Allbooks Review March 2011 Newsletter
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
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FEATURE: To Blog Or Not To BlogBy Moira Allen Copyright (c) 2011 by Moira AllenExcerpted from "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer," 2ndEdition, 2011, from Allworth Press.================================================================= A recent article reported that there are now approximately 200million blogs on the Internet. Other estimates are a bit moreconservative, but still weigh in with numbers in the millions as ofthe end of 2009. With everyone and their dog, seemingly, rushingto jump on the blog bandwagon, is this an avenue that you as awriter should be exploring as well?First, let's take a look at what a blog is -- and is not. Whileblogs can obviously come in many forms, the basic concept of a blogis a "type" of web site (according to Wikipedia) that is regularlyupdated by the host. Typically, the most recent post will appearat the top, with earlier posts beneath -- or in some cases archivedelsewhere on the site, with a list of archive topics appearing onthe main page. Many blogs incorporate images, links to other sitesand blogs, and even video clips. Finally, a blog often includes aninteractive component: An invitation to readers to respond to andmake comments upon the blog. Many writers make a distinction between a "blog" and a "web site." Though it is possible to post your own blog under your own domain,the majority of blogs are posted on sites dedicated to blogs (e.g.,http://www.blogger.com). Many bloggers maintainboth blogs and web sites and cross-promote between them (e.g., awriter may post a full-length article on a web site and thenpromote the article in a shorter piece posted to the blog). While many bloggers will maintain that blog posts should be between200 and 500 words at most, one will certainly find much longerblogs on the web. However, many bloggers feel that readers willonly read shorter posts -- and also feel that this requirement to"keep it short" helps writers learn how to write tightly andconcisely.With 200 million blogs out there, who's actually blogging? Actually, several studies suggest that the total number of blogsbeing tracked by sites like Technorati (which also operates one ofthe most popular blog directories) is inflated, as it doesn't takeinto account "dead" blogs (blogs that are no longer activelymaintained) or "splogs" (spam blogsAnother studyindicated that 60 to 80 percent of blogs are abandoned within onemonth, many after only a single post. As for who's blogging and why, an article by Caslon Analyticspoints out that the vast majority of blogs are personal journalsaimed at "nanoaudiences" -- a small circle of family and friends. The Blogging Iceberg, a report by Perseus Development, shows thatteenagers create the majority of blogs; more than 90 percent arecreated by people under age 30, and 50 percent of bloggers arebetween the ages of 13 and 19. Just over half the blogs in theworld are in English, and the U.S. seems to be responsible for mostof those.That still leaves a lot of blogs -- and a lot of writers who hostblogs. Many writers host multiple blogs and post material to themseveral times a week. Should you be one of them? Specifically,will hosting a blog (or three) advance your freelance writingcareer? Will it, for example, attract more readers to your books? Help you earn writing assignments? Assist you in marketing awriting-related product or service? Or, at the very least, makeyou a better writer? These were the questions I asked in a surveyof writers who run one or more blogs on a regular basis.
The writers who responded to my survey blogged on a wide range oftopics -- health, cooking, homeschooling, current events, politics,books, travel, etc. Fewer than one third actually blogged aboutwriting, per se; those who did used their blogs to share tips,markets, experiences, and insights into the writing life. Two orthree reported that they used their blog as a personal journal, towrite (or "rant") about whatever they felt like at the time, butthis seemed to be the exception rather than the rule.In fact, most respondents emphasized the importance of having asolid, well thought-out reason for having a blog in the firstplace. Several writers launched blogs specifically to promote theirwriting. Roberta Roberti uses her cooking blog to promote hercookbooks and food-related writing.what your goals are," says Nanette Croce.
A number of respondents have sought to earn money from their blogsusing Google AdSense and Amazon.com associate programs, withvarying results. Other writers have been reluctant to attempt to "monetize" theirblogs for fear of alienating readers. Herein lies one of the hidden benefits
of blogging, according toseveral writers. Far from being a hindrance to their writing timeand careers, they feel that blogging has made them BETTER writers.
Tools for the Blogger---------------------There are a host of tools online for the beginning blogger; here'sa sampling of some sites that can be helpful: Blog http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlogAn excellent overview of what blogs are, including definitions ofcommonly used terms.Starting a Blog http://www.startingablog.com/A variety of how-to articles on getting your blog set up.
