Friday, 30 March 2012

Blogging for others

I've been writing blogs like mad, but for other blogs as a guest. All part of my promotion campaign and fulfilling the very kind requests. Someone asked me, what do you write about? So I thought I'd pass on my ideas.

Obviously the point of doing guest blogs is to promote my upcoming release. But nobody wants to hear or read about that over and over again. It's necessary to find something that relates to the novel, but isn't a direct selling pitch. Thinking around the novel, there are always going to be points of general interest.

With historicals, it's easy enough to pick up areas of research and talk about those, which is what I've mostly done. But what if your novel is modern? Are there still points of interest you can fix on.

Think of it as you would a hook for your story. Is there something in the area of the setting? You may have had to research something about it, or about the type of buildings you're using, or the lifestyle of one of your characters. Use your research and talk around the theme, only bringing in your story where it's really relevant, and perhaps only once - twice at the most.

Is there a medical or physical problem involved with a character? Even the simplest things - an allergy, a sprained ankle - require some specifics about the problem, its treatment, how it incapacitates the character. Anything of bigger medical interest will have its own data you can plumb for your blog.

If you're doing something light, why not write about how you choose names, or how characters get their hair and eye colour, whether they arrive fully formed or appear gradually. This sort of writerly inside information is always of interest to the non-writer. Then it's easy enough to bring your current characters in and tell how they became who they are.

Thinking about it, there are endless possibilities that lead inevitably back to your novel under promotion. Covers are a good bet, and invite pics as well. Titles - fraught with interest! Readers would love to hear all the titles books didn't get called - even the bad ones. Awful howlers that got through copy edits galore. The horrible agony of getting a decent author pic. Having to rewrite half a book because you boobed.

People love to read about mistakes - it makes you human. Don't try to focus just on the good stuff. Life isn't all sweetness and light, and it warms the heart to know others are just as vulnerable as you are. On the other hand, don't play the sympathy vote with a dreadful sob story. If you're talking about the horrors of life, make it light. And then your lead character's difficulties in the current book are easily brought into play.

Remember - as a writer, you are already interesting. Talk about some aspect of your work, and you can't go wrong.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I may be at home, but I'm actually working, thank you!

OK, this is a rant. But it may resonate with some of you, and may it serve as a flag up for those of you who are dying to be full-time writers. Full time? Ha!

Without going into personal detail as to why, I can't actually shut myself away in my eyrie and refuse to respond to anything outside of it. I know other writers (or indeed others who work at home) are in similar situations. Family commitments are sometimes such and that's all there is to it. BUT.....

How come if there's one caller at the door one day, they are immediately followed by at least five more? How come one interruption of any kind seems to generate a whole raft of them? Days just dissipate so fast and you get to the end and realise nothing got done.

Then you think, ok tomorrow will be different, I'll do so and so and so first and then I'll get to the writing. Oh yeah? What makes you think sod's law is about to get changed just for you? And after three or four days of this, you're tearing your hair out.

Admittedly there are weeks when it all rolls along nicely. But lady, this ain't one of them. Don't people around here realise that I have not one, but two books to write? Plus guest blog posts for promotion; not to mention assessments I'm doing for other writers. Oh yes, they realise it in some vague way. I think non-writers have some sort of strange idea that books are just ideas that float onto the page without much input from the writer.

And when I protest, all I get is; "Oh, you'll do it. You always do." Yes, I'll do it, but they might have to cart me off in a straitjacket!

Be warned. If you're at home, you're fair game.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Promotion - amazingly works!

I've taken time out from writing book three to promote book two, which comes out beginning of April in the US and online. I've never done much of this before, but it's quite astonishing how willing bloggers are to help out. Here's what I've been doing:

Located a few appropriate blogs to begin with, followed their links to others and ended up finding a blog that lists 100 top blogs culled in various different ways. I haven't had to google anything due to finding this list. I've checked out each one, looked at their review policy and only sent to those who might have interest in my genre.

It's rather like doing the agent research when you want to get published. You've just got to take the time to find out what they are looking for, what they will look at and how they want it presented. Same with bloggers. Do what they ask and they are willing to read your email.

Once I had done a huge chunk of requests and got the responses coming back, I didn't stop. And this is key. I am trying to contact five blogs a day. I haven't kept it up every single day, but I've kept it going through the week. The result is that I now have over 20 bookings for reviews, guest posts and interviews - all over the world. And counting.

Now of course I've had to add in doing the interview questions, writing the posts and arranging for review copies to be sent out. It's very time-consuming, but extremely gratifying to find bloggers are interested enough to want to participate.

I really don't think it has much to do with my name, my book, my publisher or the fact it is the second book in the series. Like getting published, it's persistence and quantity. Keep touting for interest, keep asking, keep looking for another outlet. The more going out, the more will come in.

You just don't know who you are going to hit. One blogger was so happy to be asked because I was the first author to email her for a review, and this will be her first review.

The lesson here is, once again, never give up. Keep asking and you'll get results.