A few months ago, I wrote an article on using Twitter to turbocharge your writing career. That was like five months ago, so you should have about 20,000 followers by now. After mastering 140 characters, you’re now ready to write exponentially more words and reap far fewer tangible rewards by starting your own author blog. I’ll show you how.
“Blog” is short for “weblog,” which is only six letters, so I’m not sure why it needed shortening. Think of it like an online journal you can update even if you have no HTML skills or sense of shame.
You can set up your blog for free using several popular platforms. If you like descriptive names, Blogger is pretty much what it sounds like. WordPress is also widely popular among writers for its usability, customization, and recognizable visual layout that instantly proclaims to visitors, “This is a WordPress blog! I’m using WordPress!”
Find Your Niche
What type of blog should you create? It depends on what you write. Mystery writer? I recommend a writing advice blog. Literary fiction? You might consider blogging about writing advice. Paranormal romance? A writing advice blog is your best bet. If you write LGBT YA as a way to reach out to teenage misfits and tell them they’re not alone, there’s no better way to do that than a writing advice blog. Blogs are how authors build a wide, diverse readership by catering to a tiny subsection of the market. If you read a few authors’ blogs, you may conclude that hardly anybody buys books except for other writers. This is pure cynicism, but with hard work, we can make sure that books are read exclusively by other writers by 2030.
You may be considering blogging about some other interest of yours–say, woodworking or crafting, for example. If you’ve got time for hobbies, you’re obviously not spending enough time on writing. Those hours spent enjoying a stress-free pastime for its own sake could be far better spent chiseling another few thousand words into the unforgiving white page on your monitor.
[pullquote]Blogging is like a never-ending online writing conference that focuses on the panel discussions and business cards, without all the pesky bar crawls, romantic entanglements, and face-to-face meetings with your literary idols that get in the way.[/pullquote]
Which Hogwart’s student does J.K. Rowling think has a secret criminal past? What secrets from the DaVinci Code does Dan Brown not want you to know? Which five daytime TV stars have ghostwritten James Patterson novels? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but I’ll bet you’d click on all of them if they were blog headlines. The big secret to driving traffic to your blog is to create headlines so juicy, people won’t be able to resist them. If you come up with a great headline but can’t write an article to go with it, remember that there’s nobody whose job it is to make sure your headline corresponds to the actual article. As soon as someone clicks on your article, they’re officially a reader and a fan, a fact which you should include in your query letters.
Once you’ve written a few starter posts, it’s time to go out and meet your fellow bloggers. Blogging is like a never-ending online writing conference that focuses on the panel discussions and business cards, without all the pesky bar crawls, romantic entanglements, and face-to-face meetings with your literary idols that get in the way. Start your online networking session like this:
Simply find an interesting blog article about a book that you loved.
Carefully read the article to pick up as much wisdom as you can.
Go to the comments section and write, “THRILLING ADVENTURE, MY NOVEL “CHUPACABRA-CADABRA” FREE ON AMAZON! 14 FIVE-STAR REVIEWS!!!”
Go to Amazon and watch your sales rank skyrocket.
And that’s pretty much how networking works.
Set a Schedule
Blogging involves writing for an audience, and audiences like content on the regular. Develop a posting schedule so your readers will know when to stop by. You’ll boost your productivity through the unrelenting pressure of four extra deadlines every week for the remainder of your career. In no time, you’ll notice small, impossible-to-quanity gains for your personal brand, and all you had to do was double your workload! As I’ve discussed before, branding is important stuff, so you may have to go a few days without working on your WIP to meet your editorial calendar.
That’s all there is to it! Follow my advice for the next twenty years or so, and you’ll be blogging your way onto the best-seller list. What are your blogging tips and tricks? Share them in the comments! Or save them for your own author blog!