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Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Posts Tagged: nontraditional publishing

Welcome to WANA Wednesday, based off my best-selling book, We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. This is the day I dedicate to help you guys rock it hard when it comes to social media. For the past month and a half, we have been discussing blogging. If you are new to the blog, I recommend going back and reading the previous lessons. It will save you a lot of time and heartbreak. I am going to assume all of you are clever enough to look to the sidebar to take you there ;). For the rest of you? It’s Fashion Week!

Today we are going to pose the question, “What makes a great blog?” To a degree I feel I am an authority, namely because I have made all the stupid mistakes so you don’t have to. After a lot of noodle-throwing (to see what would stick) and tar baby wrestling, a book, and 130 blog posts, I now feel confident to call myself an expert. This blog has been very successful and grown to have a worldwide following. I wasn’t always a good blogger and, in fact, when I look to some of my early blogs I just kind of want to start whistling and walk away.

Don’t make eye contact. Baby blogs not properly nurtured by humans go feral.

This week, we are going to address some superficial aspects of a blog that can make or break you from the beginning. Appearance matters. Yeah, we would all love to believe that we don’t judge books by their cover, but most of us do…all the time. We aren’t going to buy a house with the front door hanging off the hinges, a car the color of baby puke, or eat a gourmet dish that looks like something the cat coughed up. We don’t go on a blind date and see some guy across the room and go, “Kafka! Kafka! That seems like someone I could have intellectually stimulating conversations with.”

We are shallow! Blogs don’t get a pass on human nature. We are going to judge by appearance first.

So today, we are going to do a fashion makeover on your blog. Does you blog have bad breath? Her dress tucked in her panty hose? A bat in the cave? Appearances matter, and they matter when it comes to blogs. Let’s check out some top blog fashion faux pas.

  1. The Emo Blog?

The Emo Blog is dark, angry, moody and most often misunderstood. His black background mimics the color of his soul, and the red letters are like the self-inflicted slashes on his arms. Emo blog is just a bummer to hang out with.

The goth look is okay for teenagers who use their blog to catalogue teenage angst. If the purpose of your blog is to tell your friends about the time you dreamed you were Bella and Edward made you a vampire, then this background is fine. If you are over the age of 17, choose another background.

For the blogger trying to gain a following, tossing your readers’ corneas into a Digital Iron Maiden is not a good way to get on their good side. Black backgrounds with red letters might look killer, but they are murder on the eyes. Any dark color with lighter lettering is bad juju.

There is a popular WordPress background that is turquoise with pale yellow lettering. Every time I click to a blog with that background, I move on. My eyes get strained enough without me volunteering for thicker glasses.

Yes, I will grant that these Emo/Goth/Dark backgrounds look cool to us, but we already know what the words say (um…we wrote them). For a stranger, this will just make them hate you. It certainly won’t encourage them to hang out and read your previous posts.

Blogs need light backgrounds, dark letters, and, above all, be easy to read. I feel for the horror writers, but there are some gray urban decay backgrounds that will be just as creepy, and the upside is that readers will be more likely to hang out on your site. Overall, when you choose a background, go ask the friend you can trust to tell you your butt is fat to look at your blog.

2. The Poseur Blog

The Poseur Blog is the blog that just tries too hard to impress, and, in the end, just seems desperate and kind of sad. Italics, creative fonts, and too many flashy widgets are like two bottles of hair gel, a spray tan, an Ed Hardy shirt, and arms full of man bracelets. Sad, sad, sad.

Again, love your reader, love their eyes. If you must use a creative font, use it for the headers, but try to stay with standard fonts like New Times Roman or Callibri lest your blog be banished to the Jersey Shores.

Our content should be creative, not the presentation. When our blog has odd backgrounds with video, music and cursive font, that is the equivalent of sending a query letter written in pink on perfumed paper with stickers. Readers are judging us by what we write, not by the zillion flashy gizmos we learned how to insert into our page. Again, less is more.

