Seven Out-of-the-Box Author Blogging Ideas

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

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Comments

  1. says

    Shari, you are so right. Bloggers must differentiate themselves and offering useful information that is unique and appeals to a niche audience is a great strategy. It also helps with platform building. If you can establish yourself as an expert in a particular area, it could lead to media interviews, speaking engagements and even non-fiction book proposals. Now I have to check out Fred Fields’ site and see how I can improve my golf game.

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    • says

      Thanks all for the kind comments and post your own blogs when you get a chance so I can enjoy ’em, too! In the middle of launching a new writerswin.com site at the moment, will post when there’s some useful info there for y’all… WRITE ON! Shari

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  2. says

    I completely agree with this. One thing I took away from it is something that I try to push out to others: if you enjoy your writing, others will too (generally). If you are doing it for other reasons, it’s easy to tell just by reading it.

    Too many people try to write for non-passionate reasons and it’s pretty clear to their readers.

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  3. says

    Thanks for this informative piece. I learned a lot and checked out some new blogs. The whole blogging thing has been difficult for me, as I had no idea what to write about. I don’t want to give away too much of my novel (1st one coming out in June) and figured most people don’t care much about my social life, so have been perplexed. Your article gave me inspiration and made me realize that I have to let the writing flow and let my personality shine through, no matter what the subject!

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  4. says

    I recently started blogging about my life in Palestine and it’s surprising and encouraging to find people so interested in daily life under military occupation — the kind of stuff I would tell a girlfriend on the phone.

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  5. says

    Thanks Shari! Great advice. You have inspired me to get back to blogging, and to write about what I am passionate about. I’ve started by linking back to this blog. :)

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  6. says

    Great advice! The connections I’ve made during my brief blogging stint have been so encouraging. I’m really enjoying the social aspect of getting my writing out there!

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  7. says

    Thanks for the great ideas, Shari. I’m writing a historical novel about my family and my blog is morphing into a mix of history tidbits and genealogical adventures.

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    • says

      Sounds fascinating… readers love to delve into more of the “behind-the-scenes” especially when it comes to historical fact vs. fiction — interested in reading it!

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  8. says

    I started blogging about endangered species several months ago and just now am researching other blogs in order to connect with people with a similar passion. I found one blog site so far and am still going forward in my research. I know there are those out there who would be interested, but I just have to find them.
    Thank you for an insightful post.
    Patti

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  9. says

    Shari, these are such good ideas! I’m trying to revive my blogging and have struggled a bit for topics, probably because I haven’t been looking at my own work and passions closely enough as sources. Thanks! I’ll be posting the link to this piece on my blog.

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  10. says

    I applaud the authors here who are sticking to their guns and writing good fiction regardless. You do not necessarily have to give up fame and fortune by doing this. I coach authors on how to get on TV and many fiction authors have trouble pulling this off as they want to concentrate on their book. Here is a post on my blog that explains how authors can stay true to their book, but use the knowledge they gained about a subject while writing the book, to be booked as a expert on TV. http://interviewwithanexpertseminars.com/wordpress/how-fiction-authors-can-get-on-tv-interview-shows-and-become-famous/

    OK, thanks and good luck. Edward Smith.

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  11. says

    Shari, since January 2010 I have been compiling a nightly post from the one year diaries I wrote in – 50 years to the night after I wrote the original entry. My blog is named WCHS, MPHS and Park College…Diary Writing 1960-1965.

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    • says

      A wonderful blog… can’t wait ’til you get to December, 1962… That’s when I was born :) Loved the May Day stuff — kids these days don’t even know what I’m talking about when I tell them the May Day things we used to do in school!

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  12. says

    When I decided to stop angsting over “what my blog was about and what I should write to gain readers” and began having some Fun, my blogging experience became a much better one. I blog about things that I am passionate about, yes, and what feels natural and easy to write about. What engages me. Excites me, etc. And through that, I hope the readers come, enjoy, stay, come back.

    Hmm, same as with my novels! *laugh*

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  13. says

    Thanks for this! Although I have often heard that blogs are more successful when they have a focus, I have been reluctant to pick a specific topic because I don’t feel like an expert. This post really got me thinking about the things I CAN focus on, though. Thanks!

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  14. says

    “Keep in mind it’s not about connecting with the most readers, but with the readers who will want to read your words.” Everything you need to know about about social media and marketing in one sentence.

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    • says

      Yes, really is so true! When I was a kid I believed it was all about the almighty buck… But the minute I started doing what I loved to do (at that time publishing a magazine) folks wanted to read it — the passion “showed through” — Though to be honest I STILL didn’t realize why, until I took a long, hard look at the things I enjoyed reading and following myself, and the common thread through them all… that passion and authenticity that makes certain things shine a bit brighter!

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  15. says

    I’m always glad to find an idea for a book turning into a passion for something, leading to more research and discussions as I follow it further.
    However, I need to keep a balance and remember the original purpose was to write a story.

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  16. says

    After reading this, I began to look at my blog posts in terms of theme. It seems I’m reaching out, more than I realized, to folks in some sort of spiritual pain. With an occasional rant thrown in from time to time, I find bogging has been a healing mechanism for me as I pass it on to my readers.

    As a writer, I think we all need to think out of the box.

    This was a fascinating post! Thanks for sharing with us.

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