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Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Daily Archives: June 7, 2011

This accidentally got posted early, so last week’s critique winner will be added here in a bit.

Today we begin the Sacred Cow-Tipping. When it comes to social media, there are few things that can give us as much impact as a blog. Blogs afford us the opportunity to connect with MILLIONS of people. Yes, you read correctly…MILLIONS. At the very least, if you follow my teachings, you will connect to thousands, if not tens of thousands of…readers.

So before we start tipping over some sacred cows, I want you guys to know that WANA methods work. I have put my own two books at the top of the best-seller list following my own advice. Not only that, but my books have helped multiple authors hit the best-selling list…even FICTION authors. My favorite story? Saffina Deforges and Mark Williams are a writing team in the UK. They wrote a book together and couldn’t get an agent. They bought my book, We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and then applied my methods. In less than five months, they sold 75,000 books, landing them in the #2 spot on the best-selling list. Oh, and one of the most prestigious agencies in NYC called THEM to offer representation.

These methods will work, and, best of all, they are FUN and will leave more time to WRITE.

The first sacred cow we will tip today is the WRITING BLOG. Writers crack me up. When it comes to blogging, we have limitless possibilities. The sky is the limit. So when people like me tell writers they need to blog, it looks like this…

 I’m a writer so…I’ll blog about writing. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

Okay, so we blog about writing–us and every other writer who decides to start a blog. Hey, you read my blog and it’s primarily a writing blog. I learned this stuff the hard way. I made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

So why are writing blogs bad?

1. Writing blogs limit our following.

There are blogs that get millions of visits a year. I guarantee you they ain’t writing blogs. Writing blogs focus on a very small segment of the overall population that is in need of informing or entertaining. The topics that are going to get thousands or tens of thousands or even millions of hits are blogs on subjects most people care about—celebrities, pop culture, soap operas, cooking, pets, travel, etc. The general public capable of buying books care more about Lady Gaga than narrative structure. Sorry. That’s the truth.

My techniques are all about working smarter, not harder. If we are committed to blogging three times a week to build our author platform (which is what I recommend), then why not go after topic that can potentially reach a far larger audience?

Our blogs cannot do what only our books can. Only our books can make people love our characters or our story. Our blogs are to connect with as many people as possible and encourage them to like US. So why not get 10,000 or 100,000 people to like you instead of 1000?

Here is a critical point most people miss. Fiction authors are not blogging to become experts. You are blogging to connect with as many people as humanly possible and recruit them to your team. Period. That simple.

I blog about writing and social media, but my blog is being used to establish me as an expert in my field. I write books for writers.

Do you write books for writers? No? Then you don’t have to establish expertise. Have fun. Connect with people via your shared passions. Isn’t that how friends have always been made?

2. Writing blogs limit content and can create burnout.

Many writers start out hot and heavy for blogging. Then, about a month in, they hate their life, their blog and want to punch a fluffy kitten in the face. Why?

They aren’t blogging to create a brand. Our name is our brand. WE are our brand. The following on our blogs should be a following for US. We don’t need a writing blog, we need an US blog. I have blogged about being addicted to Febreeze. Does that teach you guys anything about writing or social media? No, because I don’t have a writing blog. I have a Kristen Lamb’s Blog.

An US blog doesn’t mean we talk about ourselves. Since when has talking about ourselves non-stop ever been a good plan for making friends? No, rather, an US blog takes our interests and connects with others on mutual ground.

The content is dynamic and flexible because we are humans and not robots We change and grow and our interests shift. Our blog is married to US…not a concept.

Can you blog about writing? Of course. But blogging about writing and creating a writing blog are two different animals.

3. Writing blogs will collapse if we change topics.

Yes, I blog about writing and social media. I am a NF author and that is part of my job description. But often on Fridays I talk about all kinds of topics that would be appealing to writers and non-writers. This is how I expand my appeal out beyond the world of writers.

Blogging is for the long-haul, for a career. I recommend blogging a minimum of three times a week…and that will be for YEARS to come. How much can you talk about writing? Ah, but if you create a blog that supports you, that frees you up to blog on different topics as you gain a fan following that wouldn’t care if you blogged about dryer lint. They are fans of YOU. So if you get tired of blogging about writing you can gradually shift gears. Your blog won’t collapse if you decide to shift topics. A writing blog will.

Want to know the formula for a hit blog?

Topics you are excited about + topics readers are excited about= hit blog

Five years ago, no one cared if a writer cooked or gardened. The only way to build a platform was through a fan base for a book. Now that has all changed. All writers, published and unpublished can now connect with other humans via mutual interests using…are you ready for this…their writing. Now a writer can blog about cooking and connect to thousands of other people passionate about cooking.

4. Writing blogs increase the competition for book sales.

If I have a writing blog, then most of my readers will be writers. Chances are they have books for sale and most will also have friends who are writers who also have books to sell. I have selected a topic that just increased competition for my book exponentially. Unless you are like me and sell books for writers, targeting other writers might not be the best game plan.

When it comes to writing blogs, no one is overly impressed to know me. I am one of countless writers they know and talk to regularly. Me being a writer is nothing particularly special.

