I’m so excited to have Emily Tilton and Rollin Hand here today for the “Author Share” post about “Blogging”. As a relatively new blogger who still does not know quite what she’s doing, I have lots of questions. But I chose to whittle down our conversation to keep it under 2K. So I’m going to jump right in with my bigger questions. 🙂
Feel free to pop in with your own questions or comments in the reply section below.
Welcome to Author Share!
Katherine Deane: So, I have a brand new book out, and am tweeting and promoting on Facebook. Do I still need to blog?
Emily Tilton: I have to say that I’m not absolutely sure you do need to. I think there are a lot of bits of the conventional wisdom about what authors need to do to build a fanbase that may not actually be true. Really, I think you need to blog because blogging connects you with a real, instant audience, and makes you friends among your colleagues and at least a few potential readers, even if your actual potential fanbase is elsewhere, like on Amazon scrounging through the also-boughts. That’s without even mentioning the incredible practice it gives you in regularly writing to a deadline, and in editing your own work.
Katherine Deane: That’s good to know, because I actually like “chatting” on my blog. What should I blog about? Does it always have to be about spanking / or author related stuff?
Rollin Hand: I use my blog as an advertising tool to promote my books. To that end, I have a layout that puts all my ebooks for sale on the right so as you scroll down, all the covers are right there. That said, yes it’s all about spanking and things of interest to spankophiles. There would be no purpose in writing about other things. But it’s not just self promotion. I think it’s a mistake to be constantly pimping your books. That’s ok on release day, but otherwise feature material that is entertaining or informative to your target audience. If you do talk about your books, give your readers an excerpt.
Emily Tilton: Philosophies differ hugely on this issue, I think. For my part, I think that a blog by an author of erotica should always either be about erotica, or be erotica straight up. People aren’t really fans of you, is my philosophy, but of your work in this domain.
Katherine Deane: I read in “Blog a Book” that I need to get to 1000 posts before I will be officially seen? How the heck do I do that? And how long will it take?
Emily Tilton: That seems like a very arbitrary number to me. I will say that it takes a long time, posting regularly, and posting on social media about your posts, before you start getting represented in search engines so as to generate more traffic. I didn’t get over a hundred hits per day until I’d been blogging for six months.
Katherine Deane: How do I get my blog seen?
Emily Tilton: Blog-hops and social media are probably the best methods. I try not to spam Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, but I do put a post in my status on all three every day, and every couple days I also post about my post of that day in the Spanking Fiction groups on Facebook and Google Plus. Triberr, a blog amplification tool mostly for Twitter, requires a lot of work, and can be hard to use, but it does seem to generate traffic.
Rollin Hand: It doesn’t happen overnight. But to be visible they have to know you are there. One thing is that I joined The Spanking Bloggers Network. There may be other networks too, but that is a large one. The other is I reference my blog on Google+ and FB when I think there is something interesting. I also contribute comments to other blogs so you see my name on other people’s blogs and they love it when you leave comments. I also offer to do articles and stories for other bloggers, and that gives my blog a plug when they use my material.
Katherine Deane: How often should I blog, to be effective without being annoying?
Emily Tilton: I aim for once a day, with no more than four posts per week being promotional “Here’s a snippet and a blurb” posts. I don’t think bloggers are ever annoying unless they post exactly the same thing over and over. Having regular things happening on regular days, like blog-hops and visits from other authors, helps a lot. Consider developing your own regular feature, too, like my “Visual Inspirations” series.
Katherine Deane: What’s the protocol on adding videos, pictures, or linking to other cool blog posts I see online? If I like it, and think it fits, can I just attach it?
Rollin Hand: Everything is subject to copyright, but almost none of it is registered. Thus it is a matter of risk assessment. My policy is I’ll use art and photos until someone objects, then I’ll remove them. For unregistered works, in order to recover damages, the author would have to prove actual damages– For use on a non-commercial blog, an impossible burden of proof. Thus I feel like using images that have been around on numerous other sites, posted to Yahoo Groups and USENET in the 90’s etc. is a low risk proposition. I won’t use images or art by artists who I know are actively trying to sell them or who aggressively pursue infringers, e.g., Stanton.
Emily Tilton: There’s really no such thing as a protocol, except that if someone asks you to unlink something, or take something down, you do. Images are very helpful, especially for driving traffic from social media to your blog.
Katherine Deane: Rollin, how often do you blog?
Rollin Hand: I like to update every 3-4 days. I think this is critical. The most successful blogs update frequently, always featuring fresh content.
