Writing Journey: Part XXII
So here was this giant, hidden Mormon Woman blogging community I knew nothing about even though I'd been blogging for a long time, and the only person I knew for sure who knew where it was, was the woman who'd made the comment on that blog.
And that would be Sue over at Navel Gazing at Its Finest. Ever wonder what sparked her post that asked her readers who their favorite Mormon bloggers were? Um, well, that would be my e-mail to her saying basically, "Who in the heck ARE these people, and where can I find them?!" She said, bascially, I'll ask my readers. So she did.
I didn't even know Sue at the time. Yet Sue is one of those big Mormon women bloggers she was talking about. That's just how in the dark I was.
She got something like 84 comments to that post listing favorite bloggers. Many comments were from people who are not LDS and said things like, "Why is it you Mormon people are so dang funny?" and the like. A lot of the same bloggers' names cropped up several times.
I started blog stalking several blogs. I started commenting. I started clicking from their blogs to brand new ones. I found ones that were good fits for my personality. I added subscriptions to my Google Reader. I deleted ones that didn't feel like good fits even if they were big. For months I felt like I was on a massive treasure hunt to find this secret world I hadn't known existed before and to figure out where I fit in it.
The journey started out as a way to find places to do a blog tour. But it turned into something else entirely. I developed dear friendships during those months, friendships I now cherish. I have had opportunities open up for me. I've shared dear experiences with people. I've learned some of the greatest lessons simply by reading their words and sharing comments with each other.
No wonder there's this giant blog world of LDS women. It's like Relief Society on steroids.
I have no clue if my question to Sue sparked the idea or whether the timing is coincidental, but very shortly after she asked her readers about their favorite Mormon bloggers, she created Mormon Mommy Blogs, and now we have a giant forum and a place where we can go find one another. It's all thanks to her and Motherboard and MomBabe, but there's this teeny tiny part of me that likes to hope I had something with sparking the idea in the first place.
Even though I had created all this great relationships, I still had a blog tour to do. I made a real point of trying to do a tour not all in the same circle. Yes, I knew that some of the stops would overlap. I knew that Erin's and Lara's and Lisa's readerships overlap to some degree, but I was pretty sure that they didn't overlap at all with the LDSWritersBlogck group and their friends, and Annie is in an entirely different circle and so is An Ordinary Mom. And so on.
So I like to think that even if some readers saw several blog tour stops, that there's no WAY anyone saw anywhere near half of them (unless they were deliberately linking over from my blog). Plus, I was just happy that superstar KristinaP was willing to include my book on one of her giveaways, because everyone and their hamster knows her.
Generally with a blog tour, the blogger gets a copy of the book to read beforehand. I knew that my publisher financially wouldn't be able to do that (I had nearly 50 tour stops. They would have laughed me out of the room). So I asked if I could send out PDF files of the book to the bloggers. They were thrilled with that idea (because it was FREE). So that's what we did. It wasn't ideal; it's not so fun to read a book on a screen or use a ream of paper to print it out.
My publisher also agreed to provide 15 copies of the actual book to use as giveaways on some of the bigger blogs. I ended up doing around 22 giveaways, so I gave away some of my personal author copies. I paid for postage on all of them.
I also knew that weekends tends to be the lowest time for blog readership, so I planned my tour stops to hit Mondays through Fridays, with a couple of exceptions when the person doing the stop had to post on a Saturday for whatever reason.
I also ended up with a few people coming to me asking if they could be part of the tour, one of whom was a biggie blogger. Like I was going to say no to that. As a result, there were several days I had more than one person posting about the book at a time.
A week before, I sent out a reminder e-mail to everyone for their week with their dates with instructions. They could do anything they wanted: a review, a Q&A with me (provided I had a couple of days to get answers back to them), or something entirely different. Their creativity was awesome.
Erin lifted some of her favorite quotes from the book. Jenn talked about the memories that the smells described in the book evoked in her. And so on. It was a lot of fun.
Because they all went to so much trouble for me, I felt like the least I could do for their efforts was post when they did and link over to them. So for six weeks straight, I blogged every single day, Monday through Friday (and a couple of Saturdays). It was a serious marathon, but in some ways so rewarding and fun.
Meanwhile, for the previous several months, I'd had friends constantly e-mailing me with questions along the lines of, "Is this the correct usage of lay/lie?" Or, "Which do I use in this sentence, was or were?"
On the LDStorymakers list, similar questions were flying at me all the time.
Finally someone on the list said, "You should just write a book about this stuff so we can all stop pestering you. I'd totally buy it."
The idea was seconded and thirded and fourthed. (If those are words.) :)
I'd thought about doing that exact thing for a long time, but I'd never really gotten around to it. But I was between projects (not that I wasn't always busy). During the blog tour, I started tinkering with a grammar/usage/punctuation book.
Halfway through the tour, I looked at the calendar and realized that the LDStorymakers conference was a month away. And I was teaching a class on grammar and usage. Having a book at the conference bookstore on that very topic might be a good thing.
If I were to write something like that, it would be a self-published venture anyway; I wouldn't expect a traditional publisher to take it and distribute it through regular channels or sell thousands of it. It would be be labor of love, something I'd sell to friends and colleagues at events . . . like, um, conferences.
I got my behind in gear.