This past April, I participated in the A to Z challenge. I signed up in early February and received attention from others soon after.
The reflections are to give suggestions to A to Z about how things could be better. Frankly, I think the improvements come from the bloggers themselves. The most important question is why do you have a blog.
People start blogs for all kinds of reasons, but few consider the social element. It wasn't until this year that realised that I do not want a heavily trafficked blog. That is too much pressure to not put something out there you will regret later. My life is busy, but it is the hurry up and wait sort of busy. With all the crazy news in the world, you do take more notice. As a result, you post items that you don't agree with later or just tiresome. Surprisingly most folks try to be supportive.
Some folks monetize their blogs with ads. There is no problem for most blog readers with that. It is a bit haunting to see what you searched for earlier in an ad. If I plan to purchase the item, I will intentionally use the blog link. The blog owner gets paid more for a sale. Personally, I don't plan to have ads.
Another angle is the building an author's platform. If you have a huge blog following, you have a potential market for your book. The best one is Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris' writing blog, www.annerallen.blogspot.com , which has great articles about writing and the market. You do find yourself looking over both ladies books. I have purchased several and enjoyed them. The blog itself is really good.
I know completing a book is my goal. I doubt I market using my blog. Like most people, I have a life outside of writing. I have never had the luxury of a day free to write. It is more like a stolen moment. Well, several hours happens about once a week. To have a blog that sells, it would take more than the amount of time I have.
So my blog has evolved into part of my social media presence. I've made friends with the blog who feel like real friends. During A to Z, my mother had three hospital stays. To say I got burned out was an understatement. I have not replied to many worthy comments. What stays with me are these folks so I can go back to their blogs.
I love networked blogs, bloglovin and Google+. They are great in creating links for who has a new post published. Wordpress and Blogger are competitors and it is hard to skip to the other one and check your favorites. I think everyone should have an outside subscription source. You can have people subscribe using their email, but many folks delete them without reading.
I have subscription buttons for all three in my sidebar, but if you would like to connect directly, links are below.
A to Z is helpful in that networking and friendship are part of the formula. I did not get to all the blogs. Some blogs were heavily commercial. Others had great design elements but had so much it was confusing. I was stunned to have several books sold to me by book reviews. If you could see the stack of books I have to read.
The ones I absolutely did not like were those designed to sell a product. One look and you were done forever. There was an exception of a writer who discussed elements of their books for fans. They had a clear fan base. However, I had never read their book. And this goes back to the purpose of your blog.
I read blogs for a quick glimpse into what is going on in the world. It updates me on popular culture and that human need to connect with others.
I try to comment on everyone's blog. We all need some feedback and know who our audience is. Like everything, I have improved with comments. It is hard to make a quick a reply. I'm that person who doesn't talk a lot. But, when I come by, you will be hearing from me.