Tag Archives: blogging

Results of Survey

Welcome to my first post in our awesome new home!

PJ here. I hope you’ll find the updated digs engaging, user friendly, and informative. I, and each of my Scribe sisters will continue providing you with twice weekly blog posts, rotating through on Mondays and Thursdays so that each of us will be with you only once a month. The good news is that posts will be left active for the three days in between so more folks will have time to pop in, visit, and leave comments.

So, I’ll be back here Thursday, March 6th with my next post. By then, I’m sure I’ll have something super exciting to share with you!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss anything.

Now, for the results of our survey, based on 25 responses:

1)      Do you think blogging is a useful endeavor for authors?

58% said yes, 12% said no, and 30% said maybe.

2)      How many blogs do you currently subscribe to?

52% said (0-5), 24% said (5-10), and 24% said (10 or more)

3)      What types of blogs do you follow?

68% said Writers blogs (tips on industry info), 12% said Readers blogs (from your favorite authors), and 20% chose “other” with responses indicating personal hobbies ie: photography, travel, mommy sites, and such.

4)      What do you like to see on a blog or website?

40% chose an Active site with daily blogs from different authors, only 12% liked the idea of a static site, while 44% preferred an Active site with contests, reviews, and guest bloggers. 36% chose “other’, responding with comments suggesting that 2-3 time per week blogs were plenty. Also noted was that the respondents would like to continue seeing insider industry information, marketing tips, as well as book reviews, entertainment, interactive conversation, and guest bloggers blogging on writing related topics.

5)      What would make you subscribe to a blog?

52% chose “Industry Insider info on self-publishing”, 36% would subscribe to “writing craft blogs”, and another 56% of respondents also chose “A variety of interesting, entertaining, and informative posts.” 12% who said “other” said all of the above and one commented that if they were to follow an individual author they would sign up for their newsletter.

6)      Which of the following would most likely make you unsubscribe to a blog?

Almost 46% said “too frequent posts”. 12.5% said too infrequent posts, while 25% said “inconsistent/unfocused content”.  17% sited ranting, offensive, or boring posts as reasons to unsubscribe, along with posts that are too long, inaccurate, rude, or irrelevant.

And lastly,

7)      What would you like to see at the Secrets of 7 Scribes in the coming year?

We heard everything from “no interviews” to “more interviews”, the “writer’s journey” to “more about how to get published”. Requests were made for posts on “what agents are looking for” and “sneak peeks into the writing process and related topics about each author’s journey.” “Theme weeks/months” were suggested (LOVE that one!), and a few votes for and against holding contests were noted.

I don’t need to tell you that polls like these can be terribly skewed, depending on the questions, how they are worded and the pool of respondents. As such, there was nothing scientific about the survey and most people who responded were probably writers, given that’s the readership we’ve attracted over the years. Taking these factors into consideration,  our results aren’t too surprising, but I enjoyed reading the comments and we have lots of food for thought!

anorexic top 10-4I’ll end by giving a big thanks to all who responded. We heard you, and hopefully you’ll stick with us and see what we have in store for you. We appreciate each and every one of you who engage with us here at the Secrets of 7 Scribes on a regular basis. We hope you’ll continue to do so.

In the meantime, the randomly chosen winner of the critique of a query letter, synopsis, or first chapter was Julie Glover. Congrats Julie!

What do you think of our survey results? Agree, disagree, wondering how you’ll live without our daily posts? As always, we’d love to have you comment and pitch in your two cents.

Are blogs dead or simply evolving?

Good morning Scribe’s readers,

PJ Sharon here with a few questions for you. I hope you’ll stick around long enough to take the short survey at the end of this post. We appreciate your opinion and it should take less than a minute of your time. The results will be used to help us determine what changes we’ll be making to the Secrets of 7 Scribes in the coming weeks.
It has become increasingly clear that the world of publishing–and writing in general–is evolving quickly. Not that good grammar, great content, and entertaining interaction with a like-minded community will go out of vogue, but the way we interact is ever changing. With so many demands on our time and the speed at which communication has progressed, our current attention span has been reduced to about seven seconds per clickable nano-byte of information. In other words, we have about seven seconds to grab someone’s attention and hold it. Which is why venues like Instagram, Vine, and twitter are so popular with tech-savvy readers. It’s also why daily writer’s blogs such as ours are rapidly going the way of the dinosaur.

My Scribes sisters and I are committed to bringing you quality content, but we recognize that we have all grown beyond being writers only. Many of us are now published authors with busy production schedules, deadlines, and the myriad of marketing duties that go along with the job. After three years of daily blog posts, we need to re-evaluate our goals and decide what works best for us and our readership.

Before we make major changes though, we’d love to hear from you about what you’d like to see from us in the coming year. Please take this survey or leave a comment below with your suggestions, questions, or concerns.