3. The Invisible Man Blog

The Invisible Man Blog has less to do with the content and more to do with the author. Where is your name? Is it easy to spot, or is finding your name like a frustrating game of “Where’s Waldo?” Are you a blogger or in witness protection?

Our names need to be visible. If we are blogging and we are writers, then the blog needs to serve our careers. This is called “efficiency.” Blogging and writing are not two separate activities. Our blog needs to build our brand, which is always our name. I have read some really excellent blogs, but had no clue who wrote the darn thing.

You might be like me and you started the blog before you got a clue. No problem. Your name might not be in the URL, but it does need to be in the header. This is not the time to be shy. Write a blog you are proud to slap your name across…tastefully ;).

4. The Gypsy Blog

The Gypsy Blog has long flowing…everything. Long sentences, long paragraphs, long blogs. Loooooooong. The Gypsy Blog is so carefree that it forgot to care…at all. I know there is a lot of debate how long blogs should be. Personally, I don’t care. If a blogger is keeping me engaged and entertained, word count is the last thing I am paying attention to.

The trick with length is to make the paragraphs smaller. Break a long blog into digestible bites. As long as you are writing in a way that engages the reader, likely she won’t notice if you run long. Trust me, a 500 word blog that is all one paragraph will get skipped before a 1200 word engaging blog with lots of breaks.

Next week we are going to discuss some more ways to make your blog connect to readers and grow faster than you ever imagined. In the meantime, do you guys have any pet peeves? Notice some Blog Fashion Faux Pas? Surely I didn’t get to all of them. What are some things you like to see in blogs? What turns you off?

Happy writing!

Until next time…..

Give yourself the gift of success so you can ROCK 2011. My best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

Also, I highly recommend the Write It Forward Workshops. Learn all about plotting, how to write great characters, and even how to self-publish successfully…all from the best in the industry. I will be teaching on social media and building a brand in March. For $20 a workshop, you can change your destiny….all from the comfort of home.

Mash Up of Awesomeness

The Writer’s Toolkit: The Alpha and Omega of Your Novel by NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer

What’s In a (Pen) Name? by Peter St-Clair. Awesome post about how to keep up with more than one identity.

How Should Writers Use Social Media? With Purpose by Dan Blank

3 Topics for Writers To Avoid on Social Networks by Jill Kemerer

10 Creative Ways to Break Writer’s Block Fast by Fred White

5 Ways to Develop Consistency in Writing and Blogging and The Snowball Effect of Social Media by Author Jody Hedlund (yes, I am a Jody fan)

Saying I’m a Writer–The 6 Stages of Responses from Others by Roni Loren

How to be a Mom/Dad and Still Be a Writer by Suzan Isik

How to Write a Press Release for Your Book  by Alexis Grant

When is a Story Worth Writing? Part One by Jami Gold

Can Self-Publishing Lead to a Traditional Publishing Contract? (really interesting article) by Joel Friedlander

Hey Writerface: Don’t Be a Dick but Still Have Opinions and From Bile to Buttercream; How a Writer Makes Use of Rejection by the brilliant Chuck Wendig

I also highly, highly recommend Chuck’s book of short stories Irregular Creatures. If you love his blog, you will TOTALLY dig the stories and you can’t beat the price to be THAT entertained.

How Authors Move their Own Merchandise via The Wall Street Journal (Joanne Kaufman). One more reason EVERY writer needs a copy of my book…just sayin’.

A really inspiring post by Piper Bayard Unemployment: Aka The Road

Get Your Geek On With…

Manon Eileen’s A Test–Introversion and Extroversion

What is a Cult, Exactly? by Peter Saint-Clair

 

Welcome to WANA Wednesday, based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Every Wednesday I dedicate this blog to help improve your social marketing skills. If you are a verteran reader of this blog, feel free to scan down to the next header. But, for the newbies…

For the past month we have been talking about blogging. Everyone seems to be telling writers they need to blog (um…you do), but few people are telling writers what to blog about or how to get started. Each of these lessons builds upon the previous lesson so I recommend that, if you are new, go back and read the other posts. They will save you a ton of time.

