Recently after writing an 80k novel, I needed to take a break. I took a step away from blogging and social media and have only recently begun to catch up on blog posts, etc. Upon doing so, one post by a blogger asking this particular question caught my attention. It made me question my own blog.
When I began blogging many years ago, it was to stretch myself as a writer both in terms of craft and productivity. As an isolated profession, it was also a great way of meeting other writers and bloggers. Initially my blog was to be about my writing journey and what I have learned along the way and it still is. It has also been about what interests me and my genre/s. After doing some blogging and social media courses with author Kristen Lamb (which I highly recommend), one thing she mentions really sticks out: – talk about the stuff you’d talk about to friends – that makes the blog fun!
As a result my blog may be a bit of a mixed bag, which some people may or may not like, but it represents me as a person as well as a writer. After all, these days in the world of the internet, isn’t that what people want to see? Yes, I’m a writer and I talk about writing, but I don’t want to be the all-writing-all-the-time channel. That can get boring pretty quickly and there are plenty of writing blogs out there already from people with far more experience than me.
Author Anne R Allen believes that blogging can jumpstart your writing career even before you publish, where we need to treat it like a magazine. So in answer to the question my blog is about writing, the paranormal, history, film & television, crime/mystery and anything else that may take my fancy. I think having a blog showing a wide range of interests can be less inhibiting than focusing on one particular niche, although at times it can make one easily distracted. 😉
There has been some discussion of late amongst writers on what content to have within their blogs. This is an issue I have been grappling with myself for quite some time now.
As an unpublished author, I have the advantage of experimenting with my blog to find out what works and what doesn’t. When we start out we naturally blog about writing, however there are so many blogs on this topic that the humble beginner can get lost in the crowd. Published authors also blog about writing; they know what they’re talking about and are well informed about the industry. I have read both Get Known before the Book Deal by Christina Katz and We Are Not Alone by Kristen Lamb, and both recommend authors blog on topic. With this in mind, I decided to take a step back to see exactly what other authors were doing when it came to blogging. Here’s what I discovered:-
Authors blog about writing and the writing process.
Authors blog about their books – new releases, book signings, television versions of their novels, etc.
Authors review books they like by other authors.
Authors talk about the inspiration behind their books.
Authors discuss how they became writers.
Authors blog about social issues that affect them.
Not all authors blog.
I was beginning to see a pattern emerging; when authors blog, they talk about books in one form or another; they also blog about topics that interest them and therefore can inspire their writing. When I read books by an author I enjoy reading, I look them up on the internet to find out more about their books. If I’m lucky, I can also find out more about them as people. These days, people want to find out more about the personal lives of celebrities. Fortunately, authors don’t seem to have to put their lives under the microscope, but it is always fascinating to learn about how they became writers and what inspired them. There have been biographies written about authors such as Jane Austen, the Brontes and Charles Dickens for example, because as readers we are fascinated about them as writers.
By undertaking this research, I have discovered a number of things. As writers it is only natural that we need to talk about our books (and those of others) and our inspiration behind them. This not only informs the reader on what our books are actually about, but also lets them know a little bit about our own personalities and what we are passionate about. If we are passionate about certain topics this will come through in our writing for both our books and our blogs. I have recently discovered something that I’m passionate about just by undertaking this research – it has allowed me to dig deeper.
So where do I go from here with my own blog? Yes, I’ve been guilty of blogging about writing (I think we all have from time to time), but it is one of my passions. Here are some of the things I’ll be blogging about:-
The writing process.
Specific locations of where my stories are set.
Topics I’ve researched.
Time periods I’ve researched.
The inspiration behind my stories.
Blog what you are comfortable with; write about your passions. The main thing to remember about blogging is to have fun! I’m looking forward to blogging in the future – what about you? 😀
Have you undertaken your own research when it comes to author blogs? What have you discovered? What do you like to see in an author’s blog? What don’t you like to see? Do you think authors should blog at all?
During this past week, I’ve been tearing my hair out. Doing an assignment on a blog proposal may sound like fun, yet there were times when I felt like I was going around in circles. If nothing else, it has certainly helped me to look at my own blog all over again.
Do you have a catchy title? Does it reveal to the reader what your blog’s content will be about?
What are your objectives for writing your blog? Is it to provide information, persuade action or promote discussion?
What is your chosen angle, brand or voice? How will your blog be distinguished from others within a similar genre? Will your tone be formal or informal?
Why is it needed? Why would your blog be of interest?
How will your blog be structured? This will include interactive elements, images, etc., as well as your written content. Remember to use tags, which are very important if you want people to find you on the internet.
How much research will you need to help support your written content, such as links, etc.?
It’s so easy to start a blog and it can be difficult not to just jump in with both feet. With the vast amount of blogs out there, you want yours to stand out. This can take a great deal of time, thought and planning.
Are you using your blog to its full potential? Do you now look at other blogs and wish yours were as good?
Recently, due to my studies, I have been getting a bit behind in reading blog posts from blogs that I subscribe to. Let’s face it, it’s a bit of a worry reading about Valentines Day in April!
As I slowly worked my way down into the single digits, I noticed a couple of important factors regarding blogging. These factors not only decided on whether to continue subscribing to some of these blogs, but also gave me a wake up call with my own.
Content. We like to visit blogs for their content, which needs to be informative, engaging and can sometimes give us a bit of an insight into the bloggers’ personality. This is what keeps us coming back to these particular blogs and maybe even subscribe. Keeping content fresh can sometimes become a bit of a challenge for the blogger, but it’s always great to see something a bit different. Try not to write what other people are blogging about, and if you do, put your own perspective on the topic.
Community. Reading blogs that place a heavy emphasis on the ‘me, me, it’s all about me’, factor is very off-putting. I used to subscribe to some blogs that were like this, but not anymore. Try not to bog down readers where the emphasis is all about you. Sure they like to know more about you, but stick to the old saying of ‘less is more’. Involve your readers in the conversation. As Christina Katz says – ‘think we; think community’.
Regularity. While I was going through the blog posts, I noticed a few posts from blogs I had not heard anything from in months, leaving me a bit bemused. This can become a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, and as a result, I unsubscribed to these blogs. You don’t want this to happen, so make sure you post regularly. If you post on certain days, place this somewhere on your blog where your readers can see it so that they know what days to expect your posts. I was absent from my blog for a couple of weeks, and in my last post, I informed my readers and even told them when I would return to blogging. Remember to act professional and consider your readers. They are your audience and you are providing a customer service.
Are there certain things that concern you with regards to blogging?