Tuesday, July 22, 2008

DO BLOGS SELL BOOKS AND OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE AND SPIRITUALITY...

Yes. This too is Hawaii. I think it kind of looks like Africa...or the way I think Africa would look if I actually had gone there...

This part is subtitled the "MYSPACE-FACEBOOK-LIBRARYTHING-GOODREADS-MESSAGEBOARDONABSOLUTEWRITE-BACKSPACE-REDROOM-PR -O'RAMA...
There have been numerous online discussions by writers/authors about whether online efforts sell books.
Does blogging sell books. Interesting. You see I never actually considered this in depth.
Does blogging sell books? Hmmm...Let me list some of the things I know blogging does and then maybe I can answer that question.
Blogging delays the inevitable.
It delays doing laundry.
It delays having to pay the bills.
It delays feeding the cats and fixing dinner.
It is the ultimate procrastination tool and as such must not be misused.
Blogging keeps my cousins in Norway apprised of my every move (Godt dag cousins in Norway!)
Blogging lets my book clubs get to know me before I talk with them.
Blogging lets my Dad know I'm working hard (Hi Dad!).
Blogging lets my husband know I WON'T be doing the stainless today and he can just forget about me cleaning out the cockpit.
Blogging lets my editors know that I'm writing - although not on the particular manuscript they are interested in.
Blogging lets my agent know my computer is right there in front of me - although if truth be told it's hard to pry my computer out of my hot sweaty hands at any time of the day.
Blogging is my celebration. It's my way of venting. It's my connection with the world as I pursue the solitary pleasures of writing the next story.
So I never considered that it would sell another copy of 'Lottery'. I considered it a way of connecting with people I might never have had the opportunity to meet.
I made the assumption that it's interesting to find out about an author - to have a virtual meeting via blogger...
But is it? Do readers care?
Or is it something else entirely. Am I missing the whole point of blogging?
I ask you blog readers now. Have you bought a book because of a blog? Have you been exposed to a book you might not have found out about?
Lurkers here's your chance- use the anonymous function on comment - just give yourself a city so we can tell you apart- What do you think?
To all my friends out there in the cyberspere?
This blog's for you...

48 comments:

Joanne said...

Hi Pat, Yes, I have read many books found on blogs. Some older, most new. Blogging puts an easy, casual spin on promotion. And with newspapers cutting budgets, the Arts section is the first to be downsized. There's less in print now regarding books/reviews. So I'd say blogging fills a necessary niche.

Travis Erwin said...

In the last year and a half I have bought dozens of books that I discovered via blogtopia, including yours.

Some I might have eventually found anyway but 90% of my book purchases these days has a direct link to blogging.

ORION said...

Joanne you make a really good point. Do you think an active blogger is more likely to get reviewed online? I wonder?

Stephen Parrish said...

I bought (and read, and reviewed, and promoted) Lottery solely as a result of having met you in Blogtopia (specifically via Miss Snark). My brother recently commented that he bought (and read, and loved) your book as a result of having heard about it on my blog. Blogging does indeed work, the question is whether the sales justify the effort.

Probably not. But ain't Blogtopia fun?

ORION said...

yep...yep...yep...

Dawn Anon said...

In the past, I chose books while wandering around the book store, looking at covers, reading back flaps... etc. Occasionally, I chose a book because of someone's recommendation.

Recently, I've purchased three books because of blogs. One was highly recommended by others, two because I liked something about the writer's writing style and/or personality. (I bought Lottery after reading about it on Absolute Write -- just before I became addicted to blogs)

Joanne said...

I do think an active blogger is more likely to get reviewed online. Wouldn't the online reviewers tap into the writers' community of bloggers and be familiar with who's current? Plus an active blogger will bring more traffic to their Review Site. Blog presence might = marketing presence for all, no?

Anonymous said...

I LOVE sharing great books via my blog and I know that it has inspired dozens of people to go out and buy those books I have raved about. And that sounds very braggy, and it's not meant to be, but I think if a reader likes what they read on a blog, and likes what a person has to say on a blog, and feels a camaraderie with that blogger, then they might trust that the blogger knows what she/he is talking about and might check out the book that has been described in the blog post.

