Monday, May 9, 2011

Chess and Dragons

At the last chapter meeting, Janice Olsen one of our local members spoke on overcoming the introverted tendencies we face as writers and illustrators. The second half of her presentation was on marketing, getting your name out there.
Blogging. Okay – I said it. According to Janice, we need to blog in the current world of marketing. She isn’t the first person to point this out to our chapter. Everyone who has comes to talk on marketing over the past three years has brought up the same topic.
I have a blog. You can find it on my SCBWI profile. I started it after the national Illustrator Coordinator shamed me into creating one. It’s been a useful tool and I’ve learned from it. Here are a few lessons on blogging I’ve picked up from our speakers and my own experience.
Know your niche. If you get a blog with tracking, you can see how many people have accessed your blog and what entries they have read. The entries I see the most hits for are on the topics of chess and dragons. Leveraging those topics would be a good way for me to increase my readership.
Build a story out of it. Blogs like novels require plot, intrigue. People want to follow what you are learning and learn with you. Making your blog participatory will hook your readers. I’m sure everyone has seen Julie and Julia. Her blog had a storyline: “A culinary legend provides a frustrated office worker with a new recipe for life in Julie & Julia, the true stories of how Julia Child's (Meryl Streep) life and cookbook inspired fledgling writer Julie Powell (Amy Adams) to whip up 524 recipes in 365 days,” and they made a movie out of it.
Add some research. I bought the book titled, “The Complete Book of Chess Strategies.” Since I’m generating the most interest in chess, my plan is to add more to the chess blog line. Having good information will bring people back to my page and generate followers.
Update your blog. Every time I post, my hits go up. Like Facebook it can become addicting. I find myself checking how people are reacting to my posts. It’s an outreach, a connection with the rest of the world, the lifeblood of the artist.
Building interactions with our readers is what we are about as writers and illustrators. Relating to the people who buy our books is important. It may be intimidating, but art goes beyond the artist, becoming real to those who experience it. Blogging is one way to achieve that realisms.