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Monday, March 4, 2013

ARE YOU BLOGGING MORE AND ENJOYING IT LESS?


Last Friday I wrote the post:
WHY BOTHER BLOGGING?
http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.com/2013/03/why-bother-blogging.html

I talked of how with the advent of self-publishing, there were
so many book tours, bloghops, cover reveals, and guest interviews ...

all of blogdom was beginning to stress out under the load.

Are you among my friends like

Donna Hole :
I know I'm letting so many authors down by not hosting every tour, cover reveal, and promotion with all my friends. The stress is getting to me.

Candilynn Fite :
I'm with Donna, even though we didn't get to read her longer version, a lot of it stresses me out.

In many ways, I feel like I fail my fellow writers when I don't promote, host, reveal, and participate in every event. It's a downer and I believe on a subconscious level, drives me further from blogging. I only post once a week, and during a normal week, I can only devote one day to hopping around. Otherwise, I get nada accomplished.

I feel all the promo takes away from the personal touch of blogs. The personal connection, which is the true reason I began blogging.

I'd like to have fun with blogging, but instead I hang around feeling guilty about all the things I haven't participated in. I will say, I believe a change is needed. Exactly what? I'm not sure.


or
VR Barkowski :

Every slice of cost-free media has been usurped for free promotion: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. It is a lot of white noise and an unbelievable amount of wasted cyberspace.

Early on, blogs as a sales platform were unique and had some impact. Now, as always with saturation marketing, that potential has been exhausted (at least for fiction).

In my opinion, blogging as an even quasi-viable marketing tool died some time ago.

I can't wait until all the book hawkers realize they're wasting their time, take a hike, and blogging goes back to what it once was: a way to promote yourself and learn through an exchange of ideas.

FACT:
*1,052,803 books were published in the U.S. 2009.
*Approximately 3,000,000 books were published in the U.S. in 2011.
*Est. ISBN #s issued in 2012? 15,000,000


To many, their blogs have become vampires, sucking time, energy, and fun from their lives.

So many new books with blog tours coming out.  Cover reveals left and right until the cyberverse
is blotted out with them.

Twitter was invented for mobile; Facebook is behind on mobile. Facebook is predicated on the past; Twitter is in the now.

And what do you see on Twitter?  BUY ME! BUY ME! BUY ME!

It is less text-heavy -- heaven forbid we ask people to hold three coherent concepts in a row.

But to rail against Twitter is useless.  As Victor Standish says, "It is what it is."

How to think of Twitter and our blogs?

Through our updates and tweets, we become and cultivate a brand whether we like it or not and,

 as writers, it’s important to maintain a level of exposure and engagement that will ultimately drive traffic to our blogs as well as give a hint to readers what we’re all about.

As long as everyone on the planet has a smartphone in their pocket, they're taking their online lives with them.

And blog posts simply have too much text to fit well in the small square of a smartphone.

We are driving ourselves to distraction to keep up a platform that is dying.

Let's face it, keeping up with blog reading has become a chore for most and it's much easier to peruse a Facebook news feed

 or twitter scroll than to muddle through a Google news reader backed up with weeks of unread blog posts.

So, yes, in the traditional sense, blogs may be on the ropes.

The New York Times is now jumping on this discussion theme, declaring that today’s twentysomethings no longer blog, a further sign that fewer people can find the time."


They go on:

"...Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family."
 
What do you think? 

Has blogging become a vampire, draining you of the
time needed to write your novel,

sucking the fun out of what once was a warm, fun interaction with like-minded
fellow writers? 

What can be done to bring new life to a medium that once was so important and influential?

33 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No, definitely not dying! Just changing. (My post on the topic of blogging dying was an overwhelming no.)
Too much promotion? Perhaps. (And I am referencing your post for the IWSG this week.)
Never sent out a Tweet about buying my book and never purchased a book from a Tweet.
We just need to adjust. I'm looking forward to the A to Z Challenge, because it will force me to adjust through shorter posts. And ones I get to write myself, something that doesn't happen often anymore.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Alex:
Time will tell about the demise of blogging. You're right: we have to change and evolve or die.