I will buy particular books I have never heard of by reading about them on blogs. Blogs and the internet are my main source of news. I don't watch TV anymore. I never pick up a newspaper. So what I see on this computer is what I trust.

I think many people feel the same way. I hope so anyway.

I'll stick to being anon, but Pat, you know who I am, fellow NIU alum.

ORION said...

oh wow i DO know who you are- thanks!

Merry Monteleone said...

Well, my blogging is mostly in writing circles, so it's a bit hard to tell if that's a good general overall of sales... I mean, we're all writers so I think we're more apt to buy books than the average person.

But, I will say, I bought LOTTERY after seeing it reviewed at Anti-Wife's and Ello's, and I loved it so much that I had to host a book club on it (which you were absolutely fabulous to participate so actively)... besides my own copy, I bought two as Christmas gifts and my brother and mother both stole my copy one after the other - they loved it, too by the way...

So maybe, in that case it was more sales than generally happen, but then, I think that's largely the writing, Pat... Marketing may get people to look at something, but the only way the sales multiply like that is when they really love it enough to HAVE to tell everyone else.

I like the blog-o-sphere for a writing circle. I like getting to touch base with other writers and have a little fun here and there, too... but I don't know that I'd expect my blog to help me sell books... maybe it would just be the frosting on the cake if it worked out that way.

Kim Stagliano said...

Absolutely! I've bought books because I've connected with authors and gotten great recommendations.

Blogging turns writers from mere letters on the cover of a book to real people. I think readers like to connect with authors. I know I do!

Would you refill my blog please?

Janna Qualman said...

Since I answered you question on AW, I'll just say: That is a GORGEOUS picture!

Holly Kennedy said...

I agree with your 1st post, that blogging fills a necessary niche and certainly can't hurt sales. I also feel it makes authors accessible to his/her readers -- another good thing.

I do, however, think it can be hoover-like with a person's time so striking a balance at my end has become essential. I need to put my writing first, family next, and then the blogging follows. We've talked about this, Pat, how addictive it can be (blogging) and how important that balance is, so I know you agree. Still, it IS a great outlet, hmmm?

Mary said...

I've read seven books by bloggers this year already, books I most likely wouldn't have even noticed otherwise, much less purchased. And last year I read (and loved) Lottery, another book that most likely wouldn't have crossed my path. I've enjoyed all the ones I've read. It's interesting reading books by authors who target the market my book would target (if and when). It's not something I ever even thought of doing before I finished my first novel. On the other hand, if a writer's blog doesn't resonate with me, I don't seek out their book even though I really don't believe the two writing styles are completely related.

So yeah.. blogs work overall, I think. I'm so impressed by those of you who take the time to do one. Maybe one of these days....

ORION said...

And yet...
it takes hours and hours away from manuscripts.
An author has to decide how much time to devote as Holly says.
Mary also makes a good point. How similar is our writing style to our blogging style?
Hmmmm....

Mystery Robin said...

I absolutely bought Lottery because of meeting you in the blogosphere... but beyond that your blog encourages me in my own writing, helps me feel plugged in to a community of writers and is just plain fun to read. :)

Heather J. said...

i totally agree with the anon. NIU alum - my TBR list has grown exponentially since I started reading reviews by other book bloggers. I've had the opportunity to read/review ARCs of several books, interview several authors, and make TONS of recommendations ... all because of my personal blog.

(oh, and that's for stopping by my book club's blog! I appreciate your comment on our author meeting - it really was fantastic.)

BClark said...

Yes Pat, I believe it puts your book out there. I heard about you from another blogger, come over to check it out. Now you are one of my regular stops. I in turn have mentioned you and your book to others. Some of them have read the book and we have a discussion about the book. Others have not heard about it, so I give them new info. Several bloggers regularly list books they have read, and also have reading challenges. Hope this helps a tad, Barbara

ORION said...

