Thursday, September 5, 2013

What To Write In Your Author Blog

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We live in a marvelous time for writers.

It's now possible to carve out a career as an independent writer without having to rely on the support or endorsement of faceless corporate giants who actually don't have the resources to deal with all the talent in the world.

We can now go it alone -  and sell millions of our books - and we don't have to share the proceeds with agents, publishers or indeed anyone else who might stand between our writing and our fans.

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Independent Authoring

What to Write In Your Author Blog

Rob Parnell

Your journey as a writer is probably going to be your starting point. This is good - because this is precisely what will make your blog engaging.

As a writer trying to promote yourself you have an advantage. You don't have to extol the virtues of a product or service. You don't have to construct a thesis on moral philosophy or a manual on the ethics of space travel before you begin a blog.

Most writer's first blog post is usually about the writer constructing their first blog post - and that's fine. That's engaging, sweet and honest - all good qualities to begin a blog with.

Later you can talk about whatever you like. But try to always bring it back to the writing. You can write about any experience, event or circumstance - but then try to make it relevant to either you, the author, or your writing, whatever that may be.

Blog posts can be short too. 200 words is fine. More than a 1000 words and you're pushing the envelop anyway. Less is often more, as the saying goes.
If I'm stuck for things to say - which rarely happens - I'll make a list of ten possible titles for blog posts. Then I'll pick one the next time I need an idea. Generally I prefer to wait until the last minute and come up with an idea on the spot - and write that.

I find this latter approach helps if I want to say something about a piece of news or something a subscriber asked me - or whatever else has been creeping around my head that week! I think the trick is to be constantly on the look out for topics to blog about. It becomes a habit. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Pick a day during the week for your blog post - and stick to it. At various times in the past I've written blog posts every day. Personally I think that's too often - but I know that for some authors, daily posts work well for them. For a long time I wrote just one a week, every Friday morning.

I write two a week now - one for the Easy Way to Write and one for the Author Blog. But I think it's easier for me because I'm a compulsive writer these days. Just once a week is good I think, nice and easy and, most importantly for a writer, habit forming.

Rules of Engagement

I once wrote a blog about how to be popular online. I can't find it now - obviously Google didn't think it was worth immortalizing either - but in it I emphasized that there are certain rules it's best to abide by if you want your blogs to become popular and 'follow-worthy'.

After all, the primary reason why you're blogging is to attract followers, readers and potential buyers of your books. What you don't want to do is annoy folks, insult strangers or be so controversial you become some hated enemy of the people!

Light and fun. That's really the style you should adopt. Being angry and bitter can get you some notice - but it's generally short lived and hard to recover credibility from.

Funny is great. If you have a talent for writing humorous stuff, go for it.
Most times you'll just want to be interesting, informative and educational. That's where most successful bloggers excel - imparting information that is helpful to the reader, that solves a problem for them or offers a solution.

Many writers blog about how you can improve your writing and your book sales for instance.

The important thing is to be giving. You're not in competition with other authors. We're all in this together. And other writers can often become your strongest and most passionate advocates.

I read an ebook by a well known writer the other day (I won't name him) which said he thought having other writers as your subscribers was a waste of time. Counter productive. I don't agree.

Whilst I agree that ideally authors want readers and book buyers as subscribers, it would be a mistake to regard other writers as superfluous. Far from it. Writers are often the most voracious of readers of all. Plus, having a writer as a fan is pretty much the greatest compliment you can get in my view!

It's all down to your personality - and how you come across. If you're open and honest you'll attract the readers and subscribers that respond to your personality, your values and your integrity.  The thing to remember is that if you're writing for readers, you don't want to dwell too heavily on the writing process. Reader are more interested in the stories, your characters and your and their relationships with those characters.

I see much advice around these days that asserts that you should try to be different.

I'm not sure I agree.

I believe that unique is good - but that is achieved by being yourself.

If you're just deliberately trying to be different - as in obtuse, obscure or by playing devil's advocate, I'm not sure that will do you any good. Having been online for over a decade I've noticed one profound fact:

Most people don't want different. They more consistently want reinforcement of what they already believe.

Plus, if you're a writer of a particular genre, readers have certain expectations as to how you should act, think and what you might aspire to. You need to bear these things in mind as you blog. If you write children's books, for instance, I don't think your average reader will want to read about your drunken promiscuous orgies in Cancun…

Do this now: go to and get yourself a FREE blog. Use your own name as the blog title and send out your first blog post about being an author.

Connect your blog to your Gmail account (I think you have to do this anyway) and then get on to Google+. Invite all the friends in your address book and start following other writers.

Within half an hour you'll be on your first step to independent authorship!
Keep Writing!
 rob at home

“Every new writer is but a new crater of an old volcano." Ralph Waldo Emerson
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