If a Blog Falls in the Forest….

By Sunny Frazier

Sunny FrazierJulie Luek asked me over here to discuss blog interaction. First, let me say, I’m honored. I entered the Colorado Gold contest early in my career and the changes suggested definitely got me a contract. This is a terrific group.

I do my homework. I’ve scrolled through some recent blogs on your site. Good stuff. So, where are the comments? One here, two there. And, the same responders showing up. What gives?

Then I found Aaron Michel Ritchey’s “Why I Have Failed To Write a Word In 2014.” I don’t know this guy, why should I care? But, the title has grabbed me. His first line: “I am the problem.” No writer admits to that. They blame writers block or a full-time job.

I have to keep reading. His clipped style and use of the word “suck” amuses me. I have no idea what “Lama sabachthani” means. I don’t care. He’s hooked me with the first sentence. Isn’t that what we’re told to do in our novels?

His piece got 21 comments. I read all of those as well. I want to find out more about this man and, if his books are as good as this post, I want to buy them. I’ll even become the stalker he craves.

Aaron started with a headline that stood out. I’m from the school of journalism; it all starts with the headline. Next, he made it personal. He’s not lecturing me, he’s opening up. With loose language and a bit of irreverence, I know I’m in for a good time with this guy.

Frazier_FoolsI use the same tactics as Aaron, but I go a bit further. I created a Posse, a group of aspiring writers. I send them interesting posts and train them to reply. It’s a chance for them to expand their contacts in the writing world, to find out who’s who. It also allows them to give an opinion and perhaps mention their own WIP. They’re trained to announce posts they’ve written. Blogging doesn’t do a bit of good if nobody is aware of its existence. .

Everyone should have a Posse. It starts with friends and contacts in your circle. All that networking you’ve been taught to do? This is where it comes in handy. Get out the business cards you’ve collected and include them in your group. Don’t be shy, but don’t SPAM everyone you know. Figure out who will enjoy the experience you are about to give them.

Please don’t waste their time. If you’re only blogging to fill up space or fulfill a commitment, remember all of us are busy people. Every time I write a blog, I ask myself “Would I stop and read this?” Be sure the reader comes away a bit more aware or given a different slant on the topic.

Frazier_Angels FearDon’t make a blog all about selling. It’s promotion, yes, but readers are trained to smell the hard-sell from a mile away. You have to be slicker than that. Let your word usage do the selling for you. A blog should be an audition for your novel. If readers love the way you write, they expect more of the same in a book.

To pull people to your blog don’t say, “I wrote a nice blog. Please stop by and read it if you have a moment.” Here’s the announcement I posted today titled “Yes, I Dipped My Toes In Those Muddy Waters.” My email said “Literary fiction vs genre–sounds boring, right? Do we REALLY need to hash out this one again? Those of you who know me know I’m going to have the last word, and you can count on it being irreverent.”

My followers know I’m again thumbing my nose at the status quo and we’re cyber-nudging each other, snickering to see if I can get away with it. Toes will be stepped on but I get invited back because I do something all site owners are looking for: I attract readers. The numbers go up. People are plugging into their websites and will hopefully sign on for more.

Finally, my last tip to create fans: I personally contact people who reply to my posts to thank them. Not just in the reply space. Nope, I’m going to Google you to see who you are, what you’ve written and let you know I appreciate the time you took to read my words. I will even Facebook you with a request for friendship. And, I will notify you the next time you want to have some fun with me over at another blog. You’re important. You make this all work.

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Sunny Frazier trained as a journalist and wrote for a city newspaper, military and law enforcement publications. After working 17 years with the Fresno Sheriff’s Department, 11 spent as Girl Friday with an undercover narcotics team, it dawned on her that mystery writing was her real calling. Both Fools Rush In and Where Angels Fear are based on real cases as well as astrology, a habit Frazier has developed over the past 42 years. To see her in her WAVE uniform and learn more, go to her website.

24 thoughts on “If a Blog Falls in the Forest….

  1. Patricia Stoltey

    Thanks for highlighting Aaron’s very successful post, Sunny. It’s so hard to get readers to comment even though I know a lot of folks are reading the RMFW posts. It’s a bashful bunch we attract here. :D

    Reply
  2. TiffanyLawson NakedEditor

    Thank you for posting on this subject.

    I blog monthly over at Writers in the Storm and starting in March, here on RMFW and over at Savvy. Authors.

    I’ve been seeing the same posse of folks commenting and boy oh boy do I get excited when I see a new name! I treat blog and comments like an afternoon at a writers conference.Extending the learning into the comments section, I host a mini writing challenge, edit the entries, chat with the writers about how to succeed in a particular area of writing craft etc.

    I love it, I just wish more writers would come out of their shells and join in the fun!