It really does. I think it widens a reader base but are there readers who are turned off by the blog?
I wonder...
Come on you lurkers and anonymous'es

Anonymous said...

Working for a publisher (won't say which) I know that the internet has become a huge aspect of promotional efforts.

Especially among authors like you, Pat, whose particular appeal is so much your sincere connection with your readers. It's a great way to be accessible and keep the word out. Blog on!

pierre l said...

Hi Pat. I started reading your blog around the time you came to the UK, and that's when I bought your book. I would not have been aware of it otherwise. I tend to encourage most of the bloggers I read by buying their books, or shorts stories.
However, because I spend a lot of time reading blogs, I do have a long book queue (and I haven't read "Lottery"; but I'll get there eventually). I do read and enjoy (or I'd have stopped reading) all your, post, even if I rarely comment.

ORION said...

Glad to get some industry feedback! Thanks!

Now Pierre brings up a great point- blogging is really international.
Who else is reading this and not from the US or Canada?
Come on.
Don't be shy.
You can even post in your own language but I warn you I'll translate it with Babel fish and it won't be pretty...

laughingwolf said...

pat, because of blogging i have met a lot of writers, most of whom have become fast friends, even those with just wip, and yes, because of that, i've bought their books, and learned of others to add to my list....

Mary said...

Jeg tror den utvider leserens base, men det er leserne som er slått av av det blog. :)

Sarah Laurence said...

Interesting question, Pat. As you know, I'm American but spent last year living in England researching a novel and blogging.

I saw Lottery displayed for the Orange Prize at the Oxford Library along with other contenders. I read the first few pages of several but found yours hard to put down. I then found your website and blog before I blogged about Lottery on the Orange Prize day.

Many people (including readers outside the USA) have told me they use my blog’s sidebar book list. Blog readers frequently ask where to buy my novels too only they aren't in print yet.

ORION said...

Mary!
TRANSLATION
I believing it broadens reader the bases , but it is the readers as am switched off at facts blog.

Mary said...

I think it widens a reader base but there are readers who are turned off by the blog.

I used your words in sentence form... I love your translation though!

ORION said...

That was fun! So far between this blog and the thread on Absolute Write the Bloggers have it with a caveat:
Readers buy books recommended by OTHER blogs...
Anyone else?

Chumplet said...

I'm not sure if any of my sales were a direct result of my own blog, but many who became good blogging friends promoted my books on their blogs, which have likely resulted in sales. Hi, Stephen, Chris, Kanani, Liane!

I followed you from AW, and I can definitely say your blog encouraged me to pester my daughter into buying your book for me for Christmas.

Heidi said...

I definitely bought books based on blogs, but not necessarily the blogs of the authors.More often, books recommended by other bloggers.

case in point: I read lottery before I found your blog.

But reading your blog, and having you actually comment on mine, makes you seem more like a friend and a fellow writer than just an obscure author.

And because of that, I am more likely to buy your next book (ahem) and to buy Lottery for friends (although I might have done that anyway, but now I can actually say I sorta know you, which obviously I don't, but they don't know that, eh?)

Does that even begin to answer the question? I think I may have wandered off point....

(hey! my verification word is one letter off ALOHA!)

ORION said...

Heidi -- Hey you know me...really...we are blogging buddies and if you email me with your address I can send you signed book plates to go in your books (check it out on my web site...)

Sustenance Scout said...

Cracking up as I catch up on your latest posts, Pat! LOVE this list and yes I've become an avid purchaser of fellow bloggers' books. And when a blogger-author (or author-blogger) shows up in Denver for a signing (hint hint!) I'm right there in line to say hullo. I say blogging sells books and much more. It's all such a balancing act, isn't it?! K.

Jay said...

I bought Lottery because I met you on this blog. I'm not sure if I would have heard of it or found it on my own otherwise. And now I have an autographed copy! I don't blog as often as I should. I'm easily distracted. Maybe I should get my novel done. Maybe it's the one that will actually see the light of day and not gather dirt clods under the bed.

Bookfool said...

