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Anne R. Allen's Blog

...WITH RUTH HARRIS

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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."


Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ten Reasons for Authors to Blog

by Robin Houghton


One of the questions I'm most asked is "how do you find time to write a blog?" I can answer this quite simply – I find the time in the same way that I find time to do the grocery shopping, or read poetry, or stroke the cat.

We all find the time to do the things we consider either essential/non-negotiable or enjoyable, preferably both. But this answer doesn't always satisfy people. That’s when it becomes clear that the real question they want to ask is "why do you blog?"

Professional persuader Simon Sinek says that in order to inspire anyone you need to "start with why". I'm not really in the business of persuading authors they need to be blogging, because it has to be an individual’s decision, it has to feel right. You have to be convinced of why you're doing it. And that why can be different for all of us. Here are a selection of reasons, and I'd be interested to which of them, if any, resonate with you.

1. To have your own real estate on the social web


The web is an ever-growing place and as with any land-grab it pays to do your research, read the small print and think long-term. As an author, there are many places to hang your hat: Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, your publisher's or agent's website, your own website or blog – all good in terms of setting out your wares and promoting yourself.

But with the exception of your own website or blog (if it's self-hosted), all those other places belong to someone else. You're renting your space, and the cheaper it is, the less you can rely on security of tenure. Facebook could change its rules at any time (and does!), as might WordPress.com. Your page on a publisher’s site will be branded and controlled by the publisher, it goes without saying.

If you self-host your website and/or blog, that is, if you pay for hosting and are responsible for managing it, and if you own your domain name, you are in control. All presentation and content is down to you. And a blog by its very nature increases in value over time as you add content, it's more dynamic than a static website and that's something search engines love. Own your space!

2. To promote your writing and your name


This is often the number one reason authors start blogging: the blog is the heart of your author platform. I know the phrase has come up for some bashing and some have argued that a blog isn't even necessary to an author platform (for example in this piece by L L Barkat )

It's true that any old blog thrown up on the web won't suddenly deliver you a worldwide audience of clamorous readers. There's more competition for people's attention online than ever before. But a blog is still your number one opportunity to create a unique online property to showcase your work, your skills, your personality, and yes – to sell yourself.

There's a slight issue with the phrase "author platform" in that it brings to mind the author giving a reading or a signing, while eager readers line up to hear what they have to say in a passive manner. A one-way relationship in the pre-social web tradition, as if it were sufficient for the author to broadcast his opinion, with no expectation of feedback. Which of course is a very narrow view of what a blog actually offers.

3. To help develop a loyal readership


Here’s where it gets interesting. Wouldn't it be great to have a direct line to your ideal readers, those who are going to buy every word you write and tell all their friends about this amazing writer they've discovered?

That's exactly what a blog offers. But it takes time to build a relationship, in any setting. Just as in an office job you get to know your co-workers simply by encountering them every day, your blog readers get to know you gradually from reading your posts and comments, and getting a feel for who you are through repeated exposure to your blog. It’s not just your blog posts that create the impression, it's everything from how you invite interaction, the colors, graphics and images you use, even the choice of fonts.

A new writer, or one in a small niche, wants to build a network of loyal readers. I see this happen a lot in poetry, for example: it’s a small enough world, and sales are so tiny, that poets are inclined to support one another by attending launches and buying books. So what you get is a readership of peers, friends and family.

It's relatively easy to build a small but loyal readership, and you don't need a blog to get to this stage, although it certainly helps – especially if you encourage follows and social shares. And a blog, for example, gives you the chance to build a valuable email list (see point 7).

4. To build an army of advocates


What we sometimes forget, especially when starting out as a writer, as the difference between loyalty and advocacy. Loyalty comes when people get to know the person behind the words and want to support them.

 But with a blog you have the means to develop something more, and that's advocacy. Your advocates, or ambassadors, are people who are happy to help promote your work to others and are prepared to stake their own reputation on it.

