6 Tips To Resuscitate a Dying Author Blog

Maintaining an author blog is no cakewalk. 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 6 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.)
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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.)

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Guest column by Lisa Dale, who writes stories for the head
and heart. Her newest release isA 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.)

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