I bought The Rest Falls Away because Colleen Gleason was a regular visitor to my blog. And, I would have found you if I hadn't happened across a copy of Lottery, just because you've visited so many of my blog buddies. In general, almost all of the books I buy are due to blog recommendations, these days -- readers, mostly, but when a writer friend recommends something I tend to jump through hoops to find it and being able to chat with authors . . . yeah, that really ups the chance of buying their books.

nancorbett said...

If I hadn't been a reader of Miss Snark, I wouldn't have learned about you and your upcoming debut novel. I still remember her talking about reading it on the subway and missing her stop because she was so caught up. That's a great endorsement. So, yes. Her blog sold me a copy of your book. Well, two copies, because I have the hard copy version, and I also subscribe to audible.com, so I have the audio version as well, which is wonderful btw.

I remember thinking when Miss Snark's blog led me to your blog and subsequent others that blogging is a great tool for writers. Your blog gives you a persona of being very approachable.

Roberta said...

I often buy books mentioned or reviewed on blogs. (Hey, think of the far reaches of Miss Snark.) Blogs matter.

Nowadays I google authors and check out their blogs - be it blogger, MS, amazon, where ever. I'm slightly suspicious if I don't find a Web presences.

Roberta said...

~~~Who else is reading this and not from the US or Canada?
Come on.
Don't be shy.~~~

I'm in sunny Greece!

Becky Mushko said...

Yes, I've bought some books that blogger friends have raved about. And I've bought a book (The Slow Road Home--self-published) that originated as a guy's blog. His readers wanted it in book form, and he obliged.

If someone whose blog I like really likes a book, I'm likely to like the book, too.

On the flip side: I've gotten a freelance assignment because an editor who'd read my blog liked my style. (Your blog is your clips," I once heard an editor say at a writers conference.)

Linda said...

Yes to all of your questions.

ChrisEldin said...

I bought Lottery because I remember reading about it on Miss Snark's site, then saw it on Stephen's and Anti-Wife's.

I buy a lot of books like that. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm usually going from a blog directly to Amazon. It's too easy (but only from bloggers I know and trust)

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I buy books via blogs and from writer-friends I know. That makes up enough folks that I rarely get a chance to read something by someone I don't know. I think blogging sells books, but I'd do it anyway.

容珍 said...

Hi Pat. I haven't yet read Lottery but after finding this blog by googling, I am intrigued by the story & your writing. I buy books at Costco b/c it is a regular stop during the week. I have returned books to the stack after skimming the first few pages if I could not relate to the author's or main character's voice in those first few paragraphs. There is something in the excerpts and the honesty in your postings here that appeal to me. I think I will be buying your book. Thank you for allowing comments from the public. Aloha.

Marsha Ward said...

Many wonderful things happen for writers because of blogs. I buy books from author friends and blog friends, and books recommended by bloggers. I got an email the other day referring to me as "an opinion leader" because of my blog. Woo-hoo! I'll get a free book out of that. Nice!

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

I have bought several books because I read the authors’ blogs or the titles were recommended by bloggers. But, IMHO, I think the author must love blogging in order to blog. Blogging primarily to sell books can be self-defeating, resulting in an uninteresting blog, and reducing the likelihood that the blog reader will buy the author’s book.

I’m in the UK, and I’d like to pick up on the point about blogging being international. This is one of its great benefits: a blogger can reach a reader even if they are not published in that reader’s country. Foreign titles can be purchased online. And there is added interest in reading a blog written by someone in another part of the world, even just for the different points of view and day-to-day experiences. This is one reason I’m fan of blogs such as yours, in which the author blogs about more than books and writing.

Michelle O'Neil said...

If I read a book and love it, I google the author. If they have a blog, I am delighted, and that is how I find out about their other books.

I love getting to know authors via their blogs.

Anonymous said...

Why must you use so many dirty words in your writing? I read three chapters of Lottery and had to throw it away. That's disgusting.

Karen Carter said...

Anonymous, Why would YOU choose to leave such a comment on an author's blog when you can e-mail her directly?