When your blog content gets shared on social networks it will potentially bring new readers, but social shares are relatively superficial. The real work of advocacy takes place when higher profile bloggers invite you to guest post, or reblog a post of yours, publish a favorable review, or reference your blog in a completely new setting such as at a conference or in a journal, or in the mass media. I'm not saying this happens right away, but the opportunity is there.

5. To do market research and try things out


Your blog is a safe place for experimenting. It might not feel that way at first, but even the most cautious of authors tend to relax into their blog at some point. I think of it as putting on the slippers. When I feel I'm among friends I'm more able to be honest and open myself up to other people's ideas and possible criticism.

Treating your blog readership as a crit group might be taking it too far, but don't dismiss the opportunity to ask for opinions on things – a new book idea you're mulling over, a plot twist or character change. You don't have to give anything away, you can keep your questions fairly general. But you could get some interesting feedback that might inform your decision.

If you're in the process of researching a new book, why not introduce into your blog some of the topics you need to know more about? Share one or two anecdotes or examples and ask if anyone has experienced anything similar. Write a post on your favorite and least favorite things about Sense and Sensibility and see how the comments pan out – it could be useful if you're contemplating a 21st version of Austen's classic.

6. To improve your writing


To say there's no substitute for practice has become a bit of a cliche, and even the 10,000 hours of practice rule has been shown to be too simplistic. But anecdotally, it seems to be the case that writing in different styles across a variety of genres and platforms can make you a better writer.

A blog calls for a different style of writing than, say, a novel, or poetry, or even a Twitter update. Some blogs have a lot in common with journalistic writing, and some are notably academic in style. Picture someone whose day job is writing 300-word articles for a celebrity gossip website. Blogging might be the last thing they want to do in their spare time. But perhaps they are also a poet.

If you are a writer and you have a passion for something, writing about it feels natural and easy. Someone who works in an academic or highly regulated setting may welcome the chance to write in a freer style.

Writing a blog makes you think about things like keywords and optimization, how people read on screen, how to order, format and chunk your content, how to plan and think like an editor. Blogging is a discipline that can help improve your organizational skills and well as the range and fluency of your writing.

7. To widen your network of professional (useful) contacts


On its own, a blog may not have agents, reviewers, publishers and other industry contacts beating a path to your door. First, they have to know it exists, second, they have to have a good reason to visit and third there has to be something unique and compelling about what they find there.

Let’s say your blog is up there in terms of amazing content. Let’s say also that you've worked really hard on optimizing the blog for search engines and are getting good visitor and following numbers. For some kinds of blog, especially those focused on making money, being found in searches is the holy grail. But for authors? The human aspect of blogging comes much more into play.

The age-old ways of connecting with influential industry contacts remains the same in that it's about building relationships one person at a time. Whether the initial contact comes from a face-to-face or online encounter, or from a recommendation, your blog is where people then go to get a feel for the person behind the work. A blog doesn't stand alone, but it's a key piece in your professional armory.

8. To create a new revenue stream /supplement your earnings


Selling digital products as one way writers can supplement their income, and a blog is the perfect platform. Decide what you can package (for example "hot topic" content you've already written for the blog, tutorials, ebooks or downloads, courses or even a "members only" site).

Taster material can be offered for free in return for an email sign up, so building up a list of prospects to which you can then market your paid content. The combination of a blog plus an opt-in email list is tried and tested: the result is a pre-qualified list of prospects who are likely to buy whatever you're selling.

9. To get you out of the garret


As with any solitary activity, writing can bring on feelings of isolation. We have a human need to connect, and a blog is a way into the blogosphere and the wider social web. Discovering and reading other people's blogs, connecting with people you otherwise wouldn't have met, conversation around shared interests – these are all side-effects of blogging, and there are more.

Combined with social media outreach in the form of a Twitter or Facebook account, a blog places you within a community of readers and writers from which peer support, friendships and inspiration soon follow.

10. For the serendipity


Blogging is undoubtedly a commitment, and however much of a challenge it might appear at times, if you stay focused on what you're really REALLY interested in, there's a good chance you will enjoy it. And from enjoyment comes the delight of the unexpected.

