“It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and sense of duty.”
- Albert Einstein
There are many lurkers out there. How do I know this? Because I get a nice number of comments for every post (and I appreciate each and every one of them), but the number doesn’t compare with how many visits I receive per day, which now runs near 300. (To get your own info: http://feedburner.google.com/).
This means some come to my blog by accident, others read my posts but don’t comment, and then there are the people who read and comment.
So many people who target writers advise them to build a platform. This isn’t like the movie “Field of Dreams” where shoeless Joe says to Ray, “If you build it, he will come.” Readers don’t magically show up. If it’s not magic, what is it?
- You have to have something interesting and honest to write about.
- Being warm and/or funny is a plus.
- Make your blog easy on the eyes. LARGE font. Good contrast between background and font. S P A C E between paragraphs. And don’t make your paragraphs tooooooo long - it’s tooooooo hard to read on a computer screen.
- Don’t bash people in the publishing industry.
- If you review books, be careful what you write. It’s a small world.
- Don’t list your mountains of rejections.
- While some pictures are nice, don’t make your post only pictures.
- Consistency in post size, and/or content is appreciated.
- Speaking of post size, try to keep them under 1k words. This includes when you do writing fests. I find it hard to concentrate on a large amount of text, even if it’s good writing.
- If someone follows you, follow him/her back. It’s good manners.
- If you set up a Google profile, make sure you add your blog as a link. If you don’t and you follow a blog, that blogger won’t be able to click to find your blog.
- Comment on other blogs. It’s especially important if someone comments on your blog that you comment in return.
- Don’t start a blog just for a platform because it may be obvious.
- When you begin, plan to write consistently or people will forget you. But it’s probably not a good idea to write everyday unless your posts are short.
- Promote your blogger friends’ blogs, successes, and books when you can (See below). Go a little farther and preorder the book or put it on your Amazon wishlist. And write an Amazon review. (See #5)
- Link your blog to Facebook by setting up a Networked Blogs account.
- Don’t let blogging take over your life. You’re supposed to be writing, remember? If you stop writing, this “platform” will be for nothing.
- When you get that coveted agent/book contract/spot on the “New York Times” Bestseller List don’t forget to keep your blog interesting. No, each and every post about buying your book or patting yourself on the back is not interesting to anyone but you. Okay, maybe your mom. And if you stop commenting on other blogs, people may stop reading your blog.
I’ve mentioned that my blog began as a way to vent about substitute teaching. Before that, I hadn’t looked at other blogs, at least not on purpose. Maybe they came up on a Google Search or something. But once I began my blog, I sought out other teachers and subs. It took me months to realize I should seek out other writers too. (Teachers who are writers have a special place in my heart.) That’s when I learned about something called a PLATFORM.
Having this platform, even if it doesn’t lead to a zillion book sales, is teaching us how to network and promote. So when a publishing company tells us writers to get out there and help sell our books, we’ll have followers, friends, and published writing friends to ask for help and advice. A platform is even more important for self-published writers.
Back to lurking. (I’m too tired for a segway because I’m covering from my daughter’s birthday party: I baked in the sun for 3 1/2 hours. Even though it was in the 90s, somehow it was windy. I didn't buy juice boxes, but decided to be good to the environment and write people's names on cups. Those kept blowing away in the wind, so I spent a lot of time chasing them. Sometimes the wind would dump the juice in the kids' laps. I couldn't light the birthday candle. And a box of cupcakes tumbled to the ground also caused by said wind.)
On “Let the Words Flow”, there’s an interview with Natalie Fischer: http://letthewordsflow.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/agent-interviews-natalie-fischer/
She talks about lurking on other blogs and recommends that you link part of your manuscript. I thought that was a great idea. So I’m adding a link to my sidebar, near the top of my SECOND TITLE “Earnest Writer’s Excerpts” http://theresamilstein2.blogspot.com. The first chapter of The Disappearances and the prologue and chapter one of Aura will be there. Feel free to visit and comment.
By the way, which do you prefer for a title:
The Mist Chasers
I was all set with the first one, but someone in my critique group suggestion the second title after the term “mist chaser” appeared in chapter four.
Here are a few fellow writer-bloggers who are selling books (If I forgot you, e-mail me tmilstein at gmail dot com or put your blog in the comments and I’ll add it). They’re in alphabetical order by author.
Karen Gowen Jones:
Susan Kaye Quinn:
Do you view your blog as a platform?
What do you like about blogging?
What do you dislike about blogging?