Thursday, October 03, 2013

Keeping It Real

This week, I read a great blog post by Jessica Bell, Let's Fix This Before We Die. In it, Jess points out that many of our blogs have been taken over by promo pieces for other writers, making blogging less personal and fun.

I couldn't agree more, and I admit I'm guilty.

Back in the days before self-publishing, only a few lucky writers achieved the then-holy-grail of being published. We were all happy to jump on board the chosen writer's promo pony to help spread the word of their novel.  Now, many of us can -- and are -- being publishing by other means, and promo posts seem to have taken over the world (okay, just the blogosphere).

I think it's great that the blogging community is super-supportive. For my novel releases, I've had fantastic support from so many fellow bloggers it's made my eyes tear up, and I want to do my bit in return. But with so many releases, I have to draw the line somewhere to ensure my blog remains my own . . . and that any new readers and followers can still see 'me' in it.

I know when I visit blogs, I'm not that keen to see a cover reveal or a random author interview. I want to read what my blog buds are up to; see photos of their life (what can I say, I'm a little voyeuristic!). I miss that sometimes amidst the promo pieces.

How do you balance supporting other writers with keeping your blog personal?

41 comments:

  1. I generally have one set day a week to promote writers. However, I also have a lot of other recurring, less personal topics in my blogging schedule as well.

    Part of the problem for me is that I feel like I'm constantly working and doing less fun things. Even when I do something fun with my family, I'm more inclined to post pictures on Facebook than my blog.

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    1. I hear you on the working thing, Sandra! Sometimes I go to write the week's post and I realise I haven't actually done much of interest!

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  2. I'm with you Talli, I spend so long on my own that reading people's blogs is like having a chat with a friend. So when the 'chat' turns out to be someone else banging on about their new book, it's a bit like going round to your best friend's house and having their husband sit in on your conversation talking about his new car and what a great mileage he's getting out of it!
    Long live the Chatty Blog!

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    1. That's a great comparison, Jane. I think you are Queen of the Chatty Blog - I always look forward to reading your posts.

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  3. I'm still quite new to this, but find promoting others easier - and quicker! - to do on Twitter. A retweet or brief shout-out or something similar. I agree that blogs should be focused on the individual writer but I'm also nosy like that!

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    1. I'm nosy like that too, Clair. And yes, it's so much easier on Twitter.

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  4. Hmmm.... OK, I've only just started blogging, but I write about what interests me, and what I'v been doing, where I've been, etc. insofar as I think it'll be interesting to other people. Note - I've a VERY broad range of friends on FB.

    I'm happy to pass on or comment on friends work / events, etc. (and for the record, I'm reading Build a Man at the mo and enjoying it)

    But first and foremost I wholeheartedly agree with you - it has to be FUN!!

    John

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    1. I think that's the best way to go about a blog now - write what you find interesting, and others will, too. And yay! Thanks for reading Build A Man!

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  5. Glad to hear it isn't just me who likes to know what people are up to. I love hearing about people's lives, with accompanying photos of course. Although when I write my own blog posts I often question whether readers are really all that interested? Not that that ever stops me x

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    1. It doesn't stop me either, Suzie. I'm a fan of the mundane. :)

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  6. I saw Jessica's post as well and admitted I was guilty. (She was nice enough to email me and say my blog was set up differently, so it wasn't a major issue.)
    I limit guest posts to three to four a month and only from regular commenters. Covers and such I post for any followers. All outside requests I say no. Even with that, I know I post about a lot of books.
    And that is why I tried to make my announcement for my last book different with the questions and sending different images and quotes - and spreading it out over a week.
    Actually I do have some stuff to talk about on my blog, especially after yesterday. Hopefully I'll get a chance soon.

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    1. Alex, I think your blog is a special case. I love how you've set it up and your news! In fact, I rely on it to catch up with what other bloggers are up to!

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  7. It's REALLY difficult. Lately, I haven't been blogging much at all, and a lot of my posts have been guest posts and cover reveals, with not much about me. And that's a bad thing. On the other hand, I have so many great blogging friends who have helped me, it feels wrong to say, "Nah, sorry, I can't do a cover reveal for you," when they need me to return the favour. So... I have no idea how to strike a balance - which kind of makes this comment useless! :p

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  8. It's all gotten way too big too fast, kind of like a bubble that is now getting pinpricks in it-- and the boredom I'm seeing on social media is just one more sign of that. And no, I have no answers!

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  9. It's a tricky one. It's part of promotion, which is sooo important for self-published authors (and trad too, let's face it). Like Kyra I would always return the favour for anyone who has hosted me, and blog tours can be fun to follow if you're a big fan of the author. But there definitely needs to be a personal touch to a blog too - lately I've mainly just done promo, but I'm trying to claw that time back to write posts and strike a balance!

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  10. I try and mix it up a bit. The new blog came about around the time of a massive move, so am grateful for author interviews to keep it ticking for a while.

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  11. I don't neccessarily think book releases need to be an entire post . I confess I'm more inclined to check out o new book when it's mentioned as part of a post that has some 'personal flair' in it as opposed to one dedicated solely to a book. Just my .02. Hope you're doing well!

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  12. I only promote close blog buddies for this very reason... I want to help others, but my blog is for ME first and foremost. I think we help market others through Twitter and Facebook just as effectively, and save our blogs for ourselves.

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  13. I am so in agreement with this, Talli. It's difficult to find that balance. I only agree to promo someone I've actually gotten to know thru blogging. Otherwise, my blog drifts away from its purpose.

