Allbooks Review March 2011 Newsletter

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FEATURE
FEATURE: To Blog Or Not To Blog
By Moira Allen Copyright (c) 2011 by Moira Allen
Excerpted from “Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer,” 2nd
Edition, 2011, from Allworth Press.
=================================================================

A recent article reported that there are now approximately 200
million blogs on the Internet. Other estimates are a bit more
conservative, but still weigh in with numbers in the millions as of
the end of 2009. With everyone and their dog, seemingly, rushing
to jump on the blog bandwagon, is this an avenue that you as a
writer should be exploring as well?
First, let’s take a look at what a blog is — and is not. While
blogs can obviously come in many forms, the basic concept of a blog
is a “type” of web site (according to Wikipedia) that is regularly
updated by the host. Typically, the most recent post will appear
at the top, with earlier posts beneath — or in some cases archived
elsewhere on the site, with a list of archive topics appearing on
the main page. Many blogs incorporate images, links to other sites
and blogs, and even video clips. Finally, a blog often includes an
interactive component: An invitation to readers to respond to and
make 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 maintain
both blogs and web sites and cross-promote between them (e.g., a
writer may post a full-length article on a web site and then
promote the article in a shorter piece posted to the blog).
While many bloggers will maintain that blog posts should be between
200 and 500 words at most, one will certainly find much longer
blogs on the web. However, many bloggers feel that readers will
only read shorter posts — and also feel that this requirement to
“keep it short” helps writers learn how to write tightly and
concisely.
With 200 million blogs out there, who’s actually blogging?
Actually, several studies suggest that the total number of blogs
being tracked by sites like Technorati (which also operates one of
the most popular blog directories) is inflated, as it doesn’t take
into account “dead” blogs (blogs that are no longer actively
maintained) or “splogs” (spam blogsAnother study
indicated that 60 to 80 percent of blogs are abandoned within one
month, many after only a single post.
As for who’s blogging and why, an article by Caslon Analytics
points out that the vast majority of blogs are personal journals
aimed at “nanoaudiences” — a small circle of family and friends.
The Blogging Iceberg, a report by Perseus Development, shows that
teenagers create the majority of blogs; more than 90 percent are
created by people under age 30, and 50 percent of bloggers are
between the ages of 13 and 19. Just over half the blogs in the
world are in English, and the U.S. seems to be responsible for most
of those.
That still leaves a lot of blogs — and a lot of writers who host
blogs. Many writers host multiple blogs and post material to them
several times a week. Should you be one of them? Specifically,
will hosting a blog (or three) advance your freelance writing
career? Will it, for example, attract more readers to your books?
Help you earn writing assignments? Assist you in marketing a
writing-related product or service? Or, at the very least, make
you a better writer? These were the questions I asked in a survey
of writers who run one or more blogs on a regular basis.
The writers who responded to my survey blogged on a wide range of
topics — health, cooking, homeschooling, current events, politics,
books, travel, etc. Fewer than one third actually blogged about
writing, per se; those who did used their blogs to share tips,
markets, experiences, and insights into the writing life. Two or
three reported that they used their blog as a personal journal, to
write (or “rant”) about whatever they felt like at the time, but
this seemed to be the exception rather than the rule.
In fact, most respondents emphasized the importance of having a
solid, well thought-out reason for having a blog in the first
place. Several writers launched blogs specifically to promote their
writing. Roberta Roberti uses her cooking blog to promote her
cookbooks and food-related writing.what your goals are,” says Nanette Croce.
A number of respondents have sought to earn money from their blogs
using Google AdSense and Amazon.com associate programs, with
varying results. Other writers have been reluctant to attempt to “monetize” their
blogs 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 time
and 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’s
a sampling of some sites that can be helpful:

Blog http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
An excellent overview of what blogs are, including definitions of
commonly used terms.

Starting a Blog http://www.startingablog.com/
A variety of how-to articles on getting your blog set up.
SUCCESS STORIES

We love to hear of your success stories, submit them to us at: allbookreviews@aol.com
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://myheritageculture.com
I 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.

Submissions Wanted:
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 info@fishpublishing.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 bfifield@cfl.rr.com. 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 http://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.

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