I spent this past weekend with family, at soccer games, and celebrating birthdays. I squeezed in a few emails and I read like three blogs, but they made me think.
And setting goals.
Though I was busy baking cupcakes and coaching soccer and talking about life, in the back of my mind were questions, ones I’m still thinking about.
We can’t keep living our writing life and career path as if it were 2005. Too much has changed. But even though I already made the incredible decision to self publish last year at about this time, there are still many aspects of my career to evaluate.
Here are some of the posts that got me thinking:
Katie’s or Creepy Query Girl’s on Are blog tours losing their promotional power? Read the comments too!
Jody Hedlund’s on Is blogging a time suck for writer’s? Again, read the comments.
Denise Grover Swank’s on A business plan for self published Writers Part one, two and three.
- Are blog tours really effective? Especially with ten going on every week? Especially with the effort it takes in organizing it?
- How important is brand these days? Will branching out and trying something different spark my career in a new direction? Help me to grow as a writer?
- How important are production schedules and planning years in advance?
- What about blogging in general? The only thing that seems to sell a book is the book and word of mouth. Where does social media fit in? How do I use it effectively?
- How am I spending my work time? How can I be more productive while growing in craft?
- How can I push myself in the area of craft?
- What about five year plans and adjusting for aspects of this business I can’t control?
I’ve come to my conclusions about some of these questions, and others I’m still thinking about. When have you taken the time to really evaluate your path and your decisions? Are they still from five years ago? Or even last year?
Let me know! I’d love to hear from you.
Both of those posts made me think about a lot of things, too. The digital networking world is constantly changing, and we must adapt to it in the way that works best for us.
So true. Different strategies for different times in our publishing life. I still enjoy blogging and don’t plan on stopping because I enjoy the community. But I don’t believe it sells fiction books enough to be worth it. It can help but only to a certain point.
I went back and read some of the comments. Thanks for mentioning that. I’m still struggling a lot with finding the right balance with the blogging. Now that I’m getting more known in promoting books, I’m getting more requests from publishers to be part of blog tours as well as from authors. It’s hard to find the balance between promoting good books and authors, which I want to do, and not getting too busy with it, which is happening for me now. I’m a relatively new blogger, so this is a work in progress trying to balance it all out.
I hope you’ll post more on this and what you’re coming up with.
Hey, Natalie. I can in the future but sometimes the conclusions I’ve come to go against what some of the professional advice givers say to do. 🙂 and my truth and what I see might be different from what someone else sees.
But I can email you. 🙂
Considering that blogging is my main focus, I think it works. And outside of my book’s launch, I rarely mention either one, but they are still selling well.
For my third and final book though, I’m going to need to think of something really original as far as a book tour…
For you Alex, it definitely still works. But I think for the most part, you’re the outlier. You spent a lot of time building up and creating your community. That’s awesome. But not many author/bloggers are able to replicate that.
These are a lot of good questions. The one thing that I’ve noticed without exception about my writing career is that changes that I never thought would happen always do. Books which (in the moment of writing) I thought were “the one” get shelved months later. I think it is awfully hard to see the big picture while we’re right in the middle of it. But I think it is great to try to see that big picture. I just don’t know that I have any insight for it. The importance of blogs are changing as we speak. It is hard to predict what roll they will have in the future.
I think social media does a ton for getting the word out. I have bought books I wasn’t planning on buying because of blog links (like 5-10 in the past month–that’s a lot!)
I think we just have to be open to change as it happens–which you so clearly are.
When I was thinking about agents before, I always thought of whether our personalities meshed. Now my benchmark for finding an agent is whether they can be a support with the technology part of my career. Do they have contacts in traditional publishing AND with app designers, cover artists, and others.
My plans have changed radically in the past two years, even though I am still looking at the traditional route for my current novel.
Anyhow. Great, questions, Laura! Definitely got me thinking this morning.
My plans have radically changed from two years ago too! 🙂
I do think social media is important but that’s word of mouth in social media and other than tweeting book launches and getting news out through social media – that’s not word of mouth.
