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Do Authors Really Need To Blog?


EBraten

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1 hour ago, Accord64 said:

I must confess that I don't understand how this works, because just about everyone I know HATES getting email spam.

 

You're right. No one wants unsolicited emails. You can mainly gather names through social media or a website/blog. Emails sent out randomly will never entice someone to sign up for a newsletter.

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1 hour ago, Accord64 said:

These days the rage seems to be about building email lists. I must confess that I don't understand how this works, because just about everyone I know HATES getting email spam. I know these lists are opt-in, but I've also seen numerous reports that engagement stats are extremely low (less than 10% of recipients open the email).

I'm listening with both ears wide open to the current talk about email lists and learning as much as I can. Right now, the consensus among indie sources whose track record makes them worth some attention is that email newsletters are effective. As with all things, there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and I'm gathering all the information I can to learn what the best practice is.

 

Anyway... My lovely Norwegian husband has just reminded me of a proverb from the Old Country: "Don't sell the pelt until the bear is shot." In other words, I can theorise about where to hawk my bear skin rug and how best to interest buyers in it... But that won't do me any good until I actually shoot and kill the bear.

 

So, while it's been fun to discuss all this, I'll log off the forums for today and go write! ?

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19 minutes ago, EBraten said:

Right now, the consensus among indie sources whose track record makes them worth some attention is that email newsletters are effective. As with all things, there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and I'm gathering all the information I can to learn what the best practice is.

 

I've heard the same things (likely from the same people). However, many indies who have been trying to replicate this success have reported low engagement numbers. That means that while they built up their email lists (usually from different sources - but all from readers who intentionally sign up), their email services (like mailchimp) report a less than 10% open rate. Then there is an opt-out rate from those who change their minds about being on the list. That seems to vary between authors.

 

I guess the successful ones must have many thousands on their list to begin, so the low engagement rate still brings hundreds (or low thousands) to read their material.

 

19 minutes ago, EBraten said:

So, while it's been fun to discuss all this, I'll log off the forums for today and go write! ?

 

I know what you mean. Guilty! ?   

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Guest Steven Hutson
2 hours ago, Accord64 said:

I've encountered only a couple of other (Indie) fiction authors who think blogs are central to their marketing


We were talking about self-pub? 
Or that a blog should be your central piece.of your marketing?

The goalposts seem to be moving here.

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2 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

We were talking about self-pub? 

 

I did say indie, didn't I? That's the current term for self-published authors.

 

2 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

Or that a blog should be your central piece.of your marketing?

 

Within the context of indie fiction writers, not really. However, the couple of indie authors I know who are having success with blogs are in the romance genre. They like to write short pieces that expand on their characters, their writing/decision processes, or maybe provide "deleted scenes" from their books. Romance readers seem to eat that up.

 

7 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

The goalposts seem to be moving here.

 

I don't understand. I've always qualified my posts from the indie fiction standpoint. Maybe it's the goalposts that you've tried to place?

     

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1 minute ago, Accord64 said:

Within the context of indie fiction writers, not really. However, the couple of indie authors I know who are having success with blogs are in the romance genre. They like to write short pieces that expand on their characters, their writing/decision processes, or maybe provide "deleted scenes" from their books. Romance readers seem to eat that up.

This romance writer thanks you very much!!! 

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7 minutes ago, Alley said:

This romance writer thanks you very much!!!

 

I've always been envious of the type of readers that romance authors have. They're voracious readers, dedicated, and really get into the expanded universes of romance novels. You guys have an unfair set of rules. ? 

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Guest Steven Hutson
12 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

Within the context of indie fiction writers, not really.


I don't recall anyone saying it should.

 

12 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

don't understand. I've always qualified my posts from the indie fiction


Heh. I didn't know that it was all about you. ?   I just checked. Neither the title not the opening post of the thread, were about self-pub.
.

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4 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

I've always been envious of the type of readers that romance authors have. They're voracious readers, dedicated, and really get into the expanded universes of romance novels. You guys have an unfair set of rules. ?

They do love to read!  Outside of this, I'm still learning about this market.  Can't wait to know more!  And again thank you!  

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21 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

Heh. I didn't know that it was all about you. ?

 I know you think you're trying to be helpful, but remarks like that are uncalled for and set a negative tone around here. I'm only responding from my experience as an indie writer (as was the OP, in case you didn't notice).

 

It's pretty clear you really don't like us indies, but as Christians we're all supposed to be on the same team - right?

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Guest Steven Hutson
1 minute ago, Accord64 said:

I'm only responding from my experience as an indie writer


Yup. But the original post wasn't about that, hence my comments.

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41 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

But the original post wasn't about that, hence my comments.

The article I cited was written by the president of Book Baby, a company that provides services to self-publishing writers. I did mention who wrote it, so I had assumed it was implicit that he was coming from a context of self-publishing. My fault for not making it clear.

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1 hour ago, Accord64 said:

However, the couple of indie authors I know who are having success with blogs are in the romance genre. They like to write short pieces that expand on their characters, their writing/decision processes, or maybe provide "deleted scenes" from their books. Romance readers seem to eat that up.

Thank you. this is very useful. But I wonder where on earth they find the time. A lot of indie romance writers whose careers I've been following achieve success by releasing a lot of books, sometimes as many as a book every month or two, to feed those hungry readers. Between that level of production and everything that goes with it, if they're keeping up a blog as well, hats off.

