A Huge Thanks to The Lit Coach for including me in her post: Blogs That Work and Why!

August 24th, 2012 → 4:27 pm @

Blogs That Work and Why

by | on August 23rd, 2012 | 4 comments
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Tuesday, I shared the Five Pillars of Effective Blogs as I shared with the LARARWA group this past weekend:

Compelling Content, Consistent Posts, Fresh Ideas, Engagement, and Share-ability

Today, I’d like share with you some of the blogs I discussed and why they work.

Yarnagogo – The blog that launched Knit Lit Romance author Rachael Herron’s career. Rachael shared with me that not only did her blog come before she scored an agent and a three book deal, it pretty much sealed the deal. Her agent and editorial team loved her authentic voice and how she connected with her audience.

Girlfriends Book Club – This collaborative blog featuring Women’s Fiction heavy hitters Ellen Meister, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Marilyn Brant, Maggie Mar (who I had the great pleasure of meeting at the LARA event) and many more, is a prime example of great content, consistency, fresh ideas, robust engagement with the audience and a community of sharing between most involved on the blog.

I asked Ellen Meister about how the blog began and how they’ve found success as a popular blog. Here’s what she had this to say:

The Girlfriends Book Club blog rose from the ashes of The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, which was a group of commercially published women authors who posted about each other’s books. That went on successfully for a number of years and eventually just burned itself out. Author Karin Gillespie deserves some kind of medal, because she not only ran the GCC but continues to coordinate and schedule the group blog.
 
It’s a tremendously effective way of reaching people, because there’s strength in numbers. With 40 writers as part of the group, the blog pulls from a vast network.
 
As it turns out, the majority the blog’s readers seem to be aspiring writers. Recognizing this, we post a lot of writing and marketing tips for aspiring authors. My most popular post was 20 Social Media Tips for Writers. Other favorite posts include 16 Tips for Writing Sexy Scenes, 18 Novelists Share Their Writing Routines and Girlfriends Share Tips on How to Be a Productive Writer.
 
As far as promoting our own books, it’s clear that the most popular posts are the ones that offer giveaways.
 
Importantly, the women in the group are tremendously supportive, and we help spread the word about each other’s posts with Tweets and Facebook status updates.
 

Menologues – Robin Donovan, author of Is it Still Murder Even if She Was a Bitch?, began blogging about menopause “because stumbling blindly through menopause is less funny than it sounds.” She wanted to reach a community of women who were going through what she was going through and it worked. Robin had a clearly defined audience, wrote specifically for them and soon, her blog was picked up by Vibrant Nation.

Twinfatuation – Twins expert and author Cheryl Lage has a world-wide audience, has written for an impressive array of national and local magazines, and ezines, has appeared on Martha Stewart Live Radio, has been called by The Today Show and so much more, mostly because of her blog. But like many bloggers who author books, she didn’t begin with a blog. Cheryl contacted me when I was a literary agent and she, a mother of adorable toddler twins and a writer with a great idea about a book for parents of twins and multiples. Cheryl’s story is very special to me and I was delighted to share it on literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog (another fabulous blog!). I encourage you to read the short post on how we started building her platform as a twin parenting expert before we sold her manuscript. You may see some of your questions and concerns answered in the robust comment thread.

A Walking Carnival – This has got to be my favorite slice of life blog ever. I like to say Deirdre Lewis, the creator of AWC, is the love child of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris. A filmmaker and screenwriter by trade, Deirdre’s unique quirkiness shines through her blog as she takes you through her neighborhood in Echo Park, CA, to a dusty old camera shop, to an airport book store and to her father’s house. There is no post I don’t absolutely love. This blog is ALWAYS fresh, pretty consistent and I feel the content is spectacularly good. One of her latest posts is an all imagined dialog between two car mechanics – notice how the conversation reveals so much about the narrator. Deirdre is not repped by an agent, but it won’t be long before she is. She uses the blog to discover her voice and hone her craft. Works for me!

What blogs do you absolutely love and why? Share them below.

