What I Learned from Feedblitz

{This article originally appeared as a guest blog post on the Feedblitz Blog, owned and operated by Phil Hollows. I’m reprinting it this week as a part of my ongoing discussion of earning a living as a writer and preparing for a first book. Check out his link. He’s got a free eBook offer going right now!}

admit it. I’m one of those writers that used to blush when being called
a blogger. My embarrassment was based on stereotypes, of course, and
I’ll confess them here only to prove a point. I didn’t like being called
a blogger because bloggers weren’t artists. Bloggers were in it for the
money and would do anything to make a sale. And if they weren’t that,
bloggers were publishing drip about their personal lives, which I didn’t
care for.

started blogging in 2005, when perhaps those stereotypes had a
percentage of truth to them. I kept my blog to myself, oddly enough, but
as people started to find me and as my short stories and essays earned
recognition, The Writing Life blog started growing
– whether I was ready for it or not. Now more than ever, I understand
that bloggers can’t be boxed in to a single category and that, as a
young writer trying to earn a living, one of the most important things I
can do for my career is identify as a blogger.
Phil Hollows’ List Building for Bloggers e-book changed my entire
outlook. I purchased it because [at the time, I was] an editor for TRACHODON
Magazine and its blog, Cheek Teeth. I figured I
shouldn’t let my stereotypes about blogging get in the way of my
business as an editor. But, wait a minute…didn’t I also have a business
as a writer?

List Building helped me see that as a blogger I am also an
“accidental marketer,” as Phil would say, and that by failing to take
advantage of branding, list building, and email blasts, I was missing an
opportunity to make a name for myself…and maybe even make a little
money for postage and gas. I could still write quality blog posts and
publish short stories I was proud of, but I could also maintain an
active blog and website that offered incentives and literary products to
my readers.
I read the book, twice, with highlighter in hand. I already had the
FeedBlitz “subscribe by email” bubble on my site, but it wasn’t in the
right place and I hadn’t notified my contacts, branded the newsletter,
or paid any attention to its schedule. Following the instructions in
List Building, within a matter of days my email subscribers quadrupled
and, several months later, I still get a few new subscribers each week.
More importantly, I saw the hits on my website increase over the
weekends – when I never post new content – because my subscribers were
taking their time with my weekly FeedBlitz newsletter (which is emailed
Friday mornings) and perusing my blog via click-throughs that FeedBlitz
makes so easy in the newsletter format. Despite my belief that if I
organized my readers through an email list my hits would go down, in
fact, my hits kept going up.
by this experience, I followed the other tips in List Building to a
tee. Most changes were small – including a subscription link in my email
signature, titling blog posts to make them appear readily in Google
searches, dreaming up relevant incentives for subscribers – and within
one month traffic on my site increased by over 35% and continues to
grow. Excited, I set up my first autoresponder, as List Building
suggests. Using an email blast to announce the project, and further
promoting it on the blog and through social media outlets, I launched Monthly Fiction by Katey Schultz, 12 short stories in as many months for
just $12 – a FeedBlitz autoresponder with my branding that delivers one
new short story to subscribers each month for an entire year.
a small operation with a lot on my mind, but List Building for Bloggers
made marketing easy for this non-tecchie writer and helped me gain
confidence that I do have things I can sell. Over the holidays [2 years ago], I even tested
Phil’s suggestion to market by using repetition. I posted one status
update each morning on FaceBook with a quote from my chapbook Lost Crossings. In less than a week, I sold eight copies. We’re not talking
New York bestseller, but that’s eight books that were collecting dust a
week prior and ended up wrapped under people’s Christmas trees.

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