Blogging Part I—Meet the Bright Idea Fairy then Shoot Her teaches how to know the difference between a really good idea, versus a total time-waster in disguise.

Blogging Part 2—Don’t Feed the Trolls is an exploration into how to find good blog topics that will connect you to future READERS.

Blogging Part 3—Tearing Up the SEO in 2011 explains how to use search engines to your advantage. What good is a rocking blog if no one can FIND it?

Blogging Part 4—The Future is Now discussed the shifts in the publishing paradigm and why blogging will give you a distinctive edge ahead of the non-blogging or half-ass blogging competition.

Blogging Part 5—The Counterintuitive Nature of Social Media Influence debated how effective blogging is for the fiction author. Can your blogs reach readers? I also gave tips for increasing blog traffic.

Blogging Part 6—Maintaining Your Sanity and Your Blog

Okay, I know a lot of you are fired up about starting a new blog or even just buckling down and breathing new life into that old blog that’s been invaded by dust bunnies and spam bots in your comments.

I so lick your blog. Is beste infermentation ever. My blog same. See you like. www.sportszanexhussycoedsluts.com

If you are anything like me, you heard about blogging and took off like a shot. I opened an account, chose a wicked-cool background, posted a blog…then three weeks later ran out of something to say.

True story about how I ended up on WordPress.

I started on Blogger. I loaded my blogs then kept going to my link to look at my page, in awe that I had created something. Kind of like giving birth, but no drugs. I would pop over to ooh and aaah over my awesome turquoise…no, black background with red letters…no, flowers and babbling brook background with italics text. I would get misty-eyed at the sheer beauty and genius of my widgets (I had just learned what those were).

My blog is sooo pretty. She is the prettiest blog ever. I think I will call her Tiffany.

What was even better was that, even though no one knew me, I already had 15 hits on my first day of blogging. Proof I was brilliant and that soon the world would be dying to hear what I had to say. I was a blogging genius. I knew this every time I visited my page.

35 views! OMG!!!!

Hmmmmm. No one has left a comment.

Let me go check my page again.

36 views. What????? Wait a minute. Click.

37 views. WTH? Click.

38 views.

Are you kidding me???? Great, the 38 visitors was ME. Moron. I changed over to WordPress because, at the time, the analytics kept me honest. Clicking on my own site didn’t count.

Okay, yeah maybe I shouldn’t have told you guys that story.

I be an expert :D.

The thing is, I didn’t go into blogging understanding what I was doing. I had a lot of trial and error and have had 4 years to throw noodles against the wall and see what sticks. Blogging can be the best experience ever, or it can make you hate your life, your computer, and your dog. Even if you already started your blog, these tips should help you as well.

Brainstorm

Before you start writing blogs, brainstorm. We have talked about blogging on topic or by demographic. Sit down and pick a subject and see how many possible topics you can generate. Go for at least 100. Here is an example.

A writer of paranormal romance wants to start blogging.

Readers of these types of books would generally like to hear about romance, the paranormal or even writing. Many writers are readers and vice versa.  78% of Americans say they are interested in writing a book, so blogging on writing is a good way to reach a lot of people. But let’s pick paranormal.

It is safe to say that an author who writes paranormal romance likes the paranormal. I think it is also safe to say that readers who eat up paranormal romance probably like MysteryQuest, X-Files, Ghosthunters, etc. So a paranormal romance author could sit down and just start writing a list of topics that would interest people who dig spooks, spirits and stuff that goes bump in the night. Heck, blogging on topic is a great way to recycle the research information used in writing the novel.

Brainstorm possible topics ahead of time. You don’t have to write about them right now, but that list will percolate in your subconscious. Your subconscious mind will become more in tune to the topics and will pick up on articles, shows, etc. that you can blog about. Sort of like, I never noticed red Honda Civics until I bought one.

Pick the Top 15

Pick your favorite 15 off that list, then take a day or three and write nothing but blogs. Load them into the queue. If your goal is to post 3X a week, you are already….

