So, I’m a writer. I hop on the surfboard and scan the net for keywords. This affirmative action puts me in touch with other writers. Great! We meet, we talk. I’ve learn a lot; hopefully, they learn a few bits from me. Cool!
Does this put me any closer to my READERS? Hum, I’d say NO.
Writers are friends; READERS are lovers.
Writers comment; READERS read & say nothing. (At least, that’s my experience.)
Friends are loyal; READERS are fickle.
Ergo, if I wrote science fiction, would I be wiser to haunt science sites and spend my time commenting on science fiction magazines? Would it be better for me to dazzle them with my insights? If I wrote YA, would I be wiser to cozy up to moms. If I wrote for kids, should I plaster cartoons and graphics on the blog? Where do romance fans hangout? Where do fantasy people go? Ah, but even if I make contact with my target, I still have to have a site.
So, let’s say a READER jumps on line, looking for a new book. Are they using the same tag words that I use? Books cost mucho pesos. Maybe, they’re looking for something free. Free is good. (My stuff would make good lunchtime reading–that’s a plug, by the way.)
Is largess enough to attract a crowd? I say NO. Somehow we must wag the bait, we must attract, and we must give free samples. Our potential patrons want to taste before they eat.
So a fish capers by, but how do I hook ‘um? Let’s look at how the Big Leagues do it, Amazon for instance.
- You type in a genre. (dang, there’s that word again.)
- Click on a book.
- Look at the front cover. (pretty, appealing, artistic)
- Peruse the back cover.
- Read the first page.
- Read a so-called random page.
- Proceed to Check-out.
Now, take that sales model–and believe me, there was a lot of research that went into this model–and apply it to your own blog. Do you have a sample of your writing that’s clearly, blatantly visible to the READER? Is it there every single time a fish swims by? Or does your little fish have to leap to another site? Do they have to jump through hoops and wade through posts that are of no interest to them? Do they have to join a club, sign-up, and give an email address? Many people are hinky about that.
Are you asking them to download the entire book without even a preliminary nibble? A lot of fish are going to be thinking about computer memory. How much space is this going to take? What if there’s a virus? And even if it is free, what if it’s a load of crap? The very least thing you could do is tell them how much memory your story will take. Also, now, we must consider iPods and e-readers. Are we compatible in multiple ways?
Remember the READER is not interested in your technical talk, your publishing woes or your writer’s block. While these kinds of post may be therapeutic for you, and C.M. is interested in different ways to bail out the boat, this kind of talk hardly reeks of success. I’m wondering now if these two topics (writing and writing about writing) should be separated, cleaved and permanently parted.
As for me, I do have samples out—just like at the delicatessen—but even this is not good enough. My stories have gotten decent hits for a ‘stumble on sales pitch,’ but nothing to set my heart singing. I must attribute this to a single, ego-deflating fact, I have not attracted my fish, the READER. How can I highlight the stories and shove my jargon to the back? Hum. This might require a second blog—one for my writing pals and one for my Stories Period. Yet that does seem like a lot of work.
What say you? Thoughts, debates, additions???????