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Shamrock

other To Blog or Not to Blog?

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I know some of you blog and it can be way, of generating interest/read base especially for those of you would have work published.

 

My query is as someone who has not got work published (other than a Self-published book I'd rather forget about) I am wondering whether it is worth creating a blog?  What on earth do I write about 'the trials of an unknown author?  I can see the point for those who offer services for writers or have work to promote.

 

Any thoughts?
 

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Before I answer your question, I need to say that I have neither website nor blog. 

15 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

I am wondering whether it is worth creating a blog? 

You're going to find conflicting advice on the internet about this. Some sites say that "you must have a blog" and others say "the age of blogging is over". My question to anyone considering blogging would be "what's your end goal for the blog?" All the advice I've seen for marketing says that you want to get a mailing list of email subscribers as your "primary" marketing tool. Everything else is to support/grow that. So if you decided to blog, you would want to create content that will attract your target audience, and then have a sign up form on each blog post so that people can give you their email address if they like what they see. 

 

Having said all that, my current marketing plan is Instagram. I'm trying to build a following there while I work on a story. As I get closer to publishing, I hope to set up a mailing list and website. 

 

At the end of the day, you're going to decide what will work for you. I've chosen the route I have because I can fit it into my life at the moment. Also, most of my target audience are on Instagram, so that's where I need to go to find them. Look at all the options available to you, and decide which one you like. Try and work out the demographics of your target audience and see where they are online. If they read blog posts, then go with that. If not, it might be worth considering a different avenue. 

 

As for what to write, that's a challenge that's going to come up no matter what social media platform you start using. All I can say is, start. Start creating posts. Put them out there. You'll soon find that you start to develop a voice that you like. You'll also start to discover what content your audience enjoys more, as well as what content gets the most interaction. The more you do, the more comfortable you'll get, and the more ideas for posts you'll come up with. That's what's happened with me. 

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Thanks @Claire Tucker

 

Target audience - that a good point.  I need to think about who or what mine are. Not sure as yet.

Instagram - never used it but have heard about it. Hate facebook. At present I used Twitter for church and personal use.

 

Wish I knew someone in marketing.😅 totally not good at this self-promotion lark.

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I did start a blog as a way of trying to generate publicity/interest for my books. I post writing related tips, links to articles I find interesting, the occasional book review, and information about my books. It was an interesting exercise, and fun to create, but as for building a readership, virtually useless. I do plan to keep it up, though, because who knows? Maybe someday...

 

I would definitely recommend putting your energies behind the social media platform you are most comfortable with and have the most contacts in, even if some say it’s not the very best. Which one is the best is so subjective, I think. What is best for you could be totally different for another author or another genre.

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I was flat-out-told by a small Christian publisher that I needed to have a blog to even be under consideration. Hence, I have a blog! This is not to say that every publisher or agent would say the same thing. There is more than one way to build an audience. 

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Any publisher will tell you that you have to have a Facebook account that you regularly post on, a blog on which you regularly post on, a Twitter account you regularly post on, an Instagram account you regularly post on, and, preferably, a YouTube account you regularly post videos on.  That's a given, if you are going to be published.  Sorry, Shamrock!

Edited by suspensewriter

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13 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Any publisher will tell you that you have to have

followed by five different places "you regularly post on ..." And somewhere in there you get to have a life and write the next book. I do not argue with SW, as he has published numerous books, and I have only sold one short story.

 

Just pray for guidance and do what you can.

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Twitter I can do. Hate FB but can see why.

But what to write about?  If you are well known or have lots of time then fine. I work full time and have a family (a bit grown up) and my writing time for novels etc is limited. So, maybe later on. 

 

 

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Actually, it should only take a few minutes on each site. It can be time consuming if you let it. But it isn't necessary to spend a lot of time on social media. Find the times of day that you connect the most and spend 10 minutes on each site.

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Lynn's correct, Shamrock.  I'm also a publisher, and I can tell you, we do expect that of our authors.  The key is your trying to build an audience that will buy your books.  Think about it-- I know you can do it.

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I don't doubt your advice @suspensewriter & @lynnmosher  Q. how do you build a following for a book that is not even published.

(Yes, I know I an old YA book self-published but it a million miles away from what I am doing now.)

 

I use twitter a lot as a vicar. Maybe I am building audience but not directly as an author??

 

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You build the story of yourself and general writing topics.  What's a great thing to do is to interview fellow authors, review books, invite other authors to write on your blog.  Things like that.

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Yes, what SW said. And what is usually left out of the experts' advice is that these connections need to be relationships, for the most part. When people get to know you, and you mention and post what you write, you'll find those that are interested. :D

 

 

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On 9/16/2020 at 10:34 AM, Shamrock said:

Thanks @Claire Tucker

 

Target audience - that a good point.  I need to think about who or what mine are. Not sure as yet.

Instagram - never used it but have heard about it. Hate facebook. At present I used Twitter for church and personal use.

 

Wish I knew someone in marketing.😅 totally not good at this self-promotion lark.

Me Too!

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Reading through this post, I felt a bit overwhelmed and somewhat doomed.

