Thursday, October 10, 2013

To Blog or Not to Blog ...

That IS the question.

This post is a spin off from Jessica Bell's, in which she questioned the direction blogging is headed. I agree with her sentiment on many levels.  There was a time a few years ago when bloggers posted interesting topics, and many still do, but we're also inundated with book promos.

I think this happens for two reasons:

1. With the onslaught of self-publishing, there's a ton more authors hoping to have their books highlighted in some way.

2. Since the innovation of actual Blog Tour companies, people are actually making money off of knowing bloggers and soliciting their help.

I have mixed feelings about #2. Don't get me wrong, I see the benefit for the author and the company. Authors are extremely busy, and hiring someone else to arrange the touring is a load off one's mind. And arranging a blog tour IS work, so if you're handling it for someone else, you SHOULD get paid.

I've been blogging for three years, and I've worked hard at it--treated it like a job, and enjoy it immensely. I really VALUE the relationships I've cultivated with other bloggers, and when they need me to post a book promo or cover reveal for me, I'm more than happy to assist them.

That part is lost when I'm posting for authors I don't really know. Authors I barely know ask me to post for them all the time, and while I'm happy to help when I can, most never even stop by my blog to say thank you.

That, I don't understand. The friendship and etiquette has been lost. Same with most blog tours I've participated in with tour companies. I see no benefit to the blogger whatsoever. Why am I taking time to be part of an author's paid blog tour service, when the author doesn't stop by my blog, nor does it add any additional traffic from other bloggers? (not all authors are guilty of this)

This isn't true for every service, but with most I've participated in, this has been my experience. So what's happening to the art of blogging? I wouldn't say it's gone down the drains completely. Many of you who frequently visit and comment on my blog have become true friends to me. I know I can email you anytime with questions, and hopefully you know that about me too. We've established something more than just, "Here look at me and my book."

This is why I continue to blog. Because I want to maintain those friendships that are important to me. I know this won't turn into enormous sales when my book is out, but I'm okay with that. I've done my homework and know I need to be on Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads to effectively promote my book. But I want to SHARE the experience with you, my blogging friends who've been with me on this journey for so long.

With the inundation of book promo and cover reveals on blogs, some of this "bonding" is lost, because these authors who are eager to jump on the blog bandwagon without having put in the time it takes to cultivate friendships with effective blogging, don't understand what's really involved. As with anything, you get back what you put in. So if you're not doing your effort with the bloggers featuring your book, it's really not all that effective of promo anyway.

I get what Jessica Bell is saying. Enough with all the promo--let's get back to being creative and interesting with our blog posts, while sharing some promo here and there. Remember, though, many of us who've been blogging for years and have helped promote so many of our fellow blogger friends, are also eager for our opportunity. We deserve it. It may've taken some of us a little longer to get there, but that doesn't mean our blogger friends should suddenly throw in the towel on promoting us.

And you know what? We should be EXCITED so many of our friends are finally launching books and/or MORE books! This is wonderful! And instead of feeling tired of all the book promo, we should be rejoicing in all the accomplishments! I'm referring to actual blogging FRIENDS here... not the people we don't know who want a prime spot on our blog real estate.

My point being, if you're reading this and you've asked a blogger you don't know to feature you, or you've had them sign up for your blog tour, learn some etiquette. Stop by their blog and say thank you. Offer to return the favor on your own blog. Keep in mind, if you see more than 100 followers on the side of a blog, it's because that blogger worked their butt off to get there.

I hope blogging doesn't go away completely, even though most of us feel the fatigue now and again. But often we can be more considerate with those who take time out to post for us, as well as take the time to read our posts ... and I'm so sorry for this rant ...

Now ... *ahem* I shall step off my soap box.  lol

Today is also NA Thursday (because I chose to be apart of this NA promotional venture)

Remember the NALitChat tonight at 9pm EST on Twitter! And hop over to the NA Alley for everything NA!

The Space Between Blurb:
When Life Falls to Pieces, Answers Lie in the Space Between.
   Leni Drago can't make a smart decision on her own, according to her mother anyway--the few times she's tried resulted in disaster. When her uncle sends her on a dance tour in Italy to find her real self, she returns to an empty home and any evidence of his existence wiped out. Then things get even stranger, like the mysterious appearances of Jeric Winters--inked, pierced and a hit-'em-and-quit-'em type. He's one decision that should be easy for Leni. Or is he?
   Jeric doesn't do girlfriends. Unless they're someone else's. He left the fighting cage and modeling for a reason, and girls who want more than a night of fun are distractions he doesn't need. Especially when they come with as much baggage as Leni carries. But he can't shake the gut feeling that he needs to know her. All of her.
   To discover the truth behind their connection and their ties to a journal from 1989, they must face painful secrets from their pasts. And they must do so quickly because their own existences are falling to pieces.
   This first part of The Book of Phoenix takes you on a heart-wrenching ride as you discover the answers that lie in The Space Between.
Kristie Cook Bio:
  Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, a New Adult paranormal romance / contemporary fantasy, with Promise, Purpose, Devotion, Power, and the latest release, Wrath, book five, available now. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella, which details the compelling history of her Soul Savers mythology. Over 250,000 Soul Savers books have been sold, with Promise peaking at #54 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid list and at #1 in the Amazon Fantasy category.

Kristie is having a giveaway, so please click here for the RAFFLECOPTER, and enter the code KRISTIEPK in the Blog #20.

Have you read Jessica Bell's post? How do you feel about the state of blogging? Have I gone too far in my rant? Spill it ...


Kittie Howard said...

Big applause for speaking out! I did a couple of reviews for bloggers, one of whom never thanked me and the other just moved on. I've commented elsewhere that I think we should self-police ourselves and reign in some of this promo stuff. There's a tipping point where too much becomes a negativity.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well said, PK!!
(Jessica's post prompted a lot of us to post on this topic, didn't it?)
And I completely understand about posting for authors you don't really know. I've never allowed posts from services or ads or outside sources. But I also get countless requests for mentions, often from authors who follow my blog but have never commented. Actually, I got an email from an author recently who doesn't even follow me, requesting a full cover reveal. They follow me now, but they've never commented, so I don't really know them, and I'm going to say no to the cover reveal because the moment I do it, they'll probably unfollow me.
I am excited for my friends, writers and otherwise, and will continue to help in any way possible. And for any who host me, I go all out trying to bring traffic to the site, because it is a two-way street.
It won't go away, PK. Not if we can help it!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I love how you preach lady! I'm 100% with you. The friendships is what I love about blogging. You guys have saved my sanity time and time again! I decided this summer that I will keep my promos to one day a week...unless you're a bloggy friend! Then I will try to post at 3:00 on a Tuesday if you need me to. As for those paid tours? I'm trying one, just to see what it brings me. Just curious and the tour they offered was on sale.

Now, as for hosting per request of blog tour group? Hmmm...if calendar permits; friends first, marketers second. And if I do host you and you don't have the courtesy to stop by and say a thank you to the commenters who took their time to log on and say good luck to you? Well, I won't have you back. I host fellow writers, not Divas.


I love Blogging. Part of the reasoning for me to start, was seeing the community and how it supported its own. I try to follow things and people I enjoy. If someone new to my blog comments I take the time to find out where they are from, and follow and comment on theirs.

I can't Wait for Oct. 16th for the Cover Reveal. I know it'll be fun to see all the wibbly wobbly timey wimey places on the hop!

Robin said...

I haven't read Jessica's post. I like your response to it though. I want to be blogging to make friendships and connections. I don't have a book out there yet, but I do hope that one day when I do the authors whose books I've blogged about/revealed will help me out as well. I'm slowly but surely working to be a better blogger (and twitterer and face booker) and most importantly a better writer. Blogging helps me get there.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Barbara Watson said...

The connections and encouragement blogging provides are why I blog, too. And sometimes I blog because it's a place I can process things -- almost like an online journal, I suppose. I figure things out through some of my posts.

LD Masterson said...

I was offline for a couple months and when I came back it was re-connecting with old friends. That's why I blog.

Old Kitty said...

That's why I stick to animals, bad poetry and posting once a week! LOL!

Take care

Andrew Leon said...

I'm pretty much against promos. I don't think they do anything good. Unless driving people away is good? I almost always completely ignore them, and I know a lot of other people do to. A cover reveal does nothing. It doesn't even mean there will be an actual book to follow it. A promo of someone's book release does nothing unless I know that the person doing the promo has actually read the book, and, generally speaking, if it's a promo for a new release, that hasn't happened. Actual reviews of books I will pay attention to (unless it's one of those where it's clear that the book is from a blogging buddy and the review is reflective of the relationship with the person rather than the quality of the book). The issue is that our goal is not to just sell to each other, which is what all this promo stuff aims to do. The goal is break beyond the confines of other writer bloggers and reach out into the broader world of readers, and all of this promo stuff doesn't do that.

My cents on the matter.

Anonymous said...

There's much to be said for blogging, My first was in 2006 then I didn't know what followers were. But gradually got a small following. My Blogging life took off having Arlee bird as a friend and the A to Z Challenge started.
I too self publish, yesterday I started on my third book hopefully out next year.


Natalie Aguirre said...

So agree with you PK. I try to have interviews where authors share something we can all learn from when I spotlight them. But I do get many requests from authors I don't know and try to help. But it's taking all my writing time and I am going to have to say no more.

I do think with self publishing and the need to publish more books in a year than traditionally published authors that there gets to be lots of book promotions on blogs. I agree we want to help our friends celebrate and I'm thinking of ways I can help my friends more. But I think the cover reveals and blog tour posts that are going to the same crowd of people should be kept to a smaller number of posts because I don't think it helps blogging more or the person's book.

I do hope blogging doesn't die out. Because like you, I enjoy the friendships I'm making whether or not they buy my (hopefully someday) book. And to be honest, blogging is the best way to get out news about your book and writer accomplishments. I miss so much on Facebook and Twitter just with the volume of posts and my busy life.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wonderful post! I know I need to work on having more posts on my own blog. I've been so busy writing posts for the tour though. Tour first, then my own blog. I promise!

mshatch said...

You make some excellent points, PK. I'll continue to blog because I enjoy it but I have no intention of inundating my bloggy friends or my own blog with self-promotion. That's not why people come to my blog, or anyone else's. They come for the content.

William Kendall said...

You make great points, PK.

I blog because I enjoy it, and it rarely involves promotion. When it does, it's someone I know. And from time to time if the blog itself is particularly interesting, I'll point it out beyond that.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that bloggers have been sharing their thoughts on this topic. I must admit that I've been doing a lot of book spotlights on my blog. I need to rethink what I want to post on the blog so that people look forward to stopping by and commenting. My stats show that my book spotlight posts get lots of hits, but very few comments.

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

I agree. It is bad form and will make people say "no way" the next time you're looking for free press. It is called a community for a reason. Being social and giving should be on everyone's minds.

As for self-promotion, the general rule is once every five posts, maximum. Sometimes, I just update my "submissions page" without announcement; those who want to know, know where to find it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I haven't read Jessica's post but I understand what she's saying. I get tired of all the promotion too but most of the blogs I frequent don't do strictly promo. I hope blogging stays around.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I have the same mixed feelings about blogging, blog book tours, and guest blogging (both as host and as blogger). Yet I don't want to give up my blogging friends. Who knew we were going to make these great connections when we started our blogs?

Jane Ann McLachlan said...

This was a very interesting post. It's a real balancing act, isn't it? I post reviews on GoodReads and Amazon, and occasionally on my blogs, of books I like. If I don't like a book, I don't review it. Life is short and harsh enough, why write a bad review of someone's book? Help when I can, and do no harm, I try to live by.
I've never been asked to review someone's book - do they give you a free copy to do so?

J.L. Murphey said...

PK, While I've only just found you a couple of months ago, I enjoy your style of blogging for blogging sake. Personally I only do cover reveals and author/Reviewer interviews for those that I have personally interacted with because I believe in relationship building and helping a friend.

Pay for it services kind of defeats that purpose.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I love blogging about writing, and I have met SO MANY wonderful people from all over the world. Sometimes I even get to meet them in person. When we went to Paris, I met Katie Mills. When I went to NYC last weekend, I met Melissa Sarno. There was a blogger I could have met up with in London, except my family was running around so much, I couldn't squeeze it in.

But yes, the promo is getting to be too much. Some blogs are nothing but promotion (for self or others) that I no longer visit them. When I look down my blog roll on any given day, I see multiple posts promoting the exact same cover reveal or book release.

Which is why, when I got permission to release my cover, I didn't ask anybody to help. I just shared it myself on my blog and on Facebook. I am pretty sure that more people saw it on FB, where it was shared around quite a bit, than at my blog.

Michelle Wallace said...

You've nailed it sistah!
I LOVE blogging, especially the online FRIENDSHIPS that I've made. The human factor... to me that's very important.
I'm very excited when somebody releases a new book!!
And when I eventually complete a book... one day in the distant future... hopefully... even if I sell one/two copies, that will be okay.
You cannot put a price on friendship.
See you Wednesday for your blogfest/ cover reveal!

Karen Walker said...

Pk, this is so well thought out and well said. I really resonated to Jess's original post about this, as I had been feeling the same way. You have articulated my feelings perfectly.

Norma Beishir said...

I totally agree, PK! Too many blogs have become nothing more than pit stops for book tours. Let's take blogging back to what it was meant to be!

The Desert Rocks said...

I don't enjoy blog hops or blog tours but I have guest post-ers and I've shared covers when I can. You are so helpful to so many and I see that your blog is full of blog-love. I try making my blog like a magazine about things that are somewhat interesting to the general public, not just writers. Too much author stuff drives my viewers to other sites. Though I focus more on writers, I also think the internet seems to have made everyone a writer. Don't you feel sorry for those fools who failed high school English? :)

SC Author said...

I SO SO SO AGREE WITH YOU!! I only do book promos for authors I know and like: my friends. I can't imagine doing it for strangers who just want to use me as a stepping stool. Thank you so much for posting this :)

Candace said...

I just got your email so I jumped over here quickly to check you out, and I found this AWESOME post! I'm so with you!
I organize tours for books I believe in and authors I love. I mostly need both because how can I promote a book that I don't believe in? And while I'm getting paid for my time I'm not a liar, I'm honest in everything I do. So when I ask a blogger to host an author I need some EXCITEMENT in that request. I need to show why I love the book and why they should at least consider giving it a try.
I think developing relationships is key. I comment on all the tour stops on my tours and I encourage authors to do the same. This is tricky ground as some bloggers don't like it- they feel they are pressured to like the book more if they know the author will be reading the review. However that's part of my deal- it's a pressure free tour, if they don't like the book they can drop out of the tour. It runs some risks but since I believe in the books I promote I know that most of my bloggers will as well. Plus I mostly hand pick them going by their own taste.
I don't do promos like book blasts though sometimes bloggers choose to just have a spotlight post on the tour. I personally want good content on my blog and so I'm prepared to give only good content to my bloggers hosting my tours. While I do cover reveals I do limit them and prefer to do them for authors I've worked with before and already have a fan base built for them. I'm always open to making exceptions, it just depends on lots of factors. Like you, I'm willing to help out a friend now and again as well. But blogs with pages and pages of book blasts and promo content really hold no interest to me and I expect others feel the same so what's the point of even being featured on their blog in the first place cause it's likely no one reads through all those promos. Though they might just for the giveaway's. I don't think book blasts are always bad, if they include exclusive content, interviews, etc then I'm all for them! And have even arranged teaser tours where there's an excerpt on each blog.
Well, I've managed to ramble on enough, but I think this is a great post and I totally agree with what you've said!

aman kesherwani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark Murata said...

Hard to believe some people don't thank you for doing promos for them. If you refuse to do them for people you don't know, it won't affect your book sales. For one thing, the promos don't affect sales as much as we like to think, and for another, the ingrates probably won't bother to help you in return.

Amanda M. Darling said...

It's interesting what you wrote about blog-etiquette. Blogging is so new that people think there must be new rules, when it's really just a new form with old rules: when you're in the sandbox -- your own or someone else's -- you should play nicely! A reminder is always in order. Thanks.

Denise Covey said...

I haven't read Jessica's post, but will, but she is an author who promotes herself a lot on the blogs etc. I had a grump about authors using bloggers a few months ago - and asking us to 'like' them on fb when as you say, they are not interested in reciprocating. Think we're all done with that.

