I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blogging to the Reader, Not the Writer


Based on the advice of friend and fellow author Katie Ganshert, I've been reading Kristen Lamb's books, We Are Not Alone: The Writer's Guide to Social Media and Are You There Blog? It's Me, Writer on my Kindle. If you don't have the books, she shares a lot of similar information on her blog
Her books are full of wit and wisdom with a dash of snark. She says writers should be blogging for their readers, not other writers.

Now I have to confess something—blogging is painful for me. Like brain-numbing-headache-when-you-eat-ice-cream-too-fast-painful. The hardest part is coming up with a topic. If I have that, then I can ramble. As I'm doing now. 

So why bother?

Blogging builds your online presence when your books release. Lamb recommends writers to blog before they even make that first sale. Readers like to visit their favorite authors' websites. Someday I hope to be somebody's favorite author, and I want to offer them something to keep them coming back to my site. If cyber chocolate could satisfy, that'd be a no brainer way to keep them coming back.

But to blog for my reader? What in the world was I going to say? 

Enter a wise woman we know and love—Reba J. Hoffman! Her simplistic suggestion was that 'a ha' moment for me. She said, "You're a romance writer, right? So write about romance. Being married 22 years, you should know something about the subject." Can you just hear her voice inside your head saying that? We put our heads (avatar heads since this was through Yahoo IM) together and brainstormed enough topics to blog about for the six months. 



My first romance-focused post, Romantic Gestures, went up on Monday. Readers are not flocking to my site yet, and that's okay. But I have clarity. Since my tagline for my novels is Promises of Hope & Happily Ever After, and my brand is Lisa Jordan, contemporary Christian romance author, then when readers visit my blog, they have an idea what to expect. 

If you are testing the blogging waters, or you have been blogging for a while now, take a step back and adjust your lens to see if you are blogging for your core audience of readers or if you are blogging for fellow writers. If targeting writers is your choice and goal, then go for it! But if you are blogging to writers because you feel like you should, then consider what you want to offer your reader and focus your blog toward subjects dear to your heart and genre.


·      If you are a historical romance writer, blog about your time period—clothes, mannerisms, family life, dating.
·      If you are a women's fiction writer, blog about issues women care about—family, careers, health, budgets.
·      If you are a speculative fiction writer, then blog about spec stuff. I'd give suggestions, but I have no clue! 

When you choose to blog, stay consistent and stay focused. Keeping those two key points in mind, your readership will continue to grow. 

23 comments:

  1. I'm reading through Kristen Lamb's book--and taking notes the whole way through! Her insights have changed the way I blog too.
    And when Reba talks, I listen too. (And not just because of her accent!)
    Now, I'm off to read your blog, LJ!

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  2. Well, I had to go read your blog first! Great post, Lisa (both of them) and a prod to get my blog up to date!

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  3. Thank you so much for this info. I post on a writing site with my online writing group pals, but I'm frustrated with my personal blog. Like you, I hope to be someone's favorite author someday. This is a great post. Thanks again!

    Johnnie

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  4. Love your post, Lisa, and so relevant. I've really been doing a lot of experimenting with my own blog in the past year and hope to feel "settled" with it by the New Year. I'll have to check out those books.

    When you mention offering readers something to keep them coming back, my mind immediately goes to entertaining readers. Thing is, I can go anywhere and everywhere on the web to get "information" (or even, for that matter, inspiration). But if an author/blogger blogs with that unique voice I've come to love through his/her books and entertains/amuses/delights me, I'm so there! And I will keep going back...not only for the entertainment, but because I feel like I'm getting to know the blogger as a person rather than a subject.

    Don't know if any of that made sense, but perfect example of what I'm talking about: Jenny B. Jones.

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  5. Oh, I can't help but also add this: in his INSANELY AWESOME book Quitter, Jon Acuff talks about embracing low numbers. In other words, take advantage of those early seasons of low readership because that's the time when you can experiment, take your time finding your groove so when the reader numbers start growing, you're offering your best. Also, it's just plain less of an audience for an early flub-ups. :) I think that's awesome wisdom for bloggers.

