Blogging ~ A Call to Action? Or Not…

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 25•16

Blogging Off-Topic

marketing-strategy-planSince I first stepped into indie authorship, advice has poured into my mailbox that I must blog. And recently suggestions are piling up telling me to blog about anything other than my books.  Blog about cooking or recipes or crystals or knitting… And once foodies, new age aficionados or knitters are following my blog, they might also notice I write romance novels and buy one. HUH?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but those folks who are telling me and you how to generate sales by blogging off-topic are

 Where some author advice belongs

Where some author advice belongs

NOT Madison Avenue Ad Agencies. Notice when Sears wants to sell you a washing machine, it talks about the thing.  The ad does not hint around by telling you the store is air-conditioned, or on the way to the washing machines you’re gonna pass the shoe department. What about Every Kiss begins with Kay. Great tag line…Kay Jewelers has been using it for 40 years at least. Those ads are calls to action and they don’t beat around the bush. When I promote my books, those promotions are calls to action…I want  readers or folks interested in romance to pop on over to Amazon and download one of my books.

We indies are also told we must build a platform and build a relationship with readers.


Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Dang! Everytime I hear “platform” I think of a diving board. Who the heck thinks up this stuff? Here is my relationship with readers: I write books that entertain. That’s my job. If a reader enjoys it, posts a review and said she did so–or not, I’m done. If a reader messages me with a kind word, I say thank you.  I appreciate beyond measure every reader who takes moment out of his or her busy life to message or email me. All are answered. Plus, I often Amazon gift the fan with another of my books. The reader goes on with her life and I get on with writing and my life.  Moreover, I give away thousands of units to introduce my work to readers. I pay $$ for those promo slots. That is enough. I ain’t inviting a reader who lives in Oregon to Texas for coffee or a bar-b-cue.  I will chat with a reader at a book signing. Happy to meet and greet–whether she buys a book or not.

Here is what I have learned:

The only thing that sells ebooks is smart promotion.

Networking helps. When any member of eNovel has a book in promotion, we get behind it and spread the word. But if an ebook is not put in front of readers and subscribers to newsletters, it ain’t gonna sell. Yes, there are indies who started early in the Kindle era who have 6,000 followers on Facebook, 35,000 followers on a webpage or blog. Guess what? Those followers are not active every day or even every week. No ma’am.  Yes, groups of authors get together and publish their fav recipes. Those are giveaways and all have hopeful calls to action. I enjoy those recipes, but they don’t make me want to buy a book.  They make me hungry and I head to the kitchen and start cooking….Just sayin’…

Here is another thing I’ve noticed…

Many of eNovel members participate in interviews…and seldom will followers of the host blog read or comment or share the post. A dozen of us will pop over and comment and share…but the blogger’s folks/followers are often absent–not interested. And many blogs don’t have any reach. No Alexa ranking and perhaps only 3 sites linking in. Sitting for an interview feels good, a lovely ego hype. I enjoy reading them. But they don’t sell a raft of books. Moreover, few of those interviews are calls to action–of any kind.

Now, this is a blog. Subject is blogging and indie authorship. I’m sharing my opinion and perhaps clueing you in. I’m giving myself permission to blog when I have something to say and when I don’t, I won’t. When I want to sell books, I’m gonna promote ’em. That is my call to action.

What can you do with Finding Home? Read it. Now that is a call to action. Plus, you can read it FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Here’s a Call to Action! Please Follow Jackie Weger on Amazon. Promise you, it won’t hurt.  @JackieWeger

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Comments welcome and do take a moment to scan our Author Pages for a fantastic array of books.  I never like to sign off without encouraging indie authors to add this gentle gem of a plea right after THE END of your books:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

Yes, it works. Readers have now posted above 14,000 reviews on eNovel Authors at Work member books. To name just a few: A Dead Red Cadillac: 717 reviews. The House on Persimmon Road: 574 Reviews. Mazie Baby: 404 Reviews. The list goes on…but each has that gentle review plea. Just keep in mind, we are not entitled to reviews. Read this terrific Blog by TOP 1000 Amazon Reviewer, Julie Whiteley. That is another Call to Action.

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  1. Oh what? You mean I can’t blog about my pet canary? Damn. I think my readers would have enjoyed that 🙂 I agree 100% with you on this article – blog about your book and things related to the books. That’s why someone goes there. For pet canaries, they got to a blog about a pet canary. They wouldn’t go there to read about my book series. What nonsense.

    Do you want to read about my pet canary Jackie? I might start a new blog site about it. Then switch them around and blog about my book on the Mary’s Pet Canary site and blog about the pet canary on my book site.

  2. TJ Shortt says:

    I always wonder where all this “great” advice comes from.
    Another great post.
    Thanks, Jackie.

