What I’ve Learned in Nine Years of #Blogging #WritingCommunity


Nine years of blogging!

The best thing I’ve learned from blogging is the sense of community. Bloggers come from all over the world and from different walks of life and are from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds. I think that’s what makes each post uniquely entertaining and beneficial from a learning standpoint- plus it’s nice to say I have friends all over the world 🙂

Social entrepreneurs like Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Blog have taught me the value of giving back to the community that supports them.

Inspirational writer’s groups like The Story Empire share a vast knowledge of writing, publishing, and promoting with their readers.

This is from one of my first posts back in 2014- https://jacqbiggar.com/2014/09/22/the-good-the-bad-and-the-formidable/

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Today marks the one-week anniversary of the release of my first-ever book, Tidal Falls.

THE GOOD:

When I began this journey, I did it just to see if I could. It was a childhood dream to one day write a book, sell it to Harlequin, <g> and see my name up in lights.

Two out of three ain’t bad. 

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Along the way I’ve met some amazingly kind and generous people, willing to help the new kid on the block figure out the ropes. I can’t tell you how grateful I am, without them I would have stumbled a lot more than I did.

THE BAD:

I wish I’d done more research into Amazon’s algorithms. Before you publish make sure you find out all you can about subject choice and keywords. They’re crucial to your book’s success.

Amazon has an informational page on this, which I used for my list. However, when I actually started the process and was asked to choose my subjects, virtually none of my choices were available, so I chose the obvious.

Bad move. This puts the book into the broadest categories, which means you virtually disappear into the woodwork.

Thanks to some great advice from a new writer friend, I was able to go back in, change my subjects, and achieve some visibility.

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Make sure you have a social media presence. Yes, this takes time and effort, but in the end it’s invaluable. Everything I’ve read suggests 80% social and 20% selling is the best formula, and I’d have to agree. No one likes something shoved in their faces. So, if that’s your only goal for joining Facebook or Twitter, don’t bother. For myself, I like the connections I’ve made with people in the industry. New friends I would never have met otherwise. I like the sharing of jokes to lighten the day, and the support shown when someone is going through a rough patch. Everyone needs friends, 

🙂

THE FORMIDABLE:

Everyone who reads this blog knows I’m a starch defender of Amazon. I love what they’ve done for the consumer, and for the book industry in general. Coming from a small town, without them, and Harlequin’s reader subscription service, I would have missed out on untold amounts of reading pleasure.

Sure, we have a library, but for me, I like to take my time with books and savor them. I love having the world’s largest bookstore at my fingertips. Heaven.

But from a writer’s standpoint, I’ve run into a few issues that I’d like to share.

First off, I found out to my surprise that each of Amazon’s global networks are independent of the other. I know, I know, I should have expected this, I just never realized the ramifications.

When publishing you’re encouraged to set up an Author page on Amazon. Okay, it makes sense. Thanks to an easy tutorial, I managed without too many difficulties, though setting up an RSS feed for my blog was a stumbling block for a while. For anyone who doesn’t know, just add feed to the end of your URL. Ex: jbiggarblog.com/feed/

The second stumbling block came when I learned I needed wash/repeat these steps in the other hosting countries as well. Once wasn’t enough. For France and Germany, I had to stumble through with no idea if I was doing it right or not.

Lastly, and for me most importantly, they don’t even have an author page in Canada. This is my home, where I wish to shine, and I’m instead having the most issues. If you have a book in KDP Select supposedly you can run Kindle Countdown Deals and still receive 70% of your income, but it doesn’t show as running in Canada and readers can’t take advantage of the deal within our country.

With KDP Select, you can reach more readers, earn more money, and maximize your sales potential. When you choose KDP Select, you elect to make your Kindle eBook exclusive to Kindle. How KDP Select works

Thanks for nine wonderful years of building lasting friendships and inspirational posts to make my writing better.

You are the best!