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  6. Lisa,
    I've changed my focus on my blog this week, too! Soaking up the wisdom of Kristen Lamb convinced me that blogging for other writers is an area already saturated, and not something I want to do anyway. Like you, I'm changing my focus to hit my romance readers.
    Keep at it! You're not in this alone! :)

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  7. Great post Lisa. It really is true we have to write who we are. It's what our hearts are filled with and out of the abundance of that heart, the writer will... well... write! :-)

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  8. And as Seth Godin said in his blog today: "Great writing rarely comes from simply following the trend of the moment."

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  9. Lisa, this is such a helpful blog! I've put off beginning a blog because I'm certain I'll run out of topics. I'm sure that no one will come read it because I'm completely unknown. And frankly, I'm a little (or a lot) scared about putting myself out there.
    What you shared today does put my mind at ease about a lot of things. Thanks for sharing so openly. Happy blogging to you!

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  10. I wanted to chime in with a related thought. Recently, romance author Eloisa James spent a year in Paris. Each day she posted a status update on Facebook that described the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of that wonderful city. Those posts were written with style and verve - and as creative writers, aren't we all able to post similarly crafted blog posts? We can all look around our daily world and describe people places and things that inspire/motivate/illuminate our faith journey for our readers to share. Sounds easy, but difficult to execute (but doable!)

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  11. This post has hit on a realization that has evolved for me: that if I'm ever to be published, my readership won't care much about deadlines, word count, etc. Seems there are quite a few blogs out there about writing for writers, and while I enjoy them and find them helpful, I often wonder what would draw a potential reader to that blog if the reader is NOT a writer.

    I mostly blog about faith, teaching, and music--and I blog to encourage. I write stories involving teachers, and of course, I write Christian fiction, so that's at least a tenuous tie-in. Once in a while I throw a writing post in, though not as often as I used to. Though I haven't a large following, I'm hoping if that contract ever comes through, readers would enjoy my vignettes.

    Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing and God bless you.

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  12. I'm very late rdg. this. Also appreciated and especially enjoyed getting to know you more at this year's ACFW. You go, girl, & I specifically like how you had some of the tender movements being their foreheads resting, gentle, not always white-hot passion.

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  13. Beth, I've learned a lot from her books. Her blog is full of advice too. Love her voice and wit she adds to make things a bit interesting.

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  14. Thanks, Pat. Yes, you really should start blogging since you're getting closer and closer to selling your novel!

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  15. Johnnie, thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the post. I was frustrated with my personal blog too. Now that I have focus, I'm constantly coming up with blog post ideas. Think about what you write and how you can share that kind of information with readers.

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  16. Melissa, I'm looking forward to your interview with Jenny B. Jones! Love her voice. Love her blog too. Her posts make me laugh. A few have made me cry.

    I need to get Jon Acuff's book. I've heard you mention it many times. Those low numbers can be defeating, but every blogger/writer/speaker out there started small. God can use small in a great way.

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  17. Jennifer, I'm your newest blog follower! I look forward to reading more of your posts! So glad you were able to change your focus. And you're so right, we are not alone.

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  18. That Seth Godin has a lot of wisdom in his words. I was such a slow writer that I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with the market trends. Instead, I chose to write what was on my heart and allow God to place it in the market where He felt it would fit.

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  19. Jeanne, I understand your fears. Change can be scary. But you are not alone in the blogging world. You may feel you're unknown, but you have a voice. You have a unique way of presenting your thoughts that no one else can mirror. When you choose to start blogging, consider your audience and what you feel they may want to read about. And you have to share only what you feel comfortable doing.

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  20. Jenna, thank you for sharing about Eloisa James' blog. I'll be sure to check it out.

    Blogging isn't always easy, but I'm learning the more I do it, the better I'm becoming at it...or so I hope. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. Gwen, I've read your blog many times and have thoroughly enjoyed your vignettes. I admire your musical talent and the passion you have for it.

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  22. Thanks for your sweet words, Dee. You are an admirable lady. I'm so blessed to call you friend!

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