Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ten Belly Button Questions

This is one of those examine-your-belly-button posts. Not a real pretty exercise, but sometimes it's gotta be done.

I've been thinking about blogging lately, see. Forensics and Faith is almost two and a half years old. It takes a lot of work to blog every weekday. With my writing schedule growing ever crazier, I'm wondering whether to continue blogging as is, cut back some, or stop altogether. In some ways it would be hard to stop, because I'd miss the community. You BGs are great. Writing is a lonely profession--and there y'all are every day, willing to visit with me. All the same, I've got to line up my work time according to priorities. At this point, I don't know how Forensics and Faith fits into my priorities--partly because I'm not yet totally clear on the priorities themselves. What's the balance between, say, writing time, hard marketing time, and the type of communal networking you find in a blog? I don't know.

So would you please help me out and answer all of these questions that apply to you? If you want to answer anonymously, that's fine. I just need honest feedback. Perhaps everyone's answers will help you bloggers make some decisions about your own blogging.

1. Bloggers--how often do you post?

2. Who are your blog readers? Mostly writers? Mostly readers? Mostly stay-at-home-moms? Etc.

3. Why do you blog?

4. If you are a writer, have you seen any clear signs of blogging leading to higher book sales?

5. Why do you read Forensics and Faith?

6. Has reading this blog ever led you to buy one of my books that you wouldn't have bought anyway?

7. Has reading this blog ever led you to tell others about my books, when you otherwise wouldn't have done so?

8. Has reading this blog made you more aware of my books in general? How?

9. Has reading this blog given you a sense of community? Helped you network? Helped you learn about writing? Or anything else?

10. Any question I should have asked and didn't--please fill it in and answer.

Thanks, BGs!


Cindy Thomson said...

1. Once a week on a team blog, every month or so on my personal blog.
2.Mostly writers on the team blog. Would like to have more readers. On my personal blog, I'm not sure. I don't get many comments and usually don't recognize the names I do get.
3. The team blog is for historical fiction and to my knowledge there wasn't one like it. We blog to promote our favorite genre and its authors. On my personal blog I was hoping to reach non writers and non Christians--spiritual seekers.
4. No, but truthfully, I don't have insight into ANYTHING that might be leading to higher book sales. I have very little information on how my book is doing anyway.
5. It's such a well written and entertaining blog. I never know what bit of information or inspiration I might pick up here, but I know it will be something.
6. No, but I have had one on my wishlist for a while.
7. Yes.
8. Yes. I'm not sure I would know that much about your books otherwise.
9. Yes, but many of the BGs are on other blogs that I visit, so instead of a community, the blog is a street in that community--if that makes sense.
10. What is the purpose of a blog? I think it is to reach out to people. If you sell books, great. But if your message gets out to someone who otherwise wouldn't get it, all the better. Blogs are free, anonymous, and don't require a commitment from the reader. You never know who is reading and learning, but God knows!

relevantgirl said...

1. Nearly every day, and I post twice a week for group blogs.
2. It's a variety of moms, readers, and writers
3. It clears the cobwebs before I write.
4. Yes. Particularly on Shoutlife, I've seen several folks who didn't know me from Adam say they would buy the books, and then did. And when I'm a guest on other blogs, sales usually seem to pick up a bit. I don't see blogging as a tool for sales, primarily. I see it as a way to have exposure.
5. Because Brandilyn is so cool and cute and fun.
6. No, but then I'm an influencer and usually receive the book.
7. Yes, during a blog tour. But I also link to your blog when I love your post. So, indirectly, I do send readers your way.
8. Absolutely. I love seeing the behind the scene workings of the way you write.
9. I read it because of your voice. You're hilarious!

Kristy Dykes said...

My dh and are on our way out the door to St. Augustine with friends to do the tour thing, stay in a B&B, etc. But I LOVE your topic today, because it's the same thing I'm struggling with for my blog. I'm going to read your questions in-depth when I return and then study everyone's comments.

I've blogged every single M-F on my blog since last summer and then recently...zap...just stopped. Time consuming, like you said, but I feel like I've lost a good friend. I DO intend to get back to blogging, just not on a M-F basis. Last summer, I was inspired by you and Angie Hunt, and that's why I started the consistent M-F pattern. And that's what I WANTED in blogs I was reading, to get something new every day. But now, I've changed in wanting that. I find that when I go to someone's blog, if they've posted once or twice a week, that satisfies me. So I think I'm going to go to that pattern, hopefully.

Thanks for this topic, B. I look forward to reading the comments.

Sally Bradley said...

1. I'm committed to MWF, but I frequently blog MTWRF.

2. I think I have more non-writers than writers.

3. BECAUSE EVERYONE SAYS YOU HAVE TO DEVELOP A WEB PRESENCE TO GET THAT CONTRACT!!! Honestly, Brandilyn, I struggle with the same issue you're dealing with.

5. I like the inside the pub world info!

6. Yes

7.Well, I heard about your blog, read it, read some of your books, and then chose one for our book club to read. Does that answer #7?

8. Yes

9. I've learned business info about the pub world and writing techniques, yes. I think you're great at covering the day-to-day picture of life as a writer.