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  14. I think you're so right, Talli. I do some reveals and interviews but usually promote other authors with short mentions or cover reveals. I do enjoy interviews that are about more than self promotion.

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  15. This is why I have a book review blog as well as a personal one. I want my personal one to be there for my grandchildren to read so don't want to clog it up with other people's book. On the other hand I love my book blog,interviewing and promoting books I love reading. I think I have the best of both.

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  16. I agree with you Talli - I particularly don't like cover reveals and what's in the mailbox etc - very formulaic. I suspect the problem many book bloggers have is that they can't read and do reviews fast enough and so need to pad out their posts if they want to post every day - I would rather they put up a nice pic or quote - but then I'm not a book blogger as such so what would I know?

    Cheers

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  17. I hadn't thought about it this way, but you're right. I do have a lot of blog buddies do guest posts on my blogs when they have new books out. I ask them to do a post on a topic though and I think that's a way to at least try to balance it!

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  18. From time to time, I do give a nod to other writers, or write about the writing process, but the vast majority of the time, my blogs tend to lean towards the off kilter and twisted sense of humour that I have.

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  19. OMGosh! That is perfect! I missed Jesse's post. I'll go check it out.

    So true. I often feel like that now, that most of my posts are in the promotion forum. Although I LUV helping out other authors, I do miss that personal touch I felt when I wrote a post from the heart and followers gave advice, encouragement, or a pat on the back.

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  20. Aw, thank you so much for pointing to my post, Talli! I was reluctant to post it in the beginning, thought I'd get hounded, but it turns out so many of you feel exactly the same. I'm certainly going to stick to my plan to post the main promo on a different blog and just mention/link to from my main blog. I tell you, I already feel so much lighter.

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  21. I hear you on this one and agree that a balance is essential otherwise any promotions are going to get skipped anyway because folks don't have time to read the same thing over and over. This week has fallen with three promos for me, all ones that I wanted to do and help with so I've posted everyday. IWSG was a more personal post and today's is too. So I guess what I'm saying is mix it up a bit!

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  22. Your post has made me write a blog post for the first time in six weeks! I thinkone of the problems is that websites and most blogs are static now, whereas social media offers a much faster and more interactive way to share 'daily' news and events as they are happening. Unless you decide to focus your attention on a blog, it's inevitable it can lose that personal touch. That's my excuse - I just don't have time to blog and write books and copy, and do promo and social media any more, or maybe I'm just addicted to Facebook!

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  23. You make a great point here, Talli and I agree with Phillipa that so many blogs are static and social media is much faster and quicker now. I do love visiting 'friend's' blog posts though and try to keep up with them as much as I can.

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  24. Very interesting post, Talli. I stopped all author spotlights on my main blog for a while and have only just started again this week - but will only do them occasionally rather than every week.

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  25. Well said, Talli. I think this may be the reason for declining blog visits, and visits that are wholly from other writers rather than what everyone wants - readers! (Not that writers aren't readers, too, but you know what I mean.) I like the idea of people writing 'normal' blog posts then popping a reference to another author at the bottom, integrating it properly. But that takes time and bother...

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  26. I like reading author interviews and guest posts - as long as they're 'real' and not just adverts.

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  27. I think it's a bit easier now because I only blog once a week, so each post is twice as long! even if half is a promo, I do try to make sure the other half is about something else entirely - and not just for promos! My current post is a long rant about Franzen's latest essay. But since that post'll be up for a week and not everyone's all that interested, I tempered it with two other items. I'd hate for someone to drop by and not find something interesting!

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  28. I totally agree with you, Talli. I need to see into the hearts and minds of other writers. Their writing about their life and experiences is what connects me to them.

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  29. Yes! I couldn't agree more. I recently unsubbed from a writer's blog because it seemed that's all the blog was about any more. Sorry, not interested in book commercials, and the snazzier they are the more they turn me off. I still read your blog because you actually have something to say (and Baby TR is cute) - keep up the good work!

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  30. Hi, Talli. I'd say that most of my blog posts are promotional. I'm in the process of re-evaluating my blogging/posting schedule for both of my blogs for 2014. I should probably also work on balancing the posts out a bit.

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  31. I used to do Friday's at the Piedmont Grille every month or week or whenever, but then I stopped. I can barely blog once a week now so keeping it real is actually just hanging on by a thread these days.

    Saw pics of baby TR at the Beach last week. He's soooo big now. Sooo cute.

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  32. Just adding a few lines to the author's cover reveals can put a little bit of yourself into the mix. Since I usually post only once a week, I try to limit the number of promotion pieces. I agree that it is difficult to strike the right balance.

    Julie

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  33. I feel the same way you do, Talli! I never know how to respond when I go to a blog I regularly follow and find a cover reveal or a guest post or an interview for a writer I don't know. One can only say "great post" or "good luck" so many times.

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  34. Hi Talli - I've always wanted to keep my blog for me .. selfish, or just plain sensible - but thankfully it's the way it's been. Not having a book does help ...

    I try and be supportive to all concerned - as they have written a book .. but I wander off and skip forward to the next person or post ...

    I think Jess expressed it so well in her post - I think we'll sort it out -

    cheers Hilary

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  35. This is kind of why I drifted away from blogging on Daily Dodo- it was always part writing and part reciprocating- but when visits to other blogs became mainly reveals and hops, it becomes difficult to engage... that said, I have a book review blog too- so that's easier to keep separate- but I do feel I've lost contact with many other bloggers for this reason...

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