It’s not unusual to find that a blog takes you in a new direction, or leads to completely unforeseen opportunities. Enjoy the serendipity!


What about you, Scriveners? What is your strongest motivation to blog? I think I started blogging initially because of #9. I needed to get out of the garret and meet some other writers who understood what I was going through. Do you blog? Are you still on the fence about making the commitment? Have you tried blogging and found it wasn't for you? ...Anne


Robin Houghton (@RobinHoughton) has over two decades of experience in marketing and communications, formerly with Nike, then running her own business Eggbox Marketing since 2002 specializing in online. She now works primarily with writers and publishing industry professionals to help them make the best use of social media. 

Robin writes blogs on social media and poetry and has been a guest blogger for a number of sites including Social Media Today and MarketingProfs. She is a published poet and a commercial copywriter for web and print, and an experienced trainer and conference speaker. 

Her first book Blogging for Creatives was a best-seller and resulted in two more commissions, Blogging for Writers (2014) and The Rules of Blogging (and How to Break Them) (2015), both published by Ilex in the UK and Writers Digest Books in the US.



BOOK OF THE WEEK




From which platform to use (Blogger, WordPress, etc) to setting up the perfect blog; from layout and design to getting the tone right; from social networking and getting noticed to finding a readership and liaising with publishers, Blogging for Writers lays out the fundamentals and then digs deeper, advising how to make your blog and your skills stand out from the pack and bring the customers your way.

Buy the book At Writer's Digest BooksAmazon US or on Amazon UK


If you happen to live in the San Luis Obispo area, Anne will be speaking to the SLO Nightwriters on April 14th at 6:30 PM on the subject of author and reviewer bullying and how we can fight it with a combination of good social media manners and reporting offenses. Directions at the SLO Nightwriters website

OPPORTUNITY ALERTS


Golden Quill Awards Writing Contest: Flash, Poetry, and Short fiction categories. Entry fee $20 for stories and poetry, $15 for flash fiction. The theme is TRANSFORMATION. Deadline July 15.

MARK TWAIN HUMOR CONTEST  Entry fees: $12 Young Author or $22 Adult. 7,000 words (or fewer) of any original work of humor writing. Submissions must be in English. Submissions are not required to be in the style of Mark Twain or about Mark Twain. 1st Prize: $1,000 (Adult), $600 (Young Author). Other cash prizes! Deadline July 10, 2015

Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest. Entry fee $10. Your story should in some way touch upon the publication’s mission: Celebrating America — past, present, and future. Think Norman Rockwell. No profanity or graphic sex. Any genre. No previously published stories, but they can have appeared on your blog. Between 1,500 and 5,000 words. Deadline July 1, 2015

Writer's Village International Short Fiction Contest Prizes totalling $3200! And every entrant gets a critique. (which makes this a great deal.) Any genre of fiction up to 3000 words. Entry fee $24. Deadline June 30th.

PULP LITERATURE'S The Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction $10-$15 ENTRY FEE. Winner published in Winter 2016. First Prize: $300 (Runner up: $75). For unpublished short fiction up to 1,000 words in length. Contest Opens May 1, 2015 and closes June 15, 2015.

Ink & Insights 2015
 is a writing contest that comes with a detailed critique. Send the first 10,000-words of your book. The entry fee is $35: pricey for a contest, but a fantastic deal for a critique. Each submission is read by four judges who score 18 areas of your novel. This looks like a great opportunity! Over $5,000 cash and prizesDeadline May 31.

Writer's Digest Writing Compeition. This is their biggie. First prize is $5000 plus your photo on the cover of Writer's Digest. Entry fees are a little pricey at $25 for a story, $15 for a poem but there are lots of big prizes. Categories for many genres of fiction, Creative nonfic, essays, screenplays, and poetry. Early Bird deadline May 4th.

WOW Spring Flash Fiction Contest: Fee $10, or $20 with critique. The critique is a fantastic deal. These quarterly contests are judged by an agent. 750 words.  First prize is $350 plus a $500 publishing package, publication and an interview. 20 prizes in all. Enter early. They only take the first 300 entries. Deadline May 31.