Like you, I don't think I ever bought a book from a Tweet -- from a blog post, yes, but not a Tweet.

The A-Z Challenge will be ... interesting!

D.G. Hudson said...

Perhaps bloggers should focus on their readers more than promotion, promotion, promotion. Perhaps marketing should be on a separate platform layer than blogging.

Only a small percentage of bloggers bother to respond to their readers/followers. Who wants to talk to a wall of silence?

There are too many experts and not enough students. Everyone's saying the same thing. Who do you listen to?

Lawsuits aimed at misappropriation of property (photos scooped off the social media sites) are increasing. This was per an article I read this morning linked off from a prominent publishing professional's blog.

I'm starting to see why Harlan Ellison is like he is. . .
I'm sure you get a lot of opinions on this one, Roland.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

D.G.:
I believe many bloggers only get into blogging to sell their novels.

Now, don't get me wrong. I would like my friends to enjoy the adventures of Samuel and Victor.

But I have come to think of you and my other visitors as friends.

I don't see you as probably John Locke does: as only buyers. If you read me and enjoy my novels, that is great. But I want to hear from you and my friends as I do my in-town friends.

We're in this together. We have common dreams, hardships, and doubts -- that makes for a bond that words are ill-equipped to describe adequately. :-)

I have always loved feisty Harlan Ellison. His belief that the workman is worthy of his hire is only common sense.

As for photos and clip art in the public domain and safe to use, try
http://pixabay.com/en/editors_choice/

Only the future will tell what the fate of blogging and social media is going to be.

I smile each time I see your name in my comments. :-)

shelly said...

I'm stressed out by it all. OMG! Really stressed because I want to help everybody.

And my book is out but I don't want to shove it down peeps throats either.

I want to have fun and connect with other writers. Learn and teach. I feel like I'm being bombed when I see another book promotion.

And I don't know what to suggest because I've only been blogging for real since 2010.

But as for me, I figured I could blog about psychics and intuitives on my Secondhand Shoes blog, along with eighties stuff. Sir Poops and Hair Ball wil still beg for nosh.

Good post, Roland.

Hug and chocolate,
Shelly

E.J. Wesley said...

I definitely think blogging is changing, Roland. However, I'll disagree a bit on it being an ineffective promotional tool. Just hasn't been my experience. Same with Twitter.

I think there are right ways and wrong ways to go about marketing (in any venue), but book blogs are very popular with readers, and positive reviews from those folks translate to downloads (again, at least in my experience).

Now, you might be strictly referencing author blogs. But even in that instance, I'd say it helps create an air of community support--which is extremely important and relevant to authors.

My author blog friends provided the first 8-10 (honest) reviews of my first book when no one else knew my name outside of the blog world. They took a chance on my work because they knew me through blogging. That's an important service to new authors, or any author, really.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Shelly:
I suggest to myself and to my friends to just have fun with our blogs, talking of the things you think will interest your guests.

I have my books in my sidebar. I try not to hard-sell my books. And the lack of sales show it. You roll the dice and take your chances. :-)

Jessica Bell is right I believe: if our books succeed or not depends a great deal on luck and timing. :-)

E.J.:
Yes, indeed, 10 honest reviews can help the sales of your book! Alas, my latest book has none. I guess I am a leper in blogdom when it comes to reviews. There are worse fates.

On the whole, there are so many demands on fellow bloggers to guest an author or write a review or post a cover reveal that it is a lot of white noise to many bloggers.

I am happy that it worked out for you. May it continue to do so. That hasn't been my luck.

You are right: blogging is changing. We must be alert to ride the crest of the changes to enjoy the most of our blogs. :-)

Donna Hole said...

I don't think blogging is dying - in fact I think it is expanding. But it has changed a lot in the last couple years. I am still getting a lot out of blogging; making friends I would never meet in my day life, exchanging writing ideas, finding resources for critiquing, publishing, and interesting research sites.

I've started thinking of blogging like a 12 Step program, get what you need, help others along the way, but remember there is a life to apply all those lessons to elsewhere. Those who make the meetings their life never really move on. So it is with the blogs.

It really is all about balance and moderation. And acknowledging that change needs to happen is the first step in making it happen.