    • Mary D. Brooks says:

      Easy peasy…it comes from someone who wants to sell you their new book about blogging and how it will increase your says or their new web course. Newbie authors do I blog about pet canaries..I don’t know where to begin. Author of ‘blog about anything but your book’ says…I can help you! I have a book just about that. See here…

      • Jackie Weger says:

        I despise busy work and spinning my wheels for no return. Our time is just as much of an investment as our $$$. I have never known a blog interview to sell a book. Interviews are feel good items. I get it. But the blog owner needs to get behind it and rally his or her followers who don’t know the guest–that makes for exposure. I don’t like chasing around to all of the interviews–because HEY! I already know you.

  3. Having done extensive blogging in the past I know how time consuming it is and what a commitment it takes. I’ve hesitated to start a blog for my fiction writing. As always, I find your thoughts and insight valuable and helpful to my thinking. Thanks!

  4. Pete Barber says:

    Loved the outhouse, Jackie! And the fact that you wrote a blog post about not blogging–nuff said :-).

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Pete. That outhouse is the real deal…the only running water is the Atlantic Ocean beneath it. San Blas Islands, prolly about 75 miles off the coast of Panama. Loved every minute of my visit there.

  5. EM Kaplan says:

    Thought-provoking post as always, Jackie. I’m always searching for new topics to blog about. Maybe I should just write what comes to mind…namely, writing!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Em: That’s the very thing. You nailed it. All I know that is pertinent is writing and our industry. Every single interesting bit I have to say otherwise goes in character’s mouth in my books. Books are the only places I know to entertain a reader.

  6. Interesting point. I’ve found it’s a balance. I mostly blog about books, and as a result have many sales through my blog. Still, many people do respond to my more personal posts, perhaps because they’re so rare.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Nicholas: Yes, blogging off topic can be a balance. I see nothing wrong with a personal post. Every author has a comfort level. It is author choice. You have an active group of followers and you engage them. You have a voice. That is smart. But to suggest to an author that going outside topic will sell books is a bit misleading. It is hit or miss. It is also called a soft-sell. I appreciate suggestions, but I write for a living. It’s my day job. My perspective is different from an indie who has a day job that pays the bills. Just sayin’

  7. Annie Daylon says:

    Great post, Jackie. You addressed a lot of concerns I’ve been having re: blogging. Many thanks. See you at the Brag Medallion Blog Hop!

  8. It’s too cold to jump off the platform!
    My posts about books, often by other authors, and excerpts are more popular on my blog than posts about other topics.

  9. A lot of food for thought, Jackie… thank you. I’ve been pondering for a while about the benefit of interviews, whether I’m the interviewer or the interviewee… I agree they don’t sell books, but simply serve to get books in front of readers, that’s all. I noticed very few bloggers actually have a large number of people commenting. I am not one of them and I blog at least once a week. I do get shares though, sometimes a lot. I also noticed very few of my guests bring their friends to my blog to comment – sometimes not even the guest does comment or share. So yes, I can see your point. And I like what you’re saying about this beating around the bush lark… I do a bit of both on my two blogs, ie bluntly promoting books (mine or others’) and other times providing useful tips or writing about other things that have nothing to do with my work. For what it’s worth, I find that I get the most engagement, especially from strangers, when I blog two things: Author tips and recipes. People are not so interested in interviews and reviews, or if they are, they don’t seem to engage in those posts as much 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Frossie! When you blog about Greece or native foods and your grandmother’s recipes, I’m on it. I love reading interviews that draw the author out and learn something fascinating. You made a great point–that the author’s own followers/fans don’t stop by to read or comment. Interviews and blog topics whatever they may be are for exposure, but mostly we are reaching other authors–not the reading and book buying public. Those folks live on Amazon. Thus, if we are fortunate to pull a reader to our blogs, the goal is to direct them to a sales venue.

  10. I’m a very lazy blogger, but once in a while I decide to blog to the choir (my already-readers) about something off topic and have found they plug the blog to their friends, so I get new readers in a roundabout way. A friend of mine writes about his Great Dane, and garners new readers for his books that way.
    I don’t know what works, but your blogs are always spot-on and interesting, so keep it up.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Jinx: Active fans sharing your blogs is super and how a post can work to benefit the indie author. Love it. That is called word-of-mouth. Can’t beat it. I am a believer in author choice. If it works for you, go for it. I don’t like somebody setting him/herself up as a guru and telling me blogging off-topic is a sure fire way to sell books. The first thing I’m gonna do is check out the sales stats of that author’s books, or if the info is from a service provider–I’m gonna see what they’re selling and how deep into my wallet they wanna dig. Yep. And I’m gonna check Alexa to see how much traffic to the site. Right this minute this webpage has 193 sites linking in and we see above 1200 unique visitors a week reading more than 3+ pages per visit. Those stats rise when I send out our newsletter–which is far more effective than blogging off-topic.

  11. Amy Vansant says:

    I actually do have a humor blog that gets me some sales along the way… if you can be entertaining then people might want to read your entertaining books. If you write about baking and sell cozy mysteries, there might be some crossover. But A. it would have to be a topic that attracts YOUR type of reader and B. It is VERY time consuming! I post maybe one funny blog a month now. My time is better off writing the actual books!

