Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Making Connections and Gaining Exposure

As per the title, this month's IWSG post deals with making connections and gaining exposure...

One positively great way is to do the A to Z challenge!! Every April I connect with tons of new bloggers. So I'm combining my IWSG post with my A to Z Reflections post! My stats for this year are below...


But, before I get to the results, here are some other things I learned during the challenge. The biggest thing some newer bloggers don't realize is: You can't just put your link on the list and post every day and expect your numbers to rise - you must go visit others and comment. You get out of it what you put into it, just like every other aspect in life. Here are a few other suggestions, and these carry through to helping your blog and audience grow, make it easier for others to follow you and get to know you better (and eventually buy your book!)
  • Put your face on it - we are not beauty queens, (well, some of you are) authors are personas. Someday you will have fans and they will want to see you, not just a cute cartoon. This will also help them find you at events! (This rule apparently doesn't apply to Alex, Rulebreaker. Well, we do want to see him, but we let him be mysterious, like Charlie)
  • We need contact info - say an agent comes across your blog and is blown away by a post and want to tell you. She doesn't see your email address anywhere, even in the "about" section or your profile, so she shrugs and moves on... Don't let this happen to you! If you're worried about spam infecting your home email, have a separate email just for your author stuff.
  • Easy access to social media links - blogger and wordpress are not compatible. so if I liked a blog, I would search for a Twitter or G+ link. If you are tweeting or schmoogling or facebooking and you want more followers, put those links up!
  • again, Make sure you get out there and visit others - real connections last for more than the challenge, just like IRL friends. I'm going to do my best to nurture my new found friends, and keep the current ones in the loop too!
Which brings us to...

The Numbers of A TO Z 2014!
The A to Z Challenge was again, a great success!
First, I want to say a special thank you to my Faithful Commenters with this award!

Alex (of course)       Fida       Madeline       Susan G K       Robin       Carrie-Anne
Sheena       Elizabeth       Christine       Sydney       C Lee

These awesome bloggers visited and commented here at least ten times - that's ten or more of the twenty-six letters! Some are long-time friends and some are new blog buddies I can't wait to get to know now that this is over. Such sweet support! THANK YOU! And if you have some bloggers you'd like to award it to, by all means, go ahead and pass it on!

Also, a huge thank you to everyone who came by and participated in the challenge. It's quite an undertaking. Way to go!

One last word of appreciation goes to our hosts - they're the ones bringing us together! THANKS!

Now, here are the numbers!
Each year, faced with such a vast amount of blogs to visit, my analytical side takes over. I want to maximize my time and visit the most blogs and remember who I met. I go thru the blogs alphabetically, starting with the A's on A day, add the B's, etc (but I don't count A, The, or My). I have a system and it's worked for four years now. So here are my results:

Total number of blogs visited: 472 (about 24% of the list, less than last year, but there's just so many!)
Number of new bloggers I'm following (thru various social media methods): 94 (20%)
Number of comments from newer bloggers that I visited: 65 (14%)
I did not comment on all the blogs I visited. Some didn't continue with the challenge, some were not my taste, and some wouldn't open... So out of those I visited, I did not comment on: 157 (33%)

And here's the alpha-chart:

*Outliers because there were so few of those letters. I love numbers!

Lastly, a note about May:
Another thank you to those who helped reveal my Broken Branch Falls cover (the giveaway is going on thru Friday, check it out here!)

Now, I need your opinion. Does that title sound like a mature post you'd want to read or what? My plan is to upgrade my blog and be a little more professional, well, with my titles anyway, because I'm usually funny or sarcastic with my post titles (no, not me!) I see some great, thought provoking titles on Twitter and I thought, I need to do that so more people will want to visit my blog!

And that leads to this. To revamp the blog and rally my strength for upcoming events (see sidebar), I'm taking a blogging break in May. I have one more release announcement on Friday, along with winners of the contest, then static fuzz until June 1 as I start my BROKEN BRANCH FALLS Blog Tour. Last chance to sign up! Here's the link for the form.

made from the a to z tidbits =)

50 comments:

Murees Dupé said...

Wow, you are a busy woman. Thank you for the great tips. Best of luck with the new book. I know it will rock.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you for the award, Tara! :)

I'm a little jealous of your charts and numbers. I just kept track of everything on scratch paper. :)

Good luck with all of your upcoming projects!

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

DEZMOND said...

visiting others is very important... and bringing a cake too :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I so admire all of y'all that do the A-Z challenge! I will eventually it one of these years! Hopefully by age 50 haha.

Laura Marcella said...

I can't believe another A to Z Blogging Challenge has come and gone.

I really like your blog banner and the title! Your book sounds really great, Tara. Can't wait to read it!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Kristin said...

