Thursday, November 20, 2014

Starting Your Author Blog

Dear Fellow Writer,

I hope you're well and happy.

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The Easy Way to Write Thrillers That Sell

The Easy Way to Write an Autobiography That Sells

Make Your Writing Sparkle: Self Editing for New Authors

The Easy Way to Write Picture Books That Sell

The Art of Story: Writing Fiction That Sells

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This is a short Kindle Countdown Deal, so you'll need to act quickly.

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Keep writing!

Starting Your Author Blog

I speak with many new authors who are literally terrified of revealing themselves online. I completely understand that blogging can be nerve-wracking. But actually the hardest part is having something new to say each time you blog. 

This is where the image of your ideal fan comes to the fore.

This person - just this one - absolutely loves you and can't wait to get another message from you, especially if it's about something you're passionate about. 

We all feel comfortable with someone who loves us because we can be ourselves and say what we want without fear. That's what your ideal fan is like. And so, when you write a blog, imagine you're writing just for him or her. Then, the process begins to get a lot easier. 

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

As a writer trying to promote yourself, you’ve 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 Ethics in the New Millennium. 

Most writers' first blog post is 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 your topic back to the writing. You can write about any experience, event or circumstance - but then try to make it relevant to either you, your reader, or your writing, or their lives. 

Blog posts can be short too. 200 words is fine. More than a 1000 words and you're pushing the envelope. 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 watch 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 the longest time I’ve written just one a week, every Friday morning. 

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. 

Be light, fun, and informative. That's really the style you should adopt. Being angry and bitter can get you some notice - but it's generally short lived.

Funny is great. If you have a talent for writing humorous stuff, go for it. 

Most times you'll just want to be interesting, 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 or two.

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

While I agree that ideally fiction 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 another writer as a fan is pretty much the greatest compliment you can get.

Blogging is dependent on your unique personality - and how you come across. 

If you're open and honest you'll attract the readers and subscribers that respond to your mojo, 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. Fiction readers are often more interested in the stories, your characters 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 totally 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. If you write children's books, for instance, I don't think your average reader will want to read about your drunken 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 Parnell


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