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55 Comments:

Blogger CS Perryess said...

Thanks for an intriguing list of reasons to blog. My writerly pals talked me into starting a blog a few years ago. I wasn't even slightly excited about the prospect, especially in regards to the time loss. Now, after nearly 200 posts and four years, I'm with you on reason #10. I've grown to like the process. I blog about words at csperryess.blogspot.com : idioms, etymologies, other word-related oddities, and I've grown to really enjoy the research. I wish I felt fulfilled on reasons 1-9, but at the moment, #10 is good enough for me.

April 12, 2015 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Thanks for a great list on a topic close to my heart Robin. Give me a double helping of #6, with some #2 on the side and just a smidge (probably too light) of #7.

I don't know if it qualifies as brand new reason, but my blog pleases me now the way self-pub pleased me back when I started- I control when I put something out there before the public. I always feel better when I've issued something, and since both my regular series-topics circle around the subject of writing, it keeps me thinking about my world and my chronicling duties.

For content, I think the blog is in good shape- it's all that search-optimization and experimentation I'm stuck in neutral on. I despair of ever getting better at that sometimes. Thanks for the pointers!

April 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Sunny Frazier said...

A saw pitfalls of blogging early on, and my fears became real. People enthusiastically started blogging, got worn down by the commitment and began asking others to fill their space. Now they're promoting everyone but themselves!

My solution was to sign on to Novel Spaces for a once-a-month slot. I like to write about writing and promotion, but I also tie in current events and things that generally get under my skin. This is a multi-cultural site and puts me in contact with a demographic I might never be able to infiltrate.

I also blog once a month over at Buried Under Books. Lelia Taylor asked me and I simply couldn't refuse her. She allows me a lot of leadway and supports whatever risky things I have to say.

For me, blogging has made a huge difference in my fan base. I have a journalism background, and that certainly helps. I like the idea of advocacy and now realize I'm been at that stage for some time.

Terrific article. I'm passing it along to The Posse.

April 12, 2015 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

While I don't have a blog on my own hosted site, it's been an incredible way to network and get myself known. And after this past week with my book launch, I can testify to the power of advocacy.

April 12, 2015 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Tam Francis said...

GREAT blog. I've been on the verge of giving up the blog, but then I get a great letter, or great comment and it keeps me going. I've even turned some of my research into a blog post. You know all that info that you can't use in your narrative, but went down a rabbit hole researching. Blog Post!

This reminds me why I started it and why I keep at it and some new ideas and uses as well. Thank you again!

~ Tam Francis ~
www.girlinthejitterbugdress.com

April 12, 2015 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Excellent post! I do blog regularly - once a week on my own site, and twice a month for Sleuthsayers. In addition, I've done 97 guest blogs in the past 3 years. I find having a deadline keeps me sharp, and as I write comedy, it also takes me 'out of myself'. Have met some terrific people through blogging, and yes, reached readers I would otherwise never have.

April 12, 2015 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

I started out blogging because of platform, but honestly, it's tough for fiction writers. Usually what gets recommended is to blog about the research for your book, which assumes a career of one book or a series. I did Microsoft Word tips for writers at one point, which I quit because people saw me as much easier to email for silly questions than for then to look in the help section. My then cowriter did Civil War guns to promote out then CW thriller, but all he ever got interest in was requests of "How much is my gun worth?" I'm not sure any of the readers coming in were interested in the potential book.

I actually almost gave up blogging at several points, because it was really hard finding topics that I wanted to write about and that drew people. I took a blogging for writers workshop and it was very discouraging. It was supposed to be a cheerleader thing, where everyone encouraged everyone else. No one seemed much interested in what I was writing, and they dropped me within two weeks of the workshop starting (it was six weeks). In hindsight, it was probably because I wasn't doing any writing how-tos.

