Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ A to Z Blogging Challenge- Why Do It?

This week I have been talking about the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I hear you, "Come on, Jo. It's over it ended yesterday and you didn't even participate!"

Nope, I didn't participate in it. I just couldn't fit it into my schedule of what I wanted to talk about this month. That doesn't mean I don't think it's a worthwhile endeavor. If you are a new blogger, an indie author, or wanna-be author...the point is you need exposure. All right. Put the rain coats back in the closet. I see you out there!

One of the hardest things about self-publishing is getting people to know you exist. Sure you might have local notoriety but on a global scale? That's what a blog or website does. It exposes you to the world. Scared? Don't be. It is probably the easiest thing to do and not be recognized. Sure your blog might garner some attention, readers of books may stop by to see what's up or find out more about you, and you can promote your works without leaving home.

Many of us are introverts at heart. That's why forums, social media, and blogs are a sizzling, hot trend. It empowers the writer to reach out to the world all from the confines of our little desks and computers. Okay so my desk isn't so little. My desk is 11 1/2 feet long with two 3-foot extensions at both ends that come off the ends forming an elongated "U" or cockeyed "C." But from this monster desk, I operated two careers and for my personal entertainment. I'm still, for the most part, an introvert.

How do you draw readers to your books or even your blog for that matter? Sure you can write a dynamite blog/book, but if no one reads it, what good is it doing? Personal enrichment, a place to shout out your opinions, or a chance to stretch your writing talents. All are great ideas in the beginning, but you want to sell your books too.

Blog hops are a way to reach new readers. Commenting on other people's blogs is another.
I hear you, "You only have 62 followers on Google and 20 plus on Networked Blogs. So and so has thousands." Yep that's true. That's the only two I mentioned. Now add in the 2,000 plus twitter contacts, the 200+ on LinkedIn, the 200+ Facebook, the 1,000 myspace, and my Google+ circles of followers, not to mention those readers of my books, keyword searchers, and a host of other hit makers. You get the picture.

When something comes along that challenges you as a writer to think outside the normal, and way to promote you as a writer that you don't have to spend hour promoting yourself in a one-on-one case, wouldn't you want to take the opportunity as a time saving method of advertising? That's what a blog hop does. It's a chance to shine and get readers. Wouldn't you jump at the chance as a literal (in both senses of the word) unknown? Yes, you can give away tens of thousands copies of your book, but if you don't make the sales afterwards, what good did it do? If you don't get people to read even your blog, how do you expect them to read a whole book you've written?

So far this year, I've joined three blog hops. Nick Wilford's Overcoming Adversity, the Indelibles' blog hop to promote writers, and the newest is DL Hammons' Blog Blitz. All of them had/has their own timelines and fall in line with what I blog about normally.

No stress, or strain on my part, but added to my readers thus exposure. The Indelibles blog hop is monthly for 2013, Nick Wilford's was a one time deal that is still getting me readers, DL Hammons' is a tag-your-it kind of hop. I still have the option to join more hops as the year progresses, if I want to.

Now on top of this, I've developed relationships with several book reviewers here. They'll run blog hops, read-a-thons, and assorted other promotions and interviews. I'll donate a copy or two of my books for giveaways or prizes. It's free or almost free promotion with very little work on my part.

The results are telling everyone that reads my blog...I write books and sell them. I'm proud to be an indie author. Not because I have to be but want to be. So why have I been talking this week about the A to Z Blog Challenge especially since it's now over for a year? Because it will help you along the road to your success.

Have you participated in any blog hops? Will you?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.


12 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I entered the first Challenge with about thirty followers and finished with over eighty. It changed my blog forever. The challenge and blogfests do make a difference if one is willing to reach out and connect with new people.

J.L. Murphey said...

Yep and that's all you have to do is connect with the readers.

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

This is an excellent blog and it outlines some of the things we need to do to connect with other people, even if we're naturally shy. Thank you for your helpful insights.

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

Jo-Anne, I nominated you for an award. Please stop by my blog to find out more, www.dhdunne.blogspot.com.

Nick Wilford said...

Bloghops are a great way of promotion because it's about interaction not just shouting about yourself. If a new follower likes your book they might well tell others. I've had a blast during the Challenge!

J.L. Murphey said...

Deanie- Thank you. I'm honored. Now to find eleven followers with less than 200 followers Oh yes I'm checking my list now.

Nick- you are right.

Arlee Bird said...

Well, some may think I'm biased, but this is an excellent post and it's what I've been saying for a good while. Maybe I'll just start linking to your post. Hundreds of bloggers are sold on the A to Z Challenge because it is effective when the bloggers use it the right way. All of the other media platforms you mention here are also important. It all adds up in the big picture.

Thanks for the great promo of A to Z and for DL's Blog Blitz. These functional challenges beat a Friday Follow any day. And they add content to one's blog! Win-win.

Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

J.L. Murphey said...

Lee,
I'm all for win-win scenarios and double duty where promo is concerned. As far as the #FF goes, sure it gets you followers in twitter, but how many people really use a twitter feed to buy books...maybe one or two out of your #FF.

Deniz Bevan said...

Blog hops are lots of fun! I remember when I first started blogging and no one read my blog, blog hops were an exciting way to find fellow bloggers!

Ida Chiavaro said...

I started with 2 follower at the beginning of April, one was my husband - when I include, bloglovin, networked blogs and google friend connect I now have over a hundred from the #atozchallenge. I did visit hundreds of bloggers in that time too. You reap what you sow. The real benefit for me was an overall sense of achievement and all the posts I read have left me pondering more than any amount of novels i could have read in a month the whole experience is thrilling

J.L. Murphey said...

Deniz & Ida,
I agree. You get what you pit into it and blog hops are fun.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JL - I do the A-Z each year ... rather wish I'd done it the first year with only 100 - piece of cake?!

But having the list and being on it opens the doors to 1700 people ... so when the time comes .. I've got my own connections + some A-Zers I haven't reached yet, + everyone else's connections ...

I did Nick Wilford's OverComing Adversity Bloghop and was pleased to participate ... I may do the health one on 29th which Michael de Jesu is promoting ...

Generally I'd rather post what I want to put up - as people seem to enjoy my postings, rather than be restricted to particular subject - for now anyway!

Cheers and good luck - I'd have thought with your experiences you have much to offer .. Hilary