"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does."
***Steuart Henderson Britt
HANK: Ah yes, did we tempt you back here for day two of the fantastic Dani Greer? If yes--then she's taught us well. As you know, she's the knower of all knowledge about blogging...and promises to share it all with us!
Now you're saying: Hank. Get on with it. We want Dani.
HANK: What's the biggest mistake bloggers make? Okay, the two biggest mistakes?
DANI: The very biggest mistake is not posting regularly on the blog (several times a week at least), and not treating the blogging as an important aspect of their writing careers. There are still writers out there who think blogging is a waste of time, and not "real" writing.
The second big mistake is not having a "buy" button for their books. Don't be shy about asking your readers to purchase a copy of your book, and make it easy for them to do so.
Can I have one more? Okay, third big mistake is not paying attention to your blog statistics. How many readers you have, where they're coming from, how the stats relate to posts on your blog. These numbers are very telling especially during a blog tour, whether your own tour or a writer you're hosting. It's a numbers game, and the better you play it, the more likely you'll have another book published.
HANK: Oh--tell us more about statistics!
DANI: Statistics are kind of like grades in school. They're a measure of how well you're doing. Don't let them depress or confuse you. Numbers that are useful to you during a blog book tour include:
1. Your amazon ranking before, during, and after a tour. Title Z (http://www.titlez.com/) is a good place to monitor this.
2. Your blog traffic before, during, and after a tour and pay special note to the types of tour stops that will get the most traffic. It's no surprise that a book giveaway will draw hits and comments. Use the Mad Clicker approach at your site meter's webpage and look at all the various reports. The coolest are the bar graphics showing hits each day, and I like the referral page that shows me where my visitors are coming from.
If 1/3 of your hits are jumping over from Twitter (http://twitter.com/), or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/), or The Cozy Chicks (http://www.cozychicksblog.com/) because you had a guest post over there, you know you're using those tools effectively. It's sort of like meeting new people at a party, who then visit your place because they think you're interesting. You might not like that scenario in real life, but it's very cool in the virtual world.
HANK: Sometimes, when it's late and the blog is due and you just can't think of a topic, it's easy to wonder if it's all worth it. How do we know blogging is worth the effort? I mean--is there a way to quantify?And, because it's so much fun to analyze other people's blogs--do the number of comments reflect the number of views?
DANI: The number of comments rarely reflect your average daily views - they only suggest that particular blog post was a hot-button for some reason.
Usually, it's a controversial subject, an empathy topic like a death, or a contest that will goose reader response. As to ways of quantifying your blog's success, it's a bit like determining whether your store advertisement brought in traffic. Unless you offer a coupon, how will you know?
Customers might mention it when they come in, but that's not a reliable source. Good retailers know that advertising works over the long run if you do it regularly, and the same holds true for your blog. Post three times a week and mention it everywhere you go online, and you'll eventually get traffic, and pick up new readers.
It also becomes much easier to find topics when you have a good writing habit established. (Isn't that a brilliant insight?) It all takes time and it's work. It's part of running your writing business and selling your books. Which brings us to your ultimate statistic - how many books you actually sell. The more you get the word out, the more readers will know that there's a product available for purchase. Your royalty check is your ultimate statistic.
HANK: On the spellcheck of my email, "blog" is not recognized as a word. Nor is "blogger." Spellcheck wants them to be "bog" and "logger." what do you think about that?
DANI: Old email program? Nutty in any case, since blogging isn't exactly a new concept, if the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogging) article is any indication. How long have we been doing this - ten years? I'm a late bloomer, but I know writers who have been blogging for a decade.
HANK: Thanks Dani--you're amazing. Questions? Comments? Dani's here!
When Dani Greer isn't blogging for book tours, she creates and maintains other group blogs like The Blood Red Pencil (http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/) and Penny Dreadful (http://pdreadful.blogspot.com/). Email her at hotbuttonpress AT gmail DOT com if you'd like to participate on either one.
She's also the mogul of Blog Book Tours Yahoo Group, a peer support group which now has 125 author members learning to arrange their own virtual promotions.
FINAL LESSON FOR THE DAY:
Links are terrific. And important! But they can also be a pain. Here's what was shown on yesterday's blog here:
In fact, I remember my first blogging experience. Ann Parker (http://www.annparker.net)and/ I went to the Women Writing the West Conference and we agreed to blog the event on their brand-spanking-new blog(http://womenwritingtheest.blogspot.com/).
Lovely. But the links don't work.
In the first one, the "and" somehow got connected. (Bzzzt. Wrong.)
In the second one, the "w" in west was omitted. (Bzzt! Wrong.)
Here's the corrected version:
In fact, I remember my first blogging experience. Ann Parker (http://www.annparker.net/) and I went to the Women Writing the West Conference and we agreed to blog the event on their brand-spanking-new blog (http://womenwritingthewest.blogspot.com/).
BSP: Don't forget our own wonderfulRoberta Isleib is on blog-tour for Asking For Murder! http://robertaisleib.com/blog/