PhotobucketTherese here. Please welcome today’s guest, Shari Stauch. Shari is the CEO of Shark Marketing Co. and has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 33 years. As president of Charleston’s Center for Women, she moderates the Women Writers Forum, and conducts seminars on website marketing and image branding. Under her leadership the Center for Women now heads the federally funded Women’s Business Center for the entire state of South Carolina. Stauch also serves as Secretary for LILA: Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, and Co-Director of Programming for Words & Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans–an annual writers conference that brings together the nation’s best editors, agents and aspiring authors, with panel discussions revolving around socially relevant themes.

Stauch–also an an award-winning essayist, fiction writer, and editor–continues to work with agents, editors, and emerging authors, using her marketing and PR experience to help them put their passion in print and broaden their audiences. She is the author of four non-fiction books and has recently completed a novel set in her hometown of Chicago, IL. She’s with us today to talk about unboxed blogging–one of our favorite topics. Enjoy!

Seven Out-of-the-Box Author Blogging Ideas

Sure, there’s plenty of blogging advice out there. Keep it short; build sassy headlines; include photos and bullet points, etc. But the greater issue with which most writers struggle is to find that elusive blog “hook” that will continue to resonate with the niche of readers you’re trying to attract and engage.

It’s not always easy, I know. But I can tell you this: If your book/writing has a platform (and they ALL do – sometimes you just have to dig for it) then hey, you have something to blog about!

The Bigger Picture

Even if you believe your story is “small,” it’s not. There’s always a bigger picture/issue lurking around the corner. So think about widening your lens where your own work is concerned. Ask yourself these two questions: “To whom does my writing speak?” and “What can I share with those people that matters?”

Here are seven examples from clients that may help get you thinking about your blog focus:

  1. Cutting Room Floor: California author Unity Barry is completing a historical novel about 19th century real life artist Berthe Morisot, and found plenty of research about the artist and her work – more than would ever fit in a novel. By sharing her findings, she has discovered what a universal impact Morisot had both on impressionist painting and on the role of women in the arts, and a fun way to use all the stuff from her “cutting room floor.”
  2. Deeper Issues: Bren McClain is completing a literary fiction novel about a mother’s love. She discovered, through writing about cows and maternal love, a whole world of animal lovers and animal rights activists who share her passion for furry friends. Writing simple yet poignant observations about cows and goats and turkeys and our treatment of animals has brought her amazing connections with readers, and even organizations who are eager to offer her work to their members!
  3. Sharing Loss: Pattie Welek Hall connected with major groups that shared recovering from the loss of a child, all by blogging. Writing on that and on traumatic brain injury has been both cathartic and productive, allowing her to connect with other organizations worldwide, parents who have suffered loss, family members who have experienced miracles, and readers who she inspires. Taking that one step further, Pattie created her own BlogTalkRadio show. Called “Joy Radio” Pattie interviews authors and other inspirational artists on her weekly show, offering them a platform for their work, and gleaning plenty of insights into her own writing in the process!
  4. Characters Welcome: Lynne Morgan authored the historical romance novel, The Seahawk’s Sanctuary. Lynne offers true variety in her blog postings that are reflective of her (and yes, she IS a character!) My favorites are those that give us a closer glimpse into the time period of her book, much of it set against the backdrop of 1700s and the South Carolina sea coast. And when she includes favorite recipes of her characters (true to historic renderings), well the results are delicious! Readers are already looking forward to what her 12th century tome, Lion’s Lair, will feature… Which is all to say, you may not decide on a single issue or formula, and that’s okay, too!
  5. From Pain to Gain: Jacqueline Maduneme is a Nigerian princess now living in the States, whose gut-wrenching memoir Ada’s Daughter tells the story of a young girl abused by her father and how she went on to survive and thrive, as an attorney, accountant, author and women’s rights advocate. Her blogs cover everything from breaking bad habits to empowerment issues, and as a result of the connections she’s made, she now has another book and a women’s film festival in the works!
  6. Sharing Expertise: Dr. Deanna Brann is a licensed clinical therapist, but nothing about her site or books or blog is clinical! Author of both Reluctantly Related and Mothers in Law and Daughters in Law Say the Darndest Things, Deanna’s all about the crazy mother-in-law/daughter-in-law dynamic, and, well, just plain getting along. Brann’s humor makes it fun to find solutions to common problems that mothers and daughters in law share, as well as other family dynamics that we’ve all experienced (holiday hell, for example). Her ever-growing cache of readers enjoys hearing that others have been through the same insane experiences.
  7. Winning Ways: Fred Fields, author of How Short Hitting, Bad Golfers Break 90 All the Time simply began posting golf tips – on Facebook and Twitter, then on some golf social networks, occasionally commenting on other people’s posts with some advice. When his book sales went from a handful every month to several hundred, he also launched a blog – and last month he sold nearly 1,000 books!

Common Bond

Though each of our clients in these examples writes about unique topics, with varying writing styles; they all have something in common: passion for their subjects that got them putting pen to paper in the first place. Passion SHOWS, folks. And the greater the passion for your own topics, the easier it will be to find the niche of readers who share YOUR passions.

Keep in mind it’s not about connecting with the most readers, but with the readers who will want to read your words.

What are your out-of-the-box blogging ideas?

Readers, you can learn more about Shari on her website, and by following her on Facebook and Twitter. Write on.

Photo courtesy Flickr’s ArtJonak