This blog post is a bit of a departure from my usual topics of The Gemstone Chronicles, submarines, unusual and mysterious places, and conspiracy theories. Today I want to talk about food blogs!
Why food blogs? As readers of The Gemstone Chronicles know, my lovely and adorable wife Lana has a food blog. It was her foray into the blogging world that prompted me to self-publish my books and embark on my writing efforts. So, I owe food blogs for that inspiration. Besides the inspiration, though, food blogs like Lana’s can teach authors quite a bit.
In the current environment in which we Indie authors exist, we have to be writers, publicists, marketers, social media experts, and many other roles. Such is the life of most bloggers. But, I think food bloggers have a little more to do. What do I mean? Take Lana’s blog for instance. Here is a normal routine for her to get a blog post ready:
- Decide on the recipe. Will it be a theme or a recipe from her childhood?
- Purchase the ingredients
- Do the prep work for the ingredients
- Cook the dish and photograph each step while cooking
- Design the photo shoot, get the props arranged, style the food once the cooking is done
- Set up lighting
- Shoot the food before it dies (a term that describes the length of time before the food loses its desired appearance)
- Process the photos
- Write and edit the copy for the narrative around the recipe
- Post the blog post, send out to social media and email list
- Interact with others on social media to promote and market the blog
I’m sure I missed a step or two in Lana’s process, but you get the general idea. Now, compare that to what an indie author might do when writing a novel.
- Decide what to write about
- Research the book
- Flesh out characters, plot, and story
- Write the first draft
- Either work on a cover or contract it out, but author still has to approve it
- Rewrites and edits until the book is ready for release
- Decide on the platform(s) for publishing (Amazon, Smashwords, etc.)
- Promote, market, and publicize
The processes are very similar, I think, but food bloggers have to do it 2-3 times per week! And there are some extremely successful food bloggers out there. One of the first (and probably the most well-known food blogger) is Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. While Lana’s blog isn’t quite a large as Ree Drummond’s, Lana does get almost 2 million hits per year on her site! Compare that with my blog, where I get 15,000 per year (which I am trying to grow), and you see how much more popular her site is.
I will be taking a few pages from her book, and using some of her promotional ideas and efforts to see how they translate to my blog. As I am trying to use the blog to help promote my books, I can see how more blog traffic spreads the word about The Gemstone Chronicles. I encourage writers to visit food blogs, study how they write their posts, interact with their readers, and build an audience. I do caution authors, though, that they have to be sure to be genuine and not just act like sleazy salespeople. Yes, we all want to sell books, but just selling is a turn off. Be real, get to know your readers (of both your blog and your books), and reciprocate with supporters. Read other authors’ books, and write reviews. Tweet, pin, and post the reviews on Facebook and other social networks. When someone posts a review of your book, post it. This gives readers information about your book, but it also recognizes the effort that someone took to produce the review. And remember, you have to be persistent!
Here are some of the food blogs that Lana visits frequently:
- Creative Culinary (http://www.creative-culinary.com)
- Simply Recipes (http://www.simplyrecipes.com)
- Kayotic Kitchen (http://www.kayotickitchen.com)
- Merry Gourmet (http://www.merrygourmet.com)
- She Wears Many Hats (http://www.shewearsmanyhats.com)
I encourage authors to visit food blogs (and other blogs, too). Read over the recipes (and maybe make one or two), leave a comment (even if it is about the writing), and learn from what the bloggers do.
What food blogs to you follow? Have you learned anything from them? Leave me a comment and let me know! And, if you happen to have made a recipe from Lana’s blog, I would be interested to know how you liked it. As chief taste tester, I like to know that people enjoy her dishes as much as I do!
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