Monday, 12 January 2015

It Feels So Damned Fine to Be Regular, Friends!

.By now you know me well enough to know I'm not speaking of this:





On line I'm far more likely to talk of first-class vowel movements. And this is what I have in mind for my New Year post:





So, Muse, help me fix my sights. Help me focus on, er, fiber in blogging. 





Inspired by an AE post by Wendy Jones (link below), I set out to increase the numbers of the two blogs I run.
1) The main blog is called Southern Scotch. I call this my everything blog: from book reviews to interviews to thoughts about writing and life...it's all here. And here is where I suffered most from irregularity--with posts averaging just once a week.
2) The second blog is Seattle-related. This has evolved from the chronicle of a cross-country move to a monthly online 'zine called The Seattle Rock. The challenge here is different--to keep building reader interest in a once-a-month event.

So, two blogs with two distinct challenges...each requiring a creative approach to regularity.





Southern Scotch: Numbers and Concerns
Once a week was not enough. And even if it were, the posts had to be more consistent in quality and impact. Twice a week, from here on, would have to be my minimum. And I'd do well to keep the length down to 300-400 words. Quick fixes for readers not seeking epic ruminations.

Between posts, I needed to keep the blog in readers' minds. From the start, two years ago, I'd made strong use of Twitter and FB to announce new entries. But my numbers were discouraging: anywhere from 10-30 hits for an ordinary post....to 500 for an interview with, say, Claude Bouchard. I decided on a way to use Twitter daily. The results have been dramatic and we'll get to them in a minute.

Seattle Rock: Numbers and Concerns
With a monthly 'zine, I could turn out a superior product on the first of every month. Readers could read at their leisure--a section here, a section there--but I had to keep the latest issue 'fresh' somehow while building anticipation for the upcoming issue. Now let's get to the tactics I took and the resulting numbers.




I Made Use of These Strategies...
1) I decided against using Triberr or other platform builders that were unfamiliar turf.
2) I chose to focus on Twitter--where I have 50,000 followers and have formed alliances with several writers who have many more--and Facebook, where I have close to 1000 Friends.
3) I committed to producing 2 new Southern Scotch postings a week while making each entry more of an event. One post a week about writing...the other about--well, whatever, so long as it seemed useful.
4) I began 'scheduling' 3-4 Tweets daily to recyle older Southern Scotch Tweets that should still be of interest. This is also a good way of showing new followers the best of what they've missed.
5) I asked for 2-3 daily ReTweets from my Twitter friends with huge followings. In exchange, I religiously ReTweeted their own touts to my followers.
6) I asked for 1 RT daily for both my Seattle blog and my latest Authors Electric post.
7) On the day of new posts for each blog I gave a tout on Facebook.
8) I followed Wendy Jones' advice and began jazzing up my blogs with eye-catching pictures.
9) I changed my Tweet Scheduling routine. Instead of thinking of just Me and when it's convenient to schedule--first thing in the morning--I thought more about readers and when they might tune into Twitter. With thoughts of that, I scheduled Tweets from 6:00 till 10:30 a.m.....then a few from 12:00 till 2:00 p.m. Next, I tried to jump start the next day by scheduling a few Tweets while I was in bed (but others were up on the East coast or abroad).

...and I obtained These Numbers
--Southern Scotch has begun to average 150-200 hits a day. And the impact of my recyling approach is reflected in the far lower number when I lack the time to RT. I attribute at least 75% of my new numbers to the tag team RT approach.
--The Seattle Rock, in its first month (October, 2014), had about 250 hits. November: 450. December: 700. And January could be the month that it breaks 800. 





What I conclude:
1) I don't claim astronomical numbers. But the increases I've seen in just over a month seem to be sending a quiet Thumbs Up. And I can build more comfortably on something that's organic, than on a sudden, gigantic increase.
2) Those who think of blogging as a waste of writers' time are missing the big picture. If we think only of numbers and sales we really are missing the point, I'm more likely to buy something, eventually, from someone who has consistently entertained or helped me with his/her blogs or Tweets than I am from an ivory tower artiste or the nonstop daily huckster. Through blogging we can create a presence or aura that brings readers in time to our books.
.3) It helps to think of Michael Jordan 'relaxing' by shooting hoops for hours each day. When we take our minds off the payoff and shoot our own hoops in a similar way, we may end up feeling still more in the Zone.

In parting, a few links that you may enjoy:
--The AE post from Wendy Jones that put a fresh spin on my thinking:
http://tinyurl.com/ls9sh9m

--The first post in my revamped blog, Southern Scotch, inspired by Ms. Jones:
http://tinyurl.com/mmfw2x9

--And, finally, the latest issue of Seattle Rock:
http://tinyurl.com/k299ctl




10 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

Admirable, Reb. Your strategy is clearly working and I couldn't agree more about the value of building a presence beyond that of mere book-flogger. Commerce is always more palatable when there's some humanity in the mix.

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks, Bill. I continue to be guided by the Youtility Factor.

Nick Mercurio said...

I'm dancing on air, Reb. Thank you soooo much! Like so many aspiring young writers, from time to time I've had concerns about my regularity. This inspirational post has freed me to let rip.

Lydia Bennet said...

This is lively and also very useful Reb, my research showed that Tweeting about your books doesn't increase sales directly, but from your experiment it clearly helps to get clicks on blogs which will have an indirect effect.

Wendy Jones said...

Glad to be of service Reb. Great post and I'm glad my post helped to get you moving again. I have to say that it's the firs time I have been compared to Dulcolax or medicines of that Ilk but I do aim to please and keep things running smoothly

Reb MacRath said...

Dual response:
Val, I have seen some direct response from Twitter...though Claude Bouchard is probably right in stating the sales bump may be as low as 1-5%. This will mean next to nothing to any writer with less than 10,000 followers. Even so, the 'bank shot' effect is powerful. From your blogs I was inspired to try one of your mysteries, then the second. And now I've started to hanker to try one of the LB Jane Austeners...

Wendy, I'd never have compared you personally to any such thing! Once again, however, we have a 'bank shot' (as in billiards) at play: that sort of wicked wit is right up my alley...and I want to try one of your books as well. Cheers.

Wendy Jones said...

I am honored to be a literary mover and shaker :-

Wendy Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy Jones said...

Reb I have only written one book so far. I use my full name Wendy H. Jones as my author name to differentiate me from the masses. My book is called Killer's Countdown. Not trying to spam just point you in the right direction :-)

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks, Wendy. Will get to it a.s.a.p.