Crap. Need paper. Hold on. Carry the one. Multiply by pi. Why does it smell like something is burning?

You are already 5 weeks ahead! Now when you launch your blog (start telling people about it on FB, Twitter, etc.) your blog will look more professional and established. It is easier to be confident to send someone to our blog when we at least give the impression we’ve been at this a while and know what we’re doing. I say fake it until you make it ;).

I try to always have a week of posts loaded in the queue. I pick a day and just write blogs. Then I am free to do the other writer stuff the rest of the week…drinking, prank calling my parole officer,bathing my sea monkeys, testing the viscosity of low-fat buttercream icing. You know, research!

Tag, Tag, then Tag Some More

Make sure you tag all of your blogs with your name. The goal of blogging is to build YOU. I see too many writers who have killer blogs…but their names are nowhere in the tags. Go read Blogging Part 3. Google the Codependent Genie needs a hand in finding you.

After you tag with your name, go and add as many tags as you can think of that could be used in a search. In the blogosphere, the best way to find blogs, like anything, is word of mouth. But sometimes we just want to know about something, so we google it. We will use this blog as an example.

Blogging Part 6—Maintaining Your Sanity and Your Blog

Tags: blog, blogging, writers

Yeah, I see a lot of that. Three tags. Um, I want you to picture the Internet as one big carnival and doing a search is like being at the ring-toss booth and our goal is the big pink unicorn (the loyal, subscribing readers).

Do you seriously want to belly up to the bar with three freaking rings?

Noooooo. Man up and bring in the real firepower.

Tags: Kristen Lamb, marketing, promotion, promoting, blog, blogger, blogging, write, writer, writing, fiction, author, We Are Not Alone, organization, time-management, success, platform, readers, publishing, google, brainstorm….

You know you want it.

Okay, you get the point. Be a Tagging FREAK! Own the Ring-Toss. Claim that Pink Unicorn! You are allowed more than three tags. They are free. No one is going to auto-debit from your account. Help your future fans find you.

More next week on constructing a killer blog. I am working to make mine shorter-blech. Michael Hyatt had some good points, but he made me all self-conscious about my long blogs. His blogs are short, but mine are way funnier :P.

What are some of the biggest challenges you guys face when it comes to blogging? What helps you? Any advice?

Happy writing!

Until next time…..

Give yourself the gift of success so you can ROCK 2011. My best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

Also, I highly recommend the Write It Forward Workshops. Learn all about plotting, how to write great characters, and even how to self-publish successfully…all from the best in the industry. I will be teaching on social media and building a brand in March. For $20 a workshop, you can change your destiny….all from the comfort of home. It is not too late to sign up for the workshop Selling Your Book taught by USA Today Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer. This workshop is for all authors, but any self-pubbed writers would stand to gain amazing benefit.

Mash-Up of Awesomeness

Fave Blog of the Week Why Your Novel Won’t Get Published by Chuck Wendig

To Book Trailer or Not? Do they really work? Are trailers worth the time and expense? Bob Mayer

Aspiring to Failure or: How I Learned to Stop Apologizing and Start Writing by Albert Berg

How You Decide on Your Author Brand Part II by Paranormal Author Jami Gold

Why I Stopped Reading Your Blog by Michael Hyatt. Funny, I didn’t know he was reading my blog. Kidding! He makes some good points.

The Left Brain, The Right Brain and Everything In Between by Jenni Holbrook

3 Tips to Writing a Better Book Proposal by @BubbleCow

Is the Query System Dying? by Jodi Hedlund

How to Dish Out Backstory in Digestable Bites by Roni Loren

Mother, She’s Just a False Protagonist by Peter St. Clair

Get Your Nerd On:

Manon Eileen’s Affective Neuroscience

Welcome to WANA Wednesday, based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Every Wednesday I dedicate this blog to help improve your social marketing skills. For the past month we have been talking about blogging. Everyone seems to be telling writers they need to blog (um…you do), but few people are telling writers what to blog about or how to get started. Each lesson builds upon the previous lesson, so I recommend that, if you are new, go back and read the other posts. My tactics will save you a ton of time and wasted effort.

