To Blog or Not to Blog? What’s Coming for 2016

Have you ever wished you could clone yourself, so that you could do everything you wanted to do?

Yep, me too.

This is the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging, and it’s amazing how much I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the fun of challenging myself to write creatively about grammar. I’ve missed the conversations I’ve had in the comments. I’ve missed the joy of discovering wonderful new posts written by my fellow bloggers (because I haven’t had time to read, let alone write).

But I’m happy to have had this break, because I’ve been able to avoid missing other things that are important in my life.

And I’ve come to a realization: With everything I’m trying to do right now, it’s just not possible for me to blog every week any more. In fact, I may only be able to blog once a month sometimes.

And that’s okay.

What do you mean, it's okay? I'm having a genuine Shakespearian crisis over this here...

What do you mean, it’s okay? I’m having a genuine Shakespearean crisis over this here…

Like me, you’ve probably run across a zillion articles that might as well have titles like

Start a Blog or Lose All Hope of Ever Selling Yourself!

Blog Every Day or Google Will Rip You to Shreds and Eat You!

Master Building Your Platform if You Don’t Want to Be That Kid Who’s All Alone At Recess!

What a bunch of hooey. (I love that word!)

I firmly believe that writing good, meaningful content is more important than racing on a writing treadmill to stay at the top of the hit list.

My initial goal in blogging was to share what I know about communication in a fun and informative way. I hope I’ve done some of that.

But I’ve discovered along the way that I have gained another complementary goal in blogging that’s just as important – to read and learn from my fellow bloggers and to share their words with others.

So I’ve decided to make a change in my approach this year. I’m still going to write creative posts about grammar, hold conversations about communication with other writers, and let you know about helpful writing resources. But I’m going to do it less often. I’ll be posting on a Monday if I have a post for the week. I’ll also be writing occasional posts about editing on my editing website.

In parallel, I’m going to make more use of Twitter as a tool to share words from other writers and editors.

If you’re interested in learning more about communication from people other than me (as well as from me, I hope!), I invite you to follow me at @dbwcomm. I promise to make it worth your while – no clickbait articles or promotional madness!

Thank you for being so supportive of my blog. I hope to see you here again before January is out!

Cheers,

Sue

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A Status Update

Hello everyone,

Sorry for dropping off the map for a few weeks! Maybe there’s a blogging curse when you reach one hundred posts, because ever since I celebrated that milestone, I’ve been too busy to blog. It’s been a good sort of busy, though.

My freelance editing business has been going gangbusters, which is fantastic. Thank you to all of you who have supported me in this venture, especially those who have had me over for guest posts.

After constantly writing at my day job and editing in the evenings, I found I needed a break from my computer, otherwise I was pretty sure my eyes were going to fall out. Thus my absence from the blogging scene.

Secretary_at_typewriter

Ah, for the days of typewriters…

I’ve settled into more of an equilibrium now, though, so I should be back to writing posts (albeit less frequently) in the next couple of weeks. I’m currently planning out my series about Captain Comma and her crew. I’ve also been reading more writing resources, so stay tuned for another DBW Review, as well as a new Conversation Corner.

I hope all is well with you. I’ll see you soon!

Sue

 

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

One Hundred Posts, Three Quotes, and One Big Thank You!

I can’t believe Doorway Between Words is celebrating its 100th post!

100

Back when I started this blog in March 2014, I had a goal to write once a week. I managed to stick to that schedule most of the time. I even took up the gauntlet and wrote for twenty-six days in April during the 2015 A to Z Challenge.

What’s kept me motivated to write is my incredible community — all of you who have read, liked, and commented on my posts. I hope you’ll all still be with me when I reach 200 posts. 🙂

It seems appropriate that I have also just reached 300 blog followers. Thank you to all of you!

I have been remiss lately in posting additional thanks to those of you who have given me blog awards. I appreciate each and every nomination, even if I don’t always have the time to write up seventeen random facts about myself.

Here are some special individuals who have nominated me for awards in the past few months:

Alex Hurst, for her must-see Must-Read Blog Award

Lori MacLaughlin, for the Creative Blogger Award

Bradscribe, for the Liebster Award

Shawn, for the Real Neat Blog Award

Nimmi, for the Premio Dardos Award

I have also received a request from La Sabrosona to participate in the Three-Day Quote Challenge. I thought I’d share three of my favourite quotes that seem appropriate today:

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Mahatma Gandhi

I wrote about the importance of integrity and communication in Would Your Captain Be Proud? It’s still one of my favourite serious posts. When I write this blog, I feel like I can be me in all my forms — my serious side, my zany side, my scholarly side, my imaginative side. Thanks for making me feel comfortable being me.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

I have this one up on my sidebar for a reason. It reminds me that communicating involves more than one person, and that thinking about your audience is the single most important thing you can do when writing. You are why I am here. Otherwise I’d be writing to the coldness of cyberspace, and who needs that?