We love to hear of your success stories, submit them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to post your book signing, guest speaker events on our Bookstore page. Simply send us an email with details of your events and we will be happy to post them. Just part of the Allbooks service to our authors.
From Leon J. Radomile------------Hello Shirley: I just wanted to say hello. I've listed an excerpt from your excellent Allbooks Review/Midwest Book Review in my new ebook novel intro, The Spear of Lepanto Books I&II. I've also produced a music video book trailer. Check it out at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho3DDDoDtMEhttp://myheritageculture.comI wish you continued success at your AllBooks Review website
Independent Authors Network
Everyone did a great job of promoting their IAN member page this month.
The Featured Author Contest Winner for February is...Elizabeth E. Wilder. It was close for a few weeks and then Elizabeth surged ahead and never looked back. Her member page saw nearly 1400 hits for the month.
She will receive the new "Contest Winner Publicity Package" as will all winners from now on.
WRITING COMPETITIONS - One-Page Story (300 word) and Poetry (200 word). Firsts get €1,000 each and the best 10 published in the Fish Anthology in July. Chris Stewart judges the One-Page and Brian Turner the Poetry. Entry online €14. Close March 31. Details at http://www.fishpublishing.com email@example.com****************************************************************RUBERY BOOK AWARD: Calling all self published and independently published books. Three prizes! High profile authors as judges, including a Booker short-listed author. Winning book is also guaranteed to be read by a literary agent.http://www.ruberybookaward.com
Allbooks Reviews INTERVIEW:
Please state your name and location. Barbara Fifield, Port Orange, Florida, USA
Tell us the title and publisher of your book: Passion’s Evidence, published by Outskirts Press
Tell us about yourself: I am a retired social worker and journalist. I have been writing poetry for the past 55 years. I belong to two writers’ groups – Tomoka Poets, Ormond Beach, Florida, and the Ormond Beach Writers’ League.
When was the book released? Spring of 2010
Give us an overview of your book. It is a self-illustrated, with photographs I took, myself, of free verse poetry written over the past 30 years, love and nature poems, family poems, poems about Florida where I live, and about the death of my husband, Roger, five years, ago.
What inspired you to write this book? I wanted to publish my first collection of poetry for my family and for posterity.
How is your book different from other books in this genre? It is self-illustrated and the poems are of my own original style. It speaks from the heart, rather than the head, such as poets of the Romantic Era in poetry such as Shelley, Keats, and Wordsworth.
Where can people buy your book? On Amazon.com or I can sell them the book cheaper by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, an ebook is out on Amazon for $5, which is truly a bargain!
Are you working on another book? If so when do you expect it to be published? In another year or so. I am writing my third novel, Letting Go, an autobiographical novel slanted toward women readers. I have published two other novels, Photographs and Memories, about coming to Florida 10 years, ago, to take care of my parents, about dealing with changes in one’s life. Also, a fantasy novella, Lucifer Rising, about a middle-aged widow who falls in love with Lucifer. This is based on a true story of my experience with a cult leader. I have given about a dozen radio interviews on this novella. Both soft copies and ebooks can be obtained from Amazon.
If you self published, what advice can you give to fellow writers? You have to do a lot of marketing, which can cost a bunch of money. Be prepared! Also, you can sell to your friends and neighbors and do book signings, but you have to persist at it for years. It’s good to have your own web site. Mine is www.fifieldauthor.com. I have both videos and audios of all three of my books on this site. Also, have your books on Amazon with ebook editions and “Look Inside the Book” advertising for each one. It helps to sell them!
Can you share one of your marketing successes with us? Learn to give good radio interviews. I have been training at a local Toastmaster’s Club every week to learn to overcome radio shyness in promoting myself and my books to the public.
How did you find Allbooks Reviews and what are you hoping for in your relationship with us? Allbooks wrote to me. Since then, I plan to use your services for my other books. I plan to promote Lucifer Rising, due to it’s popular appeal, to the film industry.
Was the low cost a surprise? What other things would you like Allbooks Reviews to offer writers? Definitely ! How about sending information about the book to book stores and libraries?
Thank you for this interview and best of luck with your book.