With yesterday heralding my 200th post, it got me thinking about blogging and – more specifically – my daily blog challenge for 2013.
The daily blog challenge occurred to me mostly as a way of increasing the profile of my blog and as a way to sell some books. Self-publishing (or just being an author) is all about having the right social media platform, so the experts say, and building up your Author Brand.
In reality it has become an amazing personal challenge about writing every day, sharing part of myself, engaging in discussions about life, parenting, writing, reading and being me.
Which is just as well because the main thing I’ve learned is that blogging every day is not the way to increase your followers.
As I’ve said before, this isn’t, “If you write it, they will come.” NO. It’s, “If you visit, they will come.”
The art to attracting visitors and followers to a blog is to visit and comment on the sites of others (to prove a point, I came across Tina’s blog after she commented on an author interview I did on someone else’s blog!). So I know it’s true, I’ve seen it work.
It doesn’t have to be shameless, like some sites I see with no content and a zillion followers because they’ve gone out and randomly liked a thousand sites. I mean taking time to read and leave intelligent comments, to build up a relationship with other bloggers.
Unfortunately, since starting my postaday challenge, that’s time I no longer have. It takes a large chunk of my day just to write my posts, and Claire installments, and respond to comments on them. Any extra time is spent promoting Dragon Wraiths or preparing my monthly ebooks for download (or doing housework).
I spend less time reading other blogs now than I did before I started the challenge, even though my reader is chock full of posts I want to read, from people who have visited my site.
I’m not sure what the answer is.
Hopefully when the children go to nursery from some extra days in June I’ll be able to catch up. It’s disheartening to see the visits and likes dwindle, when so much effort goes into the blog. Blogging is so transient – even though the content stays forever, people rarely read the archives – so if they don’t come, my words are wasted. My new mantra, therefore, is “Visit and They Will (Hopefully) Come”!
Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:
Endless fields stretched to the horizon. Claire had a sense of déjà vu and searched her mind for the parallel. Oh yes, driving back to Mum’s house with Sky. Glad to have an explanation for the sense of oppression the interminable flatness pressed on her soul, Claire was nonetheless relieved when the satnav announced they had reached their destination.
Claire looked around for a hostel, but could see only a cottage partially hidden by high hedgerows and surrounded by trees. There was no sign to say if it was the YHA hostel or not, but Claire had an inkling it was somebody’s home.
She was trying to decide whether it would be better to turn round, call the hostel, or go and ask for directions at the house, when a loud beep behind her made her jump. Her gaze shot to the rear-view mirror and she swallowed as she saw the monster-sized tractor parked directly behind the Skoda.
With a wave of apology in her mirror, Claire pulled into the driveway and looked down as the tractor came past, not wanting to meet the gaze of an irate farmer. The tractor pulled onto the verge in front of her and stopped.
With a dry mouth, Claire watched the driver climb down and walk over to the car. Without looking out the window, Claire wound down the glass and waited for the tirade. It didn’t come.
“Are you lost?”
Claire looked up at the sound of clipped southern vowels and was surprised to see the voice came from a tanned and wrinkled face, dressed in stained blue overalls.
“I’m looking for the youth hostel.”
The face split in a wide grin and the farmer nodded. “Ah, yes. Following your satnav? It always brings people here. It isn’t a problem of course, but maybe we should put up a small sign.”
When Claire didn’t respond, the smile lost some of its brilliance. Oh bugger, was that meant to be a joke? Claire gave a belated grin and was rewarded with a row of shiny teeth.
“The hostel is down the road behind you, about one hundred metres, on your left. I’m afraid there isn’t much there; I do hope you’ve brought some sandwiches.” He smiled again and this time Claire remembered to laugh on cue. She was rewarded with a conspiratorial wink.
The farmer leant forward, resting his hands on the car door. “I’m only having fun, young lady. There’s a charming public house in Tetford. The White Hart Inn. Tell them Andrew sent you, they’ll treat you well.”
I’ll do no such thing, Claire thought, relieved when the strange man pulled his head out the car and sauntered back to his vehicle. With the speed and precision of a racing driver, Claire slammed the Skoda into reverse and forward again, leaving a cloud of dust behind her as she wheel-span back onto the road.
Sure enough, the hostel was up on the left, tucked into a pocket of trees. No wonder I missed it. It’s not exactly a palace. Claire swung in through the narrow gateway and pulled up outside the building. It was single story, as far as she could tell, with a mixture of whitewashed walls and red brick. Fields stretched away behind; a blanket of unrelenting brown, as yet unadorned by spring crops.
A bit different to Thurlby. Never mind. All I’ve got planned is a hot shower, a decent meal, a glass of vino, and my bed.