Authors nowadays are expected to maintain a blog, as there are many benefits associated with blogging, including promotional and marketing perks. Of course, there are others, too, and today a guest of mine is going to delve into them in-depth.
Please welcome Linda Craig to Laying It Out There, and seriously consider what she has to say about blogging when you are a writer. She makes some great points!!!
Please also check out her post on Wording Well: 8 Great Writing Tools to Keep You Motivated to Write.
Take it away, Linda!
“Real” writers are not usually associated with blogging. They leave the marketing aspect to professionals, thinking that’s the best way to get their work promoted in front of a greater audience. They are wrong. Many novelists have realized that they can connect with their readers through blogging. A blog doesn’t limit them within the project they are currently working on. They get to write about every idea that crosses their mind.
There is no point in being a snob and thinking that blogging is for an inferior category of writers. As it turns out, novelists and short story authors have a great potential to make the blogosphere a better place. Neil Gaiman, Meg Cabot, Bruce Sterling, Seth Godin, and many other acclaimed authors maintain their own blogs. Of course, these are not the usual blogs you would encounter through a random online research. Writers should have a different strategy, aimed at building a stronger connection with their readers.
Tips for Writers: How Should You Blog?
Have a schedule
When you’re working on a novel, your editor expects you to complete the manuscript within a given period of time. Blogging is not much different in that aspect. Your regular readers want to get something on your blog in proper intervals. Most of them want to fit their favorite bloggers into a routine, so they expect you to respect their reading schedule.
Before you commit yourself to this project, think about it: how many articles can you write on weekly basis? If you can find the time for one great article, that will be perfectly fine. On the other hand, you can also write short daily posts. It all depends on the time and capacity you have. Once you find the perfect posting system, stick to it! Don’t leave your blog unattended for months, since your regular audience will forget it existed.
Consider your blog as a marketing tool
As most other authors, you are probably reserved when it comes to promoting your own work. You shouldn’t be. There is nothing shameful in talking about your work, sharing fragments of the latest novel, and asking your readers to tell you what they think about it. Your blog is the perfect space for sharing information about the progress you are making, as well as the launching dates and promotions. Invite your readers to get the book as soon as possible, so they can offer their feedback in the comments.
You can also post links to websites that sell your work, so everyone will be able to find the books as soon as they get interested in them.
Connect with the readers!
If you are a published author, you’ll get lots of comments under the posts you publish. When your readers are willing to explain their impressions on the books they read, don’t ignore them! Engage in a discussion, ask about their opinion and take it into consideration. Constructive criticism can only turn you into a better writer.
Of course, you don’t have to make everything about your work. Be flexible! For example, you can write a post on a current event that’s filling the news. Express your arguments and ask what your readers think. These activities won’t take much of your time, but they will enable you to connect with your target audience on a deeper level. Imagine how you always wanted to get noticed by someone you admired. Your fans would be thrilled to get your response on their comments!
Feature visual content!
You can attract a greater audience if you offer something more than text. Have you seen Paulo Coelho’s blog? He managed to understand what his readers are attracted to, so the site is full of images with short words of wisdom (so-called e-Cards). Don’t underestimate the power of this type content; it gets lots of shares on social media. More shares bring you more readers, and the cycle goes on.
Let’s talk about attention span: most blog readers aren’t particularly impressive in that aspect. If you want to attract a greater audience, you should offer relaxed content that would get tons of attention on Facebook and Twitter. That doesn’t mean you cannot feature lengthy articles that expose the way you understand life; just break them with lighter, visually-intriguing content.
Write funny, concise articles!
Your blog is not a place where you can allow your eloquence to explode. Most people will scan through the page to decide if your article is worth reading. If they get the impression that it would take a lot of time and effort to go through it, they will bounce off with the speed of light.
If you really need to cover a complex topic, the best solution would be to break it into few shorter posts. The reader will easily go through a relatively short and clearly written blog post, and he’ll be ready to come back for more. This is a double win: you don’t make a compromise regarding the topics you want to cover, and you intrigue your readers to see what else you have to say.
Show your personality
When someone reads your novel, he is trying to understand the characters and realize where their attitude is coming from. When a reader spends time on your blog, he wants to know as much as possible about you. No one says you need to share all your personal struggles and childhood traumas. That would be lame. You are a writer; think of a way to infuse that experience into posts that show your true colors without being too revealing.
When someone reads your blog, he forms an impression of your character. As a result, he is able to understand your books better. Everyone blogs nowadays. The question is: what makes you different? Show your uniqueness and your readers will be happy.
Promote the blog!
Blog promotion does take a lot of time, but it’s a crucial factor for success. If you just write the posts, they will just sit there with no effect. Blogging goes hand-in-hand with social media activity. Post links to your new posts and remind your fans to read previous publications. Connect with them and ask for their opinions. Be patient; the base of readers will increase as time goes by.
When you share a link to your post on your social media profiles, many friends, followers and fans will share it further, so you’ll achieve greater visibility with minimal effort. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and similar websites work to your advantage.
Try to attract publishers
We already talked about the contributions established authors make to the blogosphere. However, they are not the only ones with potential to develop successful blogs. If you are an aspiring author who is still waiting for a great chance, blogging is a perfect way to make yourself more attractive to publishers. Do your best to write engaging content on a regular basis. Stay persistent with your schedule and work on attracting more blog comments.
Your blog will work like a portfolio that you can show to potential editors. Who knows; maybe the opportunities will come to you when your wisdom is available online. When potential publishers see that there are people who like reading your work, they will be interested in publishing it.
I also offer blogging services (including blog maintenance) through my business, Wording Well, and so can help you when you need to spend YOUR time writing instead of blogging!