Tag: Be a Better Blogger

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Hello, Responsible Reporting

Today, the ebook formally known as Be a Better Blogger published to Amazon, Google, and Smashwords ebook stores. Title—drum roll, please—Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers.

As explained in post “Bye, Bye, Be a Better Blogger“, I launched a 28-day crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to spend two months researching and writing the book. But the campaign lost money and wasted valuable time. You can always get more money, but time is a commodity never regained.

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Bye, Bye, Be a Better Blogger

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which ended at 11:59:59 p.m. PT on February 28. I set a $7,500 goal and raised $135—disastrous, disappointing end to the 28-day effort.

Be a Better Blogger is my fifth non-fiction title, none exceptionally long, published since August 2013. Sales disappoint; being an independent publisher is much more difficult than expected. By crowdfunding, I set two goals: To receive the equivalent of a publisher’s advance and to earn something from my writing efforts. I failed. The only contributors are people I know, while the campaign lost money and wasted valuable time. You can always get more money, but time is a commodity never recovered.

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A Tale of Two Press Releases

As my Be a Better Blogger book crowfdunding campaign winds down, I will document steps taken to achieve the goal, which with eight days to go looks less likely by the hour.

On February 17, I hired a consultant, to offer guidance, do social media shoutouts, and reach out to bloggers and journalists, which includes distributing a press release. I rewrote the PR, nearly 80 percent. I present both versions for your review.

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Lesson Learned about PR Pitches

For my Be a Better Blogger crowdfunding campaign, roles are reversed. I am accustomed to public relations professionals—what many of my peers call flaks (I don’t)—sending me cold pitches about something related to technology. They range from product announcements to corporate news. Now I’m the cold pitcher promoting my money-grubbing requests to support the project. I don’t like how it all feels, but…

I actually archive most of the PR email received, and these messages go back to the 1990s. So my pool of marketing professional return mail addresses is quite sizable. The day after the campaign started (February 1), I pitched back. About 150 of the PR folks got my cold pitch. I kept the outreach to those with whom there had been interaction within 18 months. Their responses exceeded expectations.

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You Live in the Present, Write That Way

If you want your writing to impact, be present. Past tense weakens the narrative and deadens the emotional connection with readers.

Present tense is a weapon, which use raises body counts. Over at the BetaNews, some commenters consistently accuse me of being an overly-emotional writer. I cock my head and laugh, because just the opposite is true. Ambivalence is my feeling about 95 percent of stories, if not more. But accusations persist that I am a killer. For sure—of past tense.

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Anatomy of a Bad Crowdfunding Pitch

Five days ago, I launched a crowdfunding campaign, at Indiegogo, for my forthcoming book Be a Better Blogger. Learning by doing is sometimes a painful exercise, and my progress, or lack of it, is a textbook case of what not to do.

My campaign is off to a much slower start than anticipated, generating just two donations for $60 in contributions. Thank you, both. You’re my heroes. I had hoped the book’s topic would generate interest among bloggers, journalists, and PR professionals at the least. I sent out mass emails to them and contacted family and friends, but too few of the latter.

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Be a Better Blogger

I start off February by launching my first crowdfunding campaign, which seeks to raise money for my forthcoming book Be a Better Blogger. The sorry state of news reporting troubles me, particularly sourcing (or lack of it) and rumormongering—as eloquently expressed four years ago in post “The Difference Between Blogging and Journalism“. Triple B seeks to be a remedy, by identifying the problems and offering tips on writing well and reporting responsibly.

While the title refers to blogging, that is more a naming convention. The book is meant for anyone who wants to write well and responsibly online, applying past principles of good editing, writing, and storytelling to future-now.