Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z challenge in terms of marketing and publicity?

The April 5th question for the Insecure Writer's Support Group over on this page is:

Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

I had to think about this for a bit. I think I've somewhat indirectly taken advantage of the annual A to Z challenge in terms of marketing et al, as in I participated twice but didn't blog about my stories except in one or two areas (if I remember correctly it was some character descriptions and maybe some of the stuff I made up like fancy metals and such). And I'm actually not certain how successful any of it was, as most of the people who blog are not my intended audience for the things I write. I've found a much more direct way to market to those people, via email blasts, etc. from story sites I visit wherein I post a chapter a week or so of something I'm working on and solicit feedback from readers.

But it did build my blog following, which to this day seems pretty loyal as they come and visit my page and still read my articles (so there's that). And from years of doing this kind of thing (blogging), I've built up a network of blogger friends who have my link on their page. This in turn helps with visibility in the search engines, which I've discovered is a pretty big boon to a writer.

Also, let's not underestimate the power of just having a ton of content on your blog, and participating in the A to Z challenge is a good way to create content. While I was away from the blog awaiting internets at home, I got significant amounts of traffic (on average about 1000 visits a day) from people just stumbling across my articles via Google search in different countries (although I'm convinced that most of my Russian visitors are probably bots looking to spam a comment link here or there). In January, I made the most money I ever got paid from Amazon due to people finding (and buying) my book and I hadn't been blogging for two months :/  And it was a pretty decent sized check, so I'm not really all that certain that blogging does anything, other than give you (with every entry) another fishing hook to dangle in the waters of the internet.

I think A to Z can do nothing but help a writer, but I totally get why people like Alex or even myself don't participate. It's a lot of work. Reading Alex's reasons for not doing it this year made me exhausted just thinking about all the hundreds of names he had to cull from the lists to keep them nice and tidy.

On Friday, I'm going to post my review of The Summer Dragon, by Todd Lockwood. 


  1. Maybe Russian bots read? You never know.
    I had a book release in the middle of the Challenge once (not by my choosing!) but other years I didn't use it specifically to market my books. Just content and visibility, like you said.
    And thanks for understanding about the list and everything. It was exhausting and sucked a lot of time.

  2. April has been a bad month for me to do a big blog challenge like A to Z. I just don't have the proper time to devote to it then, unless I write all my posts in advance...and come on, that'll never happen. :)

    Glad you're back—looking forward to that review.

  3. I think bots are most of my audience. The A to Z has too many people now. There's not enough time to read all the blogs.

  4. When I participated in A-Z, I looked at it more as a networking experience more than a marketing/promotional one. I had a blast doing it, but it was a ton of work. :)

  5. Hi, Mike,
    I think I lost my mind when I decided to participate on the weekend. I still think I've lost my mind, but anyway ... Participating in the A-Z has helped me to keep writing. I've written so much material I could compile them into a couple of books if I tried. :)

  6. I never saw any real results from doing AtoZ other than to waste a lot of time.

  7. Thanks for this IWSG post Mike. It's so helpful to hear from people who have been there and can honestly talk about pros and cons.

  8. I keep thinking I should participate in the A-Z Challenge but so far I haven't gotten around to it.

  9. Content is great. That's the point, right? And perhaps not thinking about it let the universe bring in the readers. (I know, too woo-woo for you ;) )

  10. I've never done the A to Z, but then I'm a real village idiot when it comes to networking and marketing my writing. But how great for you that your books are selling! You deserve even more success.