Whether you love blogs or hate blogs, they are now a serious component of the writing world. There are blogs about and for (or against) just about any topic under the sun, but today I’m focusing on writers who blog. I’ve been blogging for over five years and am fairly consistent about it.
To start off, ANYONE can blog. You don’t need to have a degree in writing, nor a published number of books, nor any book at all. What you need is to have an opinion about some aspect of the topic at hand- writing. Since, as humans, we all pretty much have opinions about everything, that shouldn’t be a problem. 😉
Now, armed with your opinion, you slap it up there, and wait for the million dollar blogger deals to come rolling in.
You are not going to get rich. Your blog is not going to turn into a publishing deal. And there’s a good chance that in the beginning only your family and best friends (who you have plied with candy and/ or booze) will read it, let alone make the all valued “comment” *cue chorus of angels here*. (Hint- if you love someone- COMMENT on their blog! ;))
So, why blog?
Blogging for writers is a great way to connect with other readers and writers. Your blog post can be writer-centric or reader-centric. Or both. Really it is all reader-centric. I’ve read and heard writers ask, “Will there be readers there, or just writers?” To which I give a sad little sigh, shake my head, and go wander into a sharp corner somewhere. Writers ARE readers, folks. I don’t know anyone who said, “I hate reading, maybe I’ll try writing a book.” NEVER has that happened.
Yes, if you are doing a blog more aimed at writer issues you may get more reader-writers as opposed to reader-readers, but they are still potential readers of your work. So never discount a blog or event that is “mostly just all writers”- you’re losing an audience (and that’s a blogging sin).
Blogging can introduce you to folks before your books come out- if they like your blogging voice, they may very well like your writing voice. It can help get the word out about your books. People who follow your blog, who interact with you, will feel connected to you- therefore they are more likely to tweet, post, yell, scream, or whatever to tell their friends when a book of yours comes out.
So how to get started?
First, I recommend just doing a guest blog post somewhere- like here if you’re an RWASD member ;). If not, look around and see if you can find someone who will let you do a guest post. This means you have to READ and COMMENT on other blogs! Shock, I know. The blogging world supports each other, make connections as a commenter and you might make a blogging buddy ;). INTERACT ON BLOGS! SUPPORT OTHER BLOGGERS!
Secondly, what to blog about? See my comment up above- find an opinion, idea, observation and run with it. Some things to keep in mind:
- Stick to a single topic when possible. A focused blog is a strong blog. Unfocused blogs confuse the reader and weaken whatever it is you’re trying to say. They also waste a blog topic (another blogging sin!)
- That old style “how to draft an essay” worksheet from school may actually come in handy now. Start with a broad statement about your topic, narrow down to the point or hypothesis you want to make. Then add support, information, details, humorous, yet related, side bits. Follow up with a conclusion and call for interaction.
You don’t have to lay it out like a formal essay, but keeping the form in mind will help structure your post. Introduce your subject, expound on it, and wrap it up.
On the structure side of things also remember- we love white space. I will not read a blog if it is one giant lump of text. Use space just like you would in your books. Let things flow, but break them up. (I also say keep it short- but this blog is an anti-example of that ;))
- Don’t force the funny. Some folks have a way with writing humor, others, not so much. Just because writing funny isn’t your schtick doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, nor not funny as heck in real life. Most people are on a funny scale- some write side splitting hilarity, others a bit-o-humor and some pretty much write serious. Know where you are on the writing funny scale and stick with it. Forcing funny when you’re not feeling it is just going to be awkward.
- Make sure your post is approachable and interesting. If you come across as THE expert on the topic, you’re most likely going to put off folks- especially folks who may know they are the expert. A blog post shouldn’t be a pissing match. It also needs to be interesting- if you are desperate to post huge chunks of your upcoming book and really urge your blog readers to buy it- you’re going to come across as a used car salesman. Tidbits of a new book once you have an established audience are great and a great way to drive readers to your blog. But make sure they are short and sweet!
Now, having your own blog just builds on the above.
But keep in mind:
- You want to make readers welcome to your home- and that’s what your blog is.
- Respond to their comments, even if you disagree, either do so politely, or just thank them for their view and for coming by (see above comment about it NOT being a pissing match).
- Blog regularly. There is nothing worse than finding someone cool, going to their blog, and finding they last blogged a year ago. Or six months ago. Or even a month ago. It looks un-professional. I blog once a week, I’ve heard others recommend more, but that’s all I can really keep up. If you can’t commit to a regular blog schedule most weeks, hold off for now.
This is now quite possibly the longest blog I’ve done, so I think I’ll stop now. But please keep the conversation going on here, ask questions, if you’re already a blogger, tell us about your blog and your hints and tips.
And thanks for coming by!
My blog in case you want to check it out 😉 http://faeriesdragonsspaceships.blogspot.com/