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6 Tips To Resuscitate a Dying Author Blog

Categories: Author Platform, Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog, Guest Columns, Marketing and Sales, Social Networking and the Internet, What's New, Writer Platform.

Maintaining an author blog is no cakewalk. In fact, if you get to the point in your RSS-life that you’re maintaining, you’re already ahead of the game. Most blogs have the lifespan of fruit flies. So if your author blog is slumping, pat yourself on the back. At least you have a spine to slump! If you started your blog because you wanted to impress literary agents and editors with your ability to mobilize audiences, then you want your posts to show lively discussions. You never know who is lurking. But even the freshest blogs can go stale.

As a novelist who—for better or worse—started blogging when my first novel came out back in 2009, my blog has seen ups and downs of roller coast proportions. Here are a few quick tips for boosting buzz when your audience seems like its fizzling…

GIVEAWAY: Lisa is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Sandra Beckwith won.)

 

 

   

Guest column by Lisa Dale, who writes stories for the head
and heart. Her newest release is A Promise of Safekeeping
(Berkley/Penguin, Jan. 2012), which Publishers Weekly hailed
as “emotional…surprising…spectacular.” Her prior novel,
Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier, was a Top Pick at Barnes &
Noble as well as BookPage magazine. A nominee for Best
New American Voices and The Pushcart Prize, Lisa lives in
New Jersey with her husband and her pet hedgehog, Cleopatra.

 

 

1. Do something crazy. Now, everybody has a different idea of crazy. Maybe yours is blogging about getting a bikini wax. Or maybe it’s posting a video of yourself making snow angels. But think of how you can push yourself to jolt your readers—and yourself—out of feeling so blah.

2. Give something away. It’s no secret that people like freebies. And these days, some online marketing, um, marketers hypothesize that it’s getting harder to inspire people to comment on a blog proper because Facebook is sucking the life out of the traditional blog format (okay—those are my words, but you get the idea). So if you want people to comment on your blog, rather than your Facebook page, give them a compelling reason to do so.

(Query letter FAQs answered.)

3. Ask for help/opinions/feedback. I’ve found that posts can generate a good response when they are a) personal, b) asking for readers’ opinions. Best if your quest for readers’ assistance is authentic (bloggers who fake it are bloggers who don’t make it). For example: I once blogged about a little fender-bender that I had because I just wasn’t sure of the best course of action. Lots of people chimed in and the conversation brought new readers—plus, I got valuable advice about my car.

4. Post a poll. Ask your readers what they want to see on your blog by using free online polling plug-ins or links. Your readers may find it gratifying to click those little radio buttons (come on, they’re fun—right? Like being in an elevator when you’re a little kid and wanting to push the button). And you’ll learn something valuable in the process. Plus, remember this key tenant of marketing: Once you get your reader to make a small commitment (like clicking yes or no), they’re more likely to take a bigger leap (like leaving a written comment or clicking LIKE on your blog post).

5. Mobilize NEW social media. If you feel that you’ve maxed out the traffic that you’re getting from your existing social networks, then try something new. Example: Not on Goodreads yet? (Me neither, but I will be soon!). Haven’t tried Tumblr? Sometimes, plugging into a new fan base is as simple as working up a new social network profile.

(Looking to attend a writers’ conference? Start here.)

6. Create clear directives. What specifically do you want from your author blog? Do you want more comments? More subscribers? More LIKEs on Facebook? Be sure to tell readers what to do: “Hey! Click LIKE if you love it!” You may be surprised how a little direction goes a long way.

So…all of the above tips lead to the question: How much can blogging help your writing career? How much do people in the publishing biz care about whether or not you have an awesome blog? Is it worth your time? The answer is…it depends.

You can find more of my fresh-from-the-trenches blogging advice and commentary in the free e-book that’s available on my website: 10 Tips That Can Make or Break Your Author Blog.

Happy blogging!

GIVEAWAY: Lisa is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Sandra Beckwith won.)

 

The 90 Days to Your Novel 2-Pack is an inspiring
kit that will be your push, your deadline, and your
spark to finally, in three short months, nail that
first draft of your novel. The two items are
bundled together in our shop for a discount.

 

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

 

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
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22 Responses to 6 Tips To Resuscitate a Dying Author Blog

  1. hlpauff says:

    some really good tips! thanks!

  2. Irish2369 says:

    New to blogging (I know, who in the world hasn’t blogged before?) so I have been searching around for some information to explain what this is all about. So happy to have found this today! Fantastic tips, love the free e-book, and am going off to write my first blog ever and submit it for review to be hired at a local company to assist on their web page.
    Thanks for the confidence boost and terrific tips!

