Today I'm hosting another guest and friend, the fabulous J.L. Campbell. J.L. is a writer, mother, and all around incredible person. Sometimes it is difficult to know who to connect with in the blogging word and in Twitterverse. Hint, hint, you want to connect with J.L. if you're interested in meeting a positive person with high energy who knows how to support a friend. J.L., thanks for coming on and sharing your lessons!
My blogging pals know that I’m published traditionally, and that I took the plunge into self-publishing in September. Am I out of my depth? You betcha, but although it’s said by know-it-alls that blogging doesn’t affect book publishing one whit, I know different. What have I learned so far? Stuff you probably know already, but they’re important enough for me to reiterate.
Start Promotion Early in the event that you ever plan to publish anything. I’ve been caught flat footed time and again and the lessons don’t seem to stick. For instance, my next novel comes out on November 1. I got a case of the blues - not to mention envy - today when I checked out another blogging buddy who’s hosting a blogfest for her book. Get this – her release date is the same as mine. Check out the cool stuff Susan’s doing. Lead up activity is wonderful and you want to give people time to get on your bandwagon for blast off day. That said, if you’re into YA/Paranormal/Sci-Fi books, go sign up for that virtual launch party.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for help when you need it. Writers are the most helpful people I know. In September, I made an appeal for bloggers to help me get the word out on my Don’t Get Mad project. I still haven’t scheduled posts with some of the people who’ve offered to have me on their blogs, such was the outpouring. I admit it was awkward asking for help, but I’ve learned that writers do want to see others succeed and will help if given a chance.
Be a Beacon to your fellow bloggers/writers. Don’t assume that because you don’t have a huge blog following you can’t help. There are times when I’ll Tweet/Like/Share an article because I think it will be of interest to others. You never know who might need the information or what linkages you’ll make. I was plenty chuffed when Camy Tang followed me on Twitter and that was simply from tweeting one of her blog posts. I didn’t expect to gain anything from that tweet, and only did it because Camy’s a writer I admire and she’s done some excellent posts on writing.
Build Goodwill through your actions. I have some blogging buddies who exemplify this. They’re kind and helpful, just because. Damyanti Biswas, Jeanne Bannon, Michelle Fayard, Tirzah Goodwin and Wendy Ewurum are but a small sampling of bloggers who’ve been very good to me. I’ll help them in any way I can simply because of the favours, support and encouragement they’ve given me without asking for anything in return. A band of writers who share the same genre has some excellent advantages. Your reach is much bigger if you opt to promote each other’s books.
Share the Love by following other people’s blogs and commenting. You might say ‘Duh!’ to this, but I gotta confess that I had no clue what to do when I first started blogging. I wondered why I was the only one visiting me and when I did visit others, I didn’t follow, thinking that although they wrote interesting stuff, I couldn’t just roll up and add myself to their bunch of followers. I’d lurk and not say anything, which is a waste of time unless you’re hanging around a really good resource blog. Over time, I learned that most bloggers will follow back if they like what’s going on at your blog. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by visits from writers who have a big following or whose books I’ve enjoyed. All I did was leave a sensible comment.
Be Approachable. Each of us started with a single follower or perhaps a handful. I continue to be amazed by super-bloggers like Alex, Arlee and Talli, who take time to respond to comments, or if they don’t respond on their blogs, they pop in to visit those who stopped by. I don’t know about you, but it’s a turn off for me to visit a blog, comment maybe once or twice and then start feeling invisible because the blogger never responds. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a good rule to live by.
Use Nifty Tools at your disposal. I feel like a hypocrite saying this as I don’t make enough time to pre-schedule my stuff. Anyway, save yourself the hassle of tweeting manually by using one of the many auto tweeting services now available. I’ve tried several and settled on Twuffer. If only I’d use it more! Triberr is a really cool site, basically it’s Twitter on steroids. Check it out and get an invite if you can. It gives tweeters a massive reach in combination with other people.
Here’s one more thing. ‘Brawta’ as we say in Jamaican Patois. Write things down. I can’t endorse this enough. I’ve downloaded one of those calendars from Microsoft where you can see a month’s activities at a glance. That way, I know where I’m supposed to be guest posting when, as well as the dates I’m supposed to be sending the post/interview over.
Thanks again, J.L., for coming on and sharing your lessons. It was great to learn something new. To find out more about J.L., check out her bio below.
Contraband, Dissolution and Don’t Get Mad…Get Even. When she isn’t plotting and researching new projects, she enjoys lollygagging on her blog at http://thecharacterdepot.blogspot.com Twitter link - @JL_Campbell