Just do it.

Nike

I dithered a bit before I created this blog. What if I didn’t like it? What if I didn’t know what to write? What if it was a spectacular failure?

Sometimes, you just need to do it — take on those challenges and see where they take you.

This one’s taken me to a really great place. And I’m glad you were here to come along with me for the ride. 🙂

 

Love to you all,

Sue

 

Image by Kirsty Hall via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Many Ps of Book Marketing

I love learning, and the Editing Goes Global conference was a great opportunity to pick up all sorts of useful knowledge. Last week, I shared some tips from editor Arlene Prunkl on how to write good comments. Today, I want to pass along some nuggets of wisdom I learned from Beth Kallman Werner in her session “The Many Ps of Book Marketing.”

Ms. Werner has worked as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Kirkus and is the founder of Author Connections. She has over twenty years of experience in editing and marketing, and it definitely showed in her presentation. I was scribbling notes like mad. I couldn’t possibly include all of her thoughts here, but I thought I’d share some of the highlights.

Her session focused on the four Ps of marketing (product, position, price, and promotion) and how they relate specifically to book marketing.

Product

Werner started off by discussing some of the misconceptions about marketing, including the idea that marketing is disconnected from other parts of the publishing process. Marketing doesn’t begin after the book is finished — it needs to be considered right from the beginning.

If you want people to invest their time and money in your book, then you need to start with a quality product that will engage your audience. This seems like an obvious point, but part of creating quality is thinking about your potential readers as you are writing the book. Who is your target audience? You want to know this from the beginning. Engage with your audience in advance of writing, so you know who you are writing for and what they need.

Position

How can you position your book so that it is appealing to your audience? Readers look for different things when deciding whether or not to pick up a book.

Decisions, decisions a tower of used books

Decisions, decisions…

Here are some things to think about.

  • Will the cover get their attention?
  • Is the blurb appealing? Many readers will buy a book on the basis of the blurb alone.
  • Does your book have reviews of your work on the cover (or elsewhere)?
  • Is your book about a timely topic?

One interesting tidbit that Werner shared is that readers generally don’t care about who has published the book. So being self-published is not a strike against you. The exception to this is certain areas of non-fiction, where having a recognized name behind you (like a university press) can go a long way.

Even if you position your book well, it may still take some time before you see a substantial readership. Werner mentioned that it is not uncommon for this to take 18-24 months.

Price

The number one consideration here is whether your target audience can afford your book. Sometimes it makes sense to release an e-book first and see how it makes out before investing in the costs of printing. You don’t need to take on everything at once.

If you have a global audience, then you may need different prices for different regions, based on what is considered reasonable.

During the session, someone asked whether it made sense to have free giveaways of your book. Werner mentioned that there are four reasons for considering a giveaway:

  • To launch a product or a brand (and you are a brand)
  • To generate leads and sales (for example, if your main income is not from books, you could give away a book at a speaking engagement to generate other business)
  • To maintain your brand (if you have been away for a while)
  • To perform damage control (when something has gone wrong)

Promotion

A lot of discussion took place in the session on various aspects of promotion. There are so many ways to promote your book: blogging, SEO, social media, direct mail, readings and signings, events, print advertising, online advertising, etc. You can’t possibly do them all. Think about what you are comfortable doing and then determine which of those tactics will be effective for your book.

If you decide to go ahead with an event, for example, think about whether your target audience will be at that event. Where will you be branding yourself best?

Don’t forget about your budget. Will you be getting a return on your investment?

As a blogger, I definitely sat up when Werner started talking about blogging. She said that lots of people tell authors they need to have a blog, but this isn’t always true. Books have a 100% attrition rate — no one is going to buy your book twice. So if you have a blog with 200 followers, how many books are you going to sell directly through that blog?

Werner believes that blogs are beneficial for non-fiction writers to show their expertise. They are also good if you have something new and compelling to say. Otherwise, they are a huge time commitment, and you may be better off focusing on writing your book.

If you are going to blog, make sure you get things to people when they are the most receptive to reading (based on time zone).

The bottom line: Will your blog help you sell books?

I could go on and on, but I’ll have mercy on my readers and stop here. As a final note, I thought I’d share one of Werner’s other myths about marketing: Marketing is an unbearable chore. As she puts it, marketing is to “take on the fun of sharing what you’ve done.” You can tell she really loves her work!

***

For those of you who are writers, do you have marketing tips to share? Do you agree or disagree with Werner’s position on having a blog? For readers, what do you look for when deciding whether or not to buy a book?

Image © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar/ CC-BY-SA-3.0

 

© Sue Archer and Doorway Between Worlds, 2015