New Season. Same Pandemic. But New Get-Out-There Strategies

Sandra Neily here: Here comes a new season so I’ve got two new goals to get more use out of things I’ve taken for granted.

Goal One: Get out on the first snow, even if it’s only a few inches, and then get more use out of my snowshoes and skis than ever before.

Goal Two: Change up my blog posts so they get a better workout too. Find a way to reuse them, re-tweak them, and repurpose them to reach more people interested in their content.

First: The snow. On only a few inches of lawn, field, or golf course, we can snowshoe. (Long before terrain gets skiable.) Today I’ll share some visual encouragement and some links to find snowshoe places. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. “Just widen your stride a bit, kind of like you’re wearing diapers,” I say. Don’t laugh. That’s all it takes.

Now for my indoor goal. I’m going to write shorter blog posts and then work to get more use out of them. Find more ways to rework or tweak them. Find more publishing and sharing pathways.

A few days ago I treated myself to a Jane Friedman webinar, “Blogging Strategies That Work in 2020.” It was worth every cent of the $25.  She has an amazing free newsletter and her classes are very affordable. Jane’s an expert on the business of writing.

So, for anyone who’s thinking about blogging or for my fellow Maine Crime Writers authors, here ya go: some of Jane Friedman’s blogging advice.


Less than 30% of text gets read. Think I should repeat that. Less than 30% of text gets read.

So……”Online readers are task-oriented. Give them a “call to action” of some kind. (A sign-up or other interactive task.) One-sentence paragraphs are great.

Use headlines: Be literal, specific, clear. Avoid click-bait, cute headlines. Clearly advertise what you plan to say. Use language recognized by your audience. (Ask: what will resonate?) Use numbers and lists (for example: 10 ways to … whatever).

Blogging is good for building greater visibility in a community, building relationships or network; engaging readers & fans and long-term marketing of your books, products and services.

Blogging is good for “Lead Generation.” Lead generation has two important elements:  1. You “get” or understand your reader or target (you’re probably one of them). 2. You can present yourself to that target in a memorable way (persona / voice)

I added this picture because my daughter and dog are always telling me to get off the keyboard and get out there and this is literally out my back door, so,… excuses.

Blogging is often preferred by writers. It’s writing! Fun! (Right?)  It can be more easily repurposed or reused for later publication.

For fiction authors:  Use a literary citizenship approach to blogging content: write a lot about other books or authors in your genre. Do roundups of books that your readers would enjoy (Top 10 Thrillers That Take Place in Prague). Write posts that take advantage of any expertise that informs your work (e.g., forensic scientist writes about interesting cases and research).

Blog content vs Email Content. Blogs: more discoverable, likely to be shared, for anyone, could attract new readership, more timeless/evergreen. Email content: for existing fans (more personal), for the invested, not typically search friendly, timely. There is crossover—and some duplication is OK! “

If you only have time for only one thing? Jane says choose the email newsletter.


ps: Here’s a good article on snowshoeing with kids or people with less stamina for snow or cold. My tips: plan a short loop so you will know you’re always near the indoors or the car, even if your crew does not. Bring thermoses of cocoa, and easy to eat snacks, and something to sit on. (Heavy duty garbage bags are light. With holes made for head and arms, they’re great for extra warmth.) Handle any snow outing like a surprise scavenger hunt. Take pictures of tracks and look them up later. Bring a baggie and collect cool stuff: pine cone debris from squirrels, shelf fungus off trees, bits of fluff from tall plant stalks. Great for indoor art projects!

Sandy’s novel “Deadly Trespass, A Mystery in Maine,” was a finalist in the Maine Literary Awards, a recipient of a Mystery Writers of America national award and a national finalist in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest.. Her second Mystery in Maine novel, “Deadly Turn” is now in Sherman’s Books and on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. She lives in the Maine woods and says she’d rather be “fly fishing, skiing remote trails, paddling near loons, or just generally out there.” Find more info here.

About Sandra Neily

Sandy’s novel “Deadly Trespass” received a Mystery Writers of America award, was named a national finalist in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest, a finalist in the Mslexia international novel competition, a runner- up in Maine’s Joy of the Pen competition, and recently, an international SPR fiction finalist. Sandy lives in the woods of Maine and says she’d rather be “fly fishing cold streams, skiing remote trails, paddling near loons, or just generally out there—unless I’m sharing vanishing worlds with my readers. "
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3 Responses to New Season. Same Pandemic. But New Get-Out-There Strategies

  1. Anonymous says:

    Love this post, Sandy. Plan to put your suggestions to work—for blogging. For now, my new snowshoes and skies will have to wait. Tho’ maybe leaf skiing?


    • Sandra Neily says:

      Thanks, Kate. I always think I will get leaves raked off things that need sun early on …before the first real snow. Not usually, but then I do find grassy places to snowshoe before the skis come out.

  2. Pingback: Messiah. Nutcracker. Blizzards. Butter. And Gratitude. | Maine Crime Writers

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