Blogging Part I—Meet the Bright Idea Fairy then Shoot Her teaches how to know the difference between a really good idea, versus a total time-waster in disguise. This blog teaches you how to focus on blog topics that will build your platform. Gain maximum effect in minimum time. You still need time left over to write more books, remember?

Blogging Part II—Don’t Feed the Trolls is an exploration into how to find good blog topics that will connect you to future READERS and also help you avoid burnout and keep you inspired to keep on blogging.

Blogging Part III—Tearing Up the SEO in 2011 explains how to use search engines to your advantage. What good is a rocking blog if no one can FIND it?

Blogging Part IV—The Future is Now discussed the shifts in the publishing paradigm and why blogging will give you a distinctive edge ahead of the non-blogging or half-ass blogging competition.

In the future we will discuss how to set up a winning blog. Today, down is up and up is down. I am going to discuss the counterintuitive nature of social media. There are many habits that traditional marketing has ingrained in us over the years, but those tactics don’t work on social media. Yet, too many people still try to use old methods in a new business model, and that is like using parts for a 1990 Ford Tempo in a 2011 Audi. All you are going to end up with is a clunky disaster. A lot of smoke and grinding but little to no forward momentum.

First, we are going to discuss whether or not a blog can reach and influence fiction readers. Jody Hedlund’s blog raised a lot of food for thought and highlighted, for me, how hard it is for us to wrap our mind around the real way social media influences. Then, we are going to talk about some ways to increase traffic to your blog, and they may be very different than what you might imagine.

There are a lot of people who believe that there is no way to market fiction. There are others, still, who feel that blogging is the realm of the non-fiction author. It is easy to see why people would feel this way. Social media is an odd duck and behaves very differently than traditional marketing we’ve been exposed to since childhood.

The top agents in New York will tell you that there are only two ways to market fiction (and even books in general). 1) We need to write a darn good book and 2) We need to generate word of mouth. That’s it. That is all that can be done.

Traditional marketing doesn’t work well for any kind of book. It never has. It is just the nature of the product. This isn’t just my opinion, it is a known industry fact (refer to mega-agent Donald Maass’s Fire in the Fiction). Many of you might find this shocking. All those shiny bookmarks, flashy ads, book-signing tours and fancy book trailers actually have minimal effect on sales numbers. I was at a conference and a big editor from one of the major houses told us that they had a NF author with a book on personal finance. The publishing house paid big bucks to take out a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal to push this book…and nothing. This author’s sales numbers didn’t show so much as a tiny blip.

Even before social media, publishing houses would encourage authors to get in the mix–speak, teach, visit community organizations, do radio or television interviews (all still good ideas). An author had to connect with people and hope it would spark some good buzz. It is easy to see how this made it tough for the fiction authors. Most talk shows and speaker opportunities are going to naturally be inclined to favor non-fiction.

But back to good writing and word of mouth. I actually believe that the two principles work in tandem. Writing an excellent book is what gets people talking and generating buzz (word of mouth). In the past, fiction writers had no great way to influence readers or even future readers. Why? Because we were still dealing with traditional marketing. Most beginning writers don’t have the money to go launch a flashy ad campaign to push their book and, even if they did, they could still expect a depressing ROI (return on investment).

But now everything has changed, and it is good news for writers of all kinds—traditionally pubbed, indie pubbed and especially self-pubbed. Social media gives an author the power to build a platform before she ever finishes the book. In fact, if done properly, a writer could have a following in the thousands before the book makes it off the press.

Social media works where traditional marketing fails. How? Social media is, by definition, criteria #2….word of mouth.  

Social media isn’t like traditional marketing. It is almost impossible to generate metrics capable of accurately measuring influence. Why? We aren’t in control. Social networking is a way of approaching outsiders, getting them to trust and like us and our content, and then repackage our content to others. We are hoping that as we reach out to others, not only will we absorb their loyalty, but that their network will become OUR network. It’s what I call The Law of the Playground.