    Heather

  3. Kristin says:

    Thanks for the blogging tips! Congrats on your new novel – it sounds great.

  4. Tammy Denton says:

    I’m going to try some of these ideas on my blog, Page & Paragraph.

    My goal is to reach my 100th blog by June and to get some followers. I don’t know if I’ve missed something about the followers. I get lots of hits, but no followers. I’m not certain what to do about that. Do you have any advice you’d like to give me?

    Thanks for the advice and I’ll be expecting my copy soon!

    http://www.TammySetzerDenton.com

  5. DeniseDeSio says:

    Starting a little controversy is also good for business. Don’t go too far.

  6. Pagadan says:

    I appreciate the tips. Thank you! I have three blogs (home, media, and writing), so I have to work to keep up with them and thus spend less time on social media. I do want to check out GoodReads and tumblr, though I’ve heard that Google+ is up and coming.

  7. linfady says:

    I like the writer’s groups that are available on here as much as I enjoy more traditional social networks. After a short time you begin to know who the other members are and you have a constructive common interest. I actually spend more time on them than I do facebook.

  8. Sandra Beckwith says:

    These are helpful — thanks for sharing! # 4 was a particularly good reminder for me.

    Thanks!

    Sandra Beckwith
    http://buildbookbuzz.com

  9. TCWesley says:

    re commenting on Facebook vs. commenting on the blog…
    Can anyone hazard a guess as to why blog readers need more from writers to prompt a response? Do you think FB simply offers more instant gratification with the quickness in exchanging words and rapid fire notification of comments (rendering a more conversational environment) than a blog? Personally, I don’t feel less engaged as a blog reader than a FB reader. I do find that I comment more on FB without direct promting. Interesting…

  10. remip89 says:

    Great suggestions. These will really help!

  11. seraine says:

    Great ideas! Blogs are always tough since there is so much competition out there, just like with books. Way to keep the ideas fresh!

    http://serainepage.blogspot.com/

  12. ecrowl says:

    Thanks for the tips, Lisa! I actually just tried #1 this week and “put myself out there” with a creative writing idea I’d been so hesitant to do.

    Your book looks great!

    Erika

    http://www.dwellintheland.com

  13. rachelgiesel says:

    These are great suggestions! I definitely need to implement some (or all) of these. Thanks so much for providing such helpful tips! (:

    -Rachel

  14. caseydawes says:

    Ahh…but how do we add more hours to our day????

    Great ideas…

  15. WriterBell says:

    These are all great suggestions, and I can’t wait to implement them!

  16. lmiller says:

    Thank you for this article. Last fall I made the move from a blog to an author website () and the experience has taught me how vital it is to be a part of a community to get the traffic that is the lifeblood of any website.

    I agree with several of the points here but I would also add that establishing credibility with your audience is also important. One way I’m working on this is to write a weekly column on the same day each week so readers know that on Fridays they can come to my website, see what I read the past week, what I thought of it, and what’s on the shelf for next week.

    One way you might consider implementing #2 on the list is showcasing other people’s writings, articles, photography, etc (with their permission, of course!). By giving a little of your blog space to discuss other people’s works, books you’ve read, people you admire, etc., you’re helping to share the love (and the back-links).

    Just some thoughts from one of your readers. Thanks for the great article. :)

  17. BadApple says:

    I have been toying with a new story idea, and in order to write it, I was thinking I might collect input from my FB friends; specific examples of real-life situations. After reading this article, I will likely pose the question on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration!
    edenconnorwrites (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. JMRWriter says:

    Lisa, these are great tips. My blog partners (The Violet Femmes) just instigated the giveaway, and our traffic was much higher last month. So of course we are continuing with it this month.

    BTW, I loved Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier! I’d love to read your new book, so if I don’t win, you can be sure I will be buying it!

    Jaye-Marie

  19. barbarajoss says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve heard so many references to tumblr lately — have to check it out and see what all the buzz is about!

  20. Lee Joanne says:

    Thanks for this. I just started my own blog at leejoannecollins.blogspot.com. I have a lot to learn!

  21. OriginalGreg says:

    My thanks to Ms Dale for an interesting and useful post. I know several writers who will benefit from it.

    That said, I offer one correction: A tenant is one who pays rent in exchange for the use of land, a building or other property. A tenet is a principle, doctrine or opinion held as being true.

  22. Jamie says:

    This was just the post I needed! I like your idea in #4. i never thought about posting a poll asking what readers want to see. I’ve asked for comments, and realized just last night that people couldn’t leave them! (I changed that setting right away.)

    Thanks for this post and the link to the free e-book. I’m going to take you up on that one.

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