This month, the Insecure Writers Support Group are discussing participating in the annual A to Z Challenge for the purposes of marketing, networking, publicity for our books.  The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 times in the month of April, one post for each letter.

I participated in the A to Z Challenge four times. In 2013, I struggled to write all 26 posts on the fly. I had a loose theme of “the writing life” and had fun with it. The challenge was an actual challenge for me to complete. After that, I decided to be more focused with my theme and use the challenge to market my upcoming books. In 2014, I wrote each post about my novel, How To Climb The Eiffel Tower, which was coming out in the fall of that year. It was a good way to get the word out about the novel and get people excited.

In 2015, I wrote my posts around the theme of the  Galapagos Islands. The novel I was working on at the time. That year I gained a ton of new blog followers largely because people were drawn in my all my pictures and the stories I told about my trip to the islands. It didn’t work out that well from a marketing point of view because I didn’t actually have a book to link the posts to. That year, the posts took a tremendous amount of work to prepare and  didn’t feel it was worth the time I put into them.

In 2016, I wrote my posts about my novel, Escape Plan. It helped to have a book that was available to anchor the discussion to. That being said, I felt the whole vibe of the A to Z Challenge had changed. Blogging, in general, had changed. I didn’t have as fun hopping around the other blogs and less and less people seemed to visit my blog and comment.

Overall, I don’t think using the A to Z challenge as a marketing technique is a good use of your time. You may spread the word about your books a little but there are other, much easier ways to do that. If you join the challenge, do it because you want to do it for its own sake. Have fun with it. Meet new people. Challenge yourself to blog every day for a month.