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Blogging Tips For Authors And Writers

Blog Posts: How Old is Too Old?

Blog Posts: How Old is Too Old?

After an unexpected project, one that took nearly nine months to bring to completion, I am back to doing what I love: writing, blogging, and building.

A painfully large backlog of blog posts, book plots, and marketing ideas are raining down on my brain like meteorites from an explosion on Planet Creative. I’m racing to catch all these twinkling ideas before they disappear into orbit.

It’s fun. And maybe a little frustrating.

Right now, I’m still in sorting mode, trying to figure out if any of these nibbles, lines, pages, and half-chapters belong with existing writing projects, or if they will result in a surge of newly-published titles in the future.

In the second half of this year, I’ll be publishing a number of new books, lots of community news and postings on IndieBookWeek.com, and even launching a new website.

Bonner, the second installment in the Priya series, is set for a December release. (If you haven’t yet read Ava, there’s still time!)

 Bonner - a Priya Novel by Ashley Barron

As I get myself back on track and work my way through the organizational style specific to my writing process, a question has arisen about blog posts: How old is too old?

Some of my blog posts go back to 2011, the first year I delved into the rising market of self-publishing and social media marketing. About half of the blog posts from the past three years are about news events and market changes that happened during a specific time frame.

The other half of the posts (a mix of original blogs, author interviews, and guest posts) are focused on aspects of novel-writing and self-publishing that continue to be relevant today. This is especially true for those writers just beginning their self-publishing or indie author journey — people J.A. Konrath would identify as “newbies.”

I don’t want to remove the dates from the blog posts merely to prevent the unknown percentage of date-conscious readers from being turned off by a new tweet about an older post.

Anyway, taking that step doesn’t really answer the question. Why not? Because the question is about the long-term value of the ideas and information communicated in a post, and not about its “age.”

When I tweet out links for blog posts, I generally use formats like these:

“ ‘The moral of the story can be summed up with two words: lost profits.’ – The iTunes Effect http://ow.ly/xAQw0 #selfpub #author #books

“ ‘Writing novels has taught me that while happy endings are not always possible, they are always plausible.’ http://ow.ly/xAQSf #romance

Does it matter that the tweets don’t specify how long ago these posts were originally added to the blog? I suppose I could add the hashtag #fromthevault, or start the tweet with “Remember this one?”

But is that really necessary?

Fellow bloggers, how do you address the question of “How Old is Too Old” in the land of social media links? And for how long do you consider a post to be new, newish, aging, or old?

Five days? Three months? A year?

Many exciting and talented self-published and indie authors have given interviews for my blog over the past two years. In these interviews, the authors are sharing great advice – the hard-earned result of their personal experiences – with newbies and up-and-comers.

Since their first visit to my blog, most of the authors have published additional novels, audio books, and even some screenplays. Several have even hit number one, multiple times, on the Amazon charts! We’ll be catching up with them later this summer, giving readers a chance to learn what’s new within their careers, and to learn what achievements and advice they would like to share with readers and fans.

Here are excerpts from the interview series:

 “Grow a thick skin – not everyone is going to like your work. Listen to feedback!!! If readers complain, repeatedly, about something – maybe there’s something wrong. Self-publishing is great, but we can’t all be writers just because we have a story idea. It’s work, and a lot of it, to bring a book to market – be patient and don’t skip any of the steps.”Author Heidi Hall

and

“Start working on your marketing NOW, regardless of where you are with the book. If you are not finished with the book yet, even better. You can’t get a large enough head-start on the marketing but you will always be behind, so work on it now. Writing is fun. The real work begins when you start marketing.”Author R.S. Guthrie

and

“Hire a good editor! The number one thing that sets out an Indie author from a traditional author is poor editing. And I’m not referring to a few minor errors. The readers who find a few errors and crucify the author over it are being petty. E very book I read has errors, even NYT Bestsellers. But overall poor editing including passive writing, head-hopping, and going back in forth between present and past tense is annoying and will cause me to close the book, no matter how much I like the story.” – Author Carmen DeSousa

A handful have even achieved tremendous heights through self-publishing and indie-author channels. For example, indie sensation Melissa Foster, who just this week reached 1,000,000 book sold! Here is advice she shared in an interview for my blog:

“There are two more pieces of advice that I have for you–ALWAYS have your work professionally edited. You owe it to the readers to produce as close to error-free work as possible (even traditionally published books have errors – we’re all human — but we can strive to be error free), and understand that writing is not a competitive sport. There is room for us all to succeed. Always pay-it-forward.”Author Melissa Foster

As of today, even with the long detour over the past year, my cumulative blog traffic is in the hundreds of thousands for unique ID’s, and in the millions for the number of page views. Several individual posts have received as many as 40,000 hits each.

These strong numbers lead me to believe there remains a robust and engaged readership for this type of material.

When all these factors are considered, it seems sensible to continue interspersing links to old blog posts with links to brand new ones, like “Amazon vs. Hachette.”

The learning curve for self-publishing can be daunting. Time flies; experience guides. Making the most of each session on social media is important, arguably critical, to the success of a self-published or indie author.

If you are a writer only now setting out on a publishing journey, a number of these “old” blog posts may have present value, and may bring you guidance, encouragement, and support at a time when you really need it.

After all, this relatively new marketplace within the publishing industry is still being built – by Melissa, by me, by you. And is there any better way to get a job done than teamwork?

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