But I kept up because my name is so ordinary, and I like writing (obviously!). And I really hate Twitter. In 2013, I wrote two posts, and I noticed that they kept popping up as popular posts. They were on hair and uniforms from my time in the military. I started writing about the military -- not the big, important stories, but things like the beds in the barracks. I've been surprised at the interest in what seems like such routine topics to me.

April 12, 2015 at 11:54 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Hi CS, that's great to hear. You kept on it and it paid off. I do think it can take a bit of time to find the real joy, thanks so much for sharing.

April 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Hey Wm. That's a great point - being in control of when and how you publish something. That's such a great feeling of empowerment in a business where you can often feel it's the opposite. SEO is a tricky one but if you keep putting out great content that's really the key factor. Best of luck with it all. Robin

April 12, 2015 at 12:05 PM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Sunny, thanks so much for this. I'm not familiar with Novel Spaces but have just Googled it and will check it out! I like your point about finding a way in to a new demographic, and having a regular slot at a multi-authored blog such as Buried Under Books is such a strong strategy, thanks for drawing my attention to both those sites, really good to know. All best, Robin

April 12, 2015 at 12:10 PM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Alex, I'm pleased to hear how blogging has paid off for you. Although I always recommend self-hosting in the long term, I've often encouraged writers to start with a hosted blog initially, and to be honest I know quite a few who are very happy on Blogger or WordPress.com - congratulations on the book launch and all the very best for its success! Robin

April 12, 2015 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Michael J. Fitzgerald said...

Nicely done. With my second novel coming out in about a month, I overhauled my author's page and included a major section where I intend to blog every day about, well, something, as a way to connect with readers...

April 12, 2015 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Hi, Robin and Anne, love this discussion. I have a short blog with a small group of loyal--thank you so much--followers on Goodreads. When I started out blogging I tried a short post every week and that was fine for a while but I realized even that little bit of time took me away from my writing, so I've checked in off and on over the past two months while writing the rough draft of my WIP, and once the draft is done, I plan to return on a more regular basis. I agree that it's a great place to make friends and talk about subjects that will hopefully interest readers as well as other writers. Thanks so much for this wonderful post.

April 12, 2015 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Phyllis Humphrey said...

Shortly after I found your blog and began following it, I started my own. I'd be happy if I had half the comments you get, but I enjoy it and, as you point out, it's practice in writing. I also do "slow blogging," only once a week, and try to offer helpful information, as well as keeping my readers up to date on my newest plans.

April 12, 2015 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger D.G. Hudson said...

I manage two blogs on Blogger and I'm happy with the current setup. Currently I'm participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge which seems to garner more pageviews for me. Especially in the international audience, content seems to matter. I try to make it a place you can learn something about a mix of things: art, Paris, books, travel, etc. I also showcase my photographs. I started blogging to find those like-minded and have met some wonderful bloggers and blogger/writers that way.Thanks for all the tips here. I always learn something at your blog!

April 12, 2015 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Linda Thorne said...

Thank you for the information. I learned from this article and also from the comments made. I've only had my blog up since last August, so fairly new at this. I'm hosting an author tomorrow. This time I made a comment about the progress of my own book before introducing her blog post.

April 12, 2015 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tam--I'm glad you're hanging onto your blog. It can be useful in all kinds of ways further down the road.

Everybody--Robin is in England, and it's now 10 PM over there, so she'll be replying to everybody's comments in the morning. We really appreciate the comments and will respond to them all.

April 12, 2015 at 1:47 PM  
OpenID pomadness said...

Another post filled with great advice. Thanks Robin, and thanks Anne, for sharing yet more information on the jungle out there!

April 12, 2015 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I originally started blogging back in 2008 because a former friend suggested that blogging would be better alternative to where was hanging my hat at the time (chat rooms). No censorship issues beyond what I would impose on myself and what the well run corporate entity would enforce (that's Google, who currently owns Blogger, and for better or worse, they are consistent with that enforcement).

I also spent a huge amount of time practicing my writing and building a solid readership base (by the time started a new blog in 2014, I had 140+ subscribers).

