Regarding the Blogosphere

I love blogging. I’ve found a way to meet other writers without leaving the house (I like leaving the house, but Sebastian sometimes makes that a challenge) and to motivate myself to write more, and more widely, than I ever have before. It’s a Good Thing.

And, so various books-on-publishing would tell you, it’s Building A Platform, with which to one day publicise and maybe even sell my Great Work. Although those or other books-on-publishing will also tell you that blog /twitter / facebook followers do not convert very well to sales figures. Not very well at all.

A friend recently pointed out that the blogosphere is mainly made up of bloggers. You might think, well of course, but actually, that’s not what we want, is it? What if only chocolatiers bought chocolate? Or only train drivers rode trains? As writers, we want to reach READERS, and although some of them might be other writers, most (we hope) aren’t. #

I’m delighted to have so many followers – 512, so WordPress tells me – and I take nothing away from them in saying this. Thanks to anyone who reads this blog, regularly, occasionally or even just this once. I value you!

But followers don’t convert to sales – they don’t even convert to views. If I follow a blog, it’s because I want to see what that person has to say, on a regular basis, but I seem to be in the minority. Many people seem to hit follow in the hopes that “If I follow her, she’ll follow me” or something. They hit follow, but do they ever come back?

So, my fellow bloggers – as most of you are – how do we get the rest of the world to join us in the ‘sphere? Or do we have to burst out and find new (or perhaps old) ways to reach them?

 

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Regarding the Blogosphere

  1. john from Scotland

    Ah the old sales question, how do you find paying customers? Well why not look at sales techniques? There must be some overlap and possibly some different ideas. As a retired salesman I would say that wouldn’t I but hey why not look at their techniques? I guess that you firstly define the target market and then determine how to reach / interest that market……..

  2. It is marketing you need to dive into not blogging. I believe blogging is a great platform and one amongst many social media networks that can be useful to promote up and coming books. However, as you pointed out followers are not sales. This is the same if you have a website by the way, you may have tens of thousands of hits – it won’t necessarily mean any of the visitors or even people who have your site in their FAVOURITES will buy your book.

    Use the blog, websites and social media to your advantage and reach a small % of potential readers… and then GET OUT THERE! (Like the good old days of the 80s before the common use or existence of the internet!)

    Good Luck
    From a follower who follows 🙂

    • Hurray! A follower who follows – my favourite kind. Thank you.
      Yes, I think once you have a book, the old-fashioned marketing techniques are the best, but I’m talking more generally here. If the blogosphere really is the modern alternative to Magazines, it needs to reach a wider readership in its own right – not as a means to a book-selling end.

  3. Do you read/follow Seth Godin? I think he’s someone you might enjoy and he talks a lot about marketing, et al. He’s here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/.

    janet

  4. Joy

    I think the problem MAY (not sure about this) be disguised by the fact that reading is intrinsically silent and internal for many people. I like blogs. I read lots of them. However, virtually none of the people who write the ones I read have a clue I exist because I almost never leave comments (feel special… feel very special…). I also rarely follow because I get quite enough email and actually quite enjoy an occasional trot around the real websites. Having said all that I have been known to buy real life products (ebooks or similar usually) from people whose blogs I have perused for years, but whose first contact from me EVER is a purchase. Those are purchases I wouldn’t have made (or considered or even known to consider) without a well-tended blog.

    So, I guess my point is don’t get too caught up in the stats. If increasing numbers of people are viewing, then don’t assume they don’t like what they see if they aren’t commenting or following. It might take a big fat purchase button to bring them out of their shells!

  5. Dear Jennifer,

    You might remember me. I followed you a while ago and read probably about 37% of what you write. That’s a good number in the blogosphere. I think I might know that friend of yours, too.

    They say the cream rises to the top….and rots. So no matter what you do you’re doomed to have to find out the hard way. Write a good book and then market it aggressively to an agent or e-publish the property and then market it aggressively on your own or spend your time writing another one whilst checking your sales figures for the first one.

    Once you’re at that point consult me for more tips. I have one sure-fired way to generate sales but I’m not going to give it away on the cheap. If you’d like to know what it is please send me $2,000,000 Mellican Dollas plus shipping and handling and I’ll fix you up. (If you buy two I’ll discount yours by half)

    Keep on keepin’ on, jennifer. Not the destination, but the journey.

    Love you,

    Aloha,

    Doug

    P.S. I promise you’ll have at least one sale besides Sebastian and your husband’s.

  6. Dear Jen,

    I’ve heard this before and was discouraged as far as posting fiction on my blog. I don’t know how to avoid that with Friday Fictioneers. Someone suggested I try posting a separate blog page. I have neither the time nor the headspace to do that right now.
    It is nice to see the number of followers increasing, but I ask myself what they’re actually “following”. How often do they really come back to my blog. I know that I have blogs I’ve followed and haven’t read since I clicked the button.
    In other words, sometimes I feel like a dog chasing her tail. 😉

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • I know that feeling, Rochelle. I try to manage my follows, but I’m sure there are still some I don’t really read anymore. (Not yours, I hasten to add!)

    • Alf

      While the thought you’d no longer post fiction on your blog is scary (please post fiction!), I have to agree that on a number of blogs, it’s difficult for a casual reader to detach and follow the stories or chapters, from the actual blogs. Tags are not enough for a clear visual separation, I think. I sometimes ponder that what is needed is to expand the blogging platform towards an integrated site, where pages dedicated to fiction are easy to find (menu) and easy to go back from, but not full of other blogging features. With an immediately visible link to buy a work, no need to be big ‘n fat ‘n red button though! 🙂

      Readers want to read your work, if they love what they’re acquainted with. I know I do. We, blog readers, don’t need aggressive marketing, at most if you would like to help us even more, IMHO just keeping the site easy to navigate, and find things, is the nicest extra-gift you can make. (yours, Rochelle, already is! I think even FF is clear enough to me, not sure if it can be improved easily.)

      I love that blogging platforms exist, and writers of today share their thoughts and their in-progress work with us – their readers, writers or not. It brings something different already than the traditional publish/advertise/go-to-bookstore. Another avenue for us to know the writing. It might not be easy for writers, to keep up with all… but for readers it is IMHO a gain.

      One other thing that those studies Elmo noted don’t consider, is the “dark” sharing. The random friend of a friend of a friend who clicks once a link shared directly and finds what they otherwise wouldn’t. Anonymous network effects are not easily quantifiable, but I wouldn’t dismiss them.

      I should stop blabbing… this all may require more thinking.

      • Thanks for sharing your thought, Alf. i think i agree with it all and i’m definitely going to try to follow up on your Easy Navigation points. I don’t find wordpress 100% helpful in that regard, but it’s something to strive for! And thatnks fokr your kind words about the fiction!

  7. Ali Ryder

    I’m a real reader too without regularly posting comments. ‘Feedly’ is my way to make sure that I don’t miss posts on the various blogs that I read. But it does mean that im not listed as a ‘follower’ (I think) as it’s not an email subscription. Lovely to see you all on Sunday btw, safe travels for the rest of the trip. Thank you too, Hannah loves her dog!

    Btw, a question for you, how common is Friday Fiction? Another blog that I read uses it, are you guys part of the same community?

    • Hurray all round and thank you so much for coming! It was lovely to meet Tabitha … and to be reminded how tiny Sebastian once was!
      There are about 100 people in our FF group (led by Rochelle, whose comment is above yours) but I’m guessing the name is no trademarked, so not sure if the other blog is a member of the same one – does he use the same picture as his prompt? Otherwise, no.

  8. Pingback: Follow? Like? Comment? Works not in progress! | Sarah Ann Hall

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