 

I understand the concept of a blog and have actually had a couple short lived ones in the past.  I'm okay with starting another one eventually, but to add all the other social media types - even at 10 min intervals, on top of reading/critiquing/reviewing others work, trying to work to pay the bills, etc, etc, etc...  seems like there is little time left to actually write the book(s), let alone sleep.

 

I'm not saying, "I can't do it!"  I just haven't figured out how to fit ALL the things I need to do or want to do (not always the same thing) in the hours of day we have.  I'm not just talking about the writing side of things, I'm talking about the everyday things of life - the day-to-day.  It all takes time and I simply struggle with time-management.  I try and try... I think I'm figuring it out... and then some unexpected life event happens to turn it all upside down and I get flustered or frustrated. Before I know it, I've stuck my head in the sand and try to ignore life as a whole.

 

I was just talking to Jesus about this very thing this morning.  It is a pattern I've had in my Christian walk as well.  I get overwhelmed (or whatever other emotion - fear, anger, whatever) and my go to instinct is to hide or give up.  I really don't want to give up this time... so how do you overcome the overwhelm and break the day-to-day life into time manageable pieces?

 

I apologize @Shamrock if this got "off topic" a bit.

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As for the social media, just pick two to start out with. Later, if you feel more comfortable and want to expand, you can add another.

 

19 minutes ago, RLHicks said:

I really don't want to give up this time...

 

Keep at it! Hangeth thou in there! If your list of daily tasks gets interrupted, don't worry about it. Just do what you can and move on. Otherwise, when you stop and stick your head in the sand, you get stuck! You have to watch where you're going. ;) And just keep at it. And don't beat yourself up for not accomplishing what you wanted to. Try again later or tomorrow. Just be kind to yourself and trust the Lord to work things out. :D

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8 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

You have to watch where you're going. ;) And just keep at it. And don't beat yourself up for not accomplishing what you wanted to. Try again later or tomorrow. Just be kind to yourself and trust the Lord to work things out.

Thanks @lynnmosher! I needed to be reminded of that... I do tend to beat myself up more often than not, but I'm working on it. 🙂

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I have succumbed and  set up a blog page on my website. 

 

Now all I have to do is think  of something to post about🤔

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43 minutes ago, RLHicks said:

Reading through this post, I felt a bit overwhelmed and somewhat doomed.

 

Just wait until you start querying agents...   :)

44 minutes ago, RLHicks said:

I understand the concept of a blog and have actually had a couple short lived ones in the past.  I'm okay with starting another one eventually, but to add all the other social media types - even at 10 min intervals, on top of reading/critiquing/reviewing others work, trying to work to pay the bills, etc, etc, etc...  seems like there is little time left to actually write the book(s), let alone sleep.

 

I'm not saying, "I can't do it!"  I just haven't figured out how to fit ALL the things I need to do or want to do (not always the same thing) in the hours of day we have.  I'm not just talking about the writing side of things, I'm talking about the everyday things of life - the day-to-day.  It all takes time and I simply struggle with time-management.  I try and try... I think I'm figuring it out... and then some unexpected life event happens to turn it all upside down and I get flustered or frustrated. Before I know it, I've stuck my head in the sand and try to ignore life as a whole.

 

Here's the deal, because I'm in the middle of this as well: you need to get something out there that you can hang your hat on.  Whether it is venting your frustrations, evangelizing, or whatever.  Because, at some point, you're going to need to set up a "platform," and pull in followers.  Having a blog is like the slab on which you'll build your house.

 

You don't have to blog regularly, but you do have to have an online presence.  And it will consume a lot of your time.  Just because you write a book or an article, it doesn't mean you'll get recognized.  So marketing yourself is going to be the biggest time sinkhole you'll have to deal with.  A blog is part of that.

 

Here are some - hopefully helpful - ideas I think you should try:

 

Set one day aside, per week, to write.  It doesn't even have to be a full day.  Mine is Saturday, 10:30 am to 3:00 pm.  I go to my cigar bar, sit at the end of the bar, set up my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard, get my cigars and my Spanish Brandy, and write.  I can easily bang out a chapter in that span of time.  And the time between writing sessions give you time to think about what you want to write.

 

Write in your blog, and release something every 2 weeks.  It doesn't have to be Hamlet, or A Tale of Two Cities.  It just has to be something you're going through.  Write it.  Edit it.  Put it out there, regardless if anyone reads it.  And a post every two weeks?  That's easy.

 

Get yourself online.  Hook up in Twitter, Parler, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest (?) and YouTube.  Twitter has hashtags for #WritersList, where you can post the link to your blog and other stuff you're written.  Facebook has writing communities.  Instagram and YouTube are good for vblogs.  In all of these, you add the link to your blog.  Keep up with these daily.  It only takes about 30 mins out of your day.

 

Twitter is a cesspool, I know.  It is what it is.

 

Writing is like any other vocation or avocation.  You only get out of it what you put into it.

 

It also helps if you only get less than 6 hours worth of sleep at night...  :)

 

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Just remember, it doesn't have to be about writing. Write about life, what you know, what you believe, some funny story, whatever. I would caution you about being political unless you truly believe you should write about political issues. Times have changed as you know, and you can get slammed. And your posts don't have to be lengthy. Make them 500 words or less. And yes, be consistent when you post, whether every two weeks, weekly, whatever. Just be consistent. ;)

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