Archive

Archive for May, 2012

Going on Hiatus

by:  Staci Stallings

The end of May and early June is a very busy time for me.  The G&F blog will be on hiatus until June 26, 2012 when we’ll be back with great faith stories and super Christian authors!

 

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Blog Hops

Like the other events we talked about last time, Blog Hops can be a lot of fun and very successful, but they take a lot of work.  In fact, much of the work is not something you realize ahead of time.  For one, they are notoriously hard to set up before the morning of.  Why?  Because you have to have the working links to everyone’s posts, and most people don’t have working links until the morning of the event.

This can be a headache if your hop is very large.  If you are scrambling for four links that will break the chain in the middle, that’s not pleasant.

Further, setting these up can be a challenge as well.

First you have to have a central page that each blog links to as well as an image that promotes the blog hop.  Then you need a consistent jump tag with the image so that people who land on a particular site can easily follow the hop.  All of these have to be set up and working ahead of time.

If you have bloggers who are not familiar with posting images or are just starting and learning how to link, this could take even more time.

To see a blog hop that we did in November, go here.  Ours was kind of eclectic “Food, Faith, and Fun” as each blog post was about something slightly different having to do with the upcoming holidays.

If you want to set up a blog hop and need the technical assistance to do it, go to Linky Tools   You can also set up a simple one on your own.

If you want to see what blog hops are out there to join, you can visit The Mommy Chronicles Blog Hop Directory

Have fun blog hopping!

Blog Events

One thing you might consider to give people a big reason to come to your blog is to host an event.

Events are different than normal blogging in that they have a definite start and a definite end date.  However, just like normal blogging, they are limited only by your imagination and your technical ability.

I have participated in several blog events that have been successful in getting the word out.  Some of them have been:

 

#1  A Special Month dedicated to a topic.  One blogger I know had a month dedicated to men who write Christian novels.  (That wasn’t the one I did. 🙂  Others have featured a Hero’s Month where all month-long, they had blogs about heroes from different books they had either read or that authors posted about to the blog.  You could do all kinds of these “months”–Pet Month where you feature pets from books, Heroine Month, Christian Authors month, etc.

#2 An event centered around a holiday or time of year.  My friend Penny Zeller hosted “Favorite Christmas Memories” on her blog last year for the first 12 days of December.  She had 2 authors per day sharing their favorite memories.  Then each author gave away one copy of their book to someone who had commented.  Because there were a lot of authors in the project, Penny got a lot of exposure for her blog with others tweeting about their posts on the blog.  These events are great fun, but they are work to set up, run, and follow up on.  So plan carefully.

#3  The third type of event is actually how G&F started.  Karen Baney was a part of a group of 36 authors through the World Literacy Cafe who all got together to celebrate the launch of WLC-founder Melissa Foster’s book.  For 3 weeks before, all the authors tweeted about the event, posted blogs about their stuff that linked to the page of the event, blogged about the event, etc.  Then for three days, all of the books including the launch book were 99-Cents and they gave away a book if you bought 3 or more.  It was a huge event that launched Melissa into the stratosphere of the ebook world.  However, do not think it was an easy promotion.  We did one with 10 authors for Karen’s book in December, and it was very successful.  It was also A LOT of work to keep up with who’s blogging where, what links should you send people to, getting the page set up, tracking sales, tracking ranks…. It was a challenge.

I did a smaller one of these earlier in December, and it was quite successful as well.  In that one, the lead author hosted all of us on her blog and we all pointed our links toward her blog which had tons of info about the book sale.  These do take a lot of forward planning, and I can imagine that it’s possible to do all that work and not sell a lot of books.  For me, they were great jumping off places.

#4… For next time… Blog Hops!

Doing Reviews as Blog Posts

Some bloggers find that doing reviews is a good way of driving traffic to their blog, and this is true.  As an author, I love directing my audience to a site that has favorably reviewed my book.  Why?  Because it’s not on Amazon where the reviews tend to get bunched together.  It’s more fun to read a single great review on a site than a whole bunch that make your eyes glaze over.

If the blogger includes a link to my book as well, this can be a terrific landing page for on-going promos even after the post is not on the blogger’s top page.

However, if you are going to do reviews for your blog, here are some points to consider.

#1  Reading takes time.  Even if you are an extreme speed reader, there are more books than you can ever read.  With the advent of ebooks, that is more true than ever.  Once your site is found by readers, you can be sure the authors will pounce.  That’s great as you might get a bunch of free books, but you can lose credibility very quickly if you promise to do 10 books a month and find that is not feasible.  So go slow at first.  Only commit to a couple of books and see how it goes before committing to 50 and realizing you can’t keep up.

#2  Set your review policies.  Are there certain types books you don’t want to read or review?  Put that in a Policies Page that is visible on the site.  You don’t want to be wading through tons of submissions that turn your stomach.

#3  In fact, on your policies statement, also include information about what happens if you hate the book.  Do you politely but not publicly let the author know the book was below what you could give a good review for?  Or are you comfortable giving bad reviews to crummy books you’ve been given?  If you are an author, this gets to be a particularly thorny question as publishing a review that is less-than-favorable can come back to haunt you when you are asking for reviews for your own book.  As much as possible, think through these issues because if you review, you will face them sooner or later.

#4  What will you include with the review?  I’ve seen bloggers get really creative with reviews, asking the author for “casting calls” of who they see as their hero and heroine.  I’ve seen bloggers do character interviews coupled with or after a review.  Challenge yourself to find a way to make your reviews MUST READS!  THE review everyone clamors to get and every reader wants to read.  Don’t be boring! 🙂

#5  Think through how to stem the tide when you start getting too many submissions.  Do you close submissions?  Put news ones on a to-be-read list?  What?

#6  I know there are sites that request payment for reviews.  I would discourage you from doing so unless your site offers the chance of more than one reviewer and there is an issue of download space on your server or something.  Otherwise, if it’s just you reviewing, consider the reviews the price of attracting traffic to your site.

#7  Promote your reviews!  Maybe that sounds obvious, but don’t just review and let them gather dust.  Tweet about them.  Facebook them.  Let others know you have a new review out, so they will come, read it, love it, and want to read more reviews by you!

In short, think through your policies and know that this route of blogging takes much more time than simple blog posts.  However, if you absolutely love to read and want to point people to great books, this is a fabulous way to do it!  (And authors will love you to boot! 😉