Promoting your blog! And other stuff! Etc!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm not sure where I found this cartoon. Maybe Married to the Sea?

I thought I'd tell you the lovely Sara J. Henry has just gotten a two-book deal! Congratulations, Sara!

I’ve been asked a couple of times how I’ve managed to get such a strong readership in such a short time, considering my unintelligible posts on sparkling vampires and zombie strippers (we haven’t talked about them in a while…).

Well, in this post I plan to teach you how to SHAMELESSLY PROMOTE YOURSELF! And authors, how you can shamelessly promote both yourself and your book through one of these new-fangled things they’re calling internet weblogs.

To explain my blog’s popularity:

This blog is part of an online niche. A lot of people reading this are part of that niche as well. They’re kids and older people who read books for teenagers, and also love talking about those books and reviewing those books and deciding what books they want to read next. A lot of these people might not have friends who read YA (especially the grown-ups), and book blogging allows them to talk about books with people across the world.

YA book blogging is a pretty big niche. I’m not sure how big it is in proportion with other book blogging genres, or any other type of blog, since I only really keep track of YA book and author blogs.

If you’re a reader or writer of YA who has started a blog, look at blogs that are similar to yours. Maybe people who review your subgenre or people in your own country. If you go to the YA Blogosphere, you can click the categories along the sidebar to look for blogs that might suit you.

I’m not sure how I ended up turning Hey! Teenager of the Year into a book blog. Originally, I just reviewed books I had in my bookshelf and got from the library. I emailed authors whose books I loved and asked if they’d like to be interviewed.

Then I started interviewing people whose blogs I loved, and was offered books for review, and gradually more people found my blog, and either liked it, or was lured in by the promise of cupcakes and/or undying love (I haven’t really delivered on either).

The point of this is: Look for blogs that are similar to yours, and see what they do. Email the people you admire. Offer to interview bloggers (like, um, me!). If you’re book blogging, don’t start book blogging to get free books. I didn’t intend at all to be reviewing. But I am, and I enjoy it, and I like to promote debut and little-known authors, especially Australians.

This is the fourth blog I've ever started done. The first three were crappy. This one actually has some aim to it, and that aim is to un-brainwash Twihards. Don't look for the old ones. They've been destroyed to the point where they can't come back as zombies.

Authors! Authors! Authors!
Blog only if you want to. Update regularly. You can talk about things other than books. Write your blog for whoever you want to (though if you write for teens, I wouldn't target your blog at the elderly). Don't just flog your book everywhere - let people get to know you! When your book first comes out, email book bloggers you like and ask if they'd like to review your book or interview you! You don't have to sacrifice writing time to blog.

How you can promote yourself elsewhere:
- Offer to write guest posts, interview authors and other bloggers,

- Don't expect to have a bunch of readers right away. It's a slow process.
- Do link swaps with bloggers.
- Be nice. If you want to be a reviewer, avoid requesting books until you have a really strong readership. If you're an author, I think it's important for you to update regularly (and everyone says 'Don't blog about your life' but I really like to find out about people's lives. It makes me feel less weird. Though my voyeuristic tendencies then make me feel weird again.)

- Post decent content. I don't, but you should.
- Update regularly.
- Make your blog look nice, but don't go over the top, otherwise your blog will take ages to load. Content > design.
- Can you please not embed songs on your blog that play as soon as you arrive? They frighten the bejesus out of me.
- Comment on other people's blogs. Because it's nice.
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