Today, I’m pleased to announce that our guest is none other than blogger extraordinaire, Sally Cronin. I know many of you are familiar with her hugely popular Smorgasbord blog, and will really enjoy this very interesting and entertaining post from her today. So … *clears throat and says “ahem” several times* … Welcome to The Write Stuff, Sally. The floor is all yours! 🙂
Thanks so much Marcia for this wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts on blogging as I celebrate the 7th anniversary of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine.
Although I started my first blog in 2012 it was very hit and miss until October 2013 when we were back home in Madrid after an absence of a number of years looking after our parents.
There was a great deal to do in the house to repair and renovate before putting the house on the market, and blogging for me was a creative outlet with my books on hold for that year.
Previously I had published a monthly health newsletter for subscribers, which had evolved to include other elements including short stories and humour. I wanted to recreate this in a magazine style blog, and also provide myself with a platform to promote the books I had published so far. I was in search of a title that hinted at food and also variety, and that is when a film I had watched many years before came to mind.
The Prize, from 1963, starring Paul Newman and Elke Sommer, was set in Stockholm for the Nobel Prize awards. On the way from the airport in a taxi Paul Newman asked Elke Sommer if she was married…. Her reply was ‘Why have one when you can have Smorgasbord’… that line popped into my mind and Smorgasbord Blog Magazine was born. Apart from the film reference, I had enjoyed Smorgasbord buffets over the years with their wonderful array of different dishes and I hope that the Swedes will forgive me borrowing the name.
At first my focus was health, views on life in general and humour. After a few months I realised that if I was going to build a productive marketing platform for my own books, I would need to broaden the scope to include other authors and become part of the writing community online. Smorgasbord Café and Bookstore was debuted in June 2016 and has grown from 10 authors to over 150 on average on display, with an estimated 800 books and a recent review within the last six months.
Having the Cafe with regular updates and new book promotions was a good start, but the next step was to build effective social media platforms to boost them. I decided to focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn which I was already a member of from my previous career. The cross over between readerships of those platforms then was minimal at that time, so I felt I was reaching a wider audience for the promotions.
Recently I passed my first million views which was cause for celebration, and it also encouraged me to review the direction the blog is heading in the next seven years.
Firstly I must pay tribute to those who have supported me in reaching this milestone.
I could not have achieved those million views without the support of incredible friends who have made amazing contributions to the content of the blog, and enabled the fulfilment of my dream of a magazine style blog.
Jazz singer, musician and composer William Price King has entertained us with the music of the great musicians of the last 50 years since 2014.
Carol Taylor who lives in Thailand has been sharing her culinary expertise in the Cookery Column for three years.
Non-fiction Canadian author D.G. Kaye has informed and entertained us with the Travel Column and more recently the Relationship Column since 2018.
Author Jessica Norrie shared some wonderful books for two years in the Literary Column
Master baker Silvia Todesco has tempted us with the Italian Cookery Column for the last two years.
Over the years there have been some wonderful regular guest writers bringing their expertise and skills to the blog including Robbie Cheadle, Joy Lennick, Linda Bethea, Paul Andruss, Daniel Kemp, Wendy Janes and Sarah Calfee
The other area of support that is without a doubt a reason I am still here, is from those who tirelessly log on to read posts, to comment and share on social media. As an audience they are outstanding and many have been motivating me from the beginning, and I am so delighted to have formed friendships that sustain and inspire.
So have I got the seven year itch?
I am not ready to call it quits just yet as I feel I have a few more years left in me before they drag me kicking and screaming away from my keyboard. Also I don’t do boredom very well and would be sure to get up to mischief if I was not gainfully occupied with the blog.
I did feel however that it was time to bring in some elements to add new look and feel to the blog. For example, in the last two months the Children’s Café and Bookstore has got off the ground and has grown from the original 17 authors to 31 with more being added in the next few weeks. Children’s books are so colourful and hopeful and that is definitely something we can all us about now.
I am going to make some more tweaks in the next few months and look forward to what the next seven years might bring.
The gift that keeps giving.
For me blogging is about people and the gift of friendship. If it was not for the relationships that have developed over the last seven years I would not still be here, and would certainly not be considering continuing.
I have met a few people that I regularly communicate with face to face, but the majority will always be online. But that doesn’t matter as the warmth and support is as real as any offline relationship, and as important, especially when life is not going as well as it might. This last eight months has been an excellent example of how we can suddenly find ourselves isolated from the world and in need of daily contact to stay mentally and emotionally healthy.
At any time night or day, there is always someone to chat to around the world. Who would have thought, even 7 years ago, that one day we would be able to ‘chat’ to someone in Australia or Thailand at breakfast time as they end their day, and then 10 hours later, someone in California as they begin theirs.
Here is an image that is a tribute to just a handful of those whose support I value so highly in this online world of ours.
About Sally Cronin
After a career in customer facing roles in the hospitality, retail, advertising and telecommunications industry, I wrote and published my first book in 1999 called Size Matters, about my weight loss journey, losing 150lbs in 18 months. This was followed by 13 further fiction and non-fiction books, including a number of short story collections.
My aim was to create a watering hole on my blog to provide a wide number of topics to chat about…..This year in September 2020, Smorgasbord in its current format, celebrated its 7th anniversary.
As important as my own promotion is, I believe it’s important to support others within our community. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog, linked to my social media.
Having lived a nomadic existence most of my life, I am now settled on the coast of Wexford in Southern Ireland with my husband of 40 years, enjoying the odd sunny day and the rain that puts the Emerald in the Isles.
My Latest Book – Life’s Rich Tapestry
Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.
Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.
This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.
A Selection of Other Books
Café and bookstore book promotion: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/
Children’s Café and Bookstore: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-childrens-cafe-and-bookstore-free-book-marketing/
Thanks again Marcia for your kindness and support it is always appreciated…❤