Thanks for opening the forum on this issue Roland.

....dhole

Ted Cross said...

I suppose my blog might be dying a slow death. I stopped posting regularly and now do maybe 3 posts per month. And I am losing readers. I get many fewer hits, and some people have even been removing themselves from the Followers add-in. It makes me feel bad on one level, but on another it makes me think they couldn't have liked what I wrote much anyway, because otherwise what would it have hurt to stick with me for the few posts that I do manage each month.

Maybe blogging will pick up for me again some day. In fact, it probably will once I finish my WIP, and when I start a new one with new ideas.

Anne Gallagher said...

Hi Roland. I just had to chime in here. I read your post last week but didn't comment.

After a month long hiatus with the real possibility of not blogging anymore, I decided I did enjoy it and would continue to do it for as long as I did enjoy it. When it stops being fun, I'll stop blogging.

That being said, I'm just so sick of seeing blog tours, I just don't stop there. I read through Google reader now, and if I see something that I want to comment on, I stop and comment. I'm not busting my cubes to get to get to everyone anymore.

And I don't care who visits me. I post and if you stop by, I'll comment on my own blog right back at you, but I'm not going out of my way to reciprocate. Not to say I won't show up at some point, but not right then. I've got too many other things to do these days and blogging isn't high on the priority list.

As for blog tours, I've never done one. I'll do one or two cozy interviews, but that's about it. I don't like them, and I don't believe they sell books. They just annoy people. I'm a quiet marketer.

I did Tweet a few at one time, but I don't think that sold any books. However, I do think Tweeting you have a new book out every once in a while is good. Not every 15 minutes like some I see. Maybe once or twice a week.

Sorry this is so long, but...

I hope things are well with you these days.

Anna said...

I think there are all sorts of reasons why people start blogging. Not everyone thinks of the promotion aspect of it, some people use it as a kind of public diary/journal.

But blogging takes time. It is not easy to find the time to both blog and visit other blogs. Sooner or later you have to decide to be choosey or you will not get anything done in your offline-life.

On the other hand, I suspect that blogging can be a comfort for those who, for one reason or another, have trouble meeting new people.

I think blogging is what you make it. And that can vary a whole lot.

But in any case, Roland, I think you ask very important questions.

Best wishes,
Anna

P.S.
This is my first time at IWSG. Come visit, if you have the time and inclination. If you don't have time, that's o.k. too. I understand.

AnnasAdornments for Insecure Writers March 6th

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Donna:
Statistics show a steadily declining blogging community and a rapidly increasing Facebook and Twitter following.

Those that stay are changing their initial goals as you and Alex say. Times are sifting those who remain, revealing them to be golden. Hey, I bet you didn't know you were a gold nugget, did you?

You're right: moderation is the key. :-)

Ted:
I believe Blogger itself removes the names of those who haven't visited in a long time or who have discontinued their blogs -- so it may have nothing to do with you.

I bet that if you posted regularly on a specified day of the week, your blog hits would jump. Once a week is only one day more a month and the dividends could well be worth the experiment. :-)

Anne:
I think you have the right idea: blogging as long as it is fun and/or rewarding is the best way to approach blogging.

Blog tours used to be fun when they were one or two a month. Now, they are like the stars in the sky. My free time due to my center downsizing is very, very limited. I try to visit as many friends as I can but proving I am not a robot with those fuzzy numbers and wacky letters at the end of the day with fatigued eyes is no fun.

Usually I do not return to sites that test my weary eyes with wacky letters and out of focus numbers.

My blog tour for THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS helped -- but it was a different time. Those times are no longer -- besides I had the cute Hibbs, the cub with no clue to help me! :-)

I am glad you commented. I love to hear from you. And may the days ahead be the best yet in your life, Roland

Anna:
I believe you are right: blogging what you make it.

I think it would be a safe bet that most authors started their blog because of the conventional wisdom that if you were a writer, you needed one.

But like with so many things in life, why we came is probably not why we stayed.

Insightful comment. I'm heading to your blog right now. Roland

Misha Gericke said...

Hi Roland,

Congrats! You were voted Published Blogger with Most Awesome Writing Style in the Paying Forward Awards.