Hope that doesn't muddle it all up for you!

Jannie Ernst said...

1, and related questions: I am not doing a blog yet. Too early. Still soaking up all the knowledge about the craft. It will come when the time is right.

5. Why do you read Forensics and Faith?

I read F&F because it is the place where I have learned more in the past two years than anywhere else. I am an aspiring suspense writer, and F&F came along my path and stayed there. I'm honest if I say I can't live without F&F. Serious!

6. Has reading this blog ever led you to buy one of my books that you wouldn't have bought anyway?
YES! I didn't even know about your existence before this blog. Now I have all of your books and the books of other writers because you mentioned them on your blog.

7. Has reading this blog ever led you to tell others about my books, when you otherwise wouldn't have done so?

Definitely. This blog got me excited and it keeps me excited, and I can't keep it to myself.

8. Has reading this blog made you more aware of my books in general? How?

I am not only aware of the existence of your books, but I'm aware of the behind-the-scenes work as well. And I talk about you to every person that shows even the slightest interest. Some friends at church call me the "Brandilyn girl" because I gossip about you so much. I even had a few BHCC members read you with good results.

9. Has reading this blog given you a sense of community? Helped you network? Helped you learn about writing? Or anything else?

Yes. To all of these questions. Especially the learning-about-writing part.

10. Any question I should have asked and didn't--please fill it in and answer.

Unasked question 1. Do you like this blog? YES.
2. Do you think I should keep on doing it? YES. If God leads you to do it only once a week, that's also okay... JUST NEVER STOP! Gosh, I will not know what to do with the F&F time slot, which happens to be straight after my quiet time!

Deborah said...

1. I blog M-F
2. Other readers, people who enjoy when I post book giveaways lol
3. I like it, I like telling others about the books I read. And those that I don't, I am able to vent about it.
5. Love your blog, read it every day. It's informative and fun.
6. Yeap, I stumbled across your blog from Camy Tang's site, and then went out and bought Eyes of Elisha the following week.
7. Yeap, recommended your books to several people and got our library to order some.
8. Yeap, honestly I hadn't really heard of your books in the past until I read your blog. Now I'm a fan.
9.Yes from your reviewing series of post I learned what to put in a review, what not to put, and how to get authors to want reviews.


Karen Eve said...

1. Very infrequently, but it's early in my career.
5. I have it set as my default for explorer. I love the information, fun, tone, etc.
6. No, however I would have if I hadn't already started reading your books when you shared at Gayle Roper's Beginning Fiction class a few years ago. I have however gone to other authors blogs when you feature them and purchased some of their books.
7. Yes
8. Yes - I'm aware sooner.
9. YES - YES - YES
10. I know you went through this a couple of years ago and thought about scaling back to once or twice a week, and then surprisingly, continued to post every day. I don't even get time to read it every day, but will usually catch up when I can. I would be very sad to see you stop blogging all together. :( It is a wealth of info, plus a lot of fun.


Patricia W. said...

1. Sporadically. Can be as much as M-F but often 2-3 times per week. Rarely on weekends.

2. Mostly writers, some published and some aspiring, like myself.

3. Community. Folks who "get it". Also, to learn from those who have published and so graciously share their experiences/knowledge.

4. Not there yet.

5. Industry info. Writing craft. Glimpse into another writer's process.

6. No

7. Yes.

8. Absolutely. I didn't know of your books until I read your blog. Certain I leaped here from another writer's blog. That's how I find most of them. I stay (and maybe post) if I truly like them.

9. Yes. I learned of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance through this blog. I gained lots of industry insight through this blog. And help with plotting through past series (Plotting Twists).

10. What would you miss most if this blog went away (or drastically reduced in frequency)?

My answer: The industry stuff that no one else blogs about, like what's happening with CROSS:SCAN and like systems.

Nicole said...

1.M-Sat. and Scripture on Sunday. Once in awhile I skip Saturday.

2.Hard to say. Some writer hopefuls/mostly internet friends interested in writing. Definitely lurkers.

3.Therapeutic expression. I had to come to terms with the kind of writer I am, the one God has called me to be regardless of His plan for it.

4.I'm a self-published author of one novel about horse racing. So, no.

5.You have a relationship with the Lord which you aren't "afraid" to make known or to let it influence your posts. You're a terrific writer of interesting, informative, insightful, and humorous posts.

6.Yes. I think I wasn't going to buy the Kanner Lake series, but now I am.

7.No. I would've told them anyway (and have).



10."Would you stick with me if I published less often?" Yes. You have to do what God is telling you to do.

Anonymous said...

1. I post when the mood strikes -- when I've got something interesting (at least I think it may be interesting) to write about. Usually every day, though at the moment I'm on blreak. (Blog break.)

2. My readers tend to be other bloggers -- no family members or non-writing friends, which is sort of a drag, but I'm learning to deal.

3. Why blog? Two years ago it was for the obvious reasons -- to promote my stuff and share how my stuff came to be. But now it's just for fun. I don't write much about the writing process or about my dealings with the industry because I don't want to sound like I'm complaining or venting. (Not that I have anything to complain or vent about.) : )

4. NOTHING has indicated to me higher book sales. (That calls for another smiley. A winkee this time.) ; ) But I have made more contacts with readers cuz of my blog, and they've been very helpful spreading the word on their blogs. So I'm confident word-of-mouth is at work.

