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Thursday, January 3, 2013


By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Happy New Year!

As we welcome in 2013, most of us spend a little bit of time evaluating where we've been over the past year and what direction we'd like to head over the next twelve months.

And as I've assessed my blog, I've decided in 2013 I'd like to try a few new things. One of those things involves connecting a little more with my readers.

So . . . I'm going to switch things up a bit over the next few months and experiment with a new blogging schedule. I'll still be posting twice a week. But instead of two posts geared for writers, I'll be doing one post for writers (on Tuesdays) and one for readers (on Thursdays).

Why the change, you may be asking?

There are several reasons, actually:

1. After blogging about writing and marketing for the past three years, I've tackled nearly everything there is to say regarding writing and marketing. I truly appreciate the ongoing encouragement and support from so many followers and fellow writers. You've all been wonderful! But I'm not sure that I have THAT much more to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said.

I've decided that I don't want to waste my time or yours with insignificant posts. Rather I'd prefer to put my energy into one good post a week rather than two mediocre.

2. I think the nature of blogging is changing. While blogging was once considered essential to a writer's platform, most of us are beginning to understand that a blogging platform for fiction-writers doesn't translate into significant sales (at least for the average blogger).

In a day and age with limited time and resources, writers are realizing their time is best spent writing books—including eshorts and enovellas. Getting our stories in front of readers does much more for furthering our careers than blogging.

3. Now that I have several books out there and a developing readership, I'd like to provide a forum for engaging my readers and talking more in depth about issues that are important to them.

Blogging itself may not provide us hordes of new readers. By and large, our books are the means for growing a readership. But once we have readers, our blogs can be a place for them to hang out and connect with each other and us (at least I'd like to experiment with that).

So, starting next week I'll be moving to the new blogging schedule.

Tuesdays: Growing as Writers: We'll continue to evaluate the state of publication industry, where things are headed, how to survive the climate and be successful, along with all of the usual tips and tricks that come out of all I've learned in my writing journey.

Thursdays: Conversing with Readers: I'll be asking questions like "What hooks you into a book?" or "Have ereaders made reading cool?" And over the next few months, I'll be doing some book giveaways and other fun things.

For those who are both writers and readers, hopefully you'll still enjoy both posts. For those who are only writers or only readers, then make sure to set your alarm clock for the right day.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear from ALL of you! Please let me know some of the topics or questions you'd like to see me address on my blog (either from a writer or reader's perspective).

What are YOUR burning questions? Writers, what kinds of things do YOU want to learn about writing or the publication industry? And readers, what kinds of topics would YOU like to discuss about reading, books, or about author-life?


30 comments:

  1. Aren't all writers readers too? At least, one would hope. Good luck on your new blogging schedule. Since it's the new year and you're roping in readers, why not discuss things like what's on your reading list for the year, where do your readers like to read, your daily writing schedule or even show your writing space. It think that kind of thing always appeals to readers.

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    1. LOL! All writers should be readers! But perhaps not all are making the time for it (or making it a priority!).

      Thanks for further suggestions for appealing to readers, Ryan! I appreciate it! :-)

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  2. Jody, You've come to the same conclusion I reached early last year, when I polled the readers of my blog about what they'd like to see. Like you, I'm on a twice-weekly schedule, one about the writing life and one about "stuff in general." As always, looking forward to reading your posts.

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    1. Glad I'm we're thinking on the same page! I've actually come across several posts recently with other authors/professionals drawing similar conclusions. While in theory, blogging seems like it would be a way to build a platform, in reality for non-published fiction writers, there's very little one can do to draw readers. Our stories are THE best way to build a readership! :-)

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  3. Jody, that sounds exciting! My question to you is, beginning writers are always told that having a blog is essential to "getting your name out there" and showcasing your ideas. What should you blog about if you've never been published? I don't have much knowledge about the "industry" to share, but I would like to keep it at least somewhat professional, and not about my grandma's cat. Any suggestions? Looking forward to this year of your blog!

