Writing and the People Who Do It
|Mind and desk equally cluttered.|
I started Writers’ Block back on Nov. 1, 2011, so it is fairly new in the greater scheme of things. It has worked in some ways, and not so much in others. Overall I would say it has been successful. The listening audience is growing, locally and online, and I’m getting the sense it appeals to writers and the general public. I hear comments about how interesting people find the guests and the topics.
Particular favorites include shows that feature books by people who have dealt with traumatic life events like Ron Wootton-Green and Anne Hosansky, whose books are about grief and recovery after the death of a loved one, Cindy Charlton, whose work is in the most recent Chicken Soup for the Soul book, and Madeline Sharples’ book about her son who committed suicide following a long battle with bipolar disorder.
I created the Writers’ Block blog as a way to provide follow up to the programs each week and to talk about writing in general. The program updates include a summary of the on-air discussion and a brief review of the books we talked about. I also include links to the writers’ sites for easy access to more information about their work.
What has worked:
|Tome on the Range contest winners|
Guests. Wow! I can't say enough about the quality of guests I’m getting and their willingness to take time out of their day to talk to me! Amazing. The program isn’t terribly long – only an hour – so each guest gets about 25 minutes of talk time. That’s just enough to hit the high points and allow the writer to shine.
Buy In. Writers’ Block has a sponsor, one that lends weight to the value of the show, and by its sponsorship, an endorsement of its value. Tome on the Range is an indie bookstore in Las Vegas, N.M. with a reputation for carrying the ordinary and the unique, catering to a wide variety of reading tastes. While you can get e-books online through their website, print and paper is the shop’s stock and trade. They can pretty much get anything in print. Customer service, programs for children, reading group discounts and literacy initiatives are key components of their success in a small market. Additionally they have discussion groups about topics related to books that resonate with the public and are trending as topic-worthy across the country and around the world. I thank them for all they do in and for the community. About every four to five weeks a guest from Tome comes up to talk about new reads on the shelves.
Venue. I know there are many internet-based talk shows out there, but I wouldn’t have clue-one how to make that happen. It has to be pretty simple and straightforward for this old gal. Thanks to Joseph and Loretta Baca of KFUN/KLVF Radio, I have a platform, and a pretty darned good one at that. Joseph is the tech guy and I’m (and I love this by the way) the talent. Of course the real talents are the writers I have as guests. The program streams live on the internet, expanding its audience and the reach of Writers’ Block.
What hasn’t worked (at least not as well as I’d like):
Writing prompt challenges: Every two weeks I post a writing prompt on my website and solicit writers to send in submissions. The prize is being a guest on Writers’ Block (call-in or in-studio), reading the winning entry on the air, and the gift of my e-book, Tiger Lilly. Response has been spotty at best, but I’m going to hang in there!
Blog readership growth: Writers’ Block is a package deal in that a writer gets two shots at exposure. The first is of course being on the air, the second is the program summary in the blog, which contains links to their sites. It is largely for and about the writers, and consequently I would love to have “conversations” develop from the posts. Additionally I will be doing other writing-related posts and want feedback from that as well. I’m taking a Writer’s Digest course entitled Blogging 101, which I hope will give me a handle on how to be a more effective blogger.
Am I pleased at the progress Writers’ Block has made since November, a mere six months ago? I’ve learned in life to be grateful for every blessing, and I feel hugely blessed to be where I am today with this show. Do I have goals for the future of the program and the blog? The good Lord gave me a brain for a reason. I intend to put that brain to work on expansion and improvement.
For more about what I do, check out my other blogs, Joy in the Morning and Rambling Prose, and my website, www.vandermeerbooks.com.