Soooo, ever since I started this blog I have subscribed to magazines like; The Writer and Poets and Writers and really tried to educate myself, buying books on my Kindle about marketing and how to get an agent, how to self publish and promote your own work. I have considered signing up for a few classes about publishing. But to be honest, I really am confused about it all. Though, I have discovered one thing about social media and the likes of blogging. You MUST network. I have to admit that I have been competing with myself in a way. By looking at my stats almost as much as I step on my scale!
Stats are a funny thing. They are a tool to show you the kind of traffic you are generating or not. It is a mystery to me how some have a huge following and some don’t. It is as simple as that, or is it? At first, I started my blog as a place to just keep record of my own writing for me. And then slowly I began posting a poem or something that I would write on my facebook page and a few friends began to follow me, and I would discover their blogs and we would kind of have a little cyber coffee clutch, checking in with each other as we would get notified that one of us had a new post. Gradually, I noticed that people that I did not know began to follow me and it kind of felt good. That strangers were finding my writing worth their time. Slowly, I began to check out who was following me and wahlah… that is what networking is all about! And yet, for me it happened through the back door. I had never really started out wanting to have my private journal made public. But the comments I received inspired me and so I began to explore the art of blogging! And I liked it! The response I recieved was a bit addicting.
Like I said earlier, I was not expecting to share my blog. In fact, there are many personal things in it that I would not really ever have considered sharing with people I know. I kind of started out thinking that people were only viewing what I was posting on my facebook and then I realized anyone had access to anything I was storing on my blog. As I became more comfortable with the sharing part of things, I became fascinated by the volume of followers my posts were generating. In turn, I began following and I have to admit all this networking has become time consuming but I genuinely enjoyed reading each blog. It was as if I had joined a writer’s group that met daily at the local coffee spot, on line!
My daughter is on Etsy. (An on line shop for artists) She has over one hundred followers and is in many of what Etsy calls Treasuries. Her work is unique and wonderful and yet she works hard at updating daily and networking with other artists. I have my own illustrated and written card line on Etsy but I don’t “work it” like she does with her shop. I get a sale every month or so where she gets several. I used to sell a thousand dollars in cards at a show when I would do art shows so I know if I invested the same time there as I do here on my blog, I could actually make some good money. And yet writing is my passion and so I stay here on my blog and working on my book that I am now editing.
I guess my point is… I went on a little vacation this week. The first few days of not responding or networking on my blog here….or posting anything new still generated several likes and comments. But it is funny. I am not sure if it is how the blog is set up, or what, but I do have over 100 posts and yet it seems as if it is just all my recent posts that people tend to read and so my stats went way down. Thus, discovering that even though someone may really enjoy your writing, a blog is kind of like a daily column in a newspaper. You may read Dear Abbey that day but you don’t bother going back into her archives and reading some answer she gave a year ago even though something in those archives may very well pertain to your current life now.
I have received a few AWARDS from readers recently and had always kind of coveted them wondering what they were about and while I was touched by the words I received when they came to me. That would have been enough. The comments were my reward. But I felt obliged to follow through and go through the process of doing what I was supposed to do. It was so time consuming. But I GET it now, those awards are a networking tool. Though…. a very time consuming one! Maybe agents are’nt such a lost commodity. Maybe we DO need them. I have gone the route of self publishing a children’s book and it is costly and though I have done well in a small arena, I have an inkling that a publisher could have done a far better job of marketing it.
With Kindle and e-books and everything going technical and digital it is hard not to be tempted to rely on ourselves to develop our own film, buy our gifts on line, forego libraries and even publish our own books on line or through the vanity press type places… everything is on line now even college classes! I have a friend that makes more money than her husband who is a school administrator, by staying home in her PJs and working from her lap top! She has been promoted over and over to do what she does on her computer at home.
This week I have realized that unless I post something daily, my stats go down and my followers are not as loyal even though I have over one hundred posts to keep them entertained, they need attention back. They need me to be present. Just like a Best Seller author. One book lasts for a season. They better be writing another while they are going on those book signing events! And an agent is a little like the stats here… reminding you that you are only as good as your next post!