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    1. You could always blog about your experience in trying to get published. That's what many other writing blogs are about, including mine until it happened. You'll find your story is similar to other peoples and they're happy to listen and share along.

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    2. Great question! Thank you for asking about it! I'll put it into the line-up of subjects to tackle over the next few months. :-)

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  4. This sounds like an exciting change! I can't think of any questions right off the top of my head, but I'm interested to see what others come up with, and your answers and thoughts.

    Good luck with the new setup, and happy New Year!

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  5. yeah, i came to that same conclusion a few months ago, when instead of writing, i was just commenting all the time on Facebook and Digg and whatnot. it was good to some extent, as it would have brought people to my blog, but i wasn't writing in my blog at all. now i'm trying to get back to that. so i'd say a combination of writing (mostly writing), reading other blogs and commenting, posting and participating in forums, and then more writing.

    my blog, by the way, is mostly directed towards social and political issues, but there is some of my writing thrown in, some poetry, some pictures, and my own writing is all over the place - erotica, sci-fi, short stories, etc. i also have three other blogs, one devoted to my main novel, which is still a WIP, and one for a serial novel i'm writing online, and they are all tied in to my main 'catch-all' blog.

    anyway, i get you. the key is getting readers interested, and the bottom line is to write and get people reading. more power to you in 2013!

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  6. As both a writer and reader, I look forward to the changes you will be making with your blog. I guess my burning question has to do with reading being so subjective and figuring out what to write about that is unique but still fits the "rules" of writing. As I study the craft of writing and try to develop skills that will make my writing better, I always wonder if we are all following these writing "rules" how do we make what we want to say truly unique? Particularly certain subjects we are suppose to stay away from. But what if we have been silent on certain subjects too long and some things need to be talked about? I believe fiction is a great way to bring up those tough topics that would be hard to in other ways. I want to follow the advice of those who know far more than I, but I also don't want my writing to be cookie-cutter just-like-the-next-new-author either. How do we know when it's okay to break the "rules" of writing and when not too? Also, the blogging question that was already asked, what do you blog about as a young writer with little experience?

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    1. I love this question, Shelly! It's a tough one to answer, but I can certainly give you my thoughts in a future post! Thanks for asking it!

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  7. Jody, this is one reason why I've been suspicious of the "professional" wisdom that encouraged authors to find a niche and stay on point. I've come to believe that blogging will be harder for the fiction author if their primary reason for blogging is to sell books. If we, instead, write about what interests us, when it interests us, we'll have more staying power. And still maintain a platform for actually selling our books and expanding our audience. Godspeed on your writing endeavors 2013!

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    1. Loved your follow-up post, Mike. Thanks for expanding on this subject so eloquently! :-) I think it's still hard for some "professionals" to let go of the idea of blogging as a platform-builder. Many still want to cling to the hope that if done right, blogging can help "sell books." But after the past years of being immersed in the blogging community and writing world, I'm just not seeing that blogging can do that, at least significantly.

      I think blogging can be a place for us to hang out, meet others, and interact with readers. But by and large, blogging in and of itself doesn't attract readers to our books. Maybe some. But not a large number. Rather our books attract readers to our blogs.

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  8. Sounds like a very good plan, Jody. :)

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  9. Jody wrote : 'Thursdays: Conversing with Readers: I'll be asking questions like "What hooks you into a book?" or "Have ereaders made reading cool?" And over the next few months, I'll be doing some book giveaways and other fun things.'

    Yay! Bless you because of that. I'll be sure to drop by as often as I can. You are one smart woman, Jody. :-)

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  10. I think this is a very thoughful idea to write to the readers too. The readers are incredibly important people to the writer or at least they should be. :) I enjoy your writer posts and will read both.

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  11. I've been giving this very idea thought for months now and been questioning my own dime-a-dozen blog geared for writers (and the point is...?). I started a new one which may or may not fly in terms of followers-- we'll see. But I needed to try and connect on a different level. Best to you in the coming year.

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  12. I think you've made a great decision and I'm not just a writer, I'm a reader! I'm looking forward to both posts. :)

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  13. As a writer and a big reader, I like this. Sounds like a good balance. I really enjoy all of your blog posts. Keep up the great work!

