Blogging for Money By Self Publishing a Book

Thumbnail-CoverMarti Lawrence from Enter the Laughter has emailed me to tell me of a new money making venture he’s been experimenting with – self publishing a book.

The book – Queen Klutz – is a collection of humorous and inspirational stories which fits pretty well with Marti’s blog.

She’s chosen to publish it through Lulu where it’s available either for download or print.

I’ll be interested to follow how sales go as its a good example of someone attempting to find indirect ways of making money from blogging.

I think the key for success with the blog/book approach is to build a readership on your blog first and then to do some clever cross promotion. I’ve seen a few people attempt to launch books and blogs at the same time and I’m not sure that it’s worked too well.

Random Reflections on The 24 Minute Documentary

I’m watching the new Techcrunch 24 Minute Documentary on Web 2.0 at the moment and find myself reacting in a whole heap of ways (most of them conflicting). Let me spit them all out and see what we get (warning – no guarantees that this is going to make any sense):

  • There’s that green color again….
  • American males everywhere – is Web 2.0 just a boys and their toys thing???
  • Nice to see and hear some faces and voices to names….
  • Bubble Schmubble – I think there could be a bubble of people talking about whether there’s a bubble….
  • Video definitely adds something to blogs….
  • What is that music? For a while there it sounded slightly porno (from what I’ve heard about porn music) and then I thought it got slightly trance/meditative like. By the end I was just annoyed by it….
  • Web 2.0 certainly has a lot of jargony words and cliches….
  • Lots of sensible stuff was said….Lots of what was said contradicted what else was said – is Web 2.0 definable???
  • I’m not really sure I care what Web 2.0 is – I just care about good useable products that make my life better….
  • If when you finish watching it you drag the slider backwards and forwards the guys all merge into one and you notice just how much of them speak with their hands and how most of them are wearing plain colored button up shirts (quite a clean cut looking bunch)…..

10 Tips on How to Be Interviewed

Yesterday I wrote a series of tips on how to ask for an interview for your blog. Today I want to focus on how to handle being interviewed as a blogger.

Over the past few years I’ve been interviewed in numerous ways as a result of my blog including on TV, for newspapers, for other blogs, for private newsletter groups and for books and other e-resources. Most of the following tips will cross most of these types of interviews but I’m mainly focussing here on tips for being interviewed by another blogger for their blog.

1. Decide Upon an Objective

One of the biggest lessons I learned from my one TV interview was that unless you go into an interview (of any kind) with some sort of objective to achieve – it’s very easy to come out of them with little or no benefit.

The person doing the interview will have their own set of reasons for wanting to interview you (perhaps its just to get free content, perhaps they want to ride on your coattails or perhaps they are hoping you’ll link to them – but it’s worth considering what your own hopes are for the interview also.

Ask yourself some of the following questions before you tackle the interviewers ones.

  • What will your main message be?
  • What action do you want people to take as a result of reading your interview?
  • What parts of your blog do you want to drive them to?

Once you’ve determined these things you’ll be much better prepared to answer the interview question in a way that not only meets the objectives of the interviewer but that also meets some of your own.

2. Research Your Audience

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Building Blog Community by Setting Homework For Readers

HomeworkA month back I finished a post on how to increase your blog’s page views with the tip of ‘give your readers a homework assignment’.

I included it as a tip based on what I’d been experimenting with for just one week – it was really an unproven tip based largely upon a hunch.

I thought it was time to expand the tip as I’ve continued to set homework for readers, especially on my digital photography school blog and in the last couple of weeks have been quite amazed by the results. Below I outline the benefits of setting homework for readers.

Firstly here’s how I’ve been doing it:

  • Each of my assignments is based upon a ‘tips post’ I’ve written on DPS.
  • At the end of each tip I point to an assignment thread over at the DPS Flickr Group.
  • The Assignment thread links back to the tips post that the idea for the assignment came from.
  • Assignments are simply an invitation for readers to take the concepts in the post and practice them – sharing the results of their photos in the Flickr group (it’s not rocket science).

Benefits of Reader Assignments:

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How to Get and Conduct Interviews for Your Blog

Yesterday I began a short series of post on ‘Blog Interviews’ that started off by looking at some of the benefits of using interviews on your blog and why it’s good to be interviewed on other people’s blogs.

Today I want to swing my attention to the topic of how to get people to agree to be interviewed on your blog. I’ll also include a few tips on how to conduct them.

1. Introduce Yourself

One of the dangers of reading another person’s blog everyday over time is that you can easily become overly familiar with them, to the point where you feel that you know them very well when in reality they have no idea who you are. Don’t assume that the person you wish to interview will know who you are unless you’re sure that they do.

Get in touch with your potential interviewee with a friendly, polite and brief (see below) email that outlines your request but which also gives them a brief introduction to who you are and how you know of them. If you’re a reader of their blog mention this (don’t lie – I’ve caught people out), if someone else recommended them mention that etc.