In appreciation for your participation, and to thank you for your continued support, I’ll be offering a free critique of a query letter, synopsis, or first chapter of the current work in progress of one random commenter below. Just let me know that you’ve taken the survey or leave us some suggestions of what you’d like to see here, and you’re in the running!

If you aren’t a writer, let me know that too, and I’ll think of some other fabulous prize for you if your name gets picked…hmmm…thinking…signed copy, gift card, or swag…I love surprises, don’t you?

2013 RWA conference pic

Peace and blessings,

PJ

The Bloggy Blah, Blah, Blahs

Happy Friday everyone. Casey here!

IMG_0990There comes a time in every blogger’s life when you hit the “wall”. The “OMG, what am I going to blog about this week (day, month)?” blues.

It happens to us all. Some more frequently than others. I know that I feel that sharp pang of panic more and more often than before.

We’re all strapped for time. In the case of the Scribes, in addition to being writers (with deadlines/goals), most of us have full time jobs, families and other responsibilities. It’s not always easy to whip up a blog post like a Betty Crocker cake.Cupcakes of Doom

Here it is, at the end of 2012 and I have the bloggy blahs. Yes, that is a technical term! So I figure, what better way to fight the blahs, then to offer some tips for combating total blog boredom:

1. Consider all ideas – no matter how crazy. Generally the Seven Scribes blog is focused on a writer’s journey, but all work and no play make Johnny crazy! It’s okay to deviate once in a while – mix it up. Please.

2. Tell a story with pictures. Some of our more popular posts are about what us Scribes do when we aren’t writing. Share something meaningful (and, no, that doesn’t mean TMI or ranting!)

Me and Scar

3. Utilize guest bloggers. A word of caution – especially for writers – beware of guests who only do promo for their latest book and nothing else. Cultivate questions and encourage them to do more than talk about their latest book.

4. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s a blog. Chances are it’s not going to change the course of human events.

5. However, do remember that a blog can be meaningful to someone else and may touch them depending on the topic.

6. Celebrate success. We all love to hear good news. Don’t be shy! Share it!Flowers

7. Size doesn’t matter. A blog post doesn’t have to be the length of War and Peace. I appreciate a short, pithy post. If I see a wall of words, I may just skip you (sorry, but there are only so many hours in the day).

And finally, when in doubt, do what I just did, blog about how you’re doing. If you’re struggling with something. Chances are someone else out there is too. Ask for help. Most everyone loves to offer suggestions and maybe you might learn something new or solve a problem.

How do you combat blah-dom? Please share your tips, tricks and suggestions!

Blog Burnout

Welcome to Tuesday, Scribe’s readers. PJ Sharon here. In today’s post, I’ll be asking and answering a few questions about blogging—now that I can say without exaggeration that I have ample experience. I’d also like to address a growing problem for authors and bloggers called “Blog Burnout.” For me, this inevitable outcome of overexposure to blogging is defined as the mental, emotional, and physical fatigue that comes from “chronic” blogging. The symptoms are:

 1) An inability to come up with a single new and unique idea if your life depended on it.

2) A mistaken assumption that your life does, indeed, depend on it.

3) And a burning desire to cut ties with FB, Twitter, and Blogger captchas (those squiggly, indecipherable, non-words that you have to enter to leave comments on Blogger sites). 

According to marketing experts, blogging is a surefire way to get your name out there, promote your work, and increase your sales. In theory, blogging is a way to reach potential new readers who will buy your book or shout to the world what a brilliant and interesting writer you are. It has become a standard practice for authors and has been met with varying results (mine of which I will share shortly).

Some of you who haven’t been around long or have been living with your head in a rabbit hole may ask, “What is a blog tour?” That’s when an author sets up “guest appearances” on other authors’ blog sites, review sites, or anywhere that may attract an author’s readership. Guest blogs can be pre-prepared interviews or a 500-800 word “on topic” type of post that might appeal to specific readers.

What are the requirements for a successful blog, you ask?  Blogs need to be interesting, entertaining, informative, and above all, fun. Always end with an engaging question to open the door for comments. Try maintaining that level of creative juice for twenty or thirty posts over a two or three month period of time, especially while maintaining your own personal blog or website, contributing to your regularly scheduled group blogs (known as grogs), and the other million and one tasks that authors are responsible for on a daily basis, and let’s see you keep your hair on.

 Call me naïve, but I was completely unprepared for the toll that this kind of focused promotional effort would have on me. Don’t get me wrong; it was a valuable experience in many ways, but there are thing that I will do differently next time. Let me explain.

I have met some wonderful authors along the way and have had a great time interacting with readers and giving away books. I’ve also learned a lot about writing. Working to a word count, writing concise and persuasive blogs that hopefully meet the above requirements (interesting, entertaining, informative and fun), and I’ve learned how to talk about myself, my books, and my process—skills that every writer needs to learn.

