Thursday, March 6, 2014

If you like #blogging , join the #AtoZchallenge and #AZchat !

 Today, we have Jemima Pett from #TeamDamyanti tells us about how to make the most of the A to Z Challenge.
So, you’re still wondering whether you can do the A to Z Challenge.  What on earth are you going to write about?  Will anybody read it?

Yes, loads of people will read it.  We pick out interesting-sounding names on the list, or work through the numbers, hoping to find things they wouldn’t normally read.  I find amazing crafts, weird games and fascinating journeys. 

In 2012 I was fairly new to blogging. I stepped right into the Challenge and loved it. So A to Z challenge is a great way to jump-start your blog if you're new to the blogging world.
I’d not long published my first two books and I thought an A to Z of my books’ world would be great.  It was... for me and a handful of people who were up with my stories.  I realised this last year, when I visited people doing character interviews: if your visitors are new, they don’t know your stories, they don’t enjoy the wonderful extra information and insights you’re giving them.  Making an A to Z of my world was good for me, but not my visitors. 

I also did an A to Z of food on my guinea pigs’ blog, George’s Guinea Pig World.  This was more successful, once visitors had got over the shock of having my guinea pig Victor talking to them.  Food is a universal subject. Victor made lots of friends, too, and I think he enjoyed it. Try to choose topics that will have an appeal wider than your niche. If you have a theme, sign up for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal.
In 2013, I participated with just one blog; I did all the posts in advance and gave myself time to tour round other people’s blogs.  If you have superfast broadband you won’t realise that some blogs can take ages to load for slower systems.  Getting round 20 blogs could easily take me an hour and a half, without the time needed to leave comments and dealing with CAPTCHA.  That’s where I realised the value of keeping posts short, and also having identities on Blogger and WordPress so I was always logged in for comments. 

TURN CAPTCHA OFF. Go and check now on your blog if you have it on-- some bloggers have CAPTCHA and don't realize it. It turns off vistors like nothing else.
During the Challenge people like to visit, wave (i.e. comment or like) and move on.  In 2013 my short stories ranged from 50 words to 2000.  It’s good for regular posting but too much for the Challenge. Keep AZ posts short. Respond to comments you receive, and go and comment back. 

There will be two Challenge chats at #AZchat on Twitter today-- one at 1-3 PM hosted by AZ co-hots Pam Margolis and her team, and another at 8-9 PM, hosted by Guilie Castillo Oriard with support from #teamdamyanti, discussing Commenting during the A to Z Challenge. Join in!
This year, I’ll be blogging on a special theme, to be revealed for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal.  I’ll also be revealing the cover of my new book, Bravo Victor, on April 2nd.  Come and check it out at and enter the Giveaway, too! If you have a book or any cause to promote, do it during the A to Z Challenge in order to get a good response.

Are you pre-scheduling your AZ posts? Do you have a theme? Are you already visiting other bloggers from the A to Z Challenge signup list?


JoJo said...

Oh I just thought of a couple other tips.....this post kinda reminded me because the font is so small I can barely read it. I have noticed some blogs with colour schemes that make it very hard to read because of the letters being too light and the backgrounds not being a good fit. Also, if font sizes could be a bit bigger so us old folk don't have to squint or use magnifying glasses!!!!

Jemima Pett said...

Yes, I was quite surprised, JoJo. I find sometimes blog templates do things that you don't expect, and it may not be under the blogger's control. You could check whether your browser offers you a 'quick enlarge' feature. I use Firefox, which lets you increase the font size with a [ctrl+ +] and reduce it with [ctrl+ -]
Sign up for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal Blogfest

Vidya Sury said...

Yay! Jemima! Such gold-plated advice. I am in awe of you! You do so much it is amazing ♥
So sad I won't be able to join the second AZchat :-( I'll be busy cooking in the kitchen to pack lunch boxes!

Ah I had to enlarge the font on this page to read it. Visually challenged! :D


Calling all A to Z Challenge participants to sign up for the Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good advice!
Yeah, font is really tiny for me as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for visiting! Hope the night chat is just as successful!

Sabrina A. Fish said...

Yes, getting all your posts ready before hand is a MUST! Having 2 blogs going just seems like too much time and work, though. This is all great info. Thanks for sharing!

Rob Z Tobor said...

I have all my text done for the A to Z but getting the pictures complete will be a close call, even though they are simple drawings it takes time and life is full of other stuff to do.

Rob Z Tobor

Jemima Pett said...

Drawings, Rob! I like the sound of that. :)

Jemima Pett said...

Do you think it might have been posted from Word? I know Blogger can react badly to that.

Jemima Pett said...

The posting is ok, but the visiting and comenting gets more difficult. I could only really visit from my own blog - Victor went to the ones that looked like other animals, but there were only a few that year. I gather there will be more animal blogs taking part this year :)

Unknown said...

hi I had signed up to do this challenge but have had issues *health wise* is it too late to join in?

Anonymous said...

Great advice, Jemima, especially the "keep it short" and "write 'em in advance" tips! I bet your guinea pig posts were a hoot--what a great idea:) Can't wait to see your big REVEAL!!!

WriterlySam Join the A to Z Theme Reveal Party!

Anna Tan said...

Great stuff, Jemima!
I'm planning a giveaway through April - hopefully!

Have a theme for A to Z? Reveal it with us on March 21 during the #atozreveal!

Tina said...

It's not too late! We begin April 1! Glad you're signed up. If you wrote us and asked to be taken off, make a firm decision, and then if you're a go, sign up again.
I have multiple health issues as well. I find doing the A-Z really lights up my life, gives me a purpose, and is just plain so fun!
I highly encourage you to give it a try.
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Anonymous said...

I didn't even realize that you could schedule your posts ahead of time and it won't be considered "cheating"... good to know! I'll have to get on that this week. :)

Tina said...

Simply excellent advice! I continue to be impressed with our crew of minions this year. Here's a big shout out to all of you out there, whether you're an AZtech, an ambassador, or Tina's Terrific Team or on one of the teams whose name doesn't come to mind right away, hats off to you!

I would like to add one thing, as a co-host: having all your posts done ahead of time is NOT a requirement, just a suggestion. We're just trying to maximize your visiting time, which is the key to a successful A-Z. The more you're out there exploring, the more people will come to you.

Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Jemima Pett said...

For some reason the 'reply' button is refusing to work for me today - but I'd like to thank everyone for commenting. :)

Join the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal Blogfest

G. B. Miller said...

I have about 98% of my blog posts prewritten on NotePad (no Word just yet as the finances are quite there at the moment), so I'll copy and paste within the next week or so. I do have a theme, which I will deviate but twice from (the letters Y & Z are the toughies) during the challenge.

However, I will make a genuine effort to visit some of the blogs throughout the challenge.

Anonymous said...

I'm half way through visiting the blogs on the sign up list. It's asking some time!
Thursdays A to Z chat was awesome. When's the next one?!

Anonymous said...

You can always check the plain text version of the post before you post to see if there is any code/html that's messing around with the formatting. I have to do that with wordpress from time to time.
But then I use firefox too and increase the font of a lot of sites because my brain can't always deal with regualr font size.

Anonymous said...

You should try Open Office. It's free, it's good, more features than wordpad and you can save in all sorts of formats that Word use like .doc and .docx :)