Welcome To My Blog

Ever wonder what it's like to be in that moment between struggling artist and published author? Read on and find out.

Friday, March 30, 2012


            The last few months have been extremely busy for me. As much as I’ve wanted to reach out to other members of the writing community I just haven’t been able to do that lately. That changes now. Expect to see more posts on my part and maybe even a regular posting schedule.

            Do you find it difficult to come up with topics to post about? I do. When I first started blogging it wasn’t a problem for me; I had just returned from a writing conference and had access to a host of wonderful authors who had taught classes and were willing to be interviewed. I still enjoy doing interviews, but it seems like the pool of topics has run a little on the dry side. (Although, if you want to be interviewed or have someone else you would like me to interview I am willing to take requests.)
            It appears to me that the way around this posting dilemma is to develop a regular feature that fits within the format of your blog. My blog has primarily been about the experiences of an unpublished author and directing my fellow upcoming authors to information that can help them on their journey.
            With that in mind, I have decided to do a weekly report on my fellow bloggers. Not the bloggers themselves so much, but what they’ve done on their blog that worked especially well. I certainly could use some help getting my blog running at an optimum level – maybe you can too.

            The featured blog for this week is Susanna Leonard Hill. Susanna has several great features, but I’m going to pace myself and discuss just one of them today. You can expect me to come back to her blog and comment on some of her other regular features at some point in the future.
             Phyllis is a groundhog. She appears in two of Susanna’s books. To promote April Fool, Phyllis Susanna sent the book on a world tour. She does this by getting Phyllis fans to send in pictures of them with the book. Most of the pictures include some landmark that helps identify the town where they live.
            With this clever presentation Susanna has brought an element of the fantastic into the real world? It’s entertaining to picture Phyllis visiting the town where I live and seeing some of the sights. For anyone living in the locations she visits during the tour this builds a sense of connection with the character and the book.
            This approach also allows Susanna to market the book without being in-our-face about it. Admit it, we write to be read and part of getting people to pickup our books is to talk about them. Putting Phyllis on world tour allows Susanna to continuously mention the book without sounding like a series of shameless plugs. Take a good look at how Susanna has turned marketing into entertainment and spend some time thinking about how you can do the same with your book.
            As a groundhog, Phyllis has a connection to the weather. Susanna has tapped into this and included a weather report for each of the stops on the tour. Not only is this a fun way to introduce a little bit of education to the book’s younger audience, but it adds an extra dimension to the character and the tour.
            The most ingenious part of this feature is that it involves the readers. Susanna has gotten her customers to pitch in with promoting the book. Children will thrill at the opportunity to be part of the world tour. It’s almost as good as being in the book itself. When parents send in pictures of smiling, happy people gathered around a copy of the book – well, that makes for some highly effective advertising.
            Finally, Susanna presents her blog with an authorial voice that is perfect for her readership. You’ll need to decide for yourself if this is a detail that will benefit your blog. It reminds me of watching late night horror movies and having Elvira appear between segments and adding to the experience with a few campy lines. The voice and content of your blog can do the same thing for your published works.
            Stop by and visit Susanna’s blog if you get the chance. There is a lot you can learn from what she’s done there.

            Hopefully, you liked this column and will look forward to me doing it again. If you know of a blog that really has their act together, let me know about it and I’ll check it out. Next week I’ll be discussing the blog run by Shelly and Chad.


  1. I absolutely love Susanna's blog. First, the presentation is pleasing. I adore her darling banner. She has all her various publications neatly aligned on the side and all the covers look wonderful. Plus she keeps different blog features like Pitch Wednesday and Perfect Picture Book Fridays. You've chosen a wonderful blog for today's highlight.

    And yes, I've been LOVING Phyllis's world tour. I have to agree with you that this was certainly a master stroke of marketing genius. Instead of constantly trying to telling us about Phyllis, we go to Susanna's blog hoping for an update on Phyllis, the lucky globe-trotting groundhog.

    1. Sounds like we agree about the awesomeness of Susanna's blog. It's one of the first blogs I check out when I log on in the morning.

  2. Randy! I can't believe you featured my blog! I am SO honored, and so thrilled that you like it! I really can't even tell you how much it means to me that someone thinks I do a good job. I'm so glad everyone is enjoying Phyllis's tour. I know marketing is involved, but honestly, I don't really even think about that. I've been so enjoying everyone's clever and creative posts, the things they think up to do with Phyllis, all the wonderful pictures, and the chance to get to know them, and their family and their town/state/country a little better that the marketing aspect seems like a lucky side effect. I can't believe how incredibly this tour has turned out, but it's really because of all the wonderful people who got involved so enthusiastically, more than because of me. Thank you again for featuring my blog. You made my week :)

    1. Believe it! You do a fantastic job and I am a big fan.

  3. I am an enthusiastic follower of Susanna's blog, and was an eager participant in Phyllis's world tour, and I agree with Susanna that it is really the joy of playing this Phyllis game, and coming up with fun things to do, and learning so much from others' posts, that makes this tour a success. Marketing is a happy side effect. It was a great day when Susanna came up with the idea.

    I'm glad you'll be returning to other aspects of Susanna's blog, because she is one in a million.

    1. Call if a side effect, an accident, or what-have-you it is still brilliant marketing and I'm glad it is working for Susanna. I'm glad you'll be watching out for my return visit to her blog. She does a lot of things right with her blog and that is what this particular feature is all about.

  4. This is a really good idea, I'll look forward to seeing what you say about Shelly and Chad :-)

    1. Thank you. I was pretty happy when it popped into my mind. I had realized that so many of the blogs have regular features that make it a little easier to write and hopefully engage the readers that I wanted to do something new.

      As far as Chad and Shelly go, I did a column about Shelly quite a while ago. If you check out the archives you can probably get a glimpse of it.