Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blogger Confidential: What is Success?


Have you ever been faced with an issue while reading or blogging and thought: I wonder what other bloggers think about this? No matter what genre or audience you blog for, we all face the same problems. Are you a publisher or author wondering what goes on in a blogger's (and by extension a reader's) head?

Blogger confidential is a series of 10 questions asked to 13 bloggers about the nitty gritty details of blogging. Everything from what prompts a blogger to pick up a book, to what happens when a book doesn't live up to its hype. This series was inspired by Wastepaper Prose's Author Insight series.

How do you define success with regards to your blog?

"I know my blog is successful based on how much joy it brings to me. I started blogging for myself, I continue to blog for myself. If I’m happy, then my blog is successful. Additionally, when I hear from my blog readers who discovered a book they loved on my blog that is another sign of success." Jenn from Jenn's Bookshelves

"I kind of view our success in two ways. In one way, I do look to the “numbers” – that is to say, the number of people who visit our site, subscribe, follow us on Twitter, etc. I like looking at where we started and seeing how we’ve steadily increased our following – and continue to do so. Those numbers definitely make me proud.

But in a less concrete sense, I also view our success in terms of our recognizability. For me, it’s really neat to go to a book signing, and have other readers approach me because of my blog. I occasionally get asked to take a photo with someone, and it seems strange to me, but also really cool. I love that people follow Novel Novice and seek us out for book recommendations and the other goodies we provide. I love that we have fans! Likewise, it’s great getting feedback from publishers and authors who’ve seen our work and want to get to know us. The same goes for authors & publishers who keep coming back to us because they enjoy working with us, and know that we’ll help them promote their work. That’s so exciting to me!" Sara from Novel Novice

"Success for us is being able to interact with our favorite authors (or should I say “literary rockstars”), and the comments, tweets and likes we get from our blog/twitter/facebook presence from those who are reading us!   

**One of the things we love hearing the most is that someone is reading a book because we liked it. Talk about exciting!" Stacy, Shannan, Nancy, and Sarah from Girls in the Stacks

"There are many ways of measuring success. We have places we want to see our blog go – daily reviews, promoting more contemporary books and so on. But as far as success goes, getting responses from our readers and having them find their next favorite book I think is the biggest judge of success, but in general, you just know it when it happens – I do have to admit, it was cool, when people knew who we were at BEA." Stacey and Pixie from Page Turners Blog

"I think, for me, when it comes to success on my blog, I need two things. The first is the most important and that's making sure that I'm having fun doing what I'm doing. Once the fun is gone, what's the point? But if I still feel excited about posting entries, even now after four years of it, I'd qualify that as success. The second thing is comments- we all want them, and the substantial ones show that people are out there reading our posts and are interested in them. I don't need like 25 comments or something, but a couple makes doing this worthwhile." James from Book Chic

"Improvement & Change. You may be surprised I didn’t say blog followers or some other stat. Of course I love followers and looking at my stats on occasion, but I love change and growth. I’m the happiest with my blog when I learn something new and I’m able to apply it to my own blog. It could be in my blog design, a feature I decide to add, or a group project with another blog. If I never change anything and learn new things to make my own blog a better blog, then it isn’t a success to me." Jacinda and Jasmine from The Reading Housewives of Indiana

"Success is such a hard thing to define! At this point I do think that my blog is successful. What I initially wanted to do, and what I still want to do, is to promote reading, and share my love of reading with others. Getting a comment or an email saying, "I found this book because of your review, and I loved it too!" is how I define my blogging success!" Kristi from The Story Siren

"If people are reading it and interacting with me about what I've written, that feels successful to me." Wallace from Unputdownables

"I have to say that I don’t really measure success because my blog is not a business, it’s something I like to do because I enjoy it. I started a blog because I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about books and that is as true today as it was a year and a half ago when I first started. What I *really* love though is when someone has been motivated to go out and buy a book based on my review. I also love getting comments on blog posts full stop which lets me know that people are reading and sharing my enthusiasm for books and reading." Lynsey from Narratively Speaking

"My definition of success has changed as my blog has developed. When it first started “success” was directly linked to how many free books I got. I was a very material blogger. Then it changed to how many followers I have. Now “success” is how much I enjoy blogging, and I find I enjoy it much more when I just relax. Now that I don’t expect 100 comments on every post, I get very excited when I get just 1 or 2. If my blog makes me happy, then it is a success." Enna Isilee from Squeaky Books

"What I believe makes a blog successful is the connection you have with your readers. They are the key to letting you know if you are doing something right or wrong." Yara from Once Upon a Twilight

"If I am having fun with Reading Vacation, then my blog is a success! Sure, all the stats are interesting to look at and keep track of, but that’s not success. In the end, all that really matters is whether or not I am having fun with my blog. And to be clear, I am having way too much fun!" Melina from Reading Vacation

"I define success with regards to my blog by my readers. I don’t count followers as success. I count comments, page views, emails from readers, emails from authors, things like that as success. When someone lets me know that my blog has somehow changed how they feel about reading, I consider myself successful." Katie from Katie's Book Blog

11 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to see this discussion. It's something I've been thinking of often lately. I'm working on my blog to boost it's visibility and network with more bloggers and authors.

    Followers are nice and I always love seeing the numbers change, but I'm 100% with Katie, it's the comments, visits, communications that make me feel like someone is reading :)

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  2. I loved reading what everyone had to say!! I'm so happy to be a part of this great group of bloggers (esp. Lynsey- HI!!! *Waves frantically*). It's so interesting to see the variety of responses.

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  3. Thanks for putting this series together Emily. This was an especially interesting post because it IS something we all wonder about, but seldom ask or discuss.

    I think the prevailing feeling is that it's the interactions with readers, fellow bloggers, publishers, authors etc that make a blog a success. I'm still looking at my blog's numbers/stats because I've only been doing this for about five months. But I have found myself worrying less about that as people have started interacting with me.

    Keep up the good work all of you fabulous bloggers!

    Shelagh
    The Word Fiend

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  4. I love all the different answers. Good job Emily and thank you for including me.

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  5. Great answers! Like a few of the participants, I don't really think of my blog being "successful" or not but more like whether it's connected or not. That applies to both my participation in my individual blog and how I am participation in the general reading.blogging community. I love comments but I like the heartfelt ones from bloggers I go back and forth with more than a quantity. I blog about books because I like words and am, quite frankly, horrible ith numbers so those aren't really a consideration for my blogging. ;O)

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  6. Emily, thanks again for including me! Such a great series -- and I love seeing what everyone else has to say. I think I'm coming to terms with the fact that my work in TV news rubs off on my slight obsession with site stats. They're like the blog equivalent of Nielsen ratings, which are oh-so-important in TV.

    Still, like everyone else, it's definitely the interactions & responses that matter the most to me!

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  7. This post is helpful to new bloggers (like me!) out there. To see what other bloggers have to say about any "blog related" topic, is interesting. I'm learning along the way.

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  8. I love Wallace's simple and to the point answer! :)

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  9. Great discussion topic. I've been thinking about this too, wondering what I define as success for my blog. I really like Wallace's answer; very simple and true!

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