Having finally accepted the inevitable fact that I’m going to self-publish my first novel in November, I’ve started to think about marketing and have been doing some research into marketing my blog. (I’m working under the assumption that the more readers I have of my blog, the more likely some of them will buy one of my books to read.)
The Bloodsuckers is part of my marketing campaign. I made it a weekly serial story to get people to come to my blog regularly and/or subscribe. Also, it’s a way to show off my talents (such as they are) as a writer. The thought is, if someone knows they like something I’ve written, they’re more likely to pay to read something new. The risk of buying something crappy is diminished when they’re reasonably confident they like what I write.
And lastly, when I started writing The Bloodsuckers, I was struggling to keep my blog updated regularly. By setting a goal of one episode per week, I guaranteed that I had fresh content on my blog at least once a week. (The longer your blog is dormant, the more likely you are to lose your readers.)
But I can’t implement one thing and stop. It’s time to try some new ideas.
You may have noticed that I’ve redone my blog theme. Again. Part of that is because I get bored looking at the same thing all the time, and part of it came from tips from A-List Blogging Bootcamps, which talks about the benefit of light and simple–not to mention an image (or text style) which can become part of your brand. So my new look was born out of that. As usual, I’m not permanently committed to it, so feel free to comment about whether you like it or not.
Something else that Bootcamps talks about is not being too specific. While to a theme (or three) is necessary, too narrow a focus keeps reader numbers low. Kristen Lamb speaks specifically to me when she says that writers should not write about writing exclusively. Which isn’t to say you can’t use your blog to talk about your writing or to help others write, but that should only be one theme out of two or three–not the entire thing.
She said a romance writer she worked with got much better results from her blog when she expanded it to include her interests in cooking and wine; many more people like cooking and wine than writing. She also points out that other writers are the worst audience to market to; we don’t actually buy a lot of other people’s stuff. You need to market yourself to the people who read the sort of things you write.
This makes total sense to me. So now I need to brainstorm. What hobbies and interests do I have outside of writing?
Medieval re-enacting and Judaism
Is that it? Is that how I spend my non-work hours? Writing, re-enacting, and studying Torah?
Yes. (God knows I don’t spend my time cleaning house or cooking.)
This is not going terribly well. You’re supposed to expand your theme into things which have a wider audience. Fewer people do medieval re-enacting than try their hand at writing a novel. And given that Jews are 0.18% of the world’s population, that’s hardly a large audience.
So let’s look at this from a different angle: what sorts of non-fiction things would my fiction readers like to read? Well, that’s a bit of a tricky question as I’m now writing in more than one genre.
- Vampire readers. I have The Bloodsuckers available, so there’s already something there to keep them coming back for more.
- Historical romance readers. Here, my medieval research and re-enacting will probably be interesting. Even if they don’t do it themselves, it can add to their knowledge and appreciation of what they’re reading. So more posts on medieval stuff.
- Fantasy readers. People I know who like to read fantasy seem to spend a lot of their time reading and doing their own writing. And I already have that covered.
- Contemporary romance readers. Hell, I don’t know. I’ve written exactly one contemporary romance and my protagonist was a writer by hobby and her love interest was a painter–so I’m not exactly going far from shore, there.
My problem is that I’m not a normal person with normal interests. I like to watch documentaries and anime. I like to read about life-hacking and traditional skills. I’m a Deist who believes God is at work in my life. I like a clean house, but hate cleaning it.
How in the hell do you make a theme or two out of such different, often contradictory things?
The posts that get the most traffic on my blog rarely have anything to do with writing in general, or my writing specifically; most of my traffic comes either from my personal challenges (using a standing desk, beating procrastination) or totally random things like Mardi Gras and my idea for a Pandora for Art. And, I must admit, I write those posts when I feel like I don’t have anything better to say.
So how do I harness the power of my own randomness? How do I bottle my renaissance woman persona with my interest in a little bit of everything?
Maybe that needs to be my blog’s tagline: Keri Peardon, The Random, 14th Century Renaissance Woman.