Monday, October 15, 2012

The Lemonade Stand


Being a writer is not unlike being a kid with a curbside lemonade stand, hoping that someone will stop by. Best lemonade in town. Yessiree. But hope alone doesn't make cars pull over, or any passersby slow down. So I run around putting up signs all over the neighborhood. And I wave wildly as cars zip past. And nothing.

Such is the writer’s life…at least, this writer’s life.

Of course, I have to preface all this by expressing my sincere gratitude to you for stopping by. My—and every writer I know of not already enshrined on Mt. Olympus—continuing problem is how to get more people to read what I write.

The 200 million or so blogs currently flooding cyberspace all stem from one gentleman by the name of Evan Williams realizing way, way back in the mists of time—August of 1999, to be exact—that a website could be updated by just typing text into a text box. And thus was the Blog Genie released from the bottle.

Writers (like, let’s see…who might we use as an example? Oh, yes…me) using blogs as a variation on the spiderweb, in hopes that having been caught up in one, the reader might want to read more of the writer's work. The internet isn't known as “the web” for nothing. Granted, given all the blogs out there, this offers roughly the same odds of being snared as a single snowflake in a blizzard. It ain’t easy.

Unless this is your first visit, you're probably aware that I do a blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, designed to entice new readers to my books. I honestly believe that getting to know a writer through their blogs can establish some sort of unconscious rapport with them, and that therefore, when looking for something to read, the reader may be more prone to picking up a book by someone they in some way recognize. By posting each blog in several different locations, I hope to reach as many potential readers as possible.

Both writers and kids with lemonade stands have—and need—one trait in common; boundless optimism. The kid is certain you're just dying to try a glass of his lemonade; the writer is sure you've just been waiting to read his books. That the optimism generally is far outweighed by reality does not dampen the optimism.

So here I am again at my little lemonade stand, waving my arms and jumping up and down yelling "Hey! Here I am! Take a look! Try it, you'll like it!" It isn't that, after 20 published books, I don't have...or am not infinitely grateful for...a loyal following. But my pool of readers is, compared to the ocean of potential readers out there, very, very small. There are so very many more readers who have never heard of me or my books...all I want to do is present them with the option to know me and what I write. But there has to be some way to increase the readership of both my blog and books. (I keep seeing posts from bloggers mentioning regularly having 13,952 hits per day or some such, and my mind boggles. If I could just get 10 percent of those hits and the potential book readers they represent...Ah, dreams!)

And the eternal irony for writers, if not for the proprietors of lemonade stands, is that the more time spent trying to attract new readers, the less time there is to write new books.

I am more than open for suggestion as to what I might do to bring in more readers for my books. (But please resist the temptation to say “If you build a better mousetrap...” One metaphor per blog is enough.)

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Is your lemonade naturally squeezed or from powder? Did you make it yourself or buy it from a store? Because at 25 cents, you're asking me to put a great deal of faith into whatever is in that jar. And did you add sugar or is it simply tart? Do you have ice? Is it extra?

Sooooo many things to consider when opening a lemonade stand. Which reminds me, did you get a permit from the city?