I don’t know you, but my friend likes you. If she likes you then I like you.

The other thing that we have to remember is that social media and blogging in particular is meeting criteria #2…generating word of mouth. You often will reach readers…just not directly. Your followers become the champions of your cause.

Jody Hedlund has one of THE best blogs on writing, and I highly recommend that you check it out. Can her blog directly reach readers who don’t happen to be writers? Maybe. Maybe not. BUT, she is being very successful at connecting with a lot of writers who like her, trust her and support her. Guess what? We have family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and random people we chat with in the bookstore. Who’s book do you think we will recommend?

Psst—that’s the whole word of mouth thing.

Also, many writers have large social network followings and they tweet or post what books they are reading, liking, hating, or papering the bird cage with :D. I know that when Jody’s book came out, half my family bought a copy simply because I like Jody and her blog (and liked her book). My family trusted me for a good recommendation. So, did Jody’s blog influence my family? Yes, just not directly. Her blog hooked me and I grew to like her and trust her for good content. Thus, eventually I felt confident and even excited to promote her book to others.

Did social media/blogging work for Jody? Yes. She hit the best-seller list on her debut novel. Is it possible to accurately measure what worked where? No. But it still works, and that’s all that matters. It is counterintuitive to trust that a loyal following of fellow writers is also reaching readers, but it is. Just keep plugging. Serve others and they will love to serve you.

Okay, I hope you guys feel more confident that your blogging efforts WILL pay off eventually, even if you cannot observe it directly. Now I am going to give you 3 tips to generate more traffic to your blog.

1. Post Regularly

This seems like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of writers out there blogging only when they feel inspired. This makes it tough to gain a following. We need to be able to trust you to post regular content that is interesting, entertaining, or informative.

2. Post More than Once a Week

I know this is going to make some of you groan, but I will tell you from experience that 3 times a week is WAY easier than once a week. Seems counterintuitive, but it is easier. Your following will grow faster, which will encourage you and energize you to do more.

Why post more often? You remain top of mind. We readers have a bazillion things clamoring for our attention, so if you take a break off the radar, you are easy for us to forget. Do you have to post more than one time a week? NO. No one will take you to writer jail if you only blog once a week. This is a list of ways to increase traffic.

If you have been blogging once a week for a year and your hits aren’t increasing as fast as you would like? Post more often. It will improve your following dramatically. The larger the following, the greater the critical mass and better chance you have of hitting that tipping point that takes your numbers to a whole new level. When I posted once a week, I had maybe 2700 hits a month. Now I am regularly 20,000+ and still climbing thanks to all of you (and the methods I am teaching to you guys 😉 ).

3. Pay It Forward–Edify/Promote Others at EVERY Opportunity

Include lots of trackbacks (links to other blogs/web pages) in your posts and do a weekly mash-up. The best way to do well on social media is to edify others. Kristen’s Rule of Social Media Success–Promote the hard work and effort of others more than you promote yourself. This is counterintuitive to traditional marketing. Nike is not out there raving about how great Asics are. Guess what? In the land of blogs and books? We do better teaming up and understanding that love is best shared, and there is more than enough love to go around. Books are not so cost-prohibitive that people cannot afford more than one.

It is safe to assume that people will buy more than one book a year. In fiction, it doesn’t hurt you to promote a fellow writer’s book. Likely readers will read more than one novel a year. If they don’t read more than one novel a year, it is still safe to assume they BUY more than one a year. Also, more often than not, that writer you promoted will return the favor. Though we should always promote others freely and should never expect reciprocation, people are usually pretty cool and will feel inclined to help us in turn.

In non-fiction? Again, readers will buy more than one book. If I were a betting woman, I would wager most of you own more than one diet book ;). I know around here, the diet books have their own shelf, LOL.