The most important part of social media, we don’t have much control over. That is how people respond to our books.
Excellent questions all around! I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on them… 🙂
I just read Katie’s blog and will head over to Jody’s. I think you came up with some really important questions. So much has changed since I started looking into publishing. I knew nothing about blogs, agents were only accepting paper queries, and I knew nothing about self promotion. Although I’m further ahead with writing and some of my decisions, I feel like I still have a long way to go.
No kidding, Patti. I remember when e-queries were a bit on the wild side! Ha ha!
I used to work in the tech industry. Back then what was big and all mighty would be passe and s-l-o-w within 3 years. You had to constantly keep that in mind. You can’t stand still and not buy a computer because 3 years later it’ll be ‘junk’. You have to keep moving. And I think we’re experiencing that in our industry, this continual change with technology. I think it’s a good thing, but it definitely changes your perspective!!
I don’t buy books based on blog tours. For me, it’s word of mouth that gets me to buy a book. A friend of mine blogged about EASY. That didn’t sell me on the book. It was our email chat about the book that caused me not only to buy it, but have it jump to the top of my TBR pile. Same deal with BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. 😀
This post reminds me that I’ve got to rework my goals–as you already know. 🙂
I’m such a slow-learner that just when I begin to get a handle on some new technology, the technology changes, leaving me, as usual, a half step behind.
Good questions. The e-book revolution has changed the industry radically in a very short amount of time. As the number of people screaming for attention grows, I find myself blocking out more. I definitely have some pet peeves with the blog tour phenomenon, though I do think it’s an effective way to get attention for your book. But attention doesn’t always = sales. Like Stina said, an email conversation with a friend does way more to sell me on a book than five blogs all repeating the same canned information.
I find it interesting that both Creepy Query Girl and Jody Hedlund mention that they’ve been blogging for three years. I’ve been blogging for three years and I think a lot of authors jumped on the blogging bandwagon around that time. Blogging has been immensely beneficial to me in networking with other writers and potential readers, but I too, feel that the glory days have waned and it’s time to rethink things.
Wow. I was wondering how effective blog tours could be, since the book seems to turn up on every blog I go to that day. It does make your eyes glaze over. I pay more attention to reviews, word of mouth, and blurbs. I think when my book is published in the future, I’ll go with one major website, a few tweets, and prayers to above. I don’t want to bore my reader before they turn the page or irritate someone over the same thing on blog after blog. Great discussion, Laura!! Thanks for bringing this up.
Great post Laura and thanks for the shout out. I think we’re all evaluating and re-evaluating our publishing path. Things are in a constant state of flux and it’s hard to ‘know’ what we ‘should’ be doing, especially because it seems different for everyone. Something might work for some people, but not for others.
As you know, Laura, I’ve been asking myself a lot of these questions, too.
And though I think some fiction writers have doen amazingly well with building a blog following, I’m not sure it unpbulished writers should spend tons of time at this endeavor, which is different from what I thought three years ago.
I think you alude to this above in one of your comments… The publishing industry keeps changing and so should our goals and forward-moving actions. What worked a few years ago might not be the best decision for what we’re working on today.
I might be off base with this but I think when a book is successful, it’s easy to trace the success back to a big blog tour. Which might’ve helped but probably didn’t a whole lot. Sales happen because of the story and word of mouth. The more time that passes, the more I believe that.
I will continue to blog because I love my community and I want to be found if readers enjoy my books and come looking for me. But I did cut back to once a week.
Now, nonfiction is something completely different. That’s why we can’t treat marketing fiction the same way.
But yes, the glory days of bloating followers through contests and gaining fame amongst writers is waning. And I for one am kinda glad about that.
The post on blog tours really hit home for me because my last book tour was a big failure. I thought I had given the participants enough time to read the book (and it’s a short one) but still had some that didn’t have time to read it. Everyone posted a promo at least, but looking at their blogs, my tour wasn’t the only one going on. For a blog tour, you want the focus to be on your book and that’s impossible when there’s a bunch of other tours going on too.