Don’t get into false flattery but if you genuinely admire them or something that they’ve done mention that briefly. All of this puts your request into some sort of context.

2. Outline How and When the Interview Will be Used

One of my most frustrating interviewee experiences was when I put numerous hours into being interviewed by another blogger (who asked too many questions and was very demanding along the way) only to find that he never published my interview until 9 months later.

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Huffington Post Secures $5m VC Funding

The New York Post is reporting that The Huffington Post has just raised $5 million investment to help take it to the next level.

Find Out if You’re a REAL ProBlogger

200608081539Are You a ProBlogger?

Here’s a Quiz to Find out for Sure!

What did you score?

PS: In actual fact it’s me testing the wbquiz plugin – don’t take it too seriously :-)

How to Leave a Positive Impression on Other Bloggers Through Comments

Lorelle has been doing some great blogging recently and her latest titled How NOT to Comment on Comments has a lot of wisdom in it. She outlines 5 main ways to make your comment count when you leave it on someone else’s blog:

1. Say Something Intelligent
2. Ask Something Intelligent
3. Write Something Intelligent
4. Add to the Conversation
5. Your Comment is a Mini Resume

I particularly like her last point where she writes:

“Your comments on this blog, and many others, are published with your name and blog URL on them, if you include them. When people click your name, they visit your blog. Your comments are little representatives of you and your blog.”

I’ve written previously about how every post on your blog has the potential to add to or take from your goals and objectives as a blogger – the same is true for the comments you leave on other people’s blogs also.

I suspect a lot of people leave pretty random comments without much thought to what they’re saying and the impact that their words might have on their own reputation.

Don’t just leave comment for the sake of it or because you’ve heard it will help you promote your blog.

A lot of people say leaving comments is a great way to raise your profile. There is truth in this, however they can also hurt you if you don’t put some thought into them and use make them intelligently.

I know both as a blogger and a comment leaver that comments can be a very powerful tool – their impact can leave a lasting impression on others both in a positive and negative way. Use them carefully!

Update: for a related post see Liz’s on 10 Reasons Readers Don’t Leave Comments on Your Blog

How to Use Interviews On Your Blog

InterviewIt’s time for another reader question…

Eric Allam from 52 Reviews asks:

Hey Darren… I’ve read many an interview from problogger, and I was wondering if you had any tips for getting people to agree for the interview?”

Thanks for the question Eric – it’s a good one and something I’d been meaning to touch on for a while now. I’ll attempt to answer it from my experience both as someone who conducts interviews on my blogs but also as someone who is interviewed from time to time.

I actually want to break the topic of interviews on blogs into a three part series over then next few days. The three posts will cover:

  1. Why interviews are a good idea for blogs
  2. How to approach others for interviews for your blog
  3. How to be interviewed as a blogger

Let’s briefly tackle the first one now.

Why are interviews good for blogs?

I’ve used interviews at numerous times on a variety of my blogs and have found them to be really useful on a number of fronts:

‘Free’ Content – one of the reasons I’m sure many bloggers use them is that they are relatively ‘easy’ (once you’ve actually secured the interview). While you do need to put some effort into thinking up good questions – the interviewee actually does a lot of the hard work.

Give a Perception of Connectedness – I can think of a number of occasions where new bloggers came on my radar as a result of an interview that they did with someone that I respected or admired. Getting a high profile person to agree to an interview can lend a degree of legitimacy to your blog.

Added Expertise – a benefit of interviewing someone who knows what they are talking about on a given topic is that they added a certain level of perceived expertise to your blog (and you). I’ve seen a number of interviews over the years where the interviewer came off very well by demonstrating their knowledge of a topic by the type of questions that they asked and by the two way conversation that resulted.

Impress Your Interviewee – demonstrating your own expertise (see last point) and being a pleasure to work with as an interviewer can win you a lot of brownie points with your interviewee. If they are someone who is well connected this can open up a lot of opportunities for you. I remember listening to some of the early interviews that Mick and Cameron did on the G’Day World Podcast and marveling at the doors that seemed to open up to them just through the relationships that they formed with key people in the time that they interviewed them.

Why are Interviews good for Interviewees?

Of course it’s not just a one way street. Interviewees also benefit from the exchange:

New Readers – the most obvious benefit of being interviewed is that you have the opportunity to be exposed to new potential readers for your blog.

Perception of Being in Demand – you can make a little too much of this but there is something about being featured in an interview on another blog that adds a perception of you being in demand. Like I say – don’t pump yourself up too much about this or someone will knock you right down – but it doesn’t hurt to mention it from time to time on your blogs.

Perceived Expertise – similarly, when you’re interviewed on a topic it can add to your own credibility and legitimacy as an expert on the topic. Of course if you’ve got nothing to say on the topic it can also expose you as being a fool!

Tomorrow I’ll looks at answering the meat of Eric’s question in a post on How to approach others for interviews for your blog.