It’s officially a year since I launched my first blog – my first that worked ;>) – and I guess I’m supposed to recap how it all went. I haven’t followed many of the traditions of blogging. I’ve never done a “100 Things About Me” piece, for example, nor have I got a little graphic with my mood of the day, since I didn’t really think any of my readers would be interested. With six active blogs and a seventh in the development, I think that would get a little schizoid after awhile, anyway. (I’m just going to do one birthday piece, because I don’t think there’s any tradition yet for multi-bloggers, BTW)
In one year everything has changed. Last year at this time I was busily planning a book fair, and attempting to nudge a lot of book authors into making the change from static websites to blogs. I was also doing a lot of blog evangelizing, trying to convince people that blogs were not a fad, not limited to the single use of journaling, and most certainly not requiring any particular level of geekness or self-involvement.
The book fair was mainly a shaky beginning; I could see the signs. Had I been able to go ahead with another one six months later here in Yuma, been able to plan an identical one for this year at the same spot, it could have morphed into a frequent and probably successful event for AZ authors; but that was not to be. Still, it was nice to connect with the writers from the UK, Ireland, and all over AZ.
I also have been less than successful at persuading book authors to let go of their static websites and get blogging. Here and there I’ll see a writer using a blog as promotion, but mostly they’ve been short-form writers, such as those who do magazine articles, poetry or short stories. I don’t know why that is. There’s been so much going on here I haven’t taken the time, really, to consider the question.
Everything I’ve ever read about marketing, promotion, or even self-help books makes the point that you need to try a lot of things and just keep on trying until you find the thing that works. Even then, that thing may not work forever, so you need to be prepared to change tactics when necessary.
I certainly have expanded my readership exponentially, as I was saying to anyone who would listen last summer and fall. I’ve branched out into a lot of different communities because well, mostly because I could. I figure you hafta cover all your bases if you’re expecting to get your books (or anything else) out to the public and be read. People need to know who you are and what you’re about, so each blog has a completely different focus on something I’m passionate about. This not even to mention that I really love this form!
Hard-copy is still the primary vehicle of choice, even for computer books, so that’s the direction I’m heading.
Yes, I recognize this is far from the traditional route – but I’m just not wired in a traditional manner. I’ve got two more books going up on blogs in the next few weeks; another fiction piece and one on marketing. The best one of all is still on the hard drive, its future yet to be decided. The strategy, such as it is for right now, is to show that yes, I have already got people reading my stuff, and yes, I can and will promote my own work. I’ve never been one to stick something up on a website and then go back to my knitting.
Probably the best part of the whole blogging thing is the fact that it gives me the opportunity to be in on the beginning of something; well, close to the beginning, anyway. It also gives me the chance to communicate with people whose work I’ve admired in other venues, and see how their ideas are evolving. (The various authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto, for example.) No other way would I have been able to do this.
I guess by now you may be wondering why I haven’t said anything about activism, even though the first blog I launched was designed to replace my activist newsletter. That’s because I found myself at the point where I had to pick one thing I knew I could do that would be of benefit to the most important issue, while still allowing myself the time to work on other things. I was a full-time, high-profile activist for four years, and now it’s just time for me to concentrate my efforts on projects left neglected.
Coming up is something I’m really excited about! Global PR Blog Week 1.0, of which I’m a part, is already getting coverage in the Big3 traditional media, and all 26 (last I looked, there may be more now) participants are rarin’ to go! I’ll be talking about blogs for business, government, and non-profits. I’m working on the presentation already, and I know it’s going to fun and informative for everybody. I’ve already learned a lot from the others in the group, and I know I’m going to learn a lot more. The week is July 12-18, and it’s set up so the world can be invited and participate!
I’m mirroring this essay at all the blogs, so here are the links for the rest, if you haven’t visited them yet:
The God Blog (actually the work of Rev. Trudy Mackay in my blog space)
Yuma Tech Consortium (maintained for the Yuma Chamber of Commerce)