Ah, but what about the cooking blog? If I write a regular blog about my passion for cooking, not only do I appeal to a MUCH larger audience, but it is highly probable that many of those people probably have never met a real writer, and, to them, I will be a celebrity.

5. Writing blogs are not creative.

Hey, again, I made all the dumb mistakes so you don’t have to. Can you blog about writing? Sure. But all of us get the same brilliant idea, so how are you going to stand apart?

I coach writers how to build blogs that will connect to the most people possible. I had a paranormal romance author who loved wines and loved cooking.

Upon my recommendation she changed her blog to:

Christine Ashworth’s Blog—Wicked with a Side of Saucy

Yes, I came up with that blog log-line. She blogs about writing, cooking, and she reviews wines. She mentions her paranormal romance at the bottom of every post. See how that blog captures the “essence” of a romance author? Her content now will connect with women who love to cook, eat and drink wine….and there are LOTS of those. Yes, some of them might be writers, but a lot of them will just be regular gals…who will get to know and like Christine and to show support will buy her BOOK.

Now, doesn’t this stand out? Isn’t it fresh, inviting and innovative? Christine isn’t blogging to become a wine expert, but she IS finding a topic that will connect to her READERS. Also, this frees Christine to change blog topics in the future when she gets tired of blogging on wines. Why? She didn’t start a Wine Blog, she started a Christine Ashworth Blog and just used wine as bait. And wine is pretty good bait. Guaranteed to catch a lot of writers :D.

Next week we will talk some more about this and do some more sacred cow-tipping. My goal here isn’t to terrify you, rather I am here to liberate you and open your eyes to the possibilities. Just because we are writers doesn’t mean we are automatically supposed to write about writing. Writers have been writing on all kinds of things since before the invention of Aristotelian structure. We communicate the human experience via words…that’s it. Our blog is no different. Sure you can blog about writing, just don’t limit yourself. Writers write. Period. We use words to capture the essence of life and use it to connect with other humans–to entertain, inform, uplift or inspire.

So what are your thoughts? Are you shedding now? Or are you feeling liberated? Thoughts? Fears? Concerns?

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of June I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Important Announcements

I will announce the winner in the morning. 

Make sure you join our LOVE REVOLUTION over on Twitter by following and participating in the #MyWANA Twibe. Read this post to understand how this #MyWANA will totally transform your life and your author platform.

Together Everyone Achieves More!!!! SUPPORT THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF AMERICA! Spread the word and save a life. Sigma Force saves puppies and kittens, too. Ahhhh.

In the meantime, I hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.

This Week’s Mash-Up of Awesomeness

Konrath interviews James Rollins. Really great stuff.

An hour of writing a day equals three books a year. Great post by Kara Lennox.

Breaking Up with Your Critique Partner by Cat Woods

Jenny Hansen teaches how to ROCK LinkedIn

Roni Loren’s post, The Best Bang for Your Blog (btw, look in the comments and it might be clear where I got the idea for today’s post)

Katie Ganshert has a wonderful post about making a social media plan.

Social Media and the Writer/Author Impact by my WDW Pub Peep Natalie Markey

Happy writing!

Until next time….

Welcome to the twentieth installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. My tips will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–The Private Praiser

I find it interesting how some people feel as if they have to send a direct message to give a compliment. There is a rule I have always tried to live by-Criticize in private, but praise in public…and praise often.

If you would like to thank someone for following, just thank them. If you loved their blog or their book, say so in the open. When we praise people openly, not only is that good for the person we are complimenting…but it makes us look good, too.

Do you like people who are stingy with their praise? I don’t. I’ve worked very hard to earn praise from people I admired, yet after all that effort with little to no acknowlegement? I gave up. We will only go to a dry well so long before we move on. Friendships are give and take.

Most of us hear where we fail or fall short. Ever worked in the service industry? I think it should be a law that everyone has to work at least one year in retail or waiting tables. People will take a day off work to complain, but so few go out of their way to say, “Good job.” Those precious few who do are like rare gems and we treasure them.

Back in high school I worked at one of those pizza places for kids…you know, the ones with all the games and the pits filled with plastic balls. It was an exhausting job that paid minimum wage. Yet, one parent took the time to write a wonderful compliment card noting how good I was with the children. I never met this mom and don’t know her name, but 20 years later I still remember that compliment.

Many of the people in our lives are quick to tell us what we forgot and where we fell short of expectations. Thus, when we come across someone who is liberal with open praise??? Wow. It is like a fresh breeze that perks up the withered soul.

This Week’s Twitter Tip–Be a Twitter Cheerleader

So many people ask how I find the energy to do so much, serve so much, blog so much and the simple answer is….you. I have so many cheerleaders that take time to tell me I am loved and appreciated, and, for you guys, I am willing to move mountains.

You want the secret to success? Praise others openly and often. We are often so starved for positive words that you will be our BFF if you just take a moment to cheer us on.

The key ingredient that makes the difference between failure and success is attitude. People LIKE positive people. We can’t get enough of them. We love them and want to help them. Their energy refreshes everyone around. Be one of those points of light, and others will want to support you.

It takes no great effort to be negative, but there are no monuments erected to critics. Criticism is easy and it’s lazy. Anyone can find problems, but it takes character and creativity to find a bright side, to look for solutions.

Tweet ya later!….