Friday, April 18, 2014
Blogging as a Promotional Tool by Jannine Gallant
Blogging--does it help promote our books? Editors and agents tell us to get out there and blog our little hearts out. People pay good money for blog tours to promote their books. I've done blog hops for prizes, and I guest blog on occasion (i.e. when I have a new book out or a freebie or a sale). Once in a while I even slap something up on my own blog. (Yes, I'm the first to admit I'm a bad blogger. Bad. Bad. Blogger!) Except here at the Roses of Prose. Our lovely group blog. I never miss my days mainly because I try to plan and prepare my posts ahead of time. And I like to throw down my opinions on everyone else's posts.
So, back to the original question--is all this blogging successful? Or is it a time-sucking failure! I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Let's break it down by types.
Blog Tours: The last one I did, I had almost no comments from readers. Even the hostesses failed to chime in at several stops. I have a sneaking suspicion many authors sign up to be blog tour hosts, post the blogs they get, then forget all about them. In other words, they don't bother to advertise. Don't get me wrong, I think there are some hosts out there who really try. It's a mixed bag, and you just don't know what you'll get. Most authors favor the blog tours that include reviews. I'd love to hear opinions about this.
Blog Hops for Prizes: I did one of these not too long ago. I chipped in my share and got quite a few comments. You had to comment to be eligible to win. However, when all was said and done, I didn't sell one book. Most of the other authors had the same results. Frustrating.
Guest Blogging: When I have something to promote, I'll frequently ask friends if I can guest on their blogs. Since they're my friends, they generally promote my appearance. I enjoy visiting them. My only issue is I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not reaching anyone new. Our writer community tends to move in circles--the same circles, reaching the same people. I've been told (repeatedly!) I should branch out to find new blogs with similar interests to mine and ask to guest. Not so easy since I'm not good at pushing myself on people I don't know. I need to work on this one!
My Personal Blog: (sigh) I gave this a real shot. I set it up with a theme. I like to cook, so I posted recipes weekly along with posts about books, etc. I kept at it...and at it...and at it...and then gave up. Everyone says you have to keep posting and eventually your blog will attract followers and grow. My question--how long is eventually? After a year of posting, I was averaging maybe 20 hits on days I posted and zero comments. Maybe patience isn't my strongest virtue, but I threw in the towel. Now, I use it once in a blue moon (sorry for all these cliches!) when I have a free or sale book to push. I know, pathetic! So, can anyone tell me how long eventually is? Did your personal blogs gain a strong following after a while?
Last But Not Least--Group Blogs: We have a wonderful group here. I only have to post twice a month. Everyone is friendly and supportive. We comment on each other's posts. We each bring different readers to the blog (I hope). Instead of my feeble 20 hits a day, here we get a couple of hundred. These are all good things. Do I sell more books on my days to post. Honestly, no. But since I like being part of a group, and I see value in cultivating supportive relationships and being available to readers on a regular basis, I feel our group blog is a success!
One final thing that makes most of us batty! Comments. Seems like the only people who leave comments are other authors. The number of comments never correlates to the number of daily hits. What does this mean? I think it means that there are actual readers out there who drop in occasionally or regularly to see what we have to say. Either they're shy and don't feel the need to comment, or they don't have blogger accounts. I think that's the key. If you aren't actively promoting, would you go to the trouble of creating an account? If it were me--I wouldn't. So, despite all this, I'll keep on blogging and hope someone out there is reading it!
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