    Reply
    1. Sunny Frazier

      I haven’t peeked into Savvy Writers in awhile. Let me know what you’re doing and I’ll pass along the URL’s to your posts.

      Reply
  3. Dean K Miller

    We’d all forget we actually have toes if someone didn’t step on them once in a while. Besides, I’m only using the bottoms of them anyway.

    The headline on this blog is impossible to ignore. During my session with writing coach Lori Deboer the other day (which was awesome and won via this blog!) highlighted the importance of headline, hooks and getting readers and editors to know they have to follow up and find out what’s going on.

    Another coach/friend asked me: How much are you willing to put yourself “out there” to get noticed? Another great way to consider the same set of circumstances, which are multiplied many times over in the writing world.

    Thanks, Sunny and RMFW for continuing to NOT waste my time.

    Reply
    1. Sunny Frazier

      Love your witty reply! Yeah, I’m not sure why authors are often shy about promoting their work. Isn’t the whole reason for writing is to be read?

      Reply
  4. Julie Luek

    Yay Sunny! This is a great post. I love and copied this line: . If readers love the way you write, they expect more of the same in a book. I am in the midst of trying to figure this out better in my blog writing. Last year was a personally crazy one, but gave me good pause to redefine who I want to be as a writer and what that could look like. Thanks for the great tips, the inspiration and for toe-squooshing a bit.

    Reply
    1. Sunny Frazier

      To me, the best blogs are fearless and the voice of the writer comes through. Don’t weigh your words so much or worry about getting it “right.” We’re not here to judge. Cut loose and have fun.

      Reply
  5. Elaine Faber

    Getting folks to read your blog certainly depends on it’s crazy title. We need to copy the grocery store ‘rag sheets’ with titles that have only a smidgin’ to do with the actual story. But it sells papers. We need a symposium called PONTIGER or ‘Pondering on nutty titles intended to gain extra readers.’ Who can we get to teach the symposium? Volunteers???

    Reply
    1. Sunny Frazier

      I’ll volunteer. I read blogs and want to scream “Why didn’t you go for the gold!” It just takes a tweak or two to make a title awesome. Make a bit more effort, folks!

      Reply
  6. Anne Schroeder

    Writer’s gold. Sunny nails it. I shared it on my author’s FB page so my fans will think I’m witty and intelligent, too. BTW–not sure what “Lama sabachthani” is either, but I think Jesus muttered it on the cross. Maybe “It is finished!”

    Reply
  7. Chris Swinney

    Good point. “Platform” is so slammed down new writers’ throats and one item is “blogging.” Either write good stuff and regularly with catchy titles or don’t blog. Pretty simple concept, right? Thanks Sunny!

    Reply
    1. Sunny Frazier

      In the beginning, when blogs were few and a novelty, we all had time to muse over the musings of others. Now, with everyone blogging, you’d better have something interesting and worthwhile to say! Oh, and you know this is fodder for our project!

      Reply
  8. Dac Crossley

    Why do writers blog about — writing? I blog to build readership, so I try to post entries interesting to my readers — my posse. I’m building the brand. I never blog politics or religion, not those third rails! And, like you, I respond by e-mail to people who comment on a blog entry. Blogging once a week seems plenty. And one more thing – I try to leave blog readers with a question, or something to stimulate their response. Beats the hell out of facebook.

    Reply
    1. Sunny Frazier

      I blog about writing because that’s my readership. But, I don’t blog on how to write, punctuation or grammar. My heart is in promotion and I have no idea why people find selling hard to do. I think it’s the best part about being a writer. Fans are terrific.

      Reply
      1. Dac Crossley

        I didn’t mean you, Sunny. I enjoy promotion. We may do it differently. They tell me, it’s no longer about distribution, it’s all about discovery…

        Reply
  9. Aaron Ritchey

    Thanks, Sunny, for the kind words and the info. I learned about hooks from watching soap operas growing up. And Stephen King. And reality T.V. shows. As for that bit of biblical fun, eloi eloi lama sabachthani translates into “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” I say that a lot.

    Reply
  10. Holli castillo

    Because I can’t keep up with my blog on a daily basis, I created my Twelve Question Tuesday, which is open to any writer who wants to be on it. It ensures I have an interesting new post at least once a week with my interviews, and the writers promote the blog as much as I do when they are featured on it. It’s easy and takes very little time to copy and paste answers and post their images, and it sends a new audience to my blog weekly as well as gives my fellow writers a place to promote. When I have time, I’ll post a new blog in between the Tuesdays, but if not, at least my content is never more than a week old. Published writers of any genre, any publisher, and self-published can be featured by filling out my interview questions.

    Reply
  11. Marja McGraw

    I’m late chiming in and everyone has pretty much said what I would say, so great post, Sunny. (You’re the one who talked me into starting a blog, and I’m having a lot of fun with it.)
    Marja McGraw

    Reply

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