You can’t plan unless you know what you’re working with.
To the ancients, the Muses were considered the source of knowledge and higher learning. When I took my first steps as an author, I created Calliope’s Writing Tablet. My blog is dedicated to Calliope the writer’s Muse because she was all about learning and I am too. Just about everything regarding my journey has been put on my blog, lots about me too…including my laurels and skinned knees. In the remaining days of 2013, I’ll be wrapping up my thoughts on the year. The first of several musings: My test regarding blog hops.
I had a larger explanation planned for this week but the computer woes have made it smaller. I was supposed to get my computer on the 18th. Didn’t happen. That eliminated more than a few gifts I’ve been assembling since August. Imagine opening an IOU Christmas morning. Good sports, my family. Tracking the laptop revealed it would come the 21st. No, there was a holdup somewhere in transit. Then it was supposed to arrive at 6pm on Christmas eve. Nope, didn’t come. On the 26th it was moving again. I’ve just tracked the package and it’s somewhere in Chicago. It might get here today. I won’t hold my breath. How I’ve managed to keep this machine running is a mystery. My keyboard has about a 1/4 of the keys not registering when I tap them. Now that’s an annoyance. Every Like is Lie. Every ‘ is a “. Every People is eole. Grrrr…what a time waster.
I’ve been doing blog hops for three years now. Such online events make sense to me. I have my followers as do the other participants. If we all promote the hop to our fans and followers, then that’s a lot of exposure to readers we wouldn’t have otherwise. Last November I decided to do a test. Over the course of the year, I joined every hop I could find with a plan to tally the outcome a full year later. With diligent hunting, I managed to hook up with one a month, and occasionally two or three. Hops large and small are the reason I have so many satellite blogs. My prizes were my ebooks and I’ve kept track of them as business expenses. Initially, I pictured a chart with highs and lows. Unfortunately, I found myself just too busy to make a chart.
Early on, I made up my mind not to mention which hops were the best and which turned out to be duds because one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor — or– a few may not have worked for me, but they could have been great for other participants. They take effort to put together regardless, so I’m grateful the hop owners tried.
When you’re doing one to three hops a month like I was, you pretty much get the hang of it. As they’re all basically the same, unless they have a theme, setting them up takes just minutes to do. Out of all of them, there were two that completely blew my mind because they were odd and very different from the others. Both organizers running them wanted me to post their page on my blog — a full page about them. How the heck would that benefit me? What’s more, every participant was supposed to post the same page. Why would any reader follow to the next blog if each page is the same?
I did one of them because just maybe there was something to learn here. I wanted to see if the odd setup would even work. My stats show no. The moment I discovered the second hop worked the same as the first, I bowed out. I hope it had the desired outcome for the organizers and the participants who stayed in. They just didn’t work for me. One suggestion I’d make if this is a plan they’ll stick with for future hops is tell the participants at sign up that it’s a different scenario rather than send the details later. Had I known, I wouldn’t have signed up for either.
So what I learned was this — not all hops are created equal. The following are results as seen through my personal lens. Another author might have had a different outcome. Here’s the rundown without a chart:
- Some are run by keen social media divas who really know how to promote. As a result, they’re successful. The hops without this added oomph flounder sadly.
- Most of the hops are attended by the same visitors leaving the same email addresses. When compared, it looks like there are approximately 50 visitors who regularly stop by all the hops. That’s what it looked like for me anyway. I write erotic romance. Perhaps the turnout is higher for other sub-genres. Hooking up with any and all, but especially new readers is the main point to hopping.
- Themed hops were the most fun for me. I love the challenge of a theme or prompt that needs to be met. The stats reveal the most interest visitor-wise too. Translated that means visitors returned several times to reread. Visitors were actually reading me rather than just rushing through to comments before rushing to the next author on the list. I gained followers and also saw an uptick in book sales. There was one themed hop in the spring that went for a full week and all stats show it was a very good week for me.
- Aside from that single spring hop, the long-established hops with large numbers of participants were the true winners. I had a lot of interest, gained followers, and even had spikes in my sales.
- In these larger hops, I learned it’s best to either be at the end of the list or at the beginning. Being in the middle of a few hundred participants is not quite a no-man’s land, but it’s close.
- I feel hops with expensive prizes like Kindles did nothing different for me personally. In fact, by brief and mostly generic comments left, I have the impression many visitors went to my page and just dropped their name and email address in the comment box before moving on to the next blog.
- As for prizes…I had a few mugs filled with goodies and two handcrafted enameled pendants I gave away as prizes over the course of the year. I plan to do those again as they drew a lot of interest. Because my first two novels have been pirated all over the world, those are the only two prizes that were given as PDF’s. For my other prizes, I actually bought my own ebooks through Amazon and sent them as gifts to my winners. These have the DRM on them. That means Digital Rights Management – a technological means of protection for copyrighted material so it can’t be duplicated and pirated. To date I haven’t found a single one of these titles pirated. It’s a few extra steps to do it that way, and I’ll deal with extra tax work come April to write off this business expense, but it’s working to keep $$ in my pocket.
- Hops have provided me with a database of potential readers to offer a monthly newsletter to. I plan to launch a newsletter in March. We’ll see how that goes.
- I have a handful of hops I’ll certainly do again if I’m able.
In conclusion, I recommend the effort. Especially if you’re at a loss as what to do with your blog and need to post something. In this web-driven world we live in, something is better than nothing.
Tomorrow ~ Taking Stock – day 2
Love Waits in Unexpected Places - Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!
If you’re here for the first time, my husband and I are assembling a vintage holiday postcard scrapbook one card at a time. I’ve been posting one or two post cards each day and plan to keep it up from now until January.
New Years cards from here on out.
Author Janice Seagraves’ blog day
Meet the RB4U authors!
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blog.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six ~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
The Genesis of the Story ~ share the spark that ignited your novel
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking 2014 now.