Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday’s Writing: If You Can Talk, You Can Blog.

image003 Blogs are a great promotional tool for writers – and they can be fun, too! I know some people back off from the idea of blogging and there are many reasons.

The most common would be: 1)  What Do I say? 2) Who’d Be Interested? 3) Every Week! I don’t have time! 4) It’s too complicated. 5) I’d feel silly – what would it actually achieve?

Taking number 1) If you can talk, you can blog. The best blogs are conversational in tone, and you can chat about what interests you. I have a blog most Mondays which simply features quotes that I’ve found inspiring and hope will inspire others.

2) Who’d be interested? Lots and lots of readers actually seek out blogs for information and entertainment. Write yours well, make it interesting, post on social media, and they will come.

3) I don’t have time! Sure, I confess that sometimes I miss a blog date because of deadlines, personal happenings, or being just too darned tired to be inspired. But mostly, blogging has become part of my routine and I enjoy the challenge of coming up with a subject and writing 500 words, less or more, about it. Usually I can find something that interests me enough to chat about, either from experience or from research that I do on a subject. Think of it as a way of increasing your own knowledge and strengthening your writing skills!

4) It’s actually not complicated at all. You can dedicate a page on your website - you do have a website, yes? – or use one of the free blogging engines like Wordpress or Blogger. Quite a few writers don’t bother having a formal webpage any longer, as they can use their blog for the same purpose. These blogging sites offer templates and lots of help programs built in. Trust me, if I can do it, you can!

5) What would it actually achieve? Wow! Obviously that depends on your subject, why you’re blogging, and how you go about it. The first thing, really, is to give some value to your readers, something they can take away. That can be as simple as information, with links to further information if you can, (mentioning the source, especially if it is from someone else’s blog, with a link will get you brownie points!) or something to think about, or a smile that brightens their day. Blogging makes you visible, and the reason many authors aren't selling their books is because of 'invisibility'. Readers need to get to know you, and a blog is great for that.

A title helps bring people to your blog – look at the one on this page: If You Can Talk, You Can Blog. It got you here