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An Idea For My Blog...

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by GeekDavid, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Well, if you don't see anything targeted at readers, let me ask you, what do you think "targeted at readers" means?

    Also, another point... authors are readers too. By targeting readers, you also target authors. If you target only authors, you probably miss readers. I'm going for the wider audience.
     
  2. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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    I think this may be where the difficulty lies. When *I* look at his blog, I see posts which are almost entirely reader-oriented, or perhaps, to put it a different way, have a much broader potential audience than authors alone. The quotes, for instance, have wide appeal. The posts about the process of writing, editing and generally taking his story from first draft to something publishable are reader-oriented because they're personal. It they were formatted in the form of 'tips for better editing' they would be author-oriented (and very dull, frankly), but because they take the form of 'here's what I did', they're of much more interest to potential readers. The background to the book is very much reader-oriented.

    To address your question of what a reader-oriented blog would look like, I already gave some examples of this in post #11 on this thread. Basically, anything which touches on the book being written, the background to it, the steps being taken to publish it and anything personal is reader-oriented. Anything which focuses on writing techniques ('show don't tell') or advice on how to publish, where to find an editor, etc., is author oriented. Specific=reader, general=author. Most author blogs will be both, of course, to some extent, but so long as some of it is reader-oriented, the blog will serve as a means to connect direct to readers.

    And don't forget the sign-up form for the mailing list - very important, so you can tell people when the book is out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
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  3. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Actually, the sign up form on my blog right now is to get the blog posts mailed to you... but, since I'll be announcing the release on the blog, it accomplishes the same thing. :)
     
  4. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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  5. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I'll add my thoughts to this discussion. I looked over your blog GeekDavid and I think you have a good mixture of reader focused and writer focused content. I'm of the opinion that it's not always a bad idea to market yourself to other writers. As you said, writers are readers too. However, I think focusing too much on the kind of stuff writers concern themselves with (publishing news, editing, grammar, etc.) is pretty typical of a lot of blogs I frequent. This is fine as I find nuggets of wisdom now and again. I wouldn't say these kind of posts really attract me as a potential reader though. I like your brief insight into your novel process. That post stood out to me as the one that interested me the most.

    That said, I'd like to offer some things that interested me as a reader only when looking at a blog. I hope some of this is helpful.

    1. News

    Is the blogger up to date on news in the genre? The recent diversity in SFF was a discussion I found intriguing from a reader's standpoint. If a writer seems like they're in their own little bubble, it can be a little off-putting. Making blog posts about relevant things in the genre seems like a thing which both writers and readers can connect.

    2. Stuff the Writer Likes

    If I get to know what the writer likes, I can get a feel for what I can expect in the writer's books. For instance, if you blog extensively about Greek mythology I'll say "Oh, I love Greek mythology. I may check out this guy's work." Or if you have a similar sense of humor I may feel like you'll write books I'd be interested in reading.

    3. Ask questions

    Readers love interaction with writers I've seen. Any chance a reader gets to do something interactive with their favorite author, they may jump on it. Mark Lawrence has done contests where readers make commercials or make movie posters. The ability to allow your readers to interact is important. I think this is something Pauline mentioned.

    4. Give us a taste of what you can do

    Little teasers of things you're working on can go a long way for me. Something Robert Bevan does that I always liked is that he would share little snippets of his work in progress on Facebook (I since deleted my Facebook, and that's one of the things I miss). This was a great way to build anticipation for his upcoming book. I could see his humor shine through in his samples and they weren't long-winded sections. Just a brief snapshot of what he was working on.

    These are not necessarily "ways to get more readers" but are just things that I've noticed that I like about writers I follow. These methods don't always work, but when they do, I'm more encouraged to buy work from authors that do these kind of things on blogs.

    Just to make one last point: the amount of times I've bought books from authors due to blogs I can count on one hand. Up until recently I didn't read many blogs. But now I'm much more interested in finding new authors that can engage me in some way.

    As you said, even though I'm a writer, I'm still a reader. I think some writers may forget that sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
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  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Again, I would really like to be able to comment on specific blogs or posts and talk about whether they're designed for readers or authors. I don't want to comment much about GeekDavid's blog if there's even a chance people might take things personally - I didn't mean anything by mentioning it.

