A New Blogging Schedule – More Quality, Less Quantity

I want to start of this post by thanking the experienced bloggers in this community for offering advice.

I’ve been facing a bit of a dilemma. Since February of this year, I have aggressively sought to beef up my blog. I’ve scheduled at least three posts per day and have reblogged many of the valuable posts that come into my inbox every day from so many of you.

This has resulted in significant growth of the blog and I have met a number of wonderful people. In addition, I believe I’ve been able to help a number of talented authors gain some exposure through interviews. I’ve also tried to share what I’ve learned along this writing journey and my ability to publish seven books in the past 2 1/2 years.

You’ve heard me lament about having a day job (that pays the bills) and how limited my time is. While I’ve been building up this blog and attempting to be super responsive, two things have happened, my writing has suffered as I use up some of the allocated time. Also, I have found myself inundating my followers with many blogged and reblogged posts each day.

With that being said, I am not abandoning this blog at all. Instead, I’m going to be focusing on quality and reducing quantity. To do this (and because I’m a geek) I’m setting up a schedule. That way, if you enjoy certain features of my blog, you can look forward to them on certain days. I’m going to begin this new schedule on Monday, but, beginning tomorrow (Saturday) I will begin posting one quality post per day instead of my normal three.

Other changes that I am making is cutting back on pushing my own work. You won’t see promotional posts from me unless I’m running a giveaway, a new release is coming out, or something special is happening with regard to my writing.

Further, instead of going through all of the blogs that I follow first thing in the morning and reblogging posts in a fury of activity, I’m going to be spreading them out throughout the day.

I’m going to see what these changes do to the metrics of my blog. I suspect that I may even pick up more followers if the quality is there. Here is the schedule that I hope to maintain:

  • Monday – Author Interview (20 Questions)
  • Tuesday – Book Review (More in-depth than the ones I’ve been posting)
  • Wednesday – Author Interview
  • Thursday – Writing Tip
  • Friday – Author Interview
  • Saturday – Serial posting (I already have another one ready to go after Road Kill and I enjoy doing this even though the readership is somewhat low)
  • Sunday – Indie Author/Publisher News

I may stick in some jokes here and there, but that is the revised blog posting schedule.

Again, I appreciate your feedback and, based on how this goes, I may adjust the schedule again in the future. The 20 Questions author interviews are currently lined up at a pace of three per week until October. After that, I’ll be coming up with a new way to help my fellow authors.

Thanks again for your help and guidance.

Time Management and Blogging – My Strategy

Blog

I have had a blog on WordPress for the past two years or so. I started the blog to coincide with the first published writing that I produced. That first year, I didn’t take the blog very seriously. I just used it as a place for announcements about my work with very little other meaningful content. I followed a few others that followed me.

Last year, I was a bit more active. I began sharing information about my experiences with independent publishing in some formalized tips. The participation was sporadic and my efforts resulted in minimal followers.

Beginning in February, I really started to put in some effort on the blog. The results have been good.

Even though I would consider myself a novice at blogging, I am a project manager by trade so organizing tasks is something I’m very familiar with. Those of you that follow me may have noticed that I try to post three blogs today at about 8AM, 12 Noon and 2PM Eastern US time. I have been doing this even though I have a day job that requires travel just about every week and about 50-60 hours of time.

So, even though I’m a newbie, I’ve been able to apply some project management and time management principles to my blogging that just might help you out. I also look forwrd to your suggestions on what you do to manage the time involved in having a happy, healthy blog.

1. Reading, liking, and commenting on the blogs of others

I follow about 230 blogs. I quickly found out that this was overloading my inbox. The reason for this was because I had every blog post set to update me instantly. I went through all of them and made sure that I selected the daily notification option so that I started receiving one digest of each bloggers post each day. To do this, you simply go into the WP reader and select Manage.

Manage blogs following

You can then select each blog and choose the Daily option:

daily digest

This results in a daily email for each blogger that you follow that you can work through in your email inbox.

It helps that I am a morning person. I’m usually up at 5:30 AM each morning. After that first cup of coffee, I start working through each daily digest and I view every single blog post.

Luckily, not all 230 blogs that I follow posts every day. There are usually about 100 digests waiting for me and I enjoy going through them. I comment on many. I reblog about 5-10%. and I try to like every single one.

A word about reblogs; I do see a lot of repeat posts in the form of reblogs. I usually try to comment on the original blog and like the reblog. When a blogger reblogs a post from a blogger I don’t follow, I will look at the original blogger’s posting history and may or may not follow them as well. I’ve become more selective because of the sheer number and my desire to devote attention to each one.

Going through my emails takes about 90 minutes each day.

2. Posting blogs regularly with organized, useful content

I promised myself that if I was going to actively use my blog as a platform to supplement my writing, I wanted to accomplish a few things. First, I wanted to help other authors. Second, I wanted to promote my own work, but not in a blatant, spammy way. Finally, I want to engage with other bloggers through discussion.

For the first objective, I’ve been trying to regularly post tips and tricks that I’ve used to navigate independent publishing. Everything from mechanics, quality, promotion, etc. are discussed in my posts. I’ve also started posting author interviews. I am currently on a pace to post three author interviews per week.

In order to promote my own work, I’m doing the usual things and some things that are slightly different. I tell people about my books. I’m trying to limit this and do it indirectly by relaying behind the scenes information or excerpts. I’m also putting content in my blogs. I had the idea in the shower one day to write some serialized fiction on my blog in the tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I launched my story Road Kill which has new installments each week.

Finally, I’m using things like book reviews, social commentary (rarely) and humor for pure enjoyment and discussion.

This is a lot of content and requires organization so that it doesn’t get stale and repetitive. To accomplish this, like a good geeky project manager, I’ve set up a schedule to make sure that I can plan out my content for each day. Here is a sample of what it looks like.

schedule

You can see, that some of the content is fairly definitive, like the interviews, but others are yet to be determined. You’ll also notice that many of them have placeholders for things like reviews and tips that will be filled in later. Finally, You’ll notice that I have a status of pending, scheduled, and posted. The ability to schedule in advance on WP has made this all possible for me. I’m sure that many of you are already aware of how to do this, but just in case, I’ll put up a screen shot:

advance

Once you select a date and time, the ‘Publish’ button will become a ‘Schedule’ button. You simply schedule it and your post will be published on the day and time you selected.

I hope this has been helpful. Some of the more experienced bloggers that read this might feel the urge to pat me on the head and say that they’ve been there and done that.

That’s fine. I’m doing the best that I can based on my experience and what I know. Hopefully this will start a sharing conversation where we can all benefit from the vast experience that is out there.

 

 

What does my blog want to be when it grows up?

If you’ve been following my blog lately, you’ll see that I’ve really kicked up my activity level. I love to write anything and everything. I’ve also discovered that you can schedule posts ahead of time on WordPress, so watch out.

I’m going to try to stick to six categories for my blog. We’ll see how that goes. These categories will be Indie Author Tips (the original purpose of the blog), Promotion of my books (I’ve gotta eat), Funny stuff, Actual writing (I’ve got the Road Kill story going right now), some type of feature (I’ve been posting information about famous crime/fiction writers, but I’ll eventually run out and have to switch to something else), Book reviews (I’m going to post books by lesser-known and famous authors and mix in some classics), and finally, I’d like to start interviewing other authors (We can learn from their journeys and struggles).

If you’re an author that would like to be interviewed, please let me know. You’ll help me launch this part of my blog and get some exposure along the way.

Like everything else I do, I’m all in with this blogging thing, so why don’t you come along and we’ll see how it turns out?