Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

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The Fine Art of Self-Promotion: Part Three – Writers’ Blogs



A couple of weeks ago, I asked if anyone had ever picked up a book because they recognized the author from LiveJournal or another blog. From the responses I got, I think it’s fair to say that an online journal can and does influence potential readers. 


That’s great news for writers, because word of mouth is a key factor in a book’s performance.  Any time a person decides to pick up your novel as a result of reading your blog, there’s a chance someone will buy your book who most likely would never have done so otherwise.


Sure, there’s no guarantee that those folks will purchase it, but if it’s good enough, a small percentage of your journal’s readers will buy and enjoy your book.  Some of them may even blog about how much they liked it.



“That’s fine for authors,” I hear you say, “but I write short stories. How can a blog help me?”


Sooner or later, your short stories will end up in an anthology. If it sells well, it may get a reprint, which (I presume) would mean more money and potentially more readers for you. Your blog can influence those sales (albeit in a smaller way). 


Perhaps you’re one of the many short story writers who’ve taken advantage of[info]nancyfulda’s Anthology Builder, in which case, once again, your blog can influence whether or not people look up your stories and possibly buy them.


Then there are print magazines. You may not see an instant benefit if your blog helps them sell a few more copies, but for a lot of small press magazines, the extra sales generated by writers’ blogs can mean the difference between deciding whether or not to produce a ‘Best of year’ anthology (for others it can mean the difference between staying afloat or not). 


How about online publications? Some E-zines produce story collections too. The more traffic a story brings to their site, the more likely it is to be among those selected to appear in one. 


While I don’t for one minute think anyone would rush out and buy an anthology just because my 100-word drabble appears in it, I’ve no doubt in my mind that the kind comments and generous star ratings given by many of my LJ friends for my story, Wild West Justice (for which I’m immensely grateful, by the way), had a huge influence on the good people at Every Day Fiction when deciding whether or not to include it in this year’s anthology.   


I hope I’ve convinced you that a writer’s journal can make a big difference. However, just having a blog is not enough. You have to develop a readership. The more readers the better. 


Next week, we’ll talk about some blogging dos and don’ts when I share some of the things I’ve learned from studying other writers' journals over the last few months and experimenting on my own.


In the meantime, I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.


As a writer, how would you advise someone to go about increasing traffic to his/her journal?


As always, comments are welcome, but if you’ve a longish answer, why not post about it on your own blog? Don’t forget to let me know if you do, and I’ll link to it below.     

david_bridgerposted his thoughts here

Tags: fiction, writing

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