Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Things my wife keeps explaining

Recently I was talking to my wife about Elephant’s BookshelfPress. Back before she became a mom and a classroom assistant in our daughters’ school, she negotiated deals in the advertising world (he says somewhat cryptically). So I learned a long time ago to trust her marketing instincts. 

We’ve talked about EBP’s Facebook and Twitter presence and blogging schedule and overall approach to promotion. I’ve been a journalist for more than twenty years, so I think I have a clue or two about which marketing approaches work and which don’t. But as is usually the case, my wife was able to demonstrate how I’m not as smart as I sometimes think I am. The conversation went something like this:

“Your last blog post was when?” she asked.

Not looking away from the pasta boiling in the pan. “A few weeks ago.”

“Try July.”

I look up. Obviously, she knew the answer before she asked the question. “Well, that’s a few weeks ago.”


“Ok, I get your point. But I’ve been working on Billy Bobble and the Witch Hunt, the anthology project, and Lost Wings. And I have other projects for 2017 that are on the back burner, so I keep in touch with those writers.”

“Are you keeping in touch with your readers?”

Silence on my part. I may have scuffled my shoes on the linoleum, I don’t quite remember. I should pay more attention to this floor.

“Not as well as I should,” I admitted – to her, to myself. (And ultimately to you.)

“Do your readers know who you are?”

“I think most of them are people I met through AgentQuery Connect, the anthologies, and From the Write Angle.”

“That’s all well and good, but readers like to know who these writers are. And you’re one of the writers.”

“I do interviews with the EBP writers.”

“When was the last one?”

Boy, the linoleum is looking kinda scuffed. … “Yeah, I guess it has been a while.”

“I was looking at your friend Mindy’s blog.” she continued.

“I love her blog.”

“It’s very good. She’s got all sorts of series that she does: interviews, reviews of queries. And makes up funny names to those things. SHIT, for example and SWAG and SNOB.”

“She’s funnier than I am.”

“You’re funny, too, when you talk like yourself.”

I smile. It's nice to be considered funny, even if I'm not very funny. “But we’re writing for different audiences.”

“What is her audience?”

“Well, she writes YA mostly.”

“Is that who reads her blog?”

“Actually, her blog is aimed at other writers. But I’m sure she has attracted the readers of her novels, too.”

“And her short stories. She writes wonderful short stories.”

“Yes, she does.” Her story "Last Kiss" led off EBP's very first anthology, Spring Fevers. (which is still free, by the way.)

“So here’s what I think you should do with your blog. Write blogs. Write them regularly. Have some sort of theme to things. Be yourself. In fact: tell people about yourself. You don’t have to divulge that we keep the Holy Grail in our garage (oops!), but you can be honest without sharing too much information.”

“No blog posts about what I had for lunch.” I poke around at the pasta again. Just about done. 

“Correct, but if you want to say you were cooking dinner for the girls, that seems fine to me. As long as there’s a point to it. Having a series of posts will help you focus.”

“I think I have an idea for my first theme: Things my wife keeps explaining to me.”

“It’s a start. You’ll need to keep thinking, though.”


So I'm thinking... Yeah, some of you who've read my blog over the years have probably seen me talk about doing more, but -- as usual -- my wife makes an important point. I may even talk about myself a bit, though I fear I'm way too boring to attract readers with information about me.

What else would you like to hear about on this blog? Or do you wish I'd simply go away? That's a valid viewpoint, too.


BobSinc said...

Personally, I like theme oriented blogs. Not necessarily blogs about the blogger, but about an external interest. The writer comes through through a subject s/he is interested in.

JeffO said...

I can't say for sure what it is I'd like to see here. Information about upcoming projects, opportunities for writers, etainly. Insights into the industry, sure. I agree, no posts about what you had for dinner--unless there's a particular point to be made that way. The "Personal Essay" is a tricky business: you have to let people in, but the "personal" part is not really the point--it's the way in to the real subject matter, the glue that holds the essay together.

Now, I enjoy blogs, but I guess the thing you (and all of us) have to do is decide how (or even if) the blog fits into the overall marketing strategy, and how much is reasonable for you to do.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Bob. You're right. That's a big part of the aim I'm taking moving forward.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Jeff. Really good points.