I am not worried about promoting another author of a social media book. This other author may say something slightly different from me and it will click with a reader. I am here to serve others, and I have confidence in the quality of my book and the effectiveness of my methods. I also happen to believe that people are genuinely good and that it will all even out in the end.

My social media book doesn’t cover certain topics that people might want to know about. I hope they buy my book, but if a reader wants to know about DiggIt or Squidoo or building a web site, I forward them on to other social media people. But guess what? I have other social media people who recommend me as well…and when we work as a team, we are something to behold. It is awesome.

Blogs are the same. Promote other bloggers, either by putting links to their blog in the body, or by doing a mash-up. Mash-ups are a fantastic way to spread influence. How? First, readers will come to trust you for good recommendations. Face it. We are drowning in a sea of crap and we love people who point us to good material. This will build your following because you have established yourself as a gatekeeper of valuable information.

Also, since you are sharing your network with other bloggers by forwarding your people to them, it is natural that they will appreciate you. This is a great way to gain loyalty of other bloggers and, as a result, expand your network exponentially.

This is my opinion, so take it for what it is worth. I believe that writers confident enough to promote others are confident in their own content. Writers who rarely endorse other writers and who, instead, spam their social network with non-stop self-promotion, generally are much more insecure about their product. I personally, feel more optimistic about writers secure enough to edify others, and I am MUCH more likely to purchase their books.

Promoting others in your blogs also has another benefit that might not be as obvious. It’s one of those ways that blogs indirectly influence. We’ll use me as an example.

You guys benefit from the work I put into this blog (hopefully :D). You reward my effort by subscribing or following. Many of you even go so far as to post this link on your FB, Twitter or blogs or even tell all your writing friends at critique (THANK YOU!). This not only benefits me, but it benefits every writer I have edified in my blog. When you post my link, you not only expose your network to my blog, but to all the writers I have taken time to praise. By edifying others, I get to pay it forward. Other authors are able to be blessed by my good content, just as I was blessed by theirs.

Aside from providing great content that is reliably posted, actively promoting others is the best way to expand influence on social media.

Next week we are going to talk more about blogging, and I will continue to give ways to generate more traffic and grow your platforms.

Any thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? What are some ways you might know of to help increase blog traffic? I certainly don’t know them all so chime in! I would love to hear from you! Are you guys feeling better about blogging? Are there topics you would like me to discuss in future posts?

Happy writing!

Until next time…..

Give yourself the gift of success so you can ROCK 2011. My best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books. Put that gift card you got for Christmas to good use.

Also, I highly recommend the Write It Forward Workshops. Learn all about plotting, how to write great characters, and even how to self-publish successfully…all from the best in the industry. I will be teaching on social media and building a brand in March. For $20 a workshop, you can change your destiny….all from the comfort of home. It is not too late to sign up for the workshop Selling Your Book taught by USA Today Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer. This workshop is for all authors, but any self-pubbed writers would stand to gain amazing benefit.

Mash-Up of Awesomeness

AWESOME BLOG OF THE WEEK!!!! (It is really good) Chuck Wendig’s Drop the Pen, Grab a Hammer: Building the Writer’s Platform This is one of the best explanations of what constitutes a writer’s platform that I have ever heard. Had to come back and add to the Mash-Up of Awesomeness.

Jody Hedlund’s post Do Fiction Readers Really Read Author’s Blogs?

@KidLit’s A Writer’s Plot Board–Getting Organized

Creating an Author Brand–Why It’s Really Not About the Book by Roni Loren

Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner’s How to Avoid Getting an Agent

How Do You Decide on Author Brand–Part One by Paranormal Author Jami Gold

Feed Your Geek:

The Greek Myths–Zeus King of the Gods by Terrell Mims

Jim Jones and the People’s Temple III by Peter St. Clair

Dissassociative Identity Disorder in Popular Culture by Manon Eileen

Fun Stuff:

Tawna Fenske’s Happily Ever After … or Something Like That

Piper Bayard’s Reverse Psychology Resolutions

Author Chuck Wendig’s Buckle Up Authors: You Are Now Entering the Month of “What Now?”