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  14. Good luck with the change. I did something similar over the past year, and it's worked out really well. I did a post this week where I featured the top posts from 2012 and I was so surprised to see that most of the top posts were more book/reader oriented and not my writing ones. In the past, the writing posts had always given me the most traffic. So though I still cover writerly topics a few times a month, I talk a lot more about books, reading, and general life stuff now.

    And I'm with you, I blogged for a long time daily on writing topics. I don't want to rehash old topics. If I have something to say about writing, I do. But I don't want to write something just to write it. So I have my archives of posts organized for easy access for writers, but I have a lot more flexibility on the actual blog now. Once you have books out, everything changes. Readers/fans actually show up, lol. Imagine that. ;)

    Happy new year!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Roni! I've been keeping my writing posts fairly organized too on my "Writer Page" so hopefully writers can still track down helpful information.

      Since I really love to teach and talk about writing, I can't let go of my posts on writing altogether. But I've noticed a dramatic shift in blogging over the past year, I've decided I need to adjust too! :-)

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  15. I'm fascinated by this post because I started in fanfiction, which is much different than the path folks are talking about here, opposite almost. In fanfiction it's ALL about the fans, the readers, putting things out there for them, and interacting with them. As I've segued into my own work, I have to keep a hand out to the fanfiction readers, because they're the people who tell their friends who tell their friends who come and find me. So my question is a little different: Does a large number of fanfiction fans translate to future fiction sales? I don't know the answer to that. I can say, though, that I never blog about writing because my "peeps" aren't writers; they're readers. I love reaching out and finding you all out here now, though. It's been a revelation!

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  16. Good luck with the change, Jody. I found reducing my blogging schedule to Tuesdays and Thursdays was a big help in maintaining my sanity!

    I think you're right. Blogs are nice, but they're not a primary way of drawing in new readers. With the exception of guest posts, I find they're better as something to offer existing readers, rather than making more people aware of you.

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  17. I think this is a great change, Jody, and as both a writer and a reader, I'll happily still be here for both posts. But I'm also curious as to the content you'll be putting out for readers. I've always done a heavy proportion of non-writing posts, but those aren't necessarily focused specifically on readers (because I don't officially have any yet!). But I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in mind.

    Hope you and the family enjoyed the holidays. Happy New Year!

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  18. Jody, I'd love to hear what makes readers buy a book by a debut author. I know why I do it! I hope to be one, and I love discovering a new, really talented writer. But I wonder about readers who don't aspire to write.

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    1. That's a great question, Sally! Maybe it's one I can pose to readers! Thanks for the idea! :-)

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  19. The reading thing I have to find more time for. Its tough when I want to write all the time :)

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  20. As a relatively new 'writer' I was skeptical I had much advice to offer other writers other than some observations and opinions. So I've always geared my blog to readers or the general public. I've also used it to share some writings to prompts that have come from my writing group. I've admired how many topics you have covered, first three times and then two times a week. You've given me lots of good advice. I've only been blogging since last May (2 times a week) and I've already wondered if I will run out of topics by the time this May arrives.

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    1. Cynthia, It is tough to consistently find appealing topics to blog about, especially for fiction authors. Non-fiction authors who address specific topics (like motherhood) can center their blogs around their expertise. But it's much harder for novelists. I think it's probably best to go with your "passion" things you enjoy discussing and sharing with others. But perhaps I can flesh out my thoughts in a future post!

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  21. Hi Jody! Thanks so much for the insights that you've shared in the short time since I discovered your blog. Your blog is motivating and encouraging in a friendly way.

    I've only just realised (I'm not sure why I missed it before, perhaps because I've always been a reader and taken it for granted?) that I need to make reading good books a priority if I want to write WELL. I'd be really interested to know which books you think have inspired your imagination and polished your skill, which books you read again and again, which authors you go to when you need a reminder of how well you want to write. If, that is, you care to share! :)

    Looking forward to your posts and hoping that you have a blessed and happy new year!

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