Please stop by my blog to see how you can claim your prize.

Misha

Anna said...

Hi again Roland!
Your comments made my day!
Anna

Old Kitty said...

I have absolutely no idea but I blog mainly for the cats! LOL!! And meeting other people's cats and animals!! And reading about their hopes and dreams. I like that.

I don't aim to sell anything and maybe I do blog when my story is published here and there but that really is more an ego thing for me - I'm so happy to have a story out there in the world - I have to vent! I have to share! LOL!!

Take care
x

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Roland,

You know how I feel on this subject. Yes, blogging has changed and it is not the relaxed and very personal community it used to be. HOWEVER, there still are many LIKE US to reach out and stay connected because through all the "PROMOTING" there is still friendship, caring, and a willingness to help each other.

The time restraints definitely are a major factor, many of us no longer post daily, but we manage to get our words and and visit each other as often as possible.

Oh, and CONGRATS on your AWESOME writing style. I am in EXCELLENT company. I must have learned something from the master over these past three years to be beside you in Misha's pay it forward contest.

Eric W. Trant said...

My take is this: I use FB to communicate with people I have a connection with. I use the blogosphere to connect with new people. I still haven't found much use for LinkedIn, but some people swear by it, and I don't do any other social sites besides blog and FB. Like Donna says, it should be done in moderation, and I am a WRITER, not a BLOGGER.

I try to keep my blog personal and personable, as do you, which is why I still come here, and have for the past few years, pretty much since you started. I would never have met you on FB, but in blogoland, we get to know one another on a deeper level.

I follow selectively, post selectively, and avoid overly commercialized blogsites. This is a relationship builder. You mentioned your accident, and I will mention the loss of my son. My blogofriends were there to offer comfort and prayers, and believe me those were felt in our home.

I count myself lucky to find a couple dozen true friends online, and mark my success in depth rather than quantity.

As for selling books and such, I do hope to make some good contacts, and be the same to others, but the relationship comes first.

- Eric

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Misha:
I am flattered by the award and the votes that went with it. Since in 6 weeks, my company will void my position in 6 weeks, I think the e_voucher might come in handy!

Anna:
I am happy to have made your day. May each new day be even better.

Kitty:
Why shouldn't you blog about cats? They are awesome, fascinating creatures. And when you are lucky enough to have a story out to buy, it is only fitting to tell folks, right?

Michael:
You won that award on your own merit! You are a fine writer.

Yes, blogging is not what it once was, but what is? Thanks for always being my friend, Roland

Eric:
I don't FB unless someone messages me or there is a birthday to honor. You and I have been blogging a long time. When your son died, my heart grieved with you.

I do hope you sell more books and make even more contacts!

Denise Covey said...

Blogging, to me, is the best of the social media. Yes, it is more time consuming than fb or twitter, but more rewarding. A writers blog helps writers with craft posts (which I love to read and learn from). To get/maintain readers a blogger has to be seen to not just be about me, me, me.
Not all fb/twitter/blogs are about self promo or promo. We have to take the good with the bad. How else will all those indie authors publicise their books and be noticed when 15,000,000 other books are vying for attention.

Denise

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Denise:
Like you, I prefer blogging to FB or Twitter. I can write more in depth and make jokes and hopefully be helpful at the same time.

I have a tool called twitonomy.com, and alas, it shows me that 90% of my twitter feed is self-promotion. Ouch!

How we are to stand out from the 15 million other authors hawking their book without self-promotion, I do not know, but I do know that all this BUY ME social media talk is turning off regular readers.

Since my devastating news about my job, I have a mind divided at the moment so forgive me if I am unfocused. :-)

Katherine Jenkins said...

I am writing 365 Inspirations for 2013. I blog because I enjoy it and I comment when time allows for it. I have guest bloggers when I feel inspired. My blog and book were discovered by a writer and eventually an agent and my book, Lessons from the Monk I Married, was published traditionally in 2012. I don't think constant promotion is the answer. I think it's important to keep it real. A dozen or so strong relationships with other bloggers are more important than thousands of superficial connections. I believe it should be enjoyable ^_^! All the best!

