A Little Background (or a lot of background)
Near the end of July, I joined a Yahoo! Group called BlogBookTours. The purpose of the group is to teach authors how do conduct effective virtual tours. My purpose in joining the group was to learn to do just that.
It's been an interesting and enlightening two months.
You see, I joined BBT just in time to see Dani Greer's blog-a-day challenge. Dani, master of all that is BBT, suggested that learning by doing is the best way to go. She said we needed to learn to develop a blog following by making regular posts and that sticking to a daily regimen for 31 days would embed the lessons deep into our souls so we would remember always...or something to that effect. Sounded good to me. I accepted the challenge.
My first question - what is a blog, where is it, and how do I get permission to write to it. (Okay, take a minute to finish laughing, I'm sure Dani did. Or maybe she cried.)
Answer - you have to create your own blog.
So the start was a bit rough. I scrambled, crammed, learned the answers to my questions, fell on my nose a few times and created this blog in time to join the challenge. (Not exactly what happened, but close enough.)
Then I blogged everyday in August (sort of). I watched with amazement as readership numbers climbed. Blogging started to get exciting. I checked in several times a day to see if I needed to reply to comments. I thought I was doing great.
Then the September critiques started. My fellow blog-a-day challengers came up with questions like:
- "Does the URL match the Blog Title?"
- "Does the content match the Title, do readers know what to expect when they take time to read your blog?"
- "Is there a way for readers to subscribe so new blogs are pushed to the reader instead of the reader having to check in periodically to look for new posts?"
- "Did you think to had your books so reader know they exist? Did you include a link to an on-line bookstore just in case anyone might like to buy your books?'
Okay, so my blog wasn't really in the same universe as 'good'. There was more than a little room for improvement. I started making lists. I ignored my blog. Readership fell. Fast.
I resolved to do better. Hurricane Ike resolved to make that a challenge.
Honestly, I was one of the lucky few who lived without electricity for only 24 hours. Most of the members of my writing group were not so lucky - and the group's blog was not available for weeks. This was a major issue because we have an anthology of mystery stories coming out October 10 and had planned to use the group blog site to showcase the authors during September and to get the word out about the launch party for A Death in Texas.
Solution - use this blog for The Final Twist blog posts. Simple, right? Try contacting sixteen people who have no, or unreliable, phone service, no electricity, and water that only trickles out of the faucet. And when you find them, ask if they wouldn't mind ignoring the tree in the living room for a little while longer so they could figure out how to email a blog post. (Okay, only one person had a tree in the living room - and it didn't crash through the roof, it pushed through the French doors without breaking any of the windows.)
Somehow, it all worked out. And now The Final Twisters all have electricity and the group site is back up. I've had plenty of time to procrastinate, er, I mean, plan, and I'm ready to try again.
The New and Improved Blog
The new and improved blog has a stated purpose and a schedule. The purpose is to share upbeat, positive information about books, writers, and the reading/writing universe in general.
Monday is for readers. Every Monday, I'll post a review about a book I enjoyed and feel good about recommending to others. When possible, I'll interview the author. Please use the comments link below to share any questions that you would like to ask the authors.
Wednesdays are for writers. The posts will be short and will include inspirational or entertaining writing quotes, links to helpful sites or handy information, or my own learning experiences. If there is a topic you would like to see addressed, please use the comments link below to share your suggestion/request.
Fridays are potluck. Whatever strikes my fancy.
That's the general schedule. In addition, I'll have guest bloggers from time to time and I'll be hosting book tours - something I'm really looking forward to doing.
The rest of the time is open to special requests.
We start Monday with a review of At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon.