Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Truth About Blogging - IWSG

Happy March! And as with every first Wednesday of the month, bloggers everywhere post about their insecurities or share wisdom, or just good ol' fashion support. And there's always room for more, so click on the picture to get to HQ and sign up.

So why my title, right? Truth is, I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately.Since my debut novel launched in November, I've had less and less time for blogging. I'm sure many of you can relate. The problem is not posting content, it's getting around to all the other wonderful blogs out there. The Catch-22 is, I LOVE visiting other blogs and seeing what you're all up to--plus I learn so much!

But what happens is I feel so guilty for not getting around to more blogs, that I stop posting content on my own, and so it sits until I've had a chance to do return visits. I fully believe in return visits, and never want to bypass that. Meanwhile, my list of content for posts grows and grows and rarely gets used.

Truth is, after November, I started exploring other platforms too. I started a Facebook author page, a Tumblr blog, Wattpad prequel, and joined about a hundred Facebook groups. There's a LOT of great info on FB groups, and for awhile I found myself sucked into it. It was easier to access, didn't require a lot of time, and I could do it all from my iPhone.

But in turn, I've been neglecting my blog here. What I've realized since November is, I don't really like Facebook all that much. I never have. Don't get me wrong, it's a useful tool for sure, but having an author page has done very little for me other than suck my time. Thanks to fellow author, SJ Pajonas, she discovered that by being active on FB with your author page instead of your regular profile account, your author page becomes more visible.

Even so, it still puts me back on FB where I don't really love being. Why? I've seen friendships ruined and marriages destroyed. Not that it's FB's fault, but it's all a little too easy, if you ask me. And there's a reason why we didn't keep in touch with a lot of the people who "friend" us now. I still believe that if you're not on FB, you're probably missing out on some important connections, but whether or not you'll ever miss it, is up to you to decide.

Twitter on the other hand is much more writer-based for me. I'm on Twitter to talk about writing/ books/ media and don't get bogged down with everybody's drama. I love Twitter. Tumblr I'm still learning, LinkedIn is simply another presence. Google + is convenient and I like being able to share other blog posts with that handy little button.

But blogging. You know, there's just something about it. The friends I've made blogging (you guys) are the best around the interwebs. I think there's a real commitment when it comes to running a blog.  And dedication to making it work, posting, formatting. It takes time and effort. And when others see your blog and what you've accomplished with it, you get a certain amount of respect. There's a credibility associated with it, and that makes it worthwhile.

People see that you take your writing and networking seriously enough to put a professional foot forward. And I don't think we should discount that. As hard as it is to make time for blogging, it's still the most effective way of communicating and networking with other committed writers.

Now whether or not it sells books? That remains to be seen. My guess is very minimal. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't open doors to other possibilities. I just accepted a special work assignment for my day job, and I got the op because it requires writing and formatting for our company website. It was a competitive position that I had to prove I was capable of. I showed them my blog, and it helped serve as proof I know what I'm doing, and that I'm committed.

And I'm sure most of you have been contacted plenty of times via email to assist with other promotions and such. That's because they see our blogs, the exposure it gets, and they need us.

Which brings me to blog tours. Those of you who helped with my cover reveal blogfest are superstars in my eyes. I handled that blogfest myself, and it was a lot of work, but well worth it.

Last month I hired Candace Robinson from Candace's Book Blog to arrange my Butterman Tour. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I have mixed feelings about blog tour companies, because they don't offer a lot of incentive for bloggers. By incentive, I mean potential traffic and author interaction. Now, I realize that's my opinion and not everyone feels that way. That's coming from a bloggers perspective.

But with my tour last month I got to experience it from the author's perspective. And it's a bit different. First off, I just want to say that Candace is a rockstar. She did ALL the work. What I loved about her, is that she has a strict policy of not taking on authors/books if she doesn't support the book. She reads it first. And that to me is HUGE. I admire that. A lot.

She has such a strong network of book lovers, that she posts her review of your book, then later opens it up to interested readers. I did have to donate my book to all the bloggers who chose to review it, and I was happy to do that. All the reviews were honest and heartfelt. It was SO much fun going around meeting new bloggers who love books, and some of whom really got my story. I couldn't have done that without Candace, so I'm super grateful she was recommended to me by a trusted friend. She's also way down to earth, as well as professional, and that's my kind of people.

I worked on a sub panel a while back with various emerging authors and one of them told me once, "I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to find quality stories."

Huh? Not my kind of people.

I'm not saying everyone has to be best friends, but a feeling of community is way more important to me than success. Besides, what good is success if you have no friends to share it with? Plus I think we can encourage BOTH quality and community in everything we do.

So anyway, I know I'm rambling now and if you made it this far, you're amazing, thank you! What all this has been about, is to let you know that while I'm fumbling my way through all these platforms, I do NOT want to neglect this fantastic blogging community who has been so supportive of me over the years.

My PROMISE to you, is that whenever you need me to post or share your news, I will do it. I may not see it because I'm locked away in my writing cave and juggling projects and family and a day job, BUT I am always available to tweet, share, or post for you.

Trust me, I know who you are. And if I've been to your blog, or if you've actively commented here on my blog, this means YOU. This is only going out to my blogging buds, so by all means, let me know if I've missed something. Here's how:

You can tag me with a tweet promoting your book, agent, deal, special blog post, or whatever at anytime and I will retweet it to my followers. ANYTIME! @pkhrezo

If you have a cover reveal, and you've actively visited my blog here, email me the deets and I'll share it.

Tag me on Facebook with your announcement and I'll share it. ANYTIME!

I do not want to miss any of your news, so please please accept my offer and I am more than happy to share. Again, I know who you are. :D

And if you're wondering why I'm locked away in my writing cave so much lately, it's because I'm working on the sequel to Butterman, as well as a memoir for someone else. I've delayed my sequel so I can work on this memoir, because I believe it's a very special project--one that is stretching my writer skills in new ways. I'll share more on that later, but if you're interested, please visit the website to learn more about this family and the challenges they've faced, as well as the support they've received.

Thanks so much for stopping by and big ups for you if you read the whole thing. lol

How about you? Are you sinking in social media? Do you feel blogging has lost some of its appeal? Have you reduced your blogging time at all? Or have you found a platform that works better for you? And what are you working on? Anything new? Spill the deets in the comments ...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Community is way more important than success! Well put, PK. Besides, community IS success, and often more meaningful than book success because it involves people.
Blogging will always be my choice. It has made a difference with my book. But it's the difference it's made in me and for others that matters more.

Robin said...

Blogging offers connectedness in a way that other social platforms don't. FB is about reconnecting with old friends... but once you've reconnected, what it becomes about is posting statuses and seeing how many likes you get. It's actually very junior high. It's really obvious that it was designed by a guy still in college. He was living in the fish bowl when he got the idea.

Twitter (which I don't do) seems to be this arena for everyone to just share their thoughts. Some of those thoughts are promotional thoughts (like what you're doing). Other people just spout constantly.

My point is that I don't feel the sense of community on any other social network that I do here. So don't stop blogging!

Vanessa Morgan said...

That's EXACTLY what I'm doing right now: blogging less, because otherwise I can't keep up with the return visits, no matter how much I love reading other blogs. Hopefully I can get back to blogging normally soon.

Julie Flanders said...

I feel the same way about Facebook. I just can't ever get into it no matter how much I try. I've been thinking about trying Tumblr, will have to check out your page there! But I feel the same way about blogging. I don't think it helps much with sales but it's definitely where I feel most at home.

Jess said...

First of all, hooray for writing caves that are full of sequels to Butterman Travel :) Secondly, I'm right there with you on the guilt factor that comes with balancing life and social media. My Facebook account has been disabled for some time now because I just wouldn't have time to write if I got sucked into it every day. And I signed up for Goodreads last year and haven't done anything with it. It's one of those things I had to decide "do it well and be committed or don't do it." So that got pushed off my list as well. Twitter is my main social media place to connect with people and I still do blog posts now and then, but not nearly as often as I used to. Wish I had more time to read and comment on all the great posts, but sometimes you just have to take a break from things in order to keep life in balance, and that's okay (right? right?). Thanks so much for your offer to be a source of support to the blogging community!

Jay Noel said...

I don't think I can do a real blog tour without the help. It's way too much to take on. Looks like you found a great company that will do a really good job.

But I agree with your sentiments on what blog tours do for authors these days.

FB is really a big black hole for sure. I love talking to writers and blogger friends on there. It's more intimate and immediate on there vs. blogging. But I feel author pages are a big waste of time.

Especially since a fraction of your followers can even see your posts, and you pay to increase that by 1% maybe?

I think sticking to the loyal sea of writers/bloggers is the way to go.

Liz Blocker said...

So well said. Thank you!!! And so true - I think we all struggle with this. I've really come to enjoy blogging, mostly because of the people I've met as a result - but it's so hard to find the time for the writing, blogging, visits, and other social media. It's a constant juggling act.

Suzanne Furness said...

I love the sense of community that blogging gives me. That feeling that there is always someone out there rooting for you and ready to offer words of encouragement when needed. I have never used FB, but I do use Twitter in a very small way at the moment!

Emma Adams said...

It's hard to keep up with all the social media sites, so I tend to stick with Twitter and my blog. Facebook's become less effective since fewer and fewer people are seeing my posts from my author page, but it's good for group events and giveaways. Twitter has been the most valuable in terms of connecting with other writers, but I still love blogging.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Blogging is still my favorite form of social media and I hope it never goes away. Like you, I feel my true friends are bloggers. I suffer Facebook and Twitter and almost never get bogged down on them.

