Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Building a Writing Platform: My Results for 2013

How are you faring with online book marketing and platform building? Yeah, me too. My novel will be finished in the fall and I want to show agents and publishers that I can make them (and me) some money. I've been doing what the experts recommend: blogging, social media, public events and readings, and collecting emails. My numbers will not impress anyone, but should show that I have a basic level of book marketing competence. Maybe. Hopefully.

My Online Audience for 2013: 33,280, up 28 percent from 26,000 in 2012 


The Audience:

1) Visitors to my Web sites and blogs: 23,200 total or 1,935 per month, up 24 percent from 2012

*My sites and blogs: The Loneliest Planet, The Chronic Single, Randy Ross Media, and Ross Travels (an old site that still gets traffic).

- For much of 2013, I was blogging three times a month. I no longer have time and have cut back to about twice a month.
- My traffic to The Loneliest Planet dropped off last April, when Linked In changed it's policies and my blog articles were labeled as spam by some group moderators.
- In April, I launched the Chronic Single blog to promote my work to a targeted audience: people disillusioned with love.

2) Social Media Connections/Followers: 9180, up 33 percent from 6,900 in 2012

- Includes: Linked In (1,800), Google+ (387) , Facebook Fan (2,048) and Profile (322) pages, and two Twitter pages (4,623, includes both rsquaredd for writing/book marketing and chronicsingle)
- On Youtube, I had 1.959 views for the year, but only 5 subscribers.
- Much of the increase this year over last is from adding Twitter followers, a group that I haven't found particularly useful.

3) E-mail addresses: 900, up 28 percent from 700 in 2012

- Includes people who signed up for this blog (337), a journalism group I moderate (196), and names I've added to several other email lists I maintain using Mailchimp (366).
- Email addresses are more valuable than other connections! These people have shown a deeper level of interest in me and my writing.
- there is some overlap between the people who signed up for my blog and my monthly blog visitors. However, once people sign up, they receive my blog in their email and may never visit the site again.

Art Attribution: Distorted face image at top of blog by Miguel Angel Pasalodos


More Online Marketing Tips for Writers

- Quick, Dirty Blogging Tips for Writers and Authors


- Promote Your Writing: Events, Readings, and Fringe Festivals


-  Facebook for Writers: Do You Need an Author Page?


Just for Fun (From the Chronic Single Blog)

 - Are you marriage material?


- The Chronic Single's Guide to Valentine's Day



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Monday, January 6, 2014

5 Great Writing Books You Never Heard of


These five books address a variety of writing problems ranging from pokey plots to porky prose. I found them useful for both fiction and non-fiction writing. All five books were available at my local library.

by Blake Snyder
This book is not just for screenwriters -- It is a short and simple book on plot. Period. Great for fiction and creative non-fiction. I used it juice up several problem chapters in my novel in progress.

by Carol Pearson
Useful for thinking about and developing characters in your fiction. I found it easier to digest than Joseph Campbell's classic The Hero with a Thousand Faces. If you're into Jungian psychology, it's an interesting read.

by Renni Brown and David King
Easy read, entertaining, lots of useful information on revising your work -- by yourself. Includes sections on dialog, scenes, and showing versus telling.

by Noah Lukeman
A grammar book written specifically for creative writers. Great passages on commas, sentence length, paragraphs, and section breaks.

by Verlyn Klinkenborg
Short tips to tighten your writing.

The Online Date that Went a Little too Well
(youtube of me reading a novel excerpt at a local venue: politically-incorrect, no redeeming value.)

Art credit: Hand image at top of blog by gnuckx (Flickr: Roma Italy - Creative Commons by gnuckx) [Public domain or CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


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