 

1 hour ago, Accord64 said:

They're voracious readers, dedicated, and really get into the expanded universes of romance novels. You guys have an unfair set of rules.

Join us! We have cookies! And everyone always lives happily ever after.

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Guest Steven Hutson
4 minutes ago, EBraten said:

But I wonder where on earth they find the time.


If I wasn't blogging, I would be busy doing something else to promote my books.

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Guest Steven Hutson
19 minutes ago, EBraten said:

had assumed it was implicit that he was coming from a context of self-publishing.


Very well. Maybe I missed it. 

But I honestly can't think of a thing that I would do differently, based on whether my book was trad or self-pub.

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14 minutes ago, EBraten said:
1 hour ago, Accord64 said:

However, the couple of indie authors I know who are having success with blogs are in the romance genre. They like to write short pieces that expand on their characters, their writing/decision processes, or maybe provide "deleted scenes" from their books. Romance readers seem to eat that up.

Thank you. this is very useful. But I wonder where on earth they find the time. A lot of indie romance writers whose careers I've been following achieve success by releasing a lot of books, sometimes as many as a book every month or two, to feed those hungry readers. Between that level of production and everything that goes with it, if they're keeping up a blog as well, hats off.

I could see placing parts of my book that had to be cut onto a site.  I do think the readers would like that.  

 

I have the feeling that the ones that produce them ever month use ghostwriters after the first draft.  I have one author that I loved reading!  Bought the first 15 of her books, and then I notices the closer together the books got the more I did not like them.  They did not hold the same quality as the earlier books.  There were scenes that were almost identical but in a different location.  The last three I bought I closed at about halfway through and never finished.  I no longer buy her books, and I hate that because she had real talent.  I loved the stories, characters.  ?

 

22 minutes ago, EBraten said:
1 hour ago, Accord64 said:

They're voracious readers, dedicated, and really get into the expanded universes of romance novels. You guys have an unfair set of rules.

Join us! We have cookies! And everyone always lives happily ever after.

Yes, come to the happily ever after side.  Help me find the cookies!  

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5 minutes ago, Alley said:

I have the feeling that the ones that produce them ever month use ghostwriters after the first draft.

I'm sure there are some who do that. And it's true that the type of stuff being put out... Let's just say most authors in our genre should not expect the admins of the Booker Prize to call any time soon.

 

There are quite a few who produce a crazy amount of work without using ghostwriters, though. One of the admins on a Facebook group I'm on wrote 15 books in one year, and I'm pretty sure she wrote them herself. But writing at that level is definitely not sustainable in the long term.

 

It does appear, though, that successful indie romance writers have to write a lot.

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On 11/1/2018 at 2:21 PM, Steven Hutson said:
On 11/1/2018 at 2:12 PM, Alley said:

As of this moment, I have no social media,


Then now would be a good time.

So I've been thinking about this.  I have no desire to ever have a personal social media account, so that means I will be opening one for platform building/business side of publishing books.  I feel like there should be some kind of rules to do/not to do in this area. (or maybe something I have yet to learn)  Do any of you know where to find the information for these things?  

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It will be difficult. There are no rules. Just suggestions. Here are three links but they mention having a blog, speaking, etc. Things you don't want to do. If you have no social media presence, how will others know about you and want to read what you write?

 

https://justpublishingadvice.com/advertise-your-book-without-social-media/

 

http://brynakranzler.com/9-ways-to-promote-without-social-media/

 

https://www.publicationcoach.com/promote-book-without-social-media/

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6 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

If you have no social media presence, how will others know about you and want to read what you write?

I mean I do not want personal social media.  I want one only for the purposes of an author platform, and the like.  While I love those links, I was asking if you guys knew the do's and don'ts of a professional/business social media stuff.  So to clarify, I don't want one to talk about my kids, and what I had for breakfast, but one to talk about my books, writing, marketing, and things of this nature.  Does that make more sense?  

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I think you've misunderstood it just a little, Alley. If it's a personal profile as on Facebook, you don't have to talk about your kids or what you're doing. Others may do that but it isn't necessary. I rarely mention my family or anything that is personal on my profile. I also have a page, which can be used for anything other than a personal profile. However, one can still post personal things on it. But I rarely post on it.

 

The only don't I can think of at the moment is not to spam others. Don't post about your book/whatever on their timeline.

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28 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

Don't post about your book/whatever on their timeline

Timeline of what?  Is this internet lingo that I don't know or am I going to facepalm when you explain this?  

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@AlleyYou and I seem to be at similar stages platform-wise, as in we've got none at the moment. ? I think that the way to go is first of all think about exactly what we want to achieve, figure out which tools will be best suited to get us there, then make a strategy of how to use those tools to build our platforms. 

 

Tim Grahl has a free e-mail based course that is a good place to start. Also good, if not better in my opinion, is David Gaughran. This article is interesting. https://www.draft2digital.com/blog/platform-building-and-related-terrors/

 

I find David Gaughran's material resonates more with me because he was exactly where we are now: an unknown indie starting from scratch. I'm reading Let's Go Digital and when I'm done with that, I'll read Strangers to Superfans, which is all about building an author platform.

 

Tim Grahl's stuff is really good, too, but it's geared more towards non-fiction writers and as a fiction writer you need to figure out how to adapt his advice to your needs.

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