A couple of weeks ago we discussed how to maximize your efforts if you have a blog. But if you want to create a blog, where do you begin?
Blogging can be fun activity, but for some, it’s a chore they feel they “have to do” as a writer. If you’re an indie or self-published author—or even traditionally published—you’ve probably spent a fair chunk of time (and your life) working on your book. Where can you get inspiration for a blog? Why should you even have a blog in the first place?
Including a blog on your author website is an invitation to others to join your conversation, and having a blog can help you in the long run as an author. It can cull relationships with other authors, bloggers, and book lovers, and also build an audience for your brand. As we’ve said before, everything in social media links back to everything else—and a blog can be the center of that online map. Here are some ideas and tips for conceiving a blog:
- Researching a blogging platform. We use WordPress, which has proven to be great for us. But there are a bunch of other free blogging platforms: Tumblr, Blogspot, Blogger, etc. Play around with a few to see which one you like best.
- Brainstorm an editorial calendar. It can be as simple as printing out a free online monthly calendar and jotting down one or two ideas you’d like to discuss each week.
- Sit down and write! Sitting down and actually committing to the task is, more often than not, the hardest part of writing. An idea might just come to you when you open a new document.
- Write what you know. Not necessarily advice you should take when writing a fantasy novel (I’m pretty sure JK Rowling did not write what she knew when she created the Hogwarts world that we all pretend to live in), but writing about why you love coffee could end up being a really fun blog post.
- Hammer it out in one session. If you leave one day a week free to write 3 or 4 blog posts you have yourself set for the next week. Schedule each blog post over the course of a few days.
- Write about writing. Did you have a particularly successful day of writing? Are you having trouble with plot development for a new project? Are you struggling with some character names? Write about it—it might even help you solve your own problem. (Or maybe someone will come up with a grand solution in the comments section!)
- Review. If you read books or watch movies on a daily basis, why not put your opinions to paper (or rather, keyboard)? Reviewing is good filler for in-between posts.
It’s a good idea to have a blog if you’re a writer, but if you really don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. There are other ways to gain an audience or fan base. If you initially started a blog and you just are not feeling it, don’t leave it up on your website. It looks sloppy to have something that was last updated in December 2013. If you want to keep your blog posts up but no longer plan on blogging, create a “farewell” blog piece for your faithful readers and archive the rest.
If you do plan to keep a blog on your website, make sure that you have the time to commit to it, even if your strategy is to post once a week or every other week. I see so many blogs on author websites that aren’t updated for months at a time, sometimes even years!
Also, if you don’t have a website yet, don’t let that stop you. Go ahead and set up your blog-site and get started. You may find that the blog itself is your best way to connect with your audience and fans, thereby saving you development dollars in the long run!