Over the years, I've parleyed what I've done on the blog to what I'd accomplished with my writing (like having contests to help complete a book with the grand prize of being written into a scene at the end).

It's been a bump ride (roughly have 1300+ posts spread out over 6 blogs) for the past several years, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Father Nature's Corner

April 12, 2015 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Marja said...

I started blogging because Sunny Frazier talked me into it. (Thanks, Sunny!) I blog once a week and have done so for a few years. My biggest problem is coming up with a topic. At some point you can kind of run out of ideas. In fact, my upcoming post is more for entertainment than anything else, because I couldn't think of what to write about. Thank you for a very informative post! You made me start thinking things over.
Marja McGraw

April 12, 2015 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Michael--I don't know how Robin feels about it, but I do not recommend that fiction authors blog every day. It takes too much time from your main writing projects. Also, most people don't have time to read daily updates,so they'll unsubscribe. Twice a week is what I recommend for nonfiction authors and once a week or less for fiction. It's much more effective to comment on big blogs with a large readership than to spend all day alone on your own.

April 12, 2015 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Krystina K said...

All the reason you give for blogging are equally valid. But also, if you blog and develop a community around that then it helps with the lonely business of actually doing the deed - writing. It is very much a solo occupation and to feel a part of a group who are all doing the same - more or less successfully is wonderful.

As always, thank you for giving me something to think over and clarify in doing so.

April 12, 2015 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Florence Cronin said...

Robin, what resonates with me are 1, 6, and 10 ... and I love, love, love blogging. Hate Twitter to distraction, do mostly personal with FB ... but blogging is my thing. Like you, I find time each week (once a week on Wed.) and do a variety of things for my personal enjoyment and for my humble few loyal readers :)

Thanks for all the rest ... who knows that one of these days ... one of them will become pertinent :)

April 12, 2015 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Mandy Wallace said...

You're so right, Anne. Blogging is a treasure trove for writers.

I started my blog just to motivate myself to keep writing and to share what I learned along the way with fellow writers. If you'd told me when I first started the incredible career and networking opportunities it would send my way, I wouldn't have believed it.

I wish I'd started sooner. But I'm glad I just started.

April 12, 2015 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Marina Sofia said...

I started my blog to motivate myself to write even when I didn't feel like it, when I was just finding my way back into writing after a gap of a couple of decades. A way of holding myself accountable. Over time - I've been blogging for three years now- I've had moments when it's become a burden or a procrastination tool (INSTEAD of my real writing), but I've kept going, I enjoy it, I enjoy interacting with people, I've made some good friends and been exposed to so many good books and articles because of it. I need to find the perfect balance still, to give myself more time to write 'properly', but I wouldn't want to give it up.

April 12, 2015 at 10:53 PM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Hi Tam, using your research material in a blog post is an excellent idea and I know what you mean about the boost you can get from reader feedback. Thanks for your comment! Robin

April 13, 2015 at 12:29 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Melodie, that's an impressive guest blogging record! Good to hear you've reaped the benefits of blogging in so many ways. Thanks so much.

April 13, 2015 at 12:31 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Linda - that's very interesting and sounds like you've had a few tough blogging experiences. Like you say in the last paragraph, it can be surprising what people find interesting, and that's where keeping an eye on the stats can pay off as it can lead you in unexpected directions. Wishing you all the best with your blog. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 12:40 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Michael - daily blogging does sound ambitious! I'm interested in Anne's recommendations re blogging frequency for fiction vs non fiction authors. I don't tend to offer specific guidelines on this but it's a very good point about overwhelming readers with too many updates. And from the author's point of view it can quickly become a chore, which is often the start of falling out of love with blogging. So good to be cautious I think.

April 13, 2015 at 12:47 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Hi Mindprinter and thank you - I think you have the right idea in that you do need to always keep that balance between blogging and 'real' writing. Great that you've built up your Goodreads community and at least you've been checking in on your blog and haven't let it go. I'm sure your audience will still be there when you return to more regular updates.

