Friday, February 05, 2016

How to Grow Your Blog Readership

I've been blogging since 2006, which is a ridiculously long time. Especially when you consider blogs have really only been around since the late 90s. When I first started I had zero readers. Unless you count friends and family.

I wanted readers, though. To me it seemed to be common sense. The only way to get people to read my blog would be to read other people's. So I went out in search of blogs to read and commented.

Over time, I've learned a few things. They're things I can't always put into practice, mostly because life gets busy sometimes! But there are various reasons to blog. For some, a blog is merely a personal diary--a way to vent frustrations and express themselves.

Some merely want to have a small readership of friends. A social network, similar to the one they have on Facebook or Twitter.

For those people, they simply need to maintain their current readership. If they read the blogs of every person who reads theirs on a regular basis, they'll mostly maintain, minus the few people who drop off every year. But there are many, many more of us who want to meet new people. Maybe we just like the thrill of knowing that when we post something, it will be read by many.

Some are blogging for a reason (in addition to enjoying it). We may be trying to get the word out about our books or products. If we stagnate, we miss the point. By growing our community, we grow our brand (and all the other cliched things marketing experts say).

Growing a blog readership can be a tough one. I'll often go through the comments of all of you guys and look for interesting bloggers. That's often a great way to find people with similar interests.

You can also use big group challenges as a way to meet new people. If you're a writer and you want to meet new writers, go through the signup list at the IWSG and meet new people. Better yet--participate and on the first Wednesday of the month, when everyone's posting about their insecurities, read as many as possible.

Sadly, only a small percentage will comment back when you comment them...but a few new friends are better than no new friends, right?

What advice do you have to help others get new readers?

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

IWSG: Reviewing Friends’ Books

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecuritiesIf you're a writer, join in!

First, I have an exciting news announcement. I just signed a deal to write a book with six fellow Simon & Schuster/Aladdin authors. Here's the announcement from yesterday's Publisher's Weekly:

And now, on to today's post...

This blogging group is a pretty tight one. We celebrate each other's book releases with cover reveals, blog parties, and all kinds of this:

Those of us who really believe in supporting our friends read each other's books. And we do the absolute best thing you can do for a writer you like:

In addition to supporting each other in the blogosphere, many of us also eventually follow each other on sites like Twitter and Facebook. So it got a lot of attention last year when news broke that Amazon was prohibiting reviews from people who were "friends."

How do they know you're friends? Amazon isn't saying. But experts pretty much say the site is watching you for certain patterns. Which is just...

Some say the key to keeping Amazon off your case is to never connect your social media sites. This is done in your social settings. Yours should look like this:

It's no guarantee that Amazon won't find some other way to spy on you, but it's a great start.

How far do you think Amazon will go in policing reviews?

Monday, February 01, 2016

Smoky Mountain Madness

It was my husband's birthday, so we spent the weekend here:

Our adventure started Saturday, when we rolled into town around lunchtime. We checked into our hotel, which was:

Our room was beautiful. It looked similar to this:

Only with one bed instead of two. This was the view from our balcony:

After checking in, we headed over to Margaritaville's Restaurant for lunch. Good news! I found Jimmy Buffett's lost shaker of salt.

Margaritaville is part of a (relatively) new attraction in the Smoky Mountains called "the Island." There's a ferris wheel and about a billion shops:

One of them was this lovely place. Apparently since I last visited the mountains, moonshine has become a major force in the tourism industry. These places are everywhere now:

They do "moonshine tastings," which involve 13 tiny shots of different types of moonshine. People (including parents with young children) were lined up all around the bar for the show.

It's truly something to witness, even if you don't drink. A very amusing show. 

My high school classmate stars in this show...but I, unfortunately, didn't get to make it there. If you're ever in the Smoky Mountains, you have to check it out, though:

Sunday was a beautiful day. We had our usual Gatlinburg breakfast at this must-visit location:

Then made the long shopping journey up and down this strip:

What did you do this weekend?