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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

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( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 2nd, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
I always try to post links to short stories, books and magazines in my blog. I like the work and want to share it. What good is a great story if no one knows about it?

I have no idea if anyone reads my blog, aside from a handful of people who comment, and I don't know if they have ever bought one of my recommendations. I hope they did, because there's a lot of good stuff out there, but if the readers don't support it, it won't stay out there. Too many good mags are folding.
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(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 2nd, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
I think the best way to lure others to your blog is to comment on other people's blogs. That's how I gained most of my LJ flist. I first joined to keep in touch with VP friends, but through them, I've friended and gotten friended by others who read THEIR blogs.
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(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 2nd, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 2nd, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Nov. 2nd, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 2nd, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Sigh, you always set me in a quandary. (Wait, not always.) "How would you advise someone to go about increasing traffic to his/her journal?" I've been intending to do this via Facebook or LJ for a few years, but I always shy away when it comes to adding people on my own or focusing on a topic that could draw people.

What I've noticed in others though is interaction. I think bloggers who not only write on a topic that's useful to people but also comment on other blogs and respond to commenters--in other words, are socially involved in a positive way--build readership more quickly.
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(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
I use livejournal tracker to see how often the various pages of my blog have been accessed. The highest rated entry ever -- and one that keeps getting new viewers every month, was an article about Italian food in Ireland. Go figure! The second highest, is a piece I wrote about Ursula le Guin.

Basically, what I'm saying here, is that I have no idea how to answer your question :)
Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Lol, I'm not surprised :) I've been mulling over this since April, and though I think I've figured some of it out (hence this series of posts), there's plenty more for me to learn.

PS: Italian food in Ireland. Would that be Mac O'Roni & Cheese? :)
(no subject) - peadarog - Nov. 2nd, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 2nd, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
I don't, either! The advice I sometimes give myself is: lighten up! I do have a sense of humor, but you wouldn't necessarily know it from my blog. ;) But it's true that I gained most of my livejournal friends by commenting on their blogs and participating in discussions. And I strongly believe in treating people with courtesy. I do think people will read blogs that amuse them, and I'm just not sure how amusing I am -
Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
I'm with you 100% on the courtesy thing.

'...I gained most of my livejournal friends by commenting on their blogs and participating in discussions...'

I'm pretty sure that's how we first met :)

'...I do think people will read blogs that amuse them...'

I think that's part of it, but I'd widen that to include 'entertain'; 'inform'; 'enjoy' and a host of other things.

Nov. 2nd, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
I think commenting on other writers' blogs is a good way to get writers to look at your blog, but not sure for more general readers. That's much tougher I think. I suppose having book reviews might work to attract readers, except I'm not too big on doing those. Posting on something about yourself might attract readers in similar situations, for example I post about living in Taiwan from time to time and have made a few Asian writer friends. Of course people can get irritated if you do those kind of personal posts too often though, so you gotta keep it balanced. But to tell you the truth I barely have the endurance to post once a week.
Nov. 2nd, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
'...so you gotta keep it balanced...'

Oh yes, that darned 'Writer's balance' thing :)
Nov. 2nd, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
I agree with clarionj   on creating content that people find useful. If you help someone improve, inspire them, or just give them something they like you will be able to grow a readership.

I think joining groups can also help with getting a readership. If you join a group with people who have similar interests it makes it easier to find blogs that you are enjoy reading and those people in the group may also read your blog.

Like others, I feel commenting is a BIG plus, especially if you can make insightful and informative remarks. People will check your blog to see what else you have to say.
Nov. 2nd, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
Whether or not you comment on other people's blogs (and how you comment if you do) makes a huge difference, I think.

Thanks for sharing :)
Nov. 2nd, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
PS: One last suggestion (I promise) :)

Sometimes if you read someone's comment and you like it. Friend them even if you don't know them. Usually when I get friended I check out that person's blog. (1) to make sure they're not a bot and (2) to see what they have to say or to find out who they are.
Nov. 2nd, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Make as many suggestions as you like :)

I think it's a good idea to have a friends policy. Mine is: If someone friends me, or comments on my blog, or replies to a comment I left (and they're a real person), I friend them :)
Nov. 3rd, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
My answer turned out longish, Jon, so I posted it at my place.
Nov. 3rd, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks, David. I linked to it in the main post :)
Nov. 8th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
Hey, Thanks for posting this. It's interesting to see what you've found out. I think if I try getting into writing, as an author, seriously I'll definitely consider a blog dedicated only to that purpose.

I had thought to do that with my current LJ, but I haven't been writing seriously.
Nov. 8th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
Also, it's good to know the little tricks of the trade. *heh heh*
(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 8th, 2009 11:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 8th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC) - Expand
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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