair game and every opinion is worth stating. Some, I believe, would call me a hypocrite or a chicken for limiting my subjects. What do you think? Do blog categories exist? Do you have expectations that some blogs should stay nonpolitical?
All this blogging and reading and commenting on other blogs has brought up a question about etiquette. Most comment sections identify the commenter by name only (whatever they’ve signed in as). My instinct (as Karen Syed has trained me now) is to always include a link to one of my sites after my name or some kind of reference, such as: Author of The Sex Club. If someone likes what I’ve said and wants to know more about me, my blog, or my novel, it seems logical to let them know where to find me.
But I wonder: Is this socially acceptable in the blogosphere? A random survey of the blogs I visit indicates that most posters do not even include a full name signature, they just let the comment box identify them. So it uncool to post a url? Does it depend on the blog site and how well you know the person? What is your practice? What is your opinion?
As I drank my coffee and checked my list of things to do this morning, I vacillated about how to structure my day. A six-hour freelance editing project was sitting in my “in progress” file, waiting to be started. I was raised with the “work first, play latter” mantra, so my left brain kept telling me to do the freelance work and get it over, then work on my novel. But my novel beckoned me too. Secrets to Die For is so close to being a finished rough draft that it’s like being near the end of an exciting book and not wanting to put it down.
Then I remembered the August blogging challenge and opened my blog. And there were my words, “Write First, Clean Later.” Of course, I get paid to freelance edit, so it’s not exactly in the same category as cleaning, but still, “Write First.” And so I decided to be faithful to myself, my mantra, and my novel. Writing this blog is the only thing I doing before getting to work on my novel. But it’s writing, so it counts.