Friday, December 27, 2013

Question: What the hell am I supposed to blog about?

I have read that in this day in age, it is best for aspiring authors to try to get their names out there.  One method being to maintain a blog.  I was wondering what would be appropriate for an author's blog.

A non-fiction writer could obviously maintain a blog about the subject their books cover, pulling an audience of those interested in that subject.  As an unpublished novelist, I have thought of writing a blog, but my writings do not focus on any one subject.  I do not want to blog about nothing; writing about what I do in a day is of no interest to anyone.

I have considered posting short stories, but I honestly do not do short.  I also considered posting the chapters of one of my works, but wasn't sure if that would be appropriate or helpful.  I know you can not give me a single focused suggestion, but could you give me direction or possibly direct me to what other authors have done successfully?

A blog used to be the only way you could have interactive contact with other people in close to real time (aside from chat rooms, and those were largely run under noms de plume, thus useless for your purposes.)  Now it's just one of many ways to build your profile (aka "get your name out there".)

I will tell you from first hand experience that blogging regularly is a whole lot harder than it looks.  It's not just writing blog posts and putting them out there.  For starters: you revise blog posts just like you do writing. Trust me, I find mistakes when these things sit here for 24 hours, and a few more are found by other people a little more often than I'm comfy with.

And then there's moderating comments, and responding to comments. And deleting the spam comments (cause there's nothing worse than a blog that's filled with spam comments)

I'm going to suggest that a better way for you to get your name out there is to be active on Facebook.  Find the people you like, and make friends.  "Like" their pictures and posts.  Focus on the not-too-famous writers; the ones most likely to be doing their own Facebook management.

Do the same on Twitter. Talk to people. Talk about books you like.  Respond when people suggest links.

Post pictures of your cat. Or dog. Or python. (No, not THAT python---the Colt python) ...need a visual?

In other words, post pictures of things you're researching (Gary Corby has some good stories about that.)

When someone posts a review for their book, read it and congratulate them.

There are lots of ways to make friends now and that's what getting your name out there is really all about.

But if you want some examples of successful author blogs:

Tawna Fenske is probably one of the best I've ever seen.

Kari Dell's blog is also a must-read for me.


Michael Seese said...

"blogging regularly is a whole lot harder than it looks"

SO true.

Kitty said...

For those who do write stories, I'd think twice about posting them online in case you'd ever like to get them published. Some markets are okay with that while others are not. I always check with potential markets first to find out what they consider "published."

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Yes on it being way harder than it looks.

Yes, on the delightful Ms Fenske. She is also more fun on FB than should be allowed by law. Follow her, you won't regret it. She makes everyone feel like a friend and has a wicked sense of humor.

Group blogs are also awesome if you have something to bring to it. The Killzone is a perfect example.


Becky Mushko said...

Pictures of cats—yes. Book reviews of books you have enjoyed (not books you hated)—yes. Even better, post a picture of a cat reading the book you enjoyed. Two examples are here:

Plus you can posts about interesting things you—or maybe your cats—are doing. Whenever you post something new on your blog, mention it on Facebook with a link to the post. Works for me.

Laura said...

I have been blogging for a while and I still have no idea what to blog about. (Yet I somehow keep blogging.) What helped me was finding, following, and commenting on other blogs run by people who were similar to me in age, interests, writing, and blog size. I also found 2 beta readers that way.

Lilly Faye said...

I just started my first blog this month, and I'm already hooked on the immediate thrill of entertaining readers around the world!

Unknown said...

I blog fairly regularly as, even though it is a lot harder than it looks, I enjoy it.

I started by getting to know people online -- primarily on Twitter, then I followed their blog's and from there started my own.

I'm starting to get a following and people seem to like what I write about which varies depending on what's happening at the time and my mood.

My most recent entry was a Q&A & Review of another author's novel -- her publisher asked if I'd be interested in doing the review, which of course I was thrilled about. But I also write about #pitches and comps, about little success stories and some not-so-much, and there's been quite a bit about my kitten Emyrs too.
And I have a laugh at myself :)

I don't add chapters of my MS's or my short stories (unless there's a point, for example I added a poem for Halloween) but that's just me -- each to their own.

At the end of the day, write something you are into. I think when people read blog's it is pretty clear what is genuine and what is a written version of white-noise, so make it something you care about, just like your novels.

Also, make your Categories and KEY WORDS work for you; people will come to your blog if a key word they type leads them there. And use Twitter, Facebook (etc.) to promote -- but PLEASE do so with respect. Don't just spam yourself or your blog, become active, become part of other peoples conversations -- no one wants to get to know the next virtual encyclopedia salesperson

Bill Scott said...

It can make a guy feel inadequate when even sharks are tweeting. Story below about great white sharks tweeting off the coast of Australia. Not sure if links are allowed.