  12. Lu J Whitley says:

    I tried to keep up a regular blog for a while, but now I just blog when I have something to say, and I reblog other things I find interesting. A very wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!” And I agree. Excellent advice, Jackie, as always 🙂

  13. Dale Furse says:

    Great post, Jackie. Blogging and I don’t get along.
    I do admire people who work their blogs with interesting stuff and actually have repeat followers commenting on what they write.


  14. Rosie Dean says:

    This is music to my ears!

    I am a very lazy blogger. Largely, I think, because I’ve seen the plethora of blogs out there by other writers and I think to myself, ‘Who wants to read another one by me? What do I have to say that’s worth posting?’ So I blog as and when the mood swipes me – which is not that often.

    I do read useful and entertaining blogs – if I have time. There are a handful that I follow. Often, I discover a blog because someone posts a link on twitter, the subject of which attracts me. But it doesn’t mean I’ll visit that blog regularly in the future – if at all.

    I was told that publishers and agents will check out my blog if I submit to them, and as such, it is an essential. Why? Don’t they want me writing books? Jilly Cooper doesn’t blog.

    Maybe I don’t blog because I’m one of those people at a party who doesn’t say a lot. I love drawing other people out, love hearing what they have to say but I don’t push myself forward. Most likely, if someone asks me about myself, I give a nutshell precis and then ask them another question to switch focus off me.

    So in face, by not blogging to much, I’m doing the world a favour! ;o)

  15. Traci Hall says:

    I don’t blog…I found it took away from writing time, and I don’t feel as if I have anything new to say. I’m not amusing or quirky or super savvy so my comfort level is to stay out of the pool 🙂 I share and comment for our group – Frossie, I agree with Jackie about your recipes and stories, and Amy, you are funny, lol. I am doing a phone interview tomorrow that I’m actually getting paid for–someone that contacted me from our Romance Writers of America chapter. She wants to know about my writing journey. I’ve been writing forever, and published since 2006. What fresh thing can I possibly bring to the table? I’ll be plugging networking, indie promo and most especially our eNovel Authors. For me, interviews and blogs are all about finding and reaching new readers.
    Congrats to Jackie on the BRAG Medallion!!

  16. Lyn Horner says:

    Jackie, I so agree with you. I used to host a guest author every Monday. It took a lot of time, garnered me few sales and probably didn’t help my guests with their sales either. Now I blog when I have something to say about my books, with an occasional reblog thrown in if I like the other blogger’s topic. Otherwise, my time is more wisely spent writing.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you, Lyn Horner! You are doing the smart thing. I love writing and promoting my books. I enjoy eNovel Authors at Work and networking. Not blogging so often leaves me time to visit books stores, dine out now and again and visit with friends and family. Thank you for stopping by.

  17. I actually blog for me – and have a number of regular commenters.

    My writing posts have become more and more personal, as I discover my way of writing is different from most of the people whose blogs I read. I don’t expect other writers to write my way (although a few seem to have taken interest), but I find it useful, after I’ve figured out something for myself, to organize it into a proper post.

    My blog – my personal online magazine – kindly publishes everything I submit to it. So it also give me an outlet for my non-fiction, as well as short stories. I posted the novel I just published a new scene every Tuesday for two years – and found some readers who read along.

    So it’s my outlet, and I enjoy writing for it.

  18. Evy Journey says:

    My sentiments, exactly, and contrary to the advice of two big book promoters I’ve talked to. But I do like to blog about my other interests (art, travel, and such). For those, I have a separate site which gets a totally different readership.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Evy Journey: If there is any single thing I have learned, it is book promoter/PR service providers don’t have a clue how to sell books. Every single one speaks to author ego–as if we will become a household NAME. Those folks may have worked with legacy publishers, but indie authorship is an entirely new game. They don’t get it. And they damned sure don’t pay for the promo slots on Bookbub, fkb&t, Freebooksy, or any other promoter with a subscriber list that moves books. Smart you, to engage with folks with your same interests on a separate venue. Other interests rounds out our lifestyle. When I go fishing or crabbing and chat with people at the shore or a fishcamp, I don’t want to talk about my books, or hit on them to buy one. Thank you so much for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger.
      Best, Jackie

  19. Re: Interviews: You are on-target Jackie, and I have the stats to prove it. Readers will not *read* an interview – but they will *watch* one! A lot of authors spend money on “book trailers,” but unless you go big with a good production company, it’s useless. Those trailers with still images, mood music, and text floating across the screen get shut down within 5 seconds. But get a friend or local librarian to interview you on video – or even you alone, facing the camera, answering questions from fans – those get watched.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hummm. Hello, Gideon Stevens of Glad to meet you. I was just asking one of eNovel’s members today, who administers or owns your site. Thanks for your comments about book trailers/videos. I don’t know enough to make firm observations. Except! I only watch book trailers that have closed captions. Same with TV or movies. Would love to know how your stats were generated. And, where you are taking in the future?

      Gain, thanks for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger. We also like to hear from promoters.

      Best, Jackie Weger

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