April 13, 2015 at 12:53 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Phyllis, I'm with you - Anne's blog is a great role model for bloggers - and the number of comments is a pretty good demonstration of how well people respond when the content is consistently good. It's a privilege for me to be guest posting here. Thanks and all the best. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:00 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, D.G. I love hearing how bloggers have connected with others and grown their community. Great job. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:03 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Linda, I'm glad it was helpful! Hosting other authors can work on many levels, particularly if they are good at promoting the post to their own community of readers. Is it part of a regular program featuring guest authors? Best of luck with it. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:12 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Pomadness, my pleasure! Glad it was helpful. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:14 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

G.B. - A contest with the prize of being written into a scene - how lovely! It sounds like you've really gone the rounds with blogging, congratulations and thanks so much for your comment. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:17 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Hi Marja - you've done a great job to get this far. I find having an editorial calendar really helps when you have one of those 'what the heck can I write about' moments, which most of us do. The other thing is to revisit popular posts and update them in some way. Too often as bloggers we think 'I've covered that already' when in fact there will always be readers who want to read more about the same thing, or missed it the first time around. All the best with your blog! Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:23 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Thank you Krystina - yes I agree that the feeling of being one of many people striving for the same thing can be reassuring. On my poetry blog I've found some of the most popular posts are those in which I share my literary rejections, and my feelings around them - other writers seem mighty relieved to know they're not alone. Robin.

April 13, 2015 at 1:30 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Florence - I think quite a few people share your selection! What a shame that Twitter seems so unpopular among commenters here, personally I love it, but one of the great things about the social web is that there's somewhere for everyone to feel at home - I think we have to be enjoying what we're doing, otherwise what's the point, really? Thanks for commenting! Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:39 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Mandy, what a great testimonial for blogging. 'I wish I'd started it sooner' is something I've heard before and I absolutely agree with you, the opportunities blogging can open up are incredible. Thanks so much. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:42 AM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Marina - interesting that you say you're still finding the balance. Perhaps the procrastination is a necessary part of the writing process? I sometimes think 'I'm blogging when I should be writing' but it's still using the writing 'muscle'. Keep enjoying your blogging, and thanks for your comment. Robin

April 13, 2015 at 1:51 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Here is a comment that came via email


I loved the post, but I would REALLY appreciate one about what authors should do when nobody is reading their blog. I would love to connect with readers and build relationships, but at this point, it's only crickets on my blog.

--Angela Norton Tyler

April 13, 2015 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Angela--Great idea for a blogpost! I'll do that. Meanwhile, here's my 1st tip: commenting on other blogs is the best way to raise your profile among blog readers. Thanks for the suggestion.

April 13, 2015 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

I had that problem, for quite a few years. The hardest thing is to keep writing the posts, even if it is to crickets, but that's what you have to do. Experiment a lot with different posts, and especially try what seems like ordinary for something you are very familiar with it. It'll be tempting to do writing how-tos, but don't. That's just going to get you a few writers, but won't build you much of an audience. People want to find an interesting person, and you just need to find what to write about.

April 13, 2015 at 4:58 PM  
OpenID ukpoetgal said...

Hi Angela - are you certain no-one's reading it? It's hard to answer the question without sight of the blog or knowing a bit more about the problem. If people aren't finding it, that's one thing to tackle. If people are finding it and clicking away without reading, that's another. If it's just that no-one comments, that's another! I agree with both Anne's and Linda's suggestions - make the first move by commenting and being active in the blogosphere, and keep going with good quality content that comes from the heart. I'm looking forward to Anne's post on the subject! Best wishes, Robin

April 14, 2015 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger DMS said...

What a great post! As a writer, I love having my blog and connecting to other writers and readers. :) I learn so much from other bloggers.
~Jess

April 15, 2015 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

I'm not sure what to do about my blog. I started out blogging three days a week about myself, my writing, and writing in general. Then I made Wednesday's post a hump day collection of jokes and funnies and people seemed to enjoy that. As blogging became too time-consuming I cut back to two times a week and then to one. But the post followers asked me not to drop was the Wednesday hump day funnies. That's great, I love doing those and giving people a laugh, but I write mystery/suspense. Nice dark murders. And my blog is lighthearted fun. I've build a platform that doesn't match my writing. What do I do now?

