Saturday, October 4, 2008

To Blog Or Not To Blog


by Krista Davis

* Winner! Winner of Krista's new book, The Diva Runs Out of Thyme is Pat G. Pat, send me your mailing address (darlene at darleneryan.com) and we'll get it in the mail to you. Thanks for visiting, Krista.)

Krista Davis is the author of The Diva Runs out of Thyme, the first in a new series, available this coming Tuesday.

I confess that I have been remarkably slow to come to blogging. Websites make sense to me. Websites are like store windows, except the wind isn’t blowing snow in my face and my legs aren’t exhausted from running all over town.

But blogs. Oof. Posting every day. I had visions of spending more time on the blog than on my next book. However, I recently listened to a lecture by attorney Richard Levick that gave me pause and forced me to reconsider my thoughts about blogging.

The lecture was actually about crisis management in big companies but he emphasized blogging in a way that I hadn’t considered. He pointed out that the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal was driven by a blogger. Indeed, we all know the name Matt Drudge now. News organizations hounded his
blog for updates on the Lewinsky matter. It wasn’t a bigwig reporter who kept that story going -- it was a blogger. And that changed our world in more ways than one. Today, television news networks haunt the blogosphere, looking for news. Bloggers are actually a source of news!

Big multinational corporations are beginning to blog and sell themselves through social networking. Blogging has become such a powerful marketing tool that even the big guys are jumping on board. Did you know that publishers send boxes of books to influential bloggers? Did you know that there are perfume blogs and that some perfume companies, unnerved by the influence of perfume blogs, are beginning to invite bloggers to press events?

The number of people reading blogs is staggering. There are several interesting surveys, with all sorts of stats, but the bottom line is that blog readers number in the millions. What that means to us is that for once, we don’t have to pay for marketing. We can do the same things that big companies are doing. There is no ridiculously unaffordable fee and anyone can play -- the internet is fast becoming the great equalizer. Of course the field is crowded with blogs, but
standing out from the pack is another topic.

Elisa Camahort Page, cofounder of BlogHer, likens the blogosphere to the kitchen table, where we can sit down and converse about the things that matter to us. I love that analogy. How many times did you type a couple of keywords into a search engine yesterday? So did millions of other people. Millions.

A blog is an opportunity to reach out to consumers in a manner that’s shaking up corporate marketing. Even if a person hits on your blog only once, that’s one more bit of exposure for your book.

Corporate America has realized that the future of marketing lies in the internet and more specifically in the blogosphere. If you’ve been balking about blogging, it might be time to make use of this tool -- it’s free and it’s right at your fingertips.

(Ask a question, share your blogging experiences, or just say "Hello" in comments and you could win a copy of The Diva Runs Out of Thyme. Check back Sunday night to see if you've won.)

17 comments:

Sheila Connolly said...

Writers used to be solitary souls sitting alone in front of a typewriter. Now we have an entire "virtual" community, through blogs and loops. I'd be willing to bet that we know more personal information about people we've never met face to face through these media, than about some of the people we've known all our lives. What's more, we share, and we learn from each other. It's a brave new world, isn't it?

I've found that blogging is a good discipline. I tend to write long, and I've never written short stories, so forcing myself once a week to put together 500-1000 words in an effective and self-contained way is a good exercise.

Looking forward to seeing you--and the book--this week!

Lonnie Cruse said...

Hi Krista,

I love your book cover and putting a face to your name at long last. Thanks for blogging with us and for the great blogging info!

Holly Y said...

I too have come reluctant and late to this blog-world. But it's so great to read what people think and to be able to comment. I have a very hard time keeping up, though, with reading others' and writing mine. Topic for another post? :)

paul lamb said...

I don't like using the word "blog" as a verb, but aside from that, I think keeping a blog is an excellent thing for a writer to do. For me it's a way to warm up before I do my serious writing. It's often a way for me to work through some thoughts. It's a chance to increase profile (though I doubt it works very well for most folk). And I think it something like democracy in action.

Anonymous said...

Hi Krista,
Very interesting, but then I do consider you the person 'driving' me towards blogging. However the search to find others to share the time is not going well.
Patg

Lori said...

I'm curious if there are things that you and anyone else don't feel comfortable blogging about.

paul lamb said...

Lori,
Do you mean subject matter or the whole act of keeping a blog? Regarding the former, if I'm not comfortable about a subject, I can choose not to write about it, or I can take down a post if I change my mind later. If the latter, I think there is the risk of losing some anonymity. In another blog I keep, a person on the other side of the world (literally, it was Australia) added up several details in the blog and managed to find out exactly where I lived then posted the Google map for my house on his blog. All in good fun, of course, but I resented that.

I suppose some readers can come to have expectations of what a blog should or should not say and get demanding with the author. I've heard stories of verbal abuse when a blog post offends a certain group or mindset. Look at Pharyngula for an example of that. That guy gets death threats.

Sandra Parshall said...