TLC

 

 

 

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Comments (4)

  1. Ellen Meister, August 23, 2012
    Thanks so much for another terrific and informative post, Erin. And of course, the shout-out for the Girlfriends Book Club blog is much appreciated! Here’s a recent update–the wonderful Maggie Marr is now at the helm. We’re so lucky to have people like Karin and Maggie to lead the way! Ellen Reply
    • TheLitCoach, August 24, 2012
      Ellen, thanks! I truly feel what you all contribute to the blog world, especially with regard to educating writers, is so valuable. I really enjoy the blog (and need to comment more often!) and am happy to refer writers to it. While I was speaking about GBC in front of the group, Maggie was in the audience. She smiled when I mentioned the name so I stopped and asked her if she knew of the blog. When she said she was ON the blog I nearly died! I was THRILLED to meet a GBC member. Reply
  2. Marilyn Brant, August 23, 2012
    Thanks so much for the shout out, Erin! I feel lucky to be part of the GBC because, as Ellen said, it’s such a tremendously supportive group of writers. I truly enjoy getting to read the posts of the other contributors and have found the readers to be really receptive to the diversity of topics and voice, too. Looking forward to checking out the other blogs you recommended!! Reply
  3. TheLitCoach, August 24, 2012
    Thanks, Marilyn. The GBC blog is so unique and really is a compelling example of how to collaborate with your fellow authors online successfully. Reply

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A Big Thanks to Erin Reel: The Lit Coach

June 21st, 2012 → 2:47 pm @

Check out the wonderful post that Erin Reel, The Lit Coach, wrote on her blog after interviewing me last week: http://thelitcoach.net/from-blog-to-book-with-robin-leemann-donovan/

From Blog to Book with Robin Leemann Donovan
by TheLitCoach | on June 21st, 2012 | 0 comments
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I love book titles that really get to the heart of what the book’s about. I also have a penchant for humor. When I was invited to attend a book reading/signing event for author Robin Leemann Donovan, I was only too glad to go – with at title like, Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch?, how could I not be entertained? And I was! In the decade I’ve been working with authors and their books, I don’t recall laughing quite so hard at a book reading. Totally refreshing.

The Lit Coach Interview

The Lit Coach Interview

Donovan, a Managing Principal at Bozell, one of the top advertising agencies in the country, understands the vital importance of hook. At the urging of a friend, Donovan created Menologues, a blog devoted to helping women stumble less blindly through menopause. Her hook? Clearly humor but also authenticity – Donovan blogs, writes and speaks off the cuff, from the heart and with authority not just about menopause but about topics important to women 50+, who have largely been ignored in publishing and other media. That organic combo works for her. From my perspective, she’s on to something.

I asked Donovan for her three most important, need-to-know tips about writing and blogging. Here’s what she shared.
On Writing

Prepare for nothing happening as you would expect it.
Take notes on every chapter so you know where you’re going, where your loose ends are and when to tie them up (very important for mystery writers).
Get your work professionally critiqued and proofread. Friends and relatives are not your best beta readers, except my mother and I’ll loan her out.

On Blogging

Be specific. Stand for something.
Be relatable. Be authentic.
Be prepared. Do your homework. Discover and understand your market. Don’t touch on topics that everyone’s touched. Know what’s important and what isn’t.
Be open to the realities of the people around you and their unique experiences. Avoid stereotypes.

If you’ve had success creating a book from your blog, share your tips (and links!) here.

TLC

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Huge Thanks to the Millard Branch of the Omaha Public Library

June 6th, 2012 → 9:13 pm @

Great audience at the Millard Branch!

Great audience at the Millard Branch!

Last night I had the distinct honor of kicking off the Millard Branch’s Authors Series. Attendees were wonderful and supportive! They asked some excellent questions and gave me some feedback that made it difficult to fit my head through the door as I exited the building! Every “talk” should be so much fun – for me!

I also appreciate being able to trot out an excerpt from the second book in the Donna Leigh Mysteries series, I Didn’t Kill Her, But That May Have Been Short Sighted! It really helped to be able to share my plot and characters with a new audience, and hearing the laughter was music to my ears!

I want to thank all of the wonderful folks at the Millard Branch for being so welcoming and supportive!

I recently had an acquaintance laughingly ask me if I really felt like a “celebrity.” And to his surprise, I was able to respond that there are actually a few people who treat me as though I’m a celebrity. I count the great folks at the Millard Branch and their wonderful audience as some of those few!
Authors Series

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