I like your hints. I haven't kept any sort of record of what I did. I think I will next time.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I'm so behind this year . . . and it makes me sad that I wasn't prepared to cover reveal for Broken Branch Falls for you . . . but I will put up your cover soon, and I would love to either be a part of your blog tour or have you over for a chat at my blog. :)

Donna B. McNicol said...

You are so right about visiting other blogs and posting comments. I bow in honor of what you accomplished! I barely got my blogs written and am back at the letter M in reading/commenting. I am still plowing through those who stuck with me to the end though. Found some great new friends along the way!

D.B. McNicol
BLOG: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

Christine Rains said...

Thank you for the award! You're so sweet. I also love seeing the stats you provide. Your banner is fantastic. I've been meaning to give my blog and site a make-over too. Enjoy your break and have fun on the weekend! :)

M.J. Fifield said...

Thanks for the tips on making connections and gaining exposure. That thinking is the reason why my profile picture has changed. It's still very far away, I know, but it's a start...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm Charlie and you are one of Jeremy's Angels!
Yes, I'm a rule breaker. And camera shy.
Thank you for the award!
And I didn't keep track of any stats, but I know I commented on and followed a lot more than returned either. But hey, it was still fun!

Robin said...

I received your email regarding your tour. I just can't decide what I want you to write about next month. I will ponder it again and get back to you.

Very successful A to Z Tara!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Thanks for the award Tara. I love your blog just the way it is but if you want to broaden your horizons go right ahead. Yup my links are easy to access. Congrats on your latest novel Tara and I'm glad A-Z went well for you.

Carrie-Anne said...

I didn't include contact info on my blog for the longest time after some bad experiences in my old Angelfire days. Someone sent some really nasty, abusive, cruel e-mails because he couldn't stand how left-wing I am. He even sent them under several different addresses after I reported him and got those addresses deleted. For that reason, I'm very careful about discussing anything political on my blog now!

I also had some nasty e-mails from the sycophantic friends of the emotionally unbalanced blogger who got my Angelfire site deleted. I really was afraid of getting that kind of abuse again, so I just didn't have any contact info. I finally have a Contact Me form, which doesn't give away my e-mail address.

Samantha May said...

Really great advice Tara!

I'm glad A-Z was so successful this year! I had to skip this time around, but last year it helped me meet a ton of new bloggers (many that I still keep up with)!

I say keep your blog honest. If you're sarcastic, be sarcastic!

Enjoy your break :)

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Goodness, you are organized! What a great way to keep up with your blog results. Thanks for sharing!

Mary Montague Sikes

Nick Wilford said...

Yep, gotta get out there and be sociable, it is social media after all. :) Can't believe you got to nearly 500 blogs - way to go!

The Silver Fox said...

Some great advice there!

Loni Townsend said...

That chart is impressive, and so are your numbers! Thank you for the wonderful advice. Hope you have a productive blogging break and I look forward to seeing the redesign.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Oh my goodness you are a number cruncher, aren't you? You obviously put a lot in to the A to Z and so glad to see how much you got out of it. I just signed up to help with your book tour in July. Looking forward to it!

Cherie Reich said...

I completely agree with your tips! They definitely would make things easier. I would add "turn off verification." It wasn't so bad when they were using the numbers, but Blogger has gone back to words, and it's so much harder to figure out what they are.

Love the new blog look too!

cleemckenzie said...

What interesting numbers you have, my dear! I would never have thought to break down the A to Z as you did, but I'm fascinated by what your results showed.

I love your Faithful Commenter Award. Thank you so much. It will go on my blog with pride.

I think I signed up for your tour, but I'll check before I leave. Happy Revamping!

Carol Kilgore said...

Have fun on your tour! I'm just coming back from an April blog break.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Tara, I'm amazed at the number of bloggers who do not get that simple fact: You must interact to be a successful blogger. You must visit other blogs and comment to let those blogger know you appreciated what they have to say.

Turning your comment into a plug for your own book -- not cool, though. Even worse, inserting buy links for your book into the comment. Yes, I have seen that done in case you were wondering. SERIOUSLY not cool.

debi o'neille said...

Thank you so much for the award, and I really enjoyed this post. I'm a newbie in the Challenge, but I did understand the common courtesy of returning visits, and I hopped around a lot and visited a lot. I might visit alphabetically next year. That sounds interesting. I'd probably have a short day on X day. :-)

M Pax said...

Did I sign up? I'll check.

I've slacked off some on blogging... just once a week, but agree that you have to make connections with folks. Without you and the others in my network, I'd be nowhere. Hugs. :D

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, you visited a lot of blogs. There was no way I could've visited even a third of that number last month, which is why I chose sit on the sidelines.

Juneta Key said...

Impressive charts and numbers. I like the look. I personally like your blog titles. I think witty and sarcastic cool, and it grabs my attention.

