How to build up a blog
See free giveaway details at the end of this post.
My interview with Joan Edwards
Joan has offered a free 1000 word edit to one person who commented on her interview. I will make a random selection on Friday 28th February, just before I leave home to run a workshop on “Moving the opinions of climate change deniers” http://mudsmith.net/workshops.html
So, you have until then to leave a comment.
Joan is a blogging phenomenon in the writing world. Not that long ago, she wanted to publicize her children’s book Flip Flap Floodle, so she started a blog Never Give Up, which is the theme of the little book.
In a matter of 4 years, she has built it up to more than 102,176 unique visits, and 176 subscribers.
Joan is generous with her advice and encouragement, and has helped many other writers.
She is the first person I am interviewing at Bobbing Around, ever.
Joan, welcome. Thank you for the honor of appearing on my blog.
Wow! What a wonderful introduction! You’re very welcome, Bob. It’s my pleasure. It’s a huge honor to be the very first person you’ve interviewed for your Bobbing Around newsletter! I bow humbly.
Many people start blogs with the aim of publicizing their books. Most of them fizzle out, or have a very small following. What makes yours so successful?
When I started my blog on October 9, 2009 I had no idea what I was going to write about except its purpose was going to be to help people to “Never Give Up.” I had a website: www.joanyedwards.com with over 30,000 unique visits to promote Flip Flap Floodle and my Gospel-related devotionals, puzzles, and skits. I read where writers needed an online presence to be considered for publication since publishers weren’t spending as much money to promote books themselves. I had an email list of 50 people for my devotionals, puzzles, and skits. As I understood it, I needed to have thousands of involved readers and/or followers on an email list to make an impression on a publisher. That I needed to be able to access thousands of people at one time… to promote my books. I now have 176 followers. That’s not a thousand yet, but growing every week. The highest number of readers in one day on my blog as of today is 421. So I’m getting closer to being able to say I can contact a thousand people in one day.
What makes my blog successful?
- I don’t blog every day, every week, or every month. I blog when I have something to say. My main purpose is to encourage, motivate, and inspire others. I strive to make it fun for me and for my readers…a time for us to celebrate.
- I respond to every comment. When I was taking care of Mother, I couldn’t get out as much. Therefore, interacting with others online has been a gift for me.
- I do in-depth research for the best and simplest way to do things. I use this information to explain or teach it to others with step-by-step directions. I love giving people ideas to encourage them to reach their goals. I like to spur them on to think and brainstorm to find that great idea that works for them.
I’ve noticed that you have new offerings practically every week. How much time does it take for you to prepare for each? How do you go about it?
Each blog post varies from one hour to three hours. Here’s how I do it:
- An idea grabs my attention — either from reading a blog, a book, something on the news, request from a reader, or something emotional going on within me.
- Research — While watching television with my husband, Carl, I’ll use my iPad to search the internet for links about the subject. I copy the links and email them to myself.
- Draft Blog — I copy and paste the links into a draft post. I choose a title.
- I write the blog. Edit the research links and put in who wrote them.
- I create an image to highlight the main emphasis for my blog. Only a few of my early posts had images. An image is not a necessity for a great blog post, but makes it pleasant on the eyes. I do these to use my illustrator skills.
- I revise the blog post.
- I put 3-15 subject tags for the post.
- I post it.
Do you also have any writing projects? Are there any other books besides Flip Flap Floodle?
I am currently working with an editor from 4RV Publishing on my non-fiction book, Joan’s Elder Care Guide. Its release date is 2014. It’s a resource for caregivers packed with practical day-to-day survival tips from my fourteen years of caring for Mother. It has activities and tips on how caregivers can maintain physical health, keep emotionally and spiritually stable and methods to assist the elder in doing the same.
I wrote Immigrant Heart, a young adult novel. Its plot line didn’t work, so I’m revising it. I wrote a screenplay Against the Odds about Lisa and Todd, teens rejected by their families when Lisa gets pregnant and push for her to get an abortion. I’m taking an online screenwriting course to add insights to help put the finishing touches on that screenplay and my other manuscripts. Then I’ll submit them again. I wrote many children’s books that I submitted and publishers turned down. I plan to self-publish a few of them. I may also self-publish a book about writing using my blog posts to guide me.
I’m planning to do an online workshop “Write a Novel with Me” after I complete the edits on Joan’s Elder Care Guide. I don’t know the exact date or cost yet. Several people have shown an interest in participating. That makes me smile.
I’ve presented several blogging workshops in person. One was for the SCBWI-Carolinas Fall Conference 2012. I’ve also done online workshops for Muse Writers Online Conference and the Catholic Writers Conference Online. They have been very successful.
Has your blogging success had an impact on book sales?
My book sales have increased since I started my blog. I am grateful for each person who bought a copy of Flip Flap Floodle in paperback and in Kindle eBook format. My blog helped me get more reviews for my book, too.
Or has the blog taken over so that the book has receded in importance for you? Do you now see yourself as a blogger about writing, or as an author, or both?
Flip Flap Floodle is my anchor. I’ve been singing his song since I made it up when I was 5 years old. We are inseparable. Whenever I am down, his song reminds me that “I can do it.”
Here’s a link to Flip’s song. Flip Flap Floodle is a happy little duck who Never Gives Up.
Hear Flip’s Song
Apart from “Never Give Up,” you also have “PubSub” on your web site. Tell us about it.
In 2009, after Mother died, I realized that I had 5 or 6 manuscripts that I had never submitted. While brainstorming how I could talk myself into submitting them, I said, “If others were submitting at the same time, it would get me going.” That’s when I started “PubSub3rdFri,” nickname Pub Sub, Pub Subbers. I designed a plan of how to submit, where to get the information you needed, and encouragement to actually submit a manuscript to a publisher, agent, contest, and/or for critique. I created a Yahoo group so that writers could encourage each other to take action on believing in themselves and submitting their work. Here’s a link to Subscribe to Pub Subbers Yahoo Group.
Click a Week for Step by Step Directions.
Week 1 Choose an editor, agent, or contest.
Week 2 Follow their guidelines.
Week 3 Time to Submit to agent, editor, contest, critique group, or professional editor
Week 4 Write, Revise, Critique, Live, Educate, Motivate, and Celebrate
You drew the illustrations for Flip Flap Floodle, as well as writing the text. Is this a second profession for you? Do you seek work as an illustrator?
I enjoy drawing and manipulating images. I don’t seek work as an illustrator. I might be interested in a job to create images for a website, blog or workshop.
Is there life beyond blogging?
I love getting together with my family. It’s fun to pick up my grandchildren after school. We go on adventures: movies, restaurants, shopping, or places to jump on inflatables or play video games. I go to their soccer games, plays, and concerts.
I meet with friends for breakfast or lunch. My husband Carl and I enjoy going to church and eating out with friends afterward. I enjoy watching Football games. It is so much fun to watch the football sail through the air from the quarterback and land safely in the hands of the receiver.
Bob, thank you for having me as a guest in your newsletter Bobbing Around. It was fun being here with you. I admire the wealth of information you share with others and your love for our planet and its people.
Celebrate you today.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Joan is offering a free edit/critique for 1000 words of a manuscript to one person who leaves a comment. Make sure there is some way for me to be able to contact you. Also, I’ll post the name of the winner here, and in the next issue of Bobbing Around.
Do look around the rest of this site, and at my main web site.