Like you, I'm happy to promote a blogger I know, who regularly visits my blog and has formed some 'virtual' relationship. As you say: '...many of us who've been blogging for years and have helped promote so many of our fellow blogger friends, are also eager for our opportunity. We deserve it.'

But I love blogging over all social media, but like most social media it has been awash with blog book tours. Those I hosted for authors I didn't know were very unsatisfying as right, they never bothered to acknowledge me, and if they came by to comment it was so all about them. So now I only host authors who aren't just 'me, me, me.'

But I do find it satisfying to host bloggers I know and respect.

Looking forward to Wednesday too.


Cally Jackson said...

It's sad to think that some people wouldn't bother to thank you after you've featured them on your blog. That's just common courtesy!

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject. :-)

Arlee Bird said...

Interesting contemplations here. I see what both you and Jessica are saying.

Another theory that is a remote observation of mine is that when I started blogging about the time you did I suppose, we were all essentially in a circle where there were some published authors and many who were not yet. As time has gone by and especially recently I've seen a lot of bloggers in our community with an onslaught of books--especially the e kind--who are promoting and cross-promoting.

I don't mind helping out, but after a while there is a great bit of repetition, especially in the cover reveals. I'd rather stand apart from some of the sameness and mix it up if I can. I want to help promote, but I don't want my blog taken over by it.

As far as outside authors I do like the idea of bringing in people from outside our usual circle to add a new voice. Some of my guest spots have been one time deals from people who never comment on my blog again or anyone elses. At least I tried something different.

I haven't participated in any paid tours yet and don't know that I would. Well, unless the pay were really good!

Good posts are out there. I'm always on the look out for new fresh voices to introduce on my blogs.

Tossing It Out

Donna Hole said...

Really hard lately to enjoy blogging. It is too much about the marketing. Its fun to see the covers, read tidbits about the authors and their journeys to publication, and the inspiration behind the concepts.

But after reading 12-13 posts in a month by an author, or seeing the cover on 70 different blogs in a week or a month, well, I don't even care to open my blog. There are several tours and reveals a month - or a week - and some sites host these reveals about every day.

Yeah, I support my friends with book reviews, author interviews, reveals and tour stops, but sometimes it more so I don't have to come up with an interesting post than anything else. Showing up to my blogging job is getting harder and harder. I think it does help with sales; but I often wonder if it isn't more about guilt and reciprocation.

Afterall, who sees these blog tours and reveals besides other authors?

As for the paid organizers; if you would pay someone to organize your offline book tour, why not do the same online. One of my reasons for holding out for traditional publishing is to have a publicist arrange the promotions, appearances, giveaways and all that marketing stuff.


Lexa Cain said...

You are such a sweetie, PK. <3 I only promo authors I actually know AND who have books that I truly believe in. I kinda feel sorry for people who buy blog tours because I see promos pop up on tiny little blogs that don't get hits or comments.

But I guess we're all trying and doing the best we can. Everyone deserves every break they can find.

Great post! :-)

sjp said...

It was a good soapbox, thought provoking and respectful :) and love the cover! definitely makes me want to turn the pages.

Jessica Bell said...

Thanks for linking to me, PK. :-) And I couldn't agree with you more. Of course, I'm always going to be there to help promote my friends. I'm just going to try taking a different approach from now on.

Interesting comments by your followers too ... :-)

Panda Ninja said...

I really enjoyed reading this blog post!

There are some bloggers that appear to blog just for the pay and not blogging just to blog. Not everyone, but there are some bloggers that used to blog personal entries and etc, but now only do entries that they are paid to do.

Anyways, for myself I enjoy blogging because I enjoy communicating with my followers.

By the way, I nominated you for a Leibster award!

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz said...

I'm excited to have found this blog and you Ms. Hrezo! I will admit to falling prey to the urge to self promote. It's hard not to. There are SO MANY authors and SO MANY books you have to break through to be heard and seen and valued. And we sometimes forget that we authors/bloggers are ALSO readers (usually voracious ones). I have found a fair number of exciting new authors thanks to blogs I have followed although I don't do as much following now that I have my own writing/publishing schedule to follow. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this community! I look forward to having you on my blog soon!

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