Norma Beishir said...

I love blogging, but I've found that Facebook is the best place to sell books--but not in authors' groups!

Carrie-Anne said...

I generally write and schedule blog posts in advance these days, except for my new names blog. Most of my time is taken up with editing these days, having not worked on my massive WIP in at least two weeks. I'm releasing three books this year, my way, and need to put all my effort into them now.

mooderino said...

I avoided FB altogether and I feel all the better for it. Too many time sucks as it is.

Moody Writing

Michelle Wallace said...

Blogging is the best.
I'm on FB and Twitter, but don't seem to use them much. Well, to be honest, I don't know how to use them effectively.
(I'm wondering... are you busy with Queena's memoir...?)
Writer In Transit

Karen Walker said...

I don't Tweet or anything else. I am on Facebook, but mostly for friends and family. I just blog. And I love it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. By the way I sent you an email about your book.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a decrease in site visits and comments, but I have found a way to get content for my blog and it doesn't take a lot of my time.
I love twitter, but don't spend as much time on lately. It's hard to weed through the spam and get to connecting with people.
Facebook pages are fun, but with the FB algorithm issues lately, I don't know how much exposure it gets me.
My hope is the little I do everywhere makes a collective big impact in the end.

Chrys Fey said...

I love blogging. It may not help with sales, but I love the sense of community. I love connecting with other bloggers, writers and authors. I also love creating the content. But I've been feeling like I'm sinking in a blogging wormhole. It's taking up so much of my time and I don't get as much writing done. I hate that, but I love blogging! Talk about a Catch-22! Next month I will be doing the A TO Z blogging challenge, but after that I'm going to take breaks from blog hops (except IWSG, of course).

I don't have a Twitter account and I'm apprehensive about starting one because it's just another social media tool that'll consume my attention and take me away from writing.

Writing should come first, social media second.

Johanna Garth said...

I feel the same way about blogging. I love the community, but posting 3 times a week was taking time away from writing books so I had to scale back. Plus, I want the things I write about on my blog to be meaningful, not just intended to check a box.

Good luck with all the author stuff. We all figure out our balance. :)

Lexa Cain said...

PK, you are putting a lot of stress on yourself. It's like you want to make sure every decision is perfect. (I know because I'm too controlling and overthink everything. It's a blessing and a curse, but mostly a curse. lol) The truth is debut books rarely do well no matter how much you promote. Certain things help, but not much. It's not a reflection on you not being perfect. Take time for you and your family and try not to stress yourself out. XOXO

Andrew Leon said...

Wait wait wait!
You know who I am? Could you, um... Could you tell me? I've been trying to figure that one out for ages and still don't have a good answer. No one else seems to know who I am either. Now, I know why! You're the one that knows, and you've been keeping it a secret!

stu said...

I feel like there's too much pressure to try to be on all the various social media at once as an author, and I'm not sure it does as much as people think.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Can so relate to what you're saying. Because I'm swamped at work and have no time to take lunch, let alone do social media. I still love blogging best and think it's the best way to connect. I am on Twitter and Facebook, but just can't get there much. (I'm eating now while I catch up on blogs). Just do the best you can and cut back to a schedule you can handle. I'm trying to do that more.

And so glad you liked working with Candace. I love her blog and working with her on the tours I've done. And I think these tour companies help you expand to sharing your book with new potential readers.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I try to keep up with social media in waves -- I do whatever best fits my schedule/needs, but I rarely do it all.

If I have time to visit other blogs, then I blog too.

I participate in Twitter discussions when I have an evening free and one is going on.

I use Facebook to share news about my books, but you know -- I don't interact with my author account much. Maybe I need to investigate that? I didn't think an "author page" could join groups and stuff.

William Kendall said...

I'm able to keep up with blog reading and writing, but more because I schedule myself well enough, and a lot of the blogs I'm following now tend to be photoblogs, which are usually faster to comment to.

Twitter, I use sparingly.

Kristin Smith said...

Wow, your post goes so well with my own for this IWSG!

I too feel bogged down with it all, trying to find the right balance. How to balance writing, blogging, networking, reading, revising, querying, and keeping up with social media. I'm new to blogging but I've been amazed by the "friends" I've made just in the last couple of months. This truly is a stellar community!!

Good luck with the sequel! And WHEN (not if) my book gets published, I know who to contact about it! :)

Elephant's Child said...

I am a reader rather than a writer - but am blown away each and every day by the warmth and the wonder I have found in the blogosphere. I have laughed with bloggers, I have cried with bloggers, sometimes I have laughed till I cried. And I am in awe at the talent I find here. In so many areas.
Facebook and twitter? Not for me. At the moment anyway.
And, as a greedy reader, good luck with your writing.