Mark Koopmans said...

I delete Tweeps if ALL they do is promote BUY ME!

That's been working for me... but I do agree (as I promote an upcoming blog O'hop) that Blogfests and cover reveals are losing their "power."

But, we have to do something... (I know I will run very few blogfests after this one...

Siv Ottem said...

Great post and great Video Roland. I do not think blogging is dead but as many have said before me, it is changing. I have not been blogging as much lately but that is because I am working hard on writing my book. With a busy life, I have put blogging on the bottom of my priorites. I never started my blog as a means for marketing...lol, I had not even started writing a book at that time. I started my blog in order to share my thoughts and to make friends. Nothing has changed except for the fact that I have less time for any kind of social media, besides, most of it I don't get, especially Tweeter, twitter..whatever it is called :)

LD Masterson said...

For the most part I enjoy blogging and following blogs but I really look forward to my Tuesday and Thursdays - my non-blog days - when I can get more work done. And sometimes it seems a little pointless doing the blog circuit on someone's reveal or release day because every other blog is promoting the same thing.

I don't tweet. I'm one of the last holdouts.

E. Arroyo said...

My blog was a safe place for me to write about anything. I have used it to promote other writers during my writing spree. It helped me maintain my blog while still writing. I don't want to give it up because I need the support of the writing community. I love reading posts, inspiration, and what's happening. I keep at it because of you, fellow bloggers. **cheesy, I know** =) And, for me, it's still fun.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Katherine:
I applaud you for the grit and determination it takes to write daily posts!

Your discovery by a writer and eventually an agent is the kind of story that keeps many blogging. I am happy for you. :-)

Constant anything, even steak, is too much -- but especially with self-promotion or even others' promotion on your blog.

People want a post that speaks to them, their needs, their doubts, their struggles -- which is why Alex's INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT monthly posts are so popular.

All the best to you as well! Roland

Mark:
If I delete every person who predominantly tweeted self-promotion, I would have a deserted tweet banner! I keep them because every so often they point out an interesting link to a newspaper article or someone other than themselves.

The old "Stand-by's" are not doing it as they once did. You're right: we have to discover a new approach that will not turn off our readers.

Best of luck with this new blogfest!

Siv:
I've missed you! The friend you made with your blog missed your absence from it. Twitter is an amazement to me. I feel as if I'm in an auditorium filled with nothing but Valley Girls!

LD:
Yes, when every blog you normally visit is revealing the same cover, it's like flipping the channels on your TV and finding the same movie playing!

E.:
Like you, I find support and friendship in the blogging community. But Twitter has few real conversations only self-promoting monologues! May we both find blogging continuing to be fun! :-)

nutschell said...

Blogging is a great venue for self promotion, and also a great way to expand our writing skills. It does take up a lot of time which could be used for actually writing though. It's one big balancing act, i tell you.
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

VR Barkowski said...

I've already said far too much about blogging (as evidenced by the above quote), but I wanted to add that you're right, Roland, all social media is not equal. Sure Facebook and Twitter allow for interaction, but the level of communication is superficial relative to blogging. In-depth Twitter/FB conversations inevitably end up in email which removes the discussion from the public forum. Does this make Twitter and FB better platforms for selling? Possibly, they're less time consuming, that's certain.

But one thing holds true across all social media: anyone using these services for the sole purpose of selling a book (or anything else for that matter), is wasting his time. Social media is the 21st century's "word of mouth." Who among us has time to listen to someone who does nothing but self-promote? We simply block them from our Twitter or FB streams.

This week I blogged about isolation. I didn't tie it back to blogging but should have. I mention leaving three nationally recognized writing organizations, who, because I write outside genre, were unable to provide the support I desperately craved. Odd thing is, I get that support from other bloggers. That's golden to me.

Is blogging in its death throes? It's certainly changing. As a platform for mass promotion, yes, I think it is dying. As a means to connect with others, I think it's alive and well.

It's important to remember that just as a Kindle download doesn't equal a read, a ridiculous number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers does not indicate an audience.

~VR Barkowski

Jeremy [Retro-Z] said...