    I think the emphasis on putting together a mailing list defies the idea that you want readers to visit your blog regularly, as opposed to just once. If people already follow your blog, then presumably they would see the book release on your blog and not need an email announcement. Instead, the common practice is to expect people will show up once, sign up for a mailing list, and get your announcement when the book is released. That's what I've been talking about.
     
  7. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    And if they do that, they're still getting the announcement, and thus are likely to buy the book. That's pretty much the same whether they visit once or a hundred times.

    And given that that WordPress blog is free, if I get even one more book sale than what I would have otherwise, it's worth it.
     
  8. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Speaking of self-publishing and promoting, here's an interview with author Hugh Howey, who started self-publishing, and then got signed with a Big Name Publisher.

    I'm betting he didn't go begging for them to notice him... they noticed him because of the quality of his work and the fans he gained through directly interacting with them.
     
  9. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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  10. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    I tend to ignore both 1-star and 5-star reviews, and concentrate on the 2, 3, and 4-star reviews. The 1 or 5 star reviews are just too extreme to be trusted, because no book is perfect or without any redeeming features.

    With that said, however, Howey must have had something in his books that attracted the attention of the Big Name Publisher. Now, having said that, Big Name Publishers have also run with books such as Twilight and Fifty Shades of Gray, so their taste is, in my humble opinion, questionable at times. ;)
     
  11. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I can't respond to allegations. I will say, I've read Wool. It is a good story that is well written.
     
  12. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    I think I have Wool. If memory serves I picked it up when it was free for Kindle. Might have to give it a read.
     
  13. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

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    When I write reviews, the star rating is based purely on my enjoyment factor. A book I absolutely loved despite flaws (eg Ready Player One) is 5*. A book I thought was brilliantly written but with flaws that affected my enjoyment (eg Tigana) is 4*. A book I couldn't even finish, despite washes of critical and fan acclaim (eg The Black Prism) is 1*.

    I don't know how other people use the star ratings, but Goodreads people tend to base stars on enjoyment rather than quality. I wouldn't presume to judge quality anyway, and I wouldn't choose a book to read just because it was supposed to be good quality (I did enough of that at school).

    Yeah, they sold by the (virtual) truckload. Nowadays, I presume they sell by the literal truckload as well. It creases me up to see Wool in my local bricks-and-mortar bookstore. Howey's self-published, for heavens sake, a year or two ago the big cheese publishers wouldn't have bothered to scrape him off their shoes.
     
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  14. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    He's hardly the only indie to get picked up by the Big Names... Michael Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series is also showing up in my little corner of the world.

    I think that's a good thing. It shows the Big Names are watching indies for authors of talent (Riyria Revelations isn't to my taste, but I can't fault the quality of the writing) and are willing to sign them if they find them. Pretty much everyone wins in that scenario.
     
  15. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    It just goes to prove how subjective the enjoyment of a novel is.

    I just finished rereading The Black Prism in the last week. I'd read it when it came out and completely forgotten everything about it. Not a good sign...

    While the book had definite issues and was obviously forgetable, I enjoyed it and would give it 4 stars. Some of the things you disliked (I read your review), I liked quite a lot, especially Kip. That's my kind of character. I agree with you about Gavin and Karris, though. If the book would have focused on a single protagonist and spent less time on minor characters, I think it would have been a lot better.
     
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  16. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I kinda thread-jacked this with my last post. Since I felt guilty about doing so, I figured I'd take a look at your blog and see what I thought.

    Overall, I must admit that the posts, which I only skimmed, did create interest. I honestly wasn't expecting that result. If you can draw people to your blog, the kind of posts that you're doing may help convert those browsers into buyers.

    I may steal your idea...

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
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  17. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    I would give The Black Prism about 3 stars... there were problems, but overall it was an enjoyable read to me. For comparison, I'd give Brent Weeks' other series, the Night Angel trilogy, 4 stars. As I said earlier in this discussion, I don't give out 5 stars because I don't think any book is perfect, but Night Angel was close to it, with only minor quibbles.
     
  18. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Go right ahead and borrow it, with my blessing. If something I am doing makes someone else a little bit more successful, then we both win. :D
     
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  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Okay, David, I've officially borrowed your idea. I'd love some feedback from everyone about how successful this post is:

    Introducing my Protagonist, Xan | Brian W. Foster

    If the feedback is mainly positive, I'll post it to my FB acct as well.

    Thanks!

    Brian
     
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  20. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    I can't speak for anyone else, but I like it. :)
     
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