Congrats on the book. Best Wishes with the blog tour.

Wishing you much success
Juneta at Writer's Gambit

Arlee Bird said...

I hope a lot of bloggers are paying heed to what you said here. You offer important advice. And I'm always interested in stats.

Blog titles? Should give the reader an idea of what to expect. Sometimes I think I try to be overly clever and confuse people instead.

Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Stephanie Faris said...

Great insight! I love this. Yeah, I probably only commented on 25 percent of the blogs I visited from the A to Z site. As you said, some just didn't post a challenge blog at all even though they signed up. There were many I found that were still on B or C halfway through the month. Poetry isn't my thing. I also left some without commenting because I was reading long blocks of text and couldn't figure out what the heck it was! An introduction is a must!!! Especially if you're posting fiction.

Diane Burton said...

Good advice for newbie bloggers. I think it's true for just about any type of social media. You can't just expect others to come to you if you don't go out, too. Congrats on the A to Z Challenge. What an accomplishment.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Thank you for the 'faithful' award. I'll miss you in May but I understand the need to prioritize.

Emily R. King said...

Great advice, Tara! I need to double check my blog to make sure I have everything.

I hope you're doing well!

Leigh Covington said...

I'm trying to get my butt back to commenting and blogging and you are doing everything! You are amazing and I love the cover of your book! Totally ROCKS! Congrats, Tara!

TBM said...

I'm amazed by the number of bloggers who will leave a comment on my blog that just says, visit my blog. That's not what I consider interacting with bloggers and it's a shame since I've made many wonderful friends via blogging. It's a great way to connect with people around the world.

Great tips and congrats on finishing A-Z

LD Masterson said...

That's some serious analysis. Or does the fact that I was impressed mean I need to be doing more?

Go get ready for your busy summer. We'll see you back here in June.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I was a loyal commenter? Only because your posts were so much fun, I was a slacker in April!

Excellent tips. I need to add the little logos like you have on yours. Updating and bettering my blog is on my summer to do list.

careymclaughlin said...

I liked your tips. And I have noticed that Wordpress and Blogger are different. It's possible to interact with a Blogger blog, if you use Wordpress, but your info inspired more questions about "like" buttons, such as does a Blogger writer not see the WP "like" buttons when he/she visits my Wordpress blog? Carey from abundance in the boondocks

Candilynn Fite said...

Saw your cover on Alex's blog yesterday. Can I just say, WOW! Love it, Tara. It's fabulous!!!

Liz A. said...

Statistics? Wow, you're organized.

And good tips. Since the Google Reader died, there are so many ways to connect. It's hard to figure out which links to put up on the sidebar.

perspectiveofawriter said...

I just figured out how to add blogger sites to my wordpress reader! You can actually edit and add any site you want to the reader. You have to add in manually but they show up so now I can follow all those blogger peeps I love too. Cheers on becoming an A to Z survivor.

Miss Alister said...

You’re amazing, Tara! Why, if I had even an eighth of your spunk, I’d be a force to be reckoned with. As it stands, though, I’m among those A2Z’ers having a leisurely cruise down a lazy river sipping drinks with umbrellas in them. But I know good advice when I see it, and I would add just one thing to your list: when creating links to other sites, always choose “open this link in a new window” so as not to divert attention totally away from your site. In this age of attention deficit, it’s too easy for visitors to follow a link to La La Land like looking into a tunnel of mirrors! Enough already, so major congrats to you (and killer artwork on your Broken Branch cover, btw!), you kicked serious tail!
Miss A

Shonna Slayton said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind words about my book. I see we have books coming out same month. *Yay for June* I'll keep an eye out for yours, too. It looks right up my son's alley!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Tara,

Way to go.... I am so impressed. I didn't visit nearly as many blogs as I would've liked, but with my time restraints and eye issues in the beginning of the month, I was lucky to finish all the posts on time..

Congrats on all you successes and YOU NEW BOOK! Looking forward to the release!

Romi C said...

Thank you for the tips on increasing the audience, and thank you for your comment in my blog.

Sophie Duncan said...

Thank you for the award :)

I like your new blog header.

Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
Fantasy Boys XXX

Birgit said...

I like the stats! I know I didn't visit as many as you did but I tried to keep up and comment. It was hard to comment on people who were on google-I could see they posted with others but I couldn't find theirs in some cases. Good luck with the title search:)

Nicole said...

Awesome A-to-Z stats, Tara! It was fun reading all your posts during the challenge.

Trisha F said...

Awesome idea to do the Wordle thing from your A to Z posts. I want to do that with mine, but I think the biggest word would probably be something really silly like "kinda" or "okay". ;)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tara .. you've made some important points here .. ie to know who we are - anyone who can come over should be able to find us ... and who knows there may be some extra exposure ...

Good for you for doing all the stats .. cheers Hilary