Katherine Deane: How many views do you get per day, approximately?
Rollin Hand: It runs between 1200-2000 per day, 1400 being about average now.
Emily Tilton: I get 500 a day most days.
Katherine Deane: Wow, I’m lucky if I get 150 per post. How do you amplify your posts? How do you get so many hits? Is there a boost thing you use? Tag words?
Rollin Hand: The secret to successful blogging is 2 things: interesting content and frequent updates. I feature stories, mostly mine, but not always. I do some book reviews and articles about the spanking scene, mostly about media. Lately I’m adding artwork and photos to the stories.
In Blogger you can see the search terms most frequently used to find you. Lately I’ve discovered that “F/M stories” is one. So I’ll be featuring more F/M stories.
I have also been fortunate to have been “Chrossed” frequently. Chross’s blog is the most widely followed blog about spanking on the internet. Most weeks he has a “spankings of the week” list where he links to blog posts he thinks are interesting. Being “Chrossed” usually doubles or triples your blog hits for several days. Become a regular (I seem to be) and you get a lot of traffic.
Katherine Deane: What about free stories?
Emily Tilton: When I started the blog, it was basically just a single free story that eventually became the Companion to Explorations (the Companion, by the way, is my worst-selling book). I won’t say it was a mistake, but it certainly didn’t generate the traffic I had hoped it would. It seems to me that I do much better with snippets from books I have for sale. That’s a lot easier, too, and doesn’t make me feel like I’m giving things away that I would rather try to sell.
Katherine Deane: What’s the protocol about visits to other authors? May I visit more than one blog on a given day?
Emily Tilton: As with replies, I don’t think there’s an established protocol at all. I think it can look funny if you’re on more than one blog at once, mostly because we still think in the terms of the metaphor of “visiting”–like visiting someone’s house. The one time it happened to me, I apologized, and I know I’ll try not to do it again, but, really, it doesn’t seem like a big deal.
Katherine Deane: If you had one tip for new bloggers / authors, what would it be?
Rollin Hand: Update frequently and fill the blog with interesting and entertaining content.
Emily Tilton: Develop your own regular series that you post on the same day each week. Human psychology seems to me to favor that approach, because people like to have their expectations satisfied. It won’t happen overnight, but if you’re faithful about it, you’ll eventually grow your fanbase that way.
Thank you both so much for taking the time to share your experience with me!
The biggest things I have taken from these great answers is that it is important for me to consistently post about things that are pertinent to either my authorship ,or other interesting posts that complement my blog. I should also make sure I support the other bloggers and authors, by visiting, commenting and promoting them. (Don’t visit more than “one house” at a time 🙂 ) And most of all, I should be consistent and find my niche.
Thanks for stopping by! Please add your two cents below. 🙂
The wonderful co-hosts who chose to give their time and experience toward this subject:
I, Emily Tilton, if I exist, am a human rights lawyer who resides in Greenwich, CT. It’s more likely that I’m actually someone else, who wishes she were as free to play out her real fantasies as Emily Tilton is.
EXPLORATIONS, which now includes some books written in a more conventional way and published by wonderful spanking presses like Blushing Books and Stormy Night Publications, is a narrative version of my nearly lifelong quest to reconcile my submissive erotic orientation with my ethics. See this post on my blog for a frequently updated guide to the series: http://etiltonexplorations.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-explorations-series-so-far.html
Twitter – @ETiltonExp
Rollin Hand is a writer of erotic spanking fiction, who has been writing since 1999. He writes what he likes to call the “uncommon spanking story.” The idea, he says, is to write stories with strong plots, robust characters and vivid action sequences while avoiding the cliches that plague the spanking fiction genre.
Rollin’s writings cover a wide range of styles and genres. Orientations are M/F, F/F, and F/M, sometimes mixed in the same story. His genres include contemporary romance, domestic drama, college sorority tales, mystery/thrillers, historical romance, western romance, humor and fantasy. He has written to date over 120 stories, novellas, novels, articles and poems. Although most of Rollin’s works are short fiction and novellas, He has written four novel length works, “Atonement” a private eye-type mystery, “Flash Gordon and the Menace from Mongo” a sci-fi adventure, “LaForge” a supernatural thriller trilogy, and “Pendragon’s Lash,” a blend of medieval and sci-fi adventure.
You can find some of Rollin’s stories on his blog atwww.disciplinarytales.blogspot.com.
On Facebook he ishttps://www.facebook.com/rollin.hand.58
Check out his Amazon author page at