I am not really adding anything... we do need to take shape of ourselves and our blogs. for some of us this who we are, i am very much a part of my site... it represents and reflects who i am.... or who i think i am. i bring ideas, i share my art, my life and i feel closer to some of you more than my in life friends.

i can be anybody i tell you who i want you to see... i think the real me is much more interesting.

evolve or die!

i sell stuff, i promote stuff, i am stuff... i don't try to shove it down your throat. only when i am sharing that excitement..

where do we go from there, we have been here... it's time to move on to there.

Carissa Taylor said...

Thanks for this post! It's so fascinating to see all the different takes on this. I have only been blogging for a little over a year ... half of which I just stopped altogether for personal reasons (and only lost two followers -- heh they hardly knew I'd left)

From my perspective, as fiction writers, the only people we are reaching with our blogs are other writers.

Maybe this mostly pertains to YA, but I don't know of a single teen who follow Blogs, or Twitter or even really cares about doing much interaction with authors they like on FB (and as all my siblings are younger than me I know a lot of teens!).

Some do like Pinterest, and they talk to friends on FB, but that's about it. They honestly probably aren't even going to read the Amazon or Goodreads reviews before selecting a book. YA Confidential has a lot of great interviews with teens, and more often than not, they never look at blogs/book trailers or anything of the kind before selecting a book to read.

So all that said, I blog for myself. I blog for other writers. I make a blog that I myself like to refer to when doing research/writing/editing. I tweet to meet other writers, to exchange info about contests, to commiserate and/or to give whoever's interested an insight to a slice of my writing life.

And if I can't think of anything to blog/tweet about, I just ... don't.

[plug for Pinterest tho - I've gotten lots of followers on my "Reading wish list" and "Favorite recent reads" boards without even trying. I'm wondering if honestly that's the best place to 'accidentally' market yourself to those who aren't specifically looking.]


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Nutschell:
All of writing is a balancing act, you are right. Still, like VR, I believe blogging as a self-promotion tour is fading in impact.

VR:
There is no too much commenting from you on my blog, trust me. Say as much and as often as you wish.

You're right, FB and Twitter are less time-consuming but lack substance or nutrition like cotton candy! :-)

How true, VR: if we get selfish vibes from bloggers, FB'er's, and Tweeters, we simply stop paying attention. Ouch.

If blogging has taught me anyting, it is that you get by giving. If you take but never give, you become like the Dead Sea which only receives without an outlet.

Another great comment, VR.

Jeremy:
We all cultivate a brand by the ink of our posts and their predominate themes.

We must use different tools to do what we desire in our blogs, but I do not know what they might be at the moment. :-)

Carissa:
Haven't there been so many different, fascinating takes on this post? It makes me feel as if I've made cyber-home a real party. :-)

I believe you are right: we, all too often, are singing to fellow members of the choir. We need to find a way to break out of the narrow confines of our writers' ghetto to the worldwide ocean of readers out there in the world.

As for teens, I again feel you have a valid point: this is a visual generation, more interested in video games, music, and movies. Still movies come from the written word -- either a script or a best-selling book.

Usually with our blogs, tweets, and FB posts, we are not reaching the attention of most teens.

To blog for fun seems best. Pinterest seems dangerous with copyright issues -- it scares me. :-)

Now, get to work on that dissertation! :-) Roland

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Roland - I know I'm late in being here - I wanted to see what others said ...

There's too many distractions, so concentrate on what will achieve your objective; we need content for books, blogging can provide that as long as the objective is kept in mind; what are we trying to achieve - or are we all over the net like headless chickens ...

Once you've focussed and honed in on your core objective, by regular and consistent application - you'll be known in your niche ... preferably a very small one.

Check, test and measure - what are good and working aspects of your blog and each of the social media sights ... often less is more

Good luck to everyone ... cheers Hilary

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Hilary:
There are so many distractions in life in general and in blogging in particular -- you're right -- it is so easy to get swept away by it all.

You made another good point, remaining focused on your main goal - becoming a successful author will help. Less sometimes is more -- and consistency is even better, for your friends know that you always be there with new content when they visit.

Insightful reply, Hilary. Thanks for joining in. :-)