If you missed Part 6, please click here:
Why bother with a blog?
Lois has written on this blog about it is more fun to have a conversation than talking to yourself. If you transpose this to writers, you might say that writing purely for your own satisfaction is a little like a singer, entertaining an empty hall.
There is an element of truth in the saying that all creative people crave an audience – and feedback on their work – good or bad. If you get good feedback you get that glow that says you are doing the right thing and if it is bad, it gives you the news that you must improve what you are doing. If you know of any creative person who doesn’t like having an audience – please let me know. If you imagine a stand-up comedian talking to an empty pub, you’ll know what I mean. No atmosphere, no feedback, not even any heckling.
So, as a writer, where is your audience going to come from? I have already noted in this essay how difficult is the traditional route of publishing books. If you were a successful publisher but your costs were going up and your income was going down because less ( fewer ? )people were buying paper books – would you take a risk on an unknown first time author or would you rather publish novels from established successful writers?
So no one will publish your book; what do you do? You might try the self publishing of your books in Kindle format on Amazon. This has one massive advantage in that it is cost free. The downside is that no one is there to promote your book for you, you have to do it all yourself. Amazon isn’t a charity, they try to make a profit just like other companies so what is in it for them? Well, you can buy services from them but they also take a chunk of ‘commission’ from every book you sell. This is reasonable as they have costs and any paper publisher will also take a cut from your sales.
One alternative I haven’t mentioned so far is a digital print on demand company on the Internet. I’ll take Lulu.com as that is the only one I have used. They will print exactly what you send them. Send them lots of typos and they will send them back, perfectly printed but a reasonable price. The great benefit they have is that they print on demand so once you have uploaded the file of your book, you can, for example order just one proof copy. Once you have corrected all the mistakes you haven’t seen before you can order your full print run of err…10 copies. This way you don’t have a great forward investment – you just order a few, sell them and then order a few more – no messy, expensive print runs of 1,000 and then spend the rest of your life with a library under your bed.
One of the benefits of using this system is that you have some of your lovely books on your book shelf to attract admiring glances, ‘Have you really written all those?’ Who said writers don’t have egos?
Back to the blog, how did it all start?
Three of us from different U3A creative writing groups decided we were fed up with trying to get publishers interested in our work, not knowing how to promote our work ourselves and generally wanted to find a way to show case our work.
We got together for a chat and decided several things
1 – We would have a go at blogging
2 – We would use WordPress as that seemed the one to go for.
3 – We would put up not only our own work but also invite ‘contributing writers.’
4 – We would use ‘The moving dragon writes.’ as our blog and Facebook title
5 – We would use ‘Somerset Writers’ as our brand.
6 – We would start on 23rd June 2016 – as that was today’s date
7 – We would get on with it and have bi weekly meetings in the short term as we were bound to make mistakes that needed correcting, a lot of things to learn very quickly and we would need to use each other’s knowledge to stand any hope of making a success of it.
8 – After every post, we would have a live link to our Amazon page.
We got on with it, set up a blog on WordPress, a Facebook Group, a Twitter account and a discussion forum on Proboards. We now had the infrastructure or skeleton, now all we had to do was populate it. We started by uploading an average of four posts a day as we felt that we had to give our potential audience something to read. We also got some ‘business cards’ printed so we could hand them out to interested people, mostly writers, and so get our blog address known by other people. Every post was shared on Facebook and we started a few discussions on the forum.
We soon picked up how to operate the blog so included lots of pictures to attract interest. We improved the look and added some widgets.
How far have we got so far on 23rd September?
We have been running for exactly three months – here are our stats:-
We would very much like to hear from fellow bloggers how you think we are doing.
What are we doing right?
What are we doing wrong?
How can we improve.
Any other ideas for us?
Looking forward to hearing from you. We also welcome contributions that you would like us to post on our blog.
By the way, we are really enjoying it!
Best wishes from Somerset Writers at themovingdragonwrites
Part 8 – Inspiration will follow soon…hopefully.
© Richard Kefford Eorðdraca
My Kindle books are on Amazon at:
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