Blogging As A Kids Book Author

by Tricia

in Kids Books, Social Media

(via Striatic)

Kids book blogs are ubiquitous online, it seems, especially to those of us who work in kids books.

But is there really anyone else out there reading ‘em?

This is the question posed to me in the past few weeks by a well-published kids book author. This author wasn’t trying to be sarcastic, but was inquiring seriously about the odds of a blog (that requires hours of work on top of the writing of the actual kids books) gaining any sort of following outside of kids book publishing circles.

I can’t guarantee anything. And I won’t. But I wanted to start a dialogue on this blog about what works on a kids book blog. I asked the questions of some of my Facebook friends a few weeks ago. Their answers were varied, but mostly this:

“Yes, I visit author’s sites all the timeā€”if I feel a connection to the author that goes beyond their book. But I only visit after buying/reading the book, once I’m toying with fanhood.”

So, how does a kids book author create that connection?

I’m really asking. How do you think a kids book author (and if you are one yourself, how do you) create connection and encourage “fanhood”?

I’ve got a couple of ideas and I’m going to bring in a few authors this week to discuss this very subject, so stay tuned. But your comments will propel the conversation, so jump right in!

Jeannie Mobley April 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I am pretty new to blogging, so I am joining the discussion, not offering expert advice. But I am blogging with a group of 7 other authors over at EMU’s Debuts, and I am finding a benefit of that is that each of us has a slightly different network of friends and associates, so our visibility has all expanded because we have connected those networks. I can’t necessarily say whether or not we are connecting outside of the kid lit world so far, but hopefully if a fan finds one of my associates through that blog, they may find me and become a fan of mine too.

Trish April 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Hi, Jeannie! I was hoping one of the authors over on EMU’s Debuts would show up (http://emusdebuts.wordpress.com/) here. I love your idea and encourage any kids book authors reading to consider this approach. Why do all the work yourself? If you can find a group to join and co-blog, do it! The success of EMU’s Debuts is also that there is a real camaraderie that is born, right, Jeannie? Don’t you feel not quite so alone and out there?

Great response. And thanks for chiming in. I will add EMU’s Debuts to my blog roll here.

Trish

Audrey April 5, 2011 at 4:48 am

As you may have guessed, I’ll be following this closely. I’m thinking deeply about effective social media, even in my sleep. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for inviting others in to do the same.

Trish April 5, 2011 at 7:31 am

Hi, Audrey,

Oh good! Glad you’re checking in. You have got me thinking about this! Hope this helps and if you care to share, by all means!

Jeannie Mobley April 5, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Yes, Trish, we definitely have a good camaraderie among us from doing the blog together at EMU’s Debuts. I originally came up with the idea because I was feeling I needed to be blogging, but I dreaded the idea of doing it. It just seemed like too much time and effort, and I felt that if you want to get a following and keep it growing, you have to commit to posting often and in a scheduled way. Doing it with eight people means I only have to come up with a post once a month instead of once a week, but the blog keeps rolling along.

That was my original reasoning, but the traffic we draw to each other has been a big perk I hadn’t really thought about so much before I started.

I also tried joining one of those really big blogs with about 50 authors debuting the same year as me, but it was overwhelming. I couldn’t keep up with what everyone was doing and emailing about, and I didn’t feel like I fit in (they were all edgy contemp. YA, I am writing sweet MG historical). A smaller group really seems to fit my personality a bit better.

Jean Reidy April 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Hi Tricia,
I’m blogging, Facebooking, tweeting and I have a website. Rather than trying to measure a fan or reader base, I like to think of it all as one big interconnected web presence and that they all play off each other in a non-quantifiable way. I have been giving much thought to my audiences though and how to best reach them. So I’m anxious to hear how other kidlit authors are approaching their web presence.
Jean

Trish April 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

Hi, Jean, you’re doing well. Yes, great approach to looking at this and we will be talking more this week and in the near future about how other kidlit authors approach this! Stay tuned!

Cathy Mealey October 19, 2011 at 9:17 am

The first author’s website/blog that I ever looked up was Jan Brett’s. I was helping my DD’s teacher pull together a unit on “The Mitten” and my eyes certainly popped when I saw all the resources on her site! Now I always google for author websites when looking for new materials or inspiration. I think the web address should be featured somewhere on the book flap so kids and adults can easily pursue online resources. And a joint blog would be a great way to point readers to companionable books (If you like author A, then check out author B too!)

Trish October 19, 2011 at 9:18 am

I totally agree! Web addresses are vital in this new media marketplace. Great example!

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