April 16, 2015 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jess--I think the most successful bloggers are the ones like you who really enjoy it. I certainly do. I learn something every day from my fellow bloggers!

April 16, 2015 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

LD--I'm not sure what Robin will say, but I have the same "problem". I have a blog that's mostly for writers, but I write upmarket humorous mysteries. I've found the blog still provides a pretty good platform for my fiction, because it gets my name out there and people know who I am. If they know somebody who's looking for smart funny mysteries, they might recommend me, even if they don't read the genre.

I think you have the same benefit, no matter what you blog about. People who know you and like you are more likely to buy your books. Imagine going to a party to meet an author. Do you think less of him because he's fun and makes jokes? I wouldn't. In fact, I'd probably be more likely to buy his next book.

April 16, 2015 at 11:44 AM  
OpenID rcmarantis said...

I found this post excellent for two reasons 1)I recently started on ablogging journey myself but lacked direction right out of the gates. Evaluating my motivation to blog to begin with helped me with 2) I was able to sprout a "tree" of blog post ideas and am excited about the direction it will take. Thank you so very much!

April 20, 2015 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

rc--Best of luck with your blog. I'll have more blogging information here in coming months. Robin's book is excellent. I highly recommend it.

April 21, 2015 at 10:05 AM  
OpenID timdesmondblog.com said...

Seems I am late to this ....... I was hacked the same day Sunny's email referred me to it. She is the Posse leader who got us to blogging, which seems to be your number 4 point, "an army of advocates." While all the points are true, right, and good, Number 9 strikes a chord of importance. First I'll admit I had to look up what garret meant. Back in the mid 2000s I was working with a fellow teacher who had won a Carnegie-Mellon award for his book of poetry. He had started a blog, because his friends had urged him too. And as we visited at work, he said, "You need to be around others writing and doing things." And, while I agreed with him, and he and I were talking, we were just two guys stuck in a small work area in what some have called the "desert of the west side." There's more of course. Thanks again for the ten reasons.

April 24, 2015 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tim--I didn't know Sunny gave this post a shout-out. I assume you mean Sunny Frazier from Sisters in Crime? I agree this is a great overview of the perks of blogging. If you're in California, like Sunny, you may not have a lot of experience with garrets--they're small stuffy attic rooms in old rooming houses, usually cheaper to rent than rooms closer to the ground floor--and more isolated. There's an old cliche of the "starving artist in the garret", but it's more of a 19th century image than a modern one. I guess these days it would be "Mom's basement."

What Robin is using the image for here is the sense of isolation. The Internet age has helped artists of all kinds get "out of the garret" and into networking. Blogging certainly has done that for me.

You'll find lots more posts on blogging through the menu in the sidebar labeled "pages." Thanks for commenting!

April 24, 2015 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Oh, and so sorry to hear you've been hacked, Tim. That must have been grim!

April 24, 2015 at 9:21 AM  
OpenID jhknightley said...

I am one of those authors who started blogging for platform reasons, but discovered that I enjoy the process. Even though I have almost no audience at the moment, I love feeling like I can say what I like. I can share my self-publishing experiences with my curious writerly friends, and let people know that we have more options as writers than traditional publishing houses. I blog about the projects I'm working on. Of course, it's mostly to crickets at this point. And website developers who want to sell me services. I think I prefer the crickets.

This blog post has been helpful for me, as it confirms to me that I'm doing the right thing, and not just screaming into the wind.

April 27, 2015 at 2:49 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

jh--My experience with blogging was the same. I had no idea I'd enjoy it so much. And you never know when one of your posts will be picked up and catapult you into the spotlight. (And you're right that you don't need any of those website developers.)

I'm so glad this post was helpful to you. Keep blogging!

April 27, 2015 at 9:54 AM  

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