Donna Hole said...

Blogging has definitely lost its appeal to me; but I'm not ready to launch myself into anything else that obsessively. Its such a vicious cycle; putting energy into one and losing it in others.

Branching out is a good thing though. Get all the exposure you can :)


Anonymous said...

I agree that it's so easy to sink into social media than actually work on your book. I actually just started blogging and find that it's great because you feel a better sense of camaraderie with the community. Discovering groups like IWSG helps you know you're not alone in this journey. Good luck with the WIP's!

Barbara Watson said...

FB isn't my thing either. Other social media forms are much more fun. Mainly Twitter and Tumblr (I followed just followed you on Tumblr). :-) But like you, I enjoy blogging and visiting blogs, but fitting it all in is tough. So cheers as you figure it out.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I've decided to just do the best I can wherever I am at. I do like my facebook groups, especially the private kind that don't just become forums for self-promotion.

But that causes me to fall behind and miss requests from friends and then I fee awful. I should cut and paste your...tag me, tweet me, email me...I will probably miss an open call.

And yes, I am amazing. As are you ;)

E.J. Wesley said...

Great post! I've been fighting the blogging guilt/shame battle for a while now, and it's honestly why I quit trying to grow my blog. (By that I mean I quit doing as many of the BIG bloghops, etc.)

I just can't invest the time it takes into reciprocating the gesture of others commenting on my blog if I get much bigger or post much more. (I post once a week, and it takes me HOURS to reply to comments and visit blogs.)

This is partially a personal problem, because A) I'm slow writer, and that applies to leaving comments on blogs and B) I REALLY-FREAKING-STRUGGLE with leaving the short, unthoughtful reply. (See Also - This Comment)

So I'm stuck when it comes to blogging. Like you, I'm willing to share just about anything to help out a fellow author, but I might not see their call for help on their blogs. And I always tell people on Twitter: Include me (@EJWesley) in the tweet, and it'll get RTed.

J.L. Murphey said...

I neglected blogging for facebook and now I'm back to blogging. Blogging is the personal touch where facebook is relatively impersonal. While I loved twitter three years ago, I can no longer keep up with the scrolling. By the time I comment, I've missed forty 140 word ditties. Such is my life post stroke.

Now if there is a forum or live chat usually I'm there. Actually I haven't written anything new since my 2nd stroke in December so I have nothing to offer writing wise but mostly I blog about my take on my strokes and dealing with my terminally ill husband under hospice care. I know I will get back to writing again until then, I'm just blogging away so readers will get to know me before I finish my new nonfiction.

mshatch said...

Wow. I can definitely relate to this (along with every other IWSG post I've read!). It is so hard to do everything we're supposed to do and for me, impossible. Writing has to come first and then I put my social media second, starting with blogging, since I still like it. The rest is terribly sporadic.

Carol Riggs said...

Blogging has definitely taken a back seat for me lately, too. But I at least respond to bloggers who have commented on my posts; that's only fair. I'd like to have Friends with my author page, but it seems to be just 1-way, with people just Liking the page. They can only respond to what I've said. But I still like connecting there in that way. I do like Twitter, too. :)

Anonymous said...

So funny this is the topic of your post . . . it was a big discussion around the breakfast table today with me and several other YA authors attending a literacy festival. Most of them have given up blogging. It is difficult to make time, but I do love posting once a week. Like you, I wish I had loads of time to hop around to everyone . . . they are much more interesting than I am :-)

LD Masterson said...

I also won't post on my blog if I can't get around to my blog-friends and leave comments. But time is a problem, which is why I cut back to once a week. I've learned so much from other writers' blogs, I don't think I'll ever give up these connections, but I know I don't use social media effectively. So many possibilities and they all suck up so much time.

shelly said...

I'm with you, PK. Love the blogging community. Everyone here is great.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I recently stumbled into LinkedIn and joined lots of groups there - they are the so easy to spend all day in. Just like Facebook groups, I imagine, but I don't bother with too many of them, because I never remember where I've posted what!

I love my blog though, just like you, because of all the friends and connections I've made.

Libby said...

Hey PK! I've been off my blog and comments recently because I'm writing more, which is good and bad just like you said. I'm also glad you spoke about your blog tour because I was wondering about your experience and I'm glad you thought it was a good experience. Hope all is well!

Cally Jackson said...

I'm coming to this post quite late but I just wanted to let you know I'm still here. I still read your post, even if I don't always comment. Since having Kenzie, I've dropped out of the social media stratosphere big time. I miss blogging a lot but now that I'm back working four days, I barely have time to write, let alone blog. But I keep reminding myself that writing & blogging will be around forever. Kenzie will only be this little once. So glad to hear you're working on a Butterman sequel. Can't wait to read it!

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