Round 2 Sunday 5

Let’s take a minute here and share some on how we reach our audiences…

Obviously we at the ROW80 have worked with blogging for a while.  This is the seventh year of A Round of Words in 80 Days as a blog-based challenge.  Since our inception in 2011, we’ve adjusted things some to welcome people from other forms somewhat.  We now have a Twitter hashtag (#row80) and a Facebook group.  But there are many different types of social media platforms out there.  Perhaps we could do better?

Reaching out for ideas…

I just got done reading an article in the October 2008 (yeah, I have a bit of a magazine backlog going on here) that advised against fiction authors of trying to build an audience by blogging.  One of the best reasons not to blog, according to the piece?  Back when was indexing websites, it found there were more than 112.8M active blogs with around 175,00 new blogs being created daily.  Also, many of these bloggers were updating their pages at around 1.6M posts per day(!).

All the while…  around 500 books were being published daily (not counting self-published…  the author estimated doubling that amount to include self-published material).

Also, as all of us who blog know, it takes a lot of energy to be a good blogger and gain an active following.  Maybe this works for you.  I find that when I blog, my mental energy becomes blog and “content” driven, as opposed to focused on my fictional endeavors.

There are some wonderful online creativity blogs out there: Story-A-Day and Six Word Memoirs  are two that come to mind immediately (perhaps because Story A Day in May just started, and I know several ROWers who participate).  These creative communities help push writers to write and create daily, sometimes for a limited time, sometimes year round.  This is a great thing for writers.  It’s a focused community, a way to practice and improve skills and even a way to show off a little.  No bad thing!

These days however, writers have to wear more hats than ever (some of which make it hard to show off one’s self well…  just do a Pintrest search for weird hats), and I wonder if blogging in general is not, as that old article said, perhaps not the best way to go for reaching an audience.

Do you find your audience through blogging or other social media? What works best in your experience?

As always, you’ve got plenty of options for checking-in: here at the linky or in the comments, and at our FB page. If you have other suggestions for ways to “keep in touch” please, let us know.

8 thoughts on “Round 2 Sunday 5

  1. Honestly….I “find my audience” by being…..honestly me.

    Sometimes that’s blogging my way through grief. Sometimes it’s hanging with my crew and friends at #AllStarTrek. Others, it’s sharing three favorite pictures from an impromptu photo shoot of my newly rescued shelter dog, who happens to be a pit bull with a face anyone could love, and a personality to match. Or just chatting with folks on Facebook…

    Or being out in the world, talking with folks.

    I don’t think of it as “finding an audience,” honestly. I think of it as communicating, sharing, getting to know people, and, if it’s a fit, maybe something I write will connect with them. All of the learning I’m doing focuses more on finding those connection points than the actual platforms used – although it’s pretty generally accepted that it’s best to have a website – a place of one’s own that’s free of the vagaries of the publicly owned ones.

    As an aside, an article from 2008 is likely to be extremely dated in this area, since things move so fast….

    1. All excellent points, Shan. I raised the question mostly because, even years later, there is a lot of “you must have a blog/website/Twitter acct/you-name-it-social-media-thingie” to reach your fan base. And to a small degree, I get it… People who want to read your stories should have a way to find out about your stories, about release dates, and any other information you wish for them to know, but I don’t think it’s so much about the type of contact as it is about contact…. about connection itself. There needs to be a way to communicate, and whatever one you choose, should be the one that works best for you, the one that you will feel most natural in maintaining.

      For some people it MAY be blogging, or instagram or email… or maybe actual letters. I like the idea of options. 🙂

      1. Agreed that options are good. A website, though, can be a very simple affair that only includes contact info, basic bio, and where to find your work.So…though it’s an expense, it doesn’t have to be a chore, really – although it does help to know who it is we’re trying to reach, and what it is they want from us, so we can communicate in a value-added way.

        So, in some ways, it might be wise if. while we’re making our decisions and choices, we consider that our readers – current, and maybe especially potential, also have preferences and choices, so ours should certainly be easy for them (and, I imagine I’d personally find unsolicited letters from authors to be the same as junk mail…and they’d find the same home in my recycling bin, even before I stepped inside the house.

        1. In the case of letters, I was referring to subscription newsletters or authors corresponding with readers who have emailed them. All thing initiated by the reader or at the reader’s request, so… nothing unsolicited. Unsolicited stuff? That just wouldn’t be cool, in my book.

          1. I switched laptops today, and, while clearing tabs, found this old conversation, and something kind of jumped out at me that hadn’t before.

            It’s this bit:

            “All thing initiated by the reader or at the reader’s request”

            I see some potential difficulties with this.

            1) It feels like a burden, where the obligation for connection is on the reader, rathher thn the writer. “The reader” is a person. Probably, in our current reality, a busy one, with already too many things on their plate. If connecting with a writer they like involves writing an email and figuring out how to send it might be a prohibitive barrier to contact, whereas searching and finding even a static website will give them a contact point.

            2) If I want people to read my stuff, I feel it’s on me to do the reaching-out. Not in an invasive, in-your-face way, but in a “I made this thing you might enjoy, if you’d care to take a look” way. By invitation, rather than demand (I don’t look at my Twitter home feed much, but when I do, it’s loaded with “READ MY BOOK NOW!!!!” ads from people I know nothing about. I tend to ignore those, and I suspect I’m not alone. So I would rather offer something – a lot of something that’s free and of value to those who read it, and place the invitation for more contact and pay wall items where they can find it, but be free to pass it by if it’s not for them.

            There’s a lot more I could say, based on the research and coursework I’ve been doing over the last few years, but that could be a blog post (or a series of them) on its own….which gives me an idea of sorts…off to simmer that.

            1. LOL… I had to reread this whole thread to remember this conversation and the article in question.

              The author does need to make the original “offering”… how else could the reader even know the option is there to sign up or buy or read, etc.? And really, as the author, if I wish to share something of my work, it’s pretty much on me to do the sharing.

              But beyond extending that offer to share, but posting a link at the bottom of our page, etc, we need to respect the reader… the other person’s right to say “No thank you”.

              I think that was all I was getting to at the time.

              I hear you about the Twitter home feed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.