I’ve pondered this post for a while now. Thing of it is, I feel like to tell you about this topic makes me look like I’m some kind of know-it-all-thing-that-rhymes-with-itch. But since I not only have had some experience in this area, but am now actually getting DM’s and e-mails asking me directly, it’s time to take it to the blog.
I’ve just started a book blog, how can I get followers?
Now, tell me exactly why you need followers? It’s just a number. A follower is just a person that once stopped into your blog. It does not guarantee they will ever come back. It doesn’t get you page views. It’s just a number.
It’s a pretty number, I’ll give you that. One that can make you fell all warm and fuzzy inside. But putting that shoe on the other foot, if that number isn’t what you feel it should/could/would be, then you are only feeling upset and depressed and that’s not ok. Blogging should make you happy, fill you with joy, not bring you down. You are more than that number!
Thing of it is, publishers don’t even care about this number. No, I’m serious, they don’t. They used too, yes , but no longer. What a publisher is looking for, is page hits. And before you think about hitting your page and refreshing for 8 days straight, I should point out they are looking for your UNIQUE page hits.
See, ARCs are expensive to make and NO ONE makes money off them. So they want them to go where they A: have the best chance of getting reviewed and B: will actually be seen when it is reviewed.
Okay then, how do I get these Unique Page hits you speak of?
Look at you guys, always asking the good questions! *wink* The answer is simple:
Content. Content. Content.
Content every day or at minimum every other. Hey you want page hits quickly…no one’s coming back to a blog that posts once a week or less – eventually they will think you just quit blogging and not come back at all….
And if you don’t think that this is the key, do me a favor and look at the blogs with high page counts, the ones with the publisher contacts, the ones that seem to always get ARC’s and have author contacts…what do they all have in common? Yes. They all post no less than 6 days a week and in most cases, several times a day.
Well I’m SUUUUUUPER busy and don’t have time for that, what else can I do?
For instance my blog takes roughly 30+ hours a week of my unpaid time. I also have a family with active kids, a house to clean, I’m writing my book and let’s not forget the reading I have to do for the blog – that’s not included in the 30+ hours.
There are tricks and tips to making this work for you. Just because you should have content every day, doesn’t mean you HAVE to ACTUALLY blog every day. Heck no. Do you think ANY of us bloggers would have our heads above water if that were the case! No sir!
So Tip #1: SCHEDULE AHEAD
Pick a day of the week you’re not really busy and have a few hours to spend on your blog. Write out some posts for the week or weeks ahead and schedule them. Both WordPress and Blogger offer this option. It’s right there in the POST section. Use it. You pick a date and time you want that post live.
There are memes (Waiting on Wednesday, Teaser Tuesday….) that exist for the simple reasons of fun and filling space on blogs. People love to read them, and they are fairly fast to set up. Under the FEATURES tab on my blog are the ones we participate in, check some out. You can do these MONTHS out if you so felt the need. I know of memes that exist for nearly every day of the week – that’s content right there for nearly every day of the week. Not every day has to be a review, so cut yourself some slack.
Tip #2: Join Book Blasts, Tours…and so forth
They send you the content, and a date to post it on. It couldn't get any easier. People who want to learn about that author or book come in. You’re immediately linked up because the tour host always has a list of participants on their blog. AND nearly all of these come with giveaways that are funded by the author in question, and giveaways are never a bad thing.
Seriously. Do you have friends that read? Ask them to blog with you.Nearly ALL the largest blogs have some kind of group effort behind it. Don’t be a hero, don’t do it all yourself – plus everything is more fun with friends.
Woah, time out…you JUST said that you blog 30+ hour’s a week and you have a group of 7 working for MMSAI. So which is it?
Nice catch! I am very lucky to have my team! What works best for us here, is one of us (me) handles all the posting. They e-mail me their content and I make sure it’s scheduled and up. This is not how you have to do it, this just works best for us right now. Aside from the posts there are tons of other things included in this time spent: updating the review lists and author lists, answering 20-30 e-mails a day, sifting through the review requests and getting them to my team, addressing and shipping books to my team and winners, coming up with ideas for new content, reaching out to authors for interviews and memes, and so on and so on.
I read somewhere that I should just tweet to people to tell them I followed them and ask for a follow back. Seems Legit? Does it work?
A lot less frequently than you might think it does.
Here, let’s break it down. So you’re spending what? An hour maybe more DAILY on this? I promise you that less than 50% of these people actually follow you back and if they do we circle right back to my first point, a follower is just someone that stops in to your blog ONCE. Your goal, the bottom line for you should be to get people to come back repeatedly! The way you do this….say it with me now…is with your CONTENT!
Not only that, but when I was inundated with tweets of this type this week, I set out to find out how others felt. I’m not alone. Many more people that you know HATE this. Aside from the simple annoying factor they hold, it’s a red flag that you are not really in this blogging thing for blogging. It shows the publishers (oh yes, they are on Twitter they know and see more than you think…) and other bloggers that you just want the end game, that you are only in this for free books. Weather this is the reason you ARE doing this…this is what it looks like. Sorry.
Look at it this way: you can’t do a work out video once and expect to be in shape. You can’t go to law school for one day and expect to be a lawyer. You can’t buy a race car and expect to be considered a race car driver. And you can’t start a blog and expect to be handed the books.
In the end…..
The blogging community is one of the most welcoming communities I have ever been apart of. We never leave any one behind. Every blogger I know offers help when asked for it, many post their tricks to their blog for you to read. We are not hiding some Blogger Bible somewhere with the REAL way to do things in it, laughing at you as you fail. We tell you flat out how it worked for us, and all of us all have the same story to tell.
Yet day after day we are met with resistance from those same people who want help. They hear it takes hard work, commitment, often times money (for custom blog layouts, graphics, shipping, prizes….) and a lot of time, and they scoff at us like we are trying to hold them back. NOTHING in life is free and ANYTHING worth having is worth working for. You can not expect to be taken seriously, if you don’t act serious and the things I see a lot is just people trying to get something for free.
Why do we bother helping those who don’t want it?
Well, in the end I suppose bloggers are viewed as a whole group. If some come in and act like greedy fools (and some do) then publisher stop offering books to us as often. Fewer copies are made available. At Book Expo America a couple years back a few greedy bloggers made it almost impossible for bloggers to qualify for media passes to the event because of they they acted while there…
ARC’s are not made for bloggers. They are made for libraries, review boards, books stores, and other professionals. We are lucky to be able to get them at all. And I don’t want to lose that ability. So we help.
If you have any blogging questions, fee free to leave them in the comments! I, or another blogger will respond. Like I said – we are here to help.