This weekend I had the privilege of attending the North Branch Writers' Workshop both as an attendee and a speaker. While I managed to give a talk on queries and not have a public speaking panic attack (score!), I also was able to stay afterward and hear the lovely and talented Kristen Lamb give her talk on social media for writers.
If you guys aren't following her yet (seriously, where have you been?), she blogs, she tweets, and she is the person behind the #myWANA (We Are Not Alone) hashtag. But anyway, she spoke on how we can maximize and streamline what we are doing online to best position ourselves and our future books in the market.
First of all, let's say that I have not been the poster child for Kristen's advice. : ) In fact, in her presentation, I was a ready example of what not to do, lol. But I am teachable (mostly). So here are a few tips I took away from this weekend.
1. Have your blog title have your name in it.
You want people to know your name, the one that is going to be on front of your books. As Kristen points out, you can't go into the bookstore and buy a book from FictionGroupie. (The same goes for using a moniker instead of your name on Twitter--it's wasting a valuable opportunity for people to learn your name.)
This is my big sin honestly. I started Fiction Groupie when I was just testing the blogging waters. I didn't even use my name when I started blogging. Then it turned out to be something fun and the blog grew. Well, by the time I realized I probably shouldn't have made the web address "fiction groupie", I had a significant amount of followers and didn't want to start over with another address. But even if you've done this, it can be fixed. The web address doesn't matter so much, but you can add your name back. So as you'll notice above, my name is now in the title. (See, I'm teachable.)
2. Group blogs don't offer you much benefit.
I had never thought about this, but Kristen made the point of--do you know the authors' names of the group blogs you like? Or do you just know the blog name? This wastes your valuable blogging time if no one connects your name with your content.
I had recently started a Tumblr photo blog with a group of other authors. Over the weekend, I left the blog and set up my own Tumblr site. This is where I post inspiration pics--erotic photogratphy type things, so NSFW but lots of fun. This one also feeds into my author website under the Hotness tab. ;)
3. Don't do a blog about writing.
*ducks head* Okay, obviously I didn't follow this rule, and I don't regret it. I love this blog and the people I've met through it. And I wouldn't have gotten my agent referral or even the speaking gig this weekend were it not for this blog. However, I totally get Kristen's point. She argues that writers are only a small subset of readers. It's more productive to blog about other things that you enjoy and that have more broad appeal--things that could expose you to a much wider audience.
4. Don't have more than one blog.
Eek! Okay, so I'm bad for this one too and I'm not changing this anytime soon but I don't necessarily recommend it to anyone else, lol. I have (shh) three blogs. This one, my author blog, and now the tumblr. But part of this is because I didn't follow #3. This blog is a writing blog. I know many of you who follow me are not erotic romance readers. So when I got my book deal, I was in the position of--how do i adjust my blogging to appeal to both my current blog readers and readers who are actually interested in my genre?
I ultimately decided to not change the focus of this blog but to start blogging two days a week at my author site on more romance (and sometimes racier) topics. For instance, every Tuesday is my Boyfriend of the Week post where I put up (often shirtless) pics of my favorite celebrities. That appeals to some of you and not others. I do plan to start linking to those posts here on Tuesdays and Thursdays to give you the opportunity to read that content as well but as of right now, I don't plan to merge the two blogs. (And the Tumblr site is just for fun. Takes me literally 30 seconds to put a post there and it feeds into the author site, so I don't even really view it as a separate blog.) *rationalizes*
But yes, I wouldn't recommend the multiple blog to everyone and maybe eventually I'll merge everything and just list a schedule where I say--I'm talking about writing topics on MWF and sexier/fun stuff on T/Th. How would y'all feel about that? Just curious. I'd love feedback on how you feel about a blog having mixed focus?
Also, what do you think of these other tips? What things have you done with your blog that you would've done differently if you could go back in time?
And to get more kickass info from Kristen, she has two great books for writers: Are You There Blog? It's Me, Writer and We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media.
And thanks again to the North Branch Writers' Workshop for inviting me to the conference! I had a lot of fun. :)