Monday, November 30, 2015

Blogging Oddities

By Velda Brotherton

Sometimes even writers run out of things to say. Oddly, I find that more prominent when I sit down to write a blog than when I’m working on a novel. How strange that writing short pieces is more demanding than writing a hundred thousand words.

I've been thinking a lot about all the advice we're given for optimizing ourselves on Facebook, our blog, and all those other sites: Pinterest, Twitter, Google+. Well, you get the idea. I'm supposed to define my mission, which I'm told is not to market my books, but rather to intrigue, inform, inspire and entertain without ever saying to the reader: Have I got a book for you. I know you'll like it cause I've been on your website and/or your blog and see what you are interested in. This is today considered spamming.

Okay, that's too "in your face," so I'm working on something. I tried posting a few blogs about the historical stories I've unearthed during researching my books. So far, people don't seem all that interested, though I've had a few comments. Mostly from people who already read my works. I realize I need something that will attract a core of new readers to my work. They're out there somewhere, but it's hard to know where.

Lately I've changed my blog's focus from aiming at writers to aiming at readers. (Does this mean writers don't read?) No, of course not, it only means writers who know lots of writers can only afford to buy so many books.

Back to my mission. Hey, that would be one of the keywords I should use for this blog. Or not. I'm not sure if keywords have to be subjects that everyone recognizes or stuff like mission, create, research. I don't think these words are particularly zingy. They're even dull, in fact. So let's try keywords first, then write a blog using a few? Afraid I'd end up with something less than readable. Using keywords that people are using to search for my type, style, genre, is important, if I could only pin down what they are.

I'm told to bold subtitles, add bullets followed by a list of facts. To me, this would get old fast. Since I'm a reader of fiction, I don't want to read stuff written like it would be for a college English class, or perhaps history.

Let's see:


·                    Western Romance

·                    Historical Romance

·                    Cheyenne

·                    Cherokee

·                    Western Women

Okay, does that interest any of you? Does that tell you much about my work? It might, but it seems a dull way to do it to me. I'd rather write about a western woman I knew of, one who courageously headed west with a goal in mind, something she felt so passionate about that an entire book could be written about her. Then you might be more likely to say, hey, I liked that, maybe I'd like to read one of her books. To me, that's what blogging is all about.

Bulleted lists are too schoolified for me. As for Instagram, I never look at it. Boring. So, am I the 1% that we don’t worry about, or are there a lot of readers out there like me?

My friend Lisa Wingate is very good at promoting herself without it sounding like promotion. She’s managed to get her name so well known that people look her up and buy her books. This is a tricky way to do it. On Facebook she has a running commentary on the antics of her cute dog with photos. She has a blog that focuses on what she calls her scrapbook. It contains her comments on fellow authors and their books with photos. Of course, she has a website with all her books, her book signing schedule, etc. And in addition, she’s a fine storyteller with lots of good books out there. Now if I could only think of something that applies to me that would be as clever as that.

I have noticed that my blogs that are personal get the most comments and are clicked on the most. Why do people care what is going on in my personal life?

What do you think? Let me know what sort of blogs you truly enjoy.


Charles Gramlich said...

Seems like over the years I've tried just about everything without much luck or much impact on my sales.

Linda Thorne said...

I'm not sure tags or keywords would work much for me. I just stopped by because I do come by and read what's going on Novel Spaces from time to time. I recognized your name and wanted to hear more. I'm new at this and running out of ideas already, which I don't ever see happening with my book writing. You're right, it's harder to write "short" and keep it interesting. I'll peek back to see if anyone else has some ideas.

Jewel Amethyst said...

As soon as you find out Velda, please let me know. I have been agonizing over that very same thing and I still can't come up with an answer. I don't own a cute dog, though I have cute kids. But then everybody thinks their kids are too cute anyway...

Sunny Frazier said...

You responded to my blog on 1,000 Fans. What I think you're missing here is that it's not just blogging to interest people but showing an interest in others. How often do you click on the FB pages of each of your fans and friends to make a remark, share or like? I find people are flattered when you show an interest in their lives. They see us as busy authors, but you took the time to acknowledge them. I pick about 5 people a day to check up on.

Also, you are part of my Posse. At this stage, you should have your own Posse. Be a leader and guide aspiring writers to sites that will open up their world.

This blog garnered 31 views. My post got 106 and I expect more after it's been up a week. My norm is about 150. I didn't promote to my reader fan base because on Novel Spaces I blog for writers.

Liane Spicer said...

I hear you, Velda. No, you are not alone. After coming up with writing-related blogs for eight years, it's sometimes a challenge to find something new and interesting to write about.