85 Comments

  1. joylennick says:

    Hi Marsha, First of all, Congratulations! I didn’t realize you lived on Vancouver Island- Lucky lady!! Forgive me if you have heard this before…but way back in 1957 ‘im indoors and I ’emigrated’ to Toronto, Canada and lived and worked there for 18 fascinating months. (Returned, homesick (close-knit families!) to UK but are now retired in Spain (husband’s an adventurer at heart.) We have good friends and family in Vancouver and visited in 1986 (Expo!) and spent a weekend on Vancouver Island and absolutely loved it!! It ‘has it all…’ I so enjoy talking to people all over the world too, Marsha…Cheers! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Toronto is huge, I’d be intimidated, lol- small town girl here. That’s the benefit of living in Victoria, it’s a city with a small town attitude 🙂
      I’d love to visit your Spain one day if I ever get brave enough to hop a plane!

      Like

      1. joylennick says:

        Hi Marsha, As for flying (not of the Unicorn and white horse variety), flying in a plane is easy peasy. I did have a short period of doubt, way back, but a kind doc. gave me a tablet which relaxed me, and it never returned, thankfully. (The anxiety not the tablet…) Good luck, you’ll make it, one day! Meanwhile, your prolific writing is highly commendable! Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lol, love your sense of humor. I’ll keep the tablet thing in mind, thanks!

          Like

  2. Congratulations on 9 years, Jacquie! That’s so awesome. Sorry you’re having issues regarding Amazon and Canada. It sounds worse than here in the UK, where we have plenty of issues too, sad to say. Wishing you every success as you continue. Thanks for the Story Empire shout out … it’s fantastic that you find our posts inspirational. Have a wonderful week 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d heard there were a few publishing issues in the UK, Harmony, not to mention the harmonized tax rules! (is that what it’s called?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At one point Amazon decided all UK authors should be VAT registered. I wrote and told them I’d LOVE to earn the 60K approx needed to be registered! 😂 Eventually, they removed that from our accounts. They assumed because we had to pay VAT on our ebooks we also needed to be registered. At least the UK withdrew the tax on ebooks. I’m not sure what they call the current tax arrangements with the UK … it changes as fast as our chancellors! (Okay, maybe not quite so quickly!). Hugs 🤗💖

        Liked by 1 person

        1. lol. I’m glad they took the VAT off the books. Governments like to tax us for breathing, it seems

          Liked by 1 person

  3. piscitello7 says:

    Congratulations on 9 years! I had no idea multiple Amazon author accounts needed to be created. I also appreciate you sharing your experience with Amazon key words.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy to help, Jill. I hope things are well with you {{hugs}}

      Like

  4. Lady Tessa says:

    Happy Blogiversary!!! 9 years… I’m in awe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was shocked when the notification popped up, Tessa. Where did the time go? lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 9 years well spent! I agree that the sense of community is a terrific benefit. I learn so much and feel the support. Here’s to miles of smiles ahead for you, and the rest of us.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love that, Annette, ‘miles of smiles’ 🙂 Exactly why bloggers are the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mae Clair says:

    Congratulations on your blogoversary, Jacquie! It’s amazing how quickly the time passes, isn’t it?
    I’m sorry about the Amazon hurdle with Canada. It seems there’s always something writers are trying to overcome.
    Thank you for mentioning Story Empire, too. I am so glad you’ve found it helpful. The entire writing/blogging community is wonder to be part of. Here’s to another 9 years and beyond!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s startling how much time has gone by, Mae. I still feel like that nervous, shy new writer working to better my craft 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy anniversary, Jacquie! I’m sorry about the issues with Amazon. I wasn’t aware of that either. Thanks for allowing us to celebrate with you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess no business is perfect, I just wish it was more evenly analyzed and corrected.
      Thanks for stopping by, Jill!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Joan Hall says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! I’ve learned a lot about Amazon from reading your post. And thanks for the Story Empire mention.

