Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blogging: A Love Story

It's been awhile since I posted on this blog and I might start whining with excuses, but just saying that reminds me of this blogger's advice about whining on a blog, and then I reread his post, laugh and waste a few more minutes of writing time.

I might have posted today anyway (even though I was planning a post for this blog) but what really inspired me to write was this opportunity to attend a blogging retreat on June 4th, hosted by this author and blogger who used to lead my writers' group. I love Theo Nestor because she also helped me get over writer's block, get on with my book and she gave me great advice for the farmer profiles in my book.

Anyway, to backtrack a bit, I started this blog Food Connections to help support my book; my idea was people would automatically follow the blog when they bought the book. (Dream on readers, I soon learned a blog doesn't entitle you to readers just because they bought your book.) So when the book came out last spring, I thought it would also be fun to track what works and what doesn't as far as marketing so I started this blog. (Here's another tip readers, don't start two blogs unless you want to spend a lot of time writing for no pay.) With my postage stamp-sized budget, marketing in the traditional sense is too costly (transportation, food for cooking demos, postcards to hand out etc), so I'm taking it online and I've been reading blogs for tips.

Ever since I read this one on how not to suck at blogging, I've plunged into the blogosphere big time, seduced by the idea you can promote yourself online without going broke. (Okay, I've also wasted more than a few hours on Facebook, Twitter and I'm just about ready to jump into Tumblr, and then I'll seriously wonder where all my writing time has gone.)

Anyway, ever since I started these blogs, the more I post, and the more it intrigues me. I muse about popular blogs like this one and I wonder if I can ever get there and whether it can help book sales.

I think blogging is a tool to improve sales but only if you don't come off sounding self-centered and continually promote yourself. Since entering the blog world and after reading plenty of blogs, I grow inpatient when a blogger only talks about herself. I won't point out any specific blogs, you know who you are. When you weave in personal stories or have beautiful pictures like this blog or a funny narrative like this one, still every reader, I think wants to discover something that will make her smile or somehow improve her life. The question now it how to reach out to wider and wider audiences?

My goal on Food Connections was to write blog posts that will change the way people think about the food, give them a new recipe, lead them to a new food destination or maybe just make them laugh or smile. I hope the blog helps my book sales but the truth is, I've fallen in love with blogging, maybe more than my book. It's like having two children. Do you like one more than the other?

One of my favorite blogs is this one by Heidi Swanson whose new cookbook debuted at number 6 on the New York Times nonfiction best seller list. I've also been following this blog, this blog, and this one for tips on how to improve my blog posts.

Has my blog helped my book sales? Only my publishers know for sure, but I've got to say, when it comes to my publishers, Timber Press is the best at getting promotional materials for this fabulous farm dinner event I'm doing in July, and sending a copy of my book to events like this one--The Sourdough Speaker Series--that I'm doing at the North Cascades Institute on September 25, but as for sales, I'm holding onto a ray of hope that my book (my first born) isn't on this kind of table any time soon.