5. Why do I read Forensics and Faith? I want to hear what's up in your world, to share a bit of your adventure. For me, I love it when blogs are about the blogger. I've heard they shouldn't be, but I think that's crazy. I get a little bummed when I make my way through my blog roll only to see the same post (from an alliance) about the same author/book twenty times.

6. YOU have compelled me to buy your books, not this blog so much. But I love hearing how your books come together here ... and I try not to be jealous. ; )

7. As a freelance editor for novelists, I love sending clients this direction for your awesome posts on writing powerful fiction.

8. Sure. Cuz you talk about them. I feel like I'm in on the process from the ground up.

9. Yes to all. I've made some great blogging friends by checking out those who have commented here.

I totally understand what you're going through, lady. I've often thought of putting my wee blog to rest. But I keep plugging along with it, mainly cuz it feels like an old friend that I hate to give up. Like Chris and Erin (my characters). Sometimes that sense of the familiar -- that informal place to just write whatever and be myself for the world (okay, for twelve people) to share -- helps center myself in an otherwise overwhelming place (this industry).

later, gator

Rachelle said...

Okay, here goes.

1. M-F (usually -- I'm not legalistic about it.)

2. My readers are mostly Christian moms. Some writers and folks in the biz but they're not my core audience.

3. I blog (1) for fun, (2) for community because being a SAHM plus writer/editor can be sort of lonely, and (3) as a discipline to make sure I write something original at least a couple times a week.

5. I read F&F because I think you're cool!

8. Reading your blog has definitely made me more aware of the full spectrum of books you've authored, and more interested in picking up more of them.

10. I'll just say I think blogging and all forms of "web marketing" will always be hard to quantify. But I believe it's valuable to have "web presence" because readers crave that personal interaction with authors. I've also noticed most bloggers have times when they re-evaluate the whole idea of blogging. We are an introspective bunch, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

I don't blog, but I dearly wanted to encourage you to continue if you can. Your story of how you changed over from secular to Inspirational fiction, how you didn't know for a while if it was what God wanted, truly helped me get going on my writing again. I know your name only because of finding your blog and have bought one of your books. Finally, I find your blog to be one of the top Christian writer blogs for me because of your topics and your extremely readable style.

I have no idea if that will help you make a decision or not, but I wanted you to know.
Florence Moyer

Anonymous said...

Jumping in a day late, so probably only you will see this, BC. I don't know how I missed your post yesterday. I'm quite loyal, really. :o)

I'll only answer 6, 7, and 8:

Because of getting to know you through this blog, I went out and bought 5 of your books at once. And I will continue to buy every book you come out with. I can't stop talking about you and your books. And yes, I'm more aware of your books because you share your struggles with writing. When you talk about a looming deadline, or starting a new book, it keeps the anticipation alive. I buy your books as soon as they release.

I hope you do continue this blog, even if it's only once a week. It's like connecting with a friend.

Tina Helmuth

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hey Brandilyn,
I'm struggling with the same issue and I'm not even published! Yet, the blogephere would not notice whether Kittens Come From Eggs ceased to exist. Yours on the other hand, would be sorely missed, I believe.

I haven't had time to read blogs every day anymore, but I do make a point to visit your blog once a week, if not more.

Maybe blogging less would work. I'd certainly like that better than not at all. What can we, your BGs, do to help you?

Lynette Sowell said...

Bloggers--how often do you post?
I tried to post weekly. My personal blog is about anything and everything that strikes me as a thirtysomething wife/mom/professional/author.

2. Who are your blog readers? Writers, readers, not sure who else. :)

3. Why do you blog?
To have a brief outlet. To remind me of keeping up a web presence. Hard.

4. If you are a writer, have you seen any clear signs of blogging leading to higher book sales?
No. But I have one fan over at Shoutlife. :)

5. Why do you read Forensics and Faith?
You discuss relevant issues of craft, publishing, books in genres I like to read. Oh, and because I like to learn from you and others who comment.

6. Has reading this blog ever led you to buy one of my books that you wouldn't have bought anyway?
No. I'd buy them anyway.

7. Has reading this blog ever led you to tell others about my books, when you otherwise wouldn't have done so?
No. Although I was selling some old books (not yours) on Ebay, and the guy who bought them was looking for some suspense authors, so I dropped your name. He bought your Hidden Faces series as a result and loved them.

8. Has reading this blog made you more aware of my books in general? How?
Not really. I get Sneek Pique. :)

9. Has reading this blog given you a sense of community? Helped you network? Helped you learn about writing? Or anything else?
In some ways I think it's helped me network, getting to know others who have common interests. My favorite writing group is so large now, it's hard to connect. At last for me. :)

10. Any question I should have asked and didn't--please fill it in and answer.
No. But I'm going through the same thing right now. Taking a good hard look at priorities. Right now I'm writing 2 books a year and I want them to be the best they can. Plus I have my day job. etc. :)