    Here’s to another nine years (and more)!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad to help, Joan. The Story Empire is my go-to site to better writing craft, so thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jan Sikes says:

    Congratulations on your Blogoversary, Jacquie! We have all become a community as real as the physical community in which we live. I love my blogging friends and learn so much, as you pointed out. I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I love that they made it possible for anyone to publish a book. I hate that they don’t vet the books in any way. If they had vetted my first book, I would have learned a lot immediately. 🙂 Thank you for the Story Empire mention. I am honored and humbled to be a part of that talented group of writers. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and here’s to another 9 years!! Sending virtual hugs up north!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly, Jan, we ARE a community and I’m not moving! lol
      Amazon has a vetting team who make note of errors, informing not only the author but the reader, as well. However, it’s very sporadic and I think it only works from reader complaints- not always the wisest choice, IMO
      Hugs down south to you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is an uplifting post. There is a lot to learn, but there are also people willing to help. Thanks for mentioning Story Empire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just one of the many reasons writers should join the blogging community- thanks, Craig!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Staci Troilo says:

    I had no idea the different Amazons were so different. (I definitely have not done an author page on each.) As many opportunities as Amazon has given us, there are an equal number of problems to be overcome. But I agree that it’s nice to have so many books at our fingertips. I also agree this community is among the best out there, and I’m delighted to be part of it for many reasons, not the least of which is meeting wonderful people like you. 💕 Despite my technological issues, I’m so glad we have this global network of friends. I’ve learned so much from so many. And I’m honored you find value in our Story Empire posts. Thanks for that shout-out.

    I really enjoyed this “what I’e learned” post. Nine years and only getting stronger! Congratulations, happy anniversary, and here’s to many more!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Staci. Your friendship is one I value and may never have had without WordPress!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Staci Troilo says:

        Likewise, my friend. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  12. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Congrats on your nine year anniversary, Jacquie. Yay! It is an amazing and supportive community that is so giving. Like you, I’ve learned a lot here. Thank you for the Story Empire mention too! 🙂 Sending a ton of hugs xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so grateful for the connections I’ve made with people like you, Denise. You’re genuine, caring, and most of all, kind {{hugs}}

      Like

      1. D.L. Finn, Author says:

        I feel the exact same way about you! Hugs xo

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Kymber Hawke says:

    Congratulations on 9 years of blogging, Jacquie! That is amazing! I love this community, and I think I always will.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad I decided to join the WordPress writers, Kymber. So many wonderful individuals opening their hearts and minds to help each other thrive ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A super post, Jacquie. I enjoyed your insights on Amazon. Thanks for the Story Empire nod. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Story Empire is a key site to visit if you’re at all serious about writing craft. I’m grateful to you and the rest of the team for sharing your wealth of knowledge, John {{hugs}}

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww. Thank you, Jacquie.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. What a lovely little celebration and look back over the past nine years of blogging, Jacquie. I think we started at about the same time. 🙂 And thanks for some of the lessons learned, the highlights, and the pitfalls. I’m so sorry that everything is a harder to do internationally. It seems that Amazon would have streamlined some of the challenges already. Well, here’s to another decade. Lol. Hugs, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s so many tips and tricks to writing, I’m grateful to bloggers like you for showing me the way.
      I hope the next ten years brings us much success (and a movie contract, lol)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL. Oh me too. Wouldn’t that be fun?! Thanks for the lovely comment.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Jaya Avendel says:

    I always love these types of helpful blogging posts! Congratulations on nine years of blogging. May the lessons that come in the tenth year be ever-changing for the better. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that! Thanks for stopping by to check out my site, Jaya 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Happy 9th Blog Anniversary! You posted some great info here, Jacquie, so thanks for sharing. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope some of it is helpful. Thank you, Mary!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Beem Weeks says:

    Congratulations on nine solid years, Jacquie! You have done an amazing job. This latest post is quite informational. Thank you for the work you’ve put in across the years. Here’s to the next nine!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Beem. Blogs are a fantastic way to find information while making wonderful connections- like yours 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Happy blogiversary Jacquie. Thanks for sharing all this. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Teagan. There’s always more to learn, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  20. petespringerauthor says:

    Congrats on your nine-year achievement, Jacquie. I love all your words of wisdom. It’s not like I spend much time on other social media, but blogs are where the fewest trolls reside. (Probably because most people who take the time to read blog posts are educated.)