As for whether my blog tour was successful in helping me to sell books, the jury is still out. My sales stayed pretty steady throughout the tour. It didn’t seem to matter where I blogged or how often per week, I never saw a bump in sales in either direction. Would I have sold the same amount of books without doing any blog appearances? I’ll have to wait a few weeks to see what happens when the dust settles and I am less visible. I do have to get back to…um…finishing that next book, a task made much harder because of this sense that my creative mind has been a bit—shall we say—overtaxed.

My recommendations:

1)      Pace yourself. Although it’s important to be visible in order to gain attention for your work, you and all of the people who have graciously chosen to support you on your journey will be much happier and less saturated…hehem…stressed if you take it slow and steady. Do what’s comfortable and what makes sense to you as an author. Remember that writing your next book is your primary job.

2)      Choose wisely. Do your homework, or pay someone to do it for you. There are Blog Tour companies out there that will design a tour for you for as little as $20-$50. If you want to do it yourself, choose blogs that are specific to your readership and that have a solid following. It takes some research but it’s a worthwhile investment in your time. This is one thing I would do differently next time around. I may even hire a virtual assistant (a college student on summer break) to do this research for me. The reason this is essential information is that I think you are more likely to find readers at review sites than author blogs, and in order to sell books, you need to be focused on finding readers. Although authors are wonderful about hosting other authors, and supporting each other’s book sales, most of the views that author sites get are from other authors, not readers. Unless that author has a large fan following, you aren’t likely to gain a tremendous amount of sales or find the readership you want.

3)      Keep it short and sweet. I am the queen of lengthy posts, LOL (this one included). We writers are not known for our brevity. But effective blogging in this warp-speed world means getting the point across and making it count.

4)      Offer incentives. Offer free books, swag, signed copies or some other creative incentive for readers who take the time to leave a comment. Contests garner attention, but they require a little effort staying organized with your giveaways. Make sure you follow through. Also make sure you use your influence wisely. You may want to ask for “likes” or “tags” (see my post on why these are important), or you may use contests to gain Twitter and FB followers. Don’t ask for too much and make it worth their while, but don’t be afraid to ask. T Harv Ecker says, “People don’t have what they want, because they don’t know what they want.” Be clear about what you want from your blog tour and formulate a plan to get it. Stay focused on your goal for each post and “speak” to your target audience as best you can.

5)      Say thank you. Let’s face it; without readers, authors are nothing. And without this wonderful community of authors who are traveling this rocky road with us, we would all get nowhere. I am so grateful to all of the authors who graciously hosted me, bought the books, tweeted my posts, shared my tour sites on their FB pages, and took the time to leave comments. I appreciate you, your patience, and your support more than you know.

In conclusion, when you start to feel like you’re doing too much, asking too much, and getting sick of answering the question, “What inspired you to write?” it’s probably time for a break.


As for what’s next, my ongoing promotional experiment will be in the form of the “Authors in Bloom” Blog Hop and a couple of FREE days in April where SAVAGE CINDERELLA will be up for free in the KDP Select program. I’ll be at the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago with Katy Lee and I’m hoping to recharge my battery while I’m there signing at the Expo. Ahhh, yes…and I’ll be writing the next book.

So You Think You Can Blog

Katy Lee here. It’s Sunday, and the hills are alive…well, not really but here’s a little music to a writer’s ears:

“I couldn’t put your book down.”

Ah, the greatest compliment a reader can give a writer. It means you did your job right. You gave them just enough information on page one to keep them interested, and willing to stay with you, until page three hundred. You took the reader on a satisfying journey, unfolding the story little by little, bit by bit. You were careful not to overload them with too much information up front.

But If there’s anything I’ve learned since I joined my fellow Scribes, it is that being a writer does not make me a blogger. In fact, I have had to learn a whole new style of writing from what I was used to. It turns out that writing for the web takes on an opposite approach to writing fiction. But take heart, because it’s still all about satisfying your reader. Just in a different way.

Most traffic to your blog will come from search engines, like Google. People who are looking for an answer to some question or information on a certain topic. They’ve typed in a keyword that your blog contains, and Bingo, they’re on your page. They’re not here for entertainment and you probably have ten seconds or less to keep them reading. Talk about pressure!

So how do you do it?

Well, just like fiction, you give them a hook, but you can’t stop there. And this is where the change comes in, because you then have to follow it up with your best stuff right up front. It is no time to tease. Give them the answer they came looking for. Give them the same satisfaction in the first paragraph that your book readers have when they read your last page.

The Unlocked Secret:  Take more of a journalistic approach when writing for the web. Feature your most important information first, followed up by more good and necessary content to support your idea. By doing it this way, you earn the reader’s trust right up front, and they’ll continue reading to the very end. But wait, I think I hear music playing. If you earn their trust, they won’t hesitate to come back again and again.

And that is the greatest compliment a blogger can get.

Do you have questions about what it entails to start a blog? Or if you have a blog, what kinds of things have you learned from it?