Have You Joined The Holy Taco Church Yet? - On Creating A Successful Collaborative Blog
For many authors, group blogs are a fun, relatively easy way to promote their work. And for readers, these blogs can be highly entertaining. There are tons of group author blogs, but the Holy Taco Church might be my new favorite. As far as excellent group author blogs go, the Holy Taco Church has nailed it.
It was started by Kevin Hearne and launched in June, after the idea was conceived a few months ago on, where else, Twitter. Kevin told me the story:
“It is a well-known fact that when writers emerge from their word caves, pantsless and drooling, they want tacos and margaritas and to talk about how delicious they are with other writers. For some reason, Sam Sykes called me the Tacopope one night, then asked the teeming millions on Twitter to Photoshop a pope hat on me made of tortillas and taco fixins. Within five minutes — seriously — a graphic artist from Cincinnati did it and tweeted it to the world. And then there was nothing I could do: It was out there. I was the Tacopope.
But it got me thinking about several things: 1) Many religions are decidedly lacking in fun, 2) Most author collectives are about reading or writing and we've all seen the same posts ad nauseam about developing character or suspense or whatever, and then 3), here's where the ego kicked in: WE COULD CHANGE THE WORLD. Or just be silly on the Internet and make people smile, maybe even make their lives delicious. I thought it would be amusing and perhaps worth our time to promote ourselves a bit differently, sharing recipes and restaurant reviews wrapped in a pseudo-religion focused on the Tacolord and Lady Margarita of the Salted Rim. We would have a good time and then say, ‘Oh, by the way — we also write books.’ I'm a fan of the soft sell, I guess.”
Here are the three main reasons I’m a convert of the Holy Taco Church:
1. The concept
Obviously, the idea of creating a religion based around Mexican food is really appealing (if you love that type of food, which I do.). It’s based on something a lot of people already enjoy, and it’s hilarious.
2. The website design
This is a really important one for me. First and foremost, the website is clean, professional and easy to navigate. This author group is really dedicated to their blog’s theme, right down to the website. The site’s design looks like it could be that of an actual megachurch. The logo, too. At first glance, a visitor might actually be fooled into thinking this is the website for a taco-worshipping religion. I asked Kevin if anyone had mistaken the Holy Taco Church for an actual religion, “Not yet, no. We're pretty clear in the FAQs that we're not a real church. We're more like the Platonic Ideal of a church. Well, probably not even that. But we do think that regardless of anyone's current faith (or lack of it), they can also be members of the Holy Taco Church and make their lives delicious.”
3. The blog
You thought the Holy Taco Church was just a clever front for book promotion? Oh no, these authors actually blog about Mexican food. There are recipes, people. WITH PHOTOS! It’s glorious. I feel like I’d be putting some people (and their surroundings) in danger if I didn’t warn you that the Holy Taco Church blog, dubbed the “Taco Files,” should not be read while hangry.
This is an incredibly well-done group author blog, and not just for the creative concept. Most of the Holy Taco Church blog posts showcase the authors’ personalities and aren’t strictly promotional. They’re pure fun, and I don’t feel like someone is shoving books down my throat while reading them. (Books are delicious, but sometimes readers need a break.) And you can tell the authors don’t view contributing content as extra, unnecessary work. Everyone who is part of the Holy Taco Church clearly wants to be there.
So, do group author blogs work? Is the Holy Taco Church a success for the authors involved? I’m not sure how many of these authors have noticed a spike in sales since the site started, but as a reader I can tell you that I’ve 100% bought books from authors based on their personalities and how they portray themselves online. If I enjoy an author’s social media presence or blog, and they make me laugh or smile, then yes, I will most likely buy one of their books (let's be real here, probably the cheapest one). Have I read any books by Kevin Hearne? Not yet, but I’ve bought two because online, he is delightful. So hopefully his books are, too.
Now excuse me while I go eat a burrito.
Have you discovered the Holy Taco Church yet? What's your favorite collaborative author blog? Let me know in the comments.