I think -- I know, actually, because I've been talking to people about it -- that a resistance to "blog advertising" is building on many e-lists. People don't want to see lists like DorothyL and SinC clogged with dozens of "Come on over to my blog!" messages. So how do we advertise and draw people to our blogs? That's a question I believe all bloggers will have to address in the near future, before we turn off so many people that we lose readers rather than attracting them.

(Don't enter me in the drawing for the book, Darlene. I've already read it and want someone else to have the pleasure!)

Darlene Ryan said...

Lori, I don't blog much about family and only with their permission. I tend to talk more about writing or the funny stuff that goes along with writing because that's what I like to read from other people.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Hi Krista! So glad to see you on Poe's Deadly Daughters--and f2f at Bouchercon, where your book is at the top of my buy list. I've discovered that Google Alerts picks up not only all my blog posts but all my comments on others' blog. So what I don't blog about is the proverbial "anything you don't want to see all over the Internet." In fact, writing my weekly post on PDD feels to me like being a journalist for a little while. I love it. :) And let me put in a plug for group blogs for writers. I adore my blog sisters!

Sandra Parshall said...

We love you too, Liz. :-) Finding people you're compatible with is a matter of pure luck, I suppose, but it's terribly important if a group blog is to be successful. If you don't like each other, or you can't agree on what the blog should be, the enterprise is doomed from the start. The Deadly Daughters are in sync, and we all benefit from everyone else's input and effort.

caryn said...

I have a few blogs that I visit regularly to see what the group is talking about, so if a writer, that I may not know much about or haven't read is on the blog with writers that I do read, then I may very well pick up their books because I like their blog entries. If someone who I'm not familiar with starts a blog all alone, there isn't much chance I'm going to go the that blog even if I find out about it because I really do have limited time to fool around on the computer.
I love it when my regular stops have guest bloggers and I really don't mind at all when people post on lists like DL that so and so is guesting on say, Poe's Daughters today about whatever the topic is.
Caryn
who is normally in St. Louis but currently in Gettysburg on her way to Bouchercon the long way around.

Krista said...

Hi, it's great to hear from everyone. Thanks to all of Poe's Daughters for inviting me!

Lori, there are loads of things I wouldn't blog about. So many, in fact, that it would be enough to fill another blog entry. There are personal things I'm not comfortable sharing with the world, of course. And Sarah Palin's recent experience ought to be a wake-up call to all of us. It's too easy to figure out the answer to a security question, especially when a lot of private information is made public about someone.

Liz, I think you have the right idea. We all have to remember that our posts go everywhere.

Like Darlene, I think I'd keep information about my family private, especially anything about children.

Paul, you're being very nice about someone posting the location of your house. I don't think many people would take that in stride.

Pat, I know how you feel about finding others with whom to blog. Poe's Daughters are lucky that they've worked everything out so well.

Holly, if you figure out how to keep up with it all -- let me know will'ya?

Caryn, sounds like you're getting close to your destination. Have fun at B'con! You, too, Sheila!

Lonnie, it's fun to put a face with your name, too!

Sandy, announcing blog topics really is a problem. My morning messages are packed with them. And because of cross-posting, I get some of them two and three times. I do like the feature in a sidebar on my blog that shows the first few words of other blogs I like. I've gone to blogs because something piqued my curiosity in those few words.

Once again, thanks so much to all of Poe's Daughters for inviting me to guest blog.

Krista

Sal said...

I read a number of blogs but few with any regularity. There are just so many out there.

I'm more inclined to read blogs that natter on about the writing process or books or Bouchercon or cool Web sites than blogs that natter on about everyday, trivial "my cat left a mouse at the foot of my bed" "my sister's being mean to me again" stuff.

I think writerly blogs are great if the bloggers don't devolve into navel gazing or too-much-information.

Laura Lippmann's Memory Project is just about the perfect.

Dorinda Ohnstad said...

Krista:

I have been a member of the Kings County Writers Support Group that meets in Hanford, California for the past five years. Recently we decided it was time to evolve beyond our traditional critiquing focus to include a group blog (www.kcwriters.blogspot.com). Our topics all focus on writing. We have been doing the blog now for a little over a month, but have only received a few comments in response.

I would like to see you tackle the topic of how to make a blog successful. It's one thing to talk about how a blog can provide free marketing and provide the kind of exposure a writer wants, but it doesn't do any good if no one is reading it. Every day there are new blogs out there for readers to choose from, so what do you do to find an audience? Better yet, how to keep them coming back? And how is a blog different than a website with respect to marketing for a writer?

Anonymous said...

Online Pharmacy for Cialis, Levitra, Tamiflu, Viagra. Get Cheap Drugs online. Buy Pills Central.
[url=http://buypillscentral.com/buy-generic-brand-levitra-online.html]Purchase Top Quality Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Tamiflu[/url]. Indian generic drugs. Top quality drugs pharmacy

Anonymous said...

When you position Viagra or some other meds in our shop you may be reliable get Viagra now that this product simply of best grade determination be delivered to you exactly in time.