I blame my blogging on Oregon writer William Sullivan. In a workshop on marketing that I took from him back in 2006 at the South Coast Writers Conference, he mentioned that a blog is a good way to promote your book. So I wrote down blog along with a question mark. I really wasn’t sure what a blog was back then.
So my initial reason for blogging was to promote my book Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges. And it’s still one of the reasons I continue but only one.
Another reason is that it keeps me writing on a regular basis. I didn’t figure this out until I’d been doing it about a year. At that point, I figured I’d done what I started out to do and didn’t need to spend so much time blogging each week. Then it hit me that I wasn’t blogging just to promote my book, I was doing it to keep writing.
Some people belong to writers groups or critique groups to keep them writing regularly. I blog. I worked for magazines for 21 years, and so I’m used to deadlines. In fact, I work best under the threat of deadline. With my blog, I have to come up with an article every week—complete with photos. Even though it’s self-imposed, it works for me. When I finish one blog, I usually know what the next will be and keep my camera handy.
I’ve belonged to a writers group and then a critique group. In 1987, I helped start a writers group in Florence and later belonged to a spin-off critique group. For several years, I was the leader of the writers group and got so involved with the logistics––sending out and posting notices, finding speakers, organizing writing contests, etc––that my writing stayed on the back burner. The critique group worked better. I nearly always had something to share—but if I didn’t, two others did. Both of these groups met every other week.
My blog is the only place where I’ve had to come up with something new every single week. I try to post every Friday, but from time to time, I’ve been a day or two late. A few weeks ago I was three days late, but I can honestly say that every single week I’ve posted—except for a week off at Christmas.
When I began this blog, I had no idea how long it would last. And I didn’t realize it would mean so much to me. I don’t necessarily like to write; I like “having writ.” When I’ve got the first draft down (my creative vomit), I go back and clean it up again and again until it’s the way I want it. At that point, it’s the best feeling in the world. A real high! Better than any drug! And who knew that I’d have followers!
Another surprise is that my blog has become the source of new books. The four filler postings I wrote about the bridges when I was away from home were the basis of my new book The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans that just went to the printer November 30. Of course, I reworked the edit and added more bridges and photos, but I would never have done it without this blog.
I’ve had more than one person tell me that my blog has been an inspiration or given them ideas or answered their questions on some aspect of marketing their first book. That really makes my day! It’s like they think, “If she can do it, I can do it.” A few followers have suggested I put the blog into book form.
That’s a keeper idea, and I plan on doing just that in 2013. I will probably select about 30 postings and start reading though them and do any editing necessary and gather photos for the ones that don’t have any and so on . . . Hard to believe, I just finished one book, and I’m already thinking about another!
When I started, I had no idea blogging would have such an impact on my life!
TO BUY JUDY’S FIRST BOOK
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums in western Oregon. This book makes a good coffee-table book. With the holidays coming up, it would be an excellent gift.
JUDY’S SECOND BOOK DUE EARLY JANUARY
The second book The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans––will cover 15 bridges and have at least one color and one historic photo for each bridge. The cost will be $15 plus shipping. This sturdy guide will also be published through Pacific Publishing. When heading for the coast, don’t drive 101 without it.
The half-hour interview with Dr. Veronica Esagui for the “Author’s Forum” program on public access TV in the Portland Metro area ended it’s two-week run June 1-14, 2012, but can be seen on YouTube in two parts: Google Judy Fleagle YouTube.
February 9, 9–5, Bridge Tour, Outward Ventures, Florence campus, Lane Community College––I’ll be the tour guide on this trip that includes 12 bridges with many stops from Depoe Bay to Coos Bay and has a lunch break at Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay. Now that the new catalogs are out, sign up at the Florence campus or online. A fee will be involved. This will be such fun; I can hardly wait!