The art of blogging

WISHING: To all you mothers, moms, mums, mimis, mamas, grandmas, grannies, grandmoms, mommies, grandmommies, and all others who have brought new life into our world, thank you! Here’s wishing you a Happy Mothers’ Day!!

Hi everyone,
David as bookends IMAG2753
This week I posted sketches and a brief interview featuring Melanie Hope Greenberg. We met last week when I was a Skype presenter at Larry Dane Brimner’s writers’ workshop in the 2015 series of Highlights Foundations Workshops. The title of my one hour presentation with Q/A was, “To Blog or Not to Blog . . . Some Thoughts.” Larry’s charge to me was to address the idea of maintaining a blog without breaking the time budget.

My webmaster, Kathy Temean, designed my website in 2009 and then added a blog. Although I resisted the idea of blogging, here I am six years later, slogging and blogging away. Over these years I’ve experimented with format, content, and length, but I’ve stuck to my original intention of posting something every day with occasional short breaks for just cause. Counting today, I’ve answered the bell 1,671 times.

The math of that? At one hour per post, the equivalent of about forty 40-hour weeks. At half an hour per post, around twenty 40-hour weeks. Divided by six, somewhere between three and a half to seven 40-hour weeks per year. I told Larry’s workshop attendees that I shoot for half a hour on most days but I can’t always make it and there are numerous occasions when the time stretches much longer. Today’s post is an example of that.

I formatted my presentation as a Q/A session with myself, something from which I might have benefitted six years ago! Here are a few of the questions I asked my six year younger self.

Q: Why on earth would you even think about doing such a thing?
Q: What do you hope to gain from your blog?
Q: Would you invite people to your home without a plan? Guests need to know what to expect when the come to your house, or your blog.
Q: Starting a blog is something like adopting a puppy. Can you spare the time to be a responsible care giver?

I spent quite a bit of my allotted time responding to the second question: What do you hope to gain from your blog? I presented five options:
1) I want to establish a professional site.
2) I want to become better known as a writer.
3) I want to expand my circle of writing friends.
4) I’m friendly and I just want to talk.
5) I have no plan but will figure it out as I go.

One of the members in Larry’s group asked how I would characterize my blog. Another asked if my blog has benefitted me and, if so, in what ways.

I’ll tell you later how I responded, but today I’d rather hear from you. According to my little blog clicker, more than 2,000 people follow my posts. I have no idea how close that is to being accurate. I certainly don’t receive that many visits on a given day and rarely have more than a handful of comments so it’s hard to judge how many people remain aware of what I’m up to on a regular basis.

So I’ll throw out this question and hope that at least a few of you will take a moment to tell me. “How would you describe my site to someone else?”

As for the second question, I don’t sell my own work directly and have only tried one e-book. I find it difficult to relate how or whether my blog has increased my book sales. I hope it has. I think it has. I don’t know that it has. But I have received some speaking engagements as a result of the blog, and they have produced income.

I look forward to hearing your responses. Thank you.

Featuring Melanie Hope Greenberg

Hi everyone,

During Larry Dane Brimner’s workshop, “Getting the Gigs,” Melanie Hope Greenberg accepted his invitation to address the group about marketing. And during my Skype session about blogging, Melanie, ever the artist, sketched the scene.

I was taken by the sketch and asked Melanie if she would provide me with more information about herself as well as a few remarks about her own experience at the workshop. I’m glad she agreed! If you haven’t met Melanie, you are about to wonder why you never have. Melanie, it’s a pleasure. Thank you.
Author Larry Dane Brimner contacted me to present at his ‘Getting The Gigs’ marketing workshops for the Highlights Foundation. I was blown away by Larry’s offer because my marketing research includes industry articles he wrote. I was so lucky to be able to sit in on various sessions with the wonderful faculty Larry developed. No matter how long one has been in publishing there’s always something new to learn. Bringing first hand experience to the marketing table is helpful. Every book is unique like it’s author and/or illustrator. The victories or failures we’ve faced are plentiful and worth sharing. Marketing is not about one size fits all.

I believe the students at my session came away with a look at marketing from the point of view that is grassroots and how to market to their correct target audience. I found the wonderful sessions I attended with the other faculty members gave new perspectives on how to expand the horizons for my own picture books. I have tons of new marketing information and ideas in my notebook.

Which brings me to the sketches. During your particular insightful session about blogging, David, I doodled what I saw in the moment.
I also doodled what I was experiencing in the Highlights Barn / Conference room and my adorable cabin lodging.

Cabin Doodle

With all the fantastic notes I took away from the workshop sessions I totally forgot the doodle sketches were in the back of the notepad until I unpacked it at home. I thought they’d be a fun gift of appreciation so I posted the sketches on Facebook. They became a spontaneous good marketing example 😉

My goal is to consult with picture book authors and illustrators privately on how best to organize their marketing office, find their unique marketing voice, and their marketing audience. My contact is

* NEW INTERVIEW for Writers Rumpus Blog – Marketing and More

Melanie, tell me something that not everyone knows about you.
David, Deloris McCullough and David Mowery — the division managers of Brooklyn Central Library Youth Wing — gave me the idea for my book, MERMAIDS ON PARADE. I gave them the dedication. When the book came out, they named me MerMel. (:> Mermaids on parade