Authors need to blog – details part 4

This is part of a series “Authors Need to Blog.”  The series includes these posts:

Part 1:  You like to write; Build an audience;
Part 2:  Build your brand; Improve your writing; Start right now;
Part 3:  Market, market, market;
Part 4:  Some “but’s”;
Part 5:  A final wrap-up quote, and some excellent references to check out.

But, but, but …..

  • Do remember that your key writing activity(ies) are most important.  Don’t let your blogging take over the time and effort and creativity you need to put into your books, magazine articles, journalism, etc.  Unless, of course, you are determined to become a professional blogger!  Even then, keep your other writing income (or other income sources) coming in until you are sure you can make enough by blogging to support yourself.
  • Choose a blogging schedule that works for you and fits into your other life needs.  While regular, consistent blogging is important to achieve your blogging goals, it is better to produce quality blog content once or twice a week on a consistent basis, than just dashing out sloppy content every day.
  • In some cases, a standard website might be a better fit for your needs.  I highly recommend you read the following article, before making your decision on whether you want a blog or a website (and yes, you almost certainly do want some kind of online presence as an author nowadays).  Read “Why Professional Writers Need a Blog or Not.”
  • And while Twitter and Facebook and other microblog platforms can seem like an easy alternative (and can be a useful addition to your online efforts), there are good reasons why you still need a blog or website.  Check out this article: Do you really need an author blog if you’re on facebook or twitter
  • If you want a web presence, but really feel you can’t give the time and effort involved in the frequent posting on a blog, you may want to consider a simple author’s website with more static content, rather than the ongoing conversation of a blog.  You may even wish to hire someone to set up the site for you and update it occasionally, for example when a new book is published.  You can provide quick, frequent updates, if you choose, by using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or one of the other microblog platforms.
  • Even if you do decide to blog, use the microblogs to draw attention to your blog and to your other writing.  Blogs are a great way to socialize with your audience.
  • There are millions of author blogs.  Make your blog stand out.  Use a  unique approach.  Feature technology in a new way.  Find an angle. Focus on what makes you interesting and unique: lifestyle, interesting events in your life, challenges you face.  Consider intersecting your writing and your life at your blog; combine your writing passion and another passion in your life.  Be willing to be a bit open and vulnerable about yourself; readers are attracted to that.  If you are humourous, or entertaining, or strong-minded, or whatever, let your personality shine on your site.
  • Remember that blogs are always evolving.  You don’t have to “follow the rules.”  If you have innovative ideas and approaches, that you think would appeal to your readers, try them out.  Find a format that works for you: daily diary, weekly update, issue oriented, group blog, fan newsletter, or something totally new and totally you.
  • Your blog is for your reader more than for you.  Always write for your reader.  A fancy author blog (or website) with all kinds of bells and whistles is nothing if your story and your writing are not consistently excellent and focused on the needs and desires of your readers.
  • Avoid “hype” on your blog.  People don’t like hype.  They don’t trust hype.  Prove yourself as a great writer.  SHOW you can write by what you write every day.  As an excellent writer and mentor I know, Yasmin John-Thorpe, always says, “Show, don’t tell!”
  • Always aim to write posts that people will love – and will bookmark and discuss on your blog, and then talk about it on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Find the rhythm and form that works for you – and for your target audience.  Conventional wisdom says, “Keep your posts short.”  But if you can write longer, enticing content that people want to read right to the end, go for it.  If you audience is primarily people who, because of age, culture, educational status, or other factors, like longer, indepth content, give them what works for them.

Question of the day:  What is unique about you and your writing?  Really take advantage of it to make yourself stand out among all those other authors!

Tip of the day:  Your posts and blog entries need to be clear and easily understand. Internet readers come from all over the globe, and idioms, acronyms, sayings, and expressions are not always understandable by others who speak your language – and are even harder to translate into other languages.

Put it into action:  Read the two articles linked in the post above.  Decide if a blog is for you, or, if not, what alternative(s) you should consider.  Write down your thoughts in your author’s blog binder.

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