    I agree with a lot of your thoughts. I know it’s in vogue to trash Amazon, but I love having books at my fingertips too. I also try to support my local bookstores. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. A huge yes to doing nothing but selling on one’s blog. Nothing turns this reader off more than that, and I suspect I’m in the majority with that viewpoint.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are, Pete. I was just mentioning how much I hate feeling pushed into a sale.
      As for blogging, I get a much better connection to a wider audience here than anywhere else. At least blogs allow you to meet like-minded people. Thanks, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. olganm says:

    Happy anniversary and good luck with your new book, Jacquie!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Olga!

      Like

  22. markbierman says:

    Happy anniversary, Jacquie! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and so many others on here, and other platforms. I agree with you on the 80% to 20% ratio, what motivates people is social interactions and connections. I’d say you’ve done extremely well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mark. I dislike authors-or anyone really- who pushes their product down your throat. It’s the easiest way to lose a sale in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Great summation, Jacquie. Nine years! I’d say you’re committed. I agree about much of what you said, especially the community of writers. That’s hard to find anywhere else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad I joined this community!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Christy B says:

    Congratulations on your book release and 9 years of blogging 🥳 You’re sharing your tips to help others and that’s awesome ~ It’s what the writing community is all about. Cheers to 9 more years!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Christy, and for all that you do to help writers succeed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy B says:

        Ohhh you’re a sweetheart, Jacquie! As you know, by giving we get so much in return. It makes my heart happy to help. HUGS

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Stephen Geez says:

    Reblogged this on Stephen Geez Blog and commented:
    Thanks for the ideas ane experiences, Jacquie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for sharing my post, Stephen!

      Like

  26. HI Jacquie, Congratulations on your blogging and book anniversary. I knew nothing at all about social media or marketing when Michael and I published our first book in August 2016. It has been an interesting road. KDP Select is not available here in South Africa either. Amazon is more difficult to benefit from for writers outside the USA, but we still get our books featured on this huge platform which is a plus.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You should do a post on your misadventures with publishing, Robbie. And look how far you’ve come- congrats!

      Liked by 2 people

  27. Kiran says:

    Congratulations on 9 years of blogging ✨🌹☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Kiran. This is a wonderful community!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I’m behind as usual, but catching up. Congratulation on 9 years. I had no idea that you need to have different Author Pages for different Amazon distributions. Your blog post have given us so much to think about. Here’s to many more years.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Michele. I know what you mean about playing catch-up, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Wow, happy blogging anniversary Jacquire, can’t believe it has been 9 full years, going to a decade now, this is inspiring. Congrats🔥🔥🙏🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! It’s been an inspiring journey so far 🙂

      Like

  30. Congratulations on 9 years.♥️♥️
    Can you please tell me how and where can I promote my blogs?
    (I’m new to blogging)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Dusted Shades. The best way to gain a following is to be active on other blogs. You’ll notice a newspaper with Reader next to it on the top left of your blog. You can easily access a wide variety of posts from there. Read what people have to say, comment on their posts and they will come 🙂
      Good luck with your blog!

      Like

      1. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable tip with me. 😇

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Darlene says:

    Congratulations on 9 years of blogging!! Well done. I agree, blogging has been great for me too. The connections have been valuable in terms of support.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The most valuable, in my opinion 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Thanks so much for all this, Jacquie, very helpful! And of course, congratulations on your success!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I hope it helps others trying to navigate Amazon waters 🙂

      Like

  33. Anita says:

    Congratulations on 9 years blogging, all thé best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anita!

      Like

  34. Congratulations on completing the 9 years of Blogging and entering the double digit 💐🌹🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, does that mean I get to relive my teen years? 🙂

      Like

    1. Thanks for the mention!

      Like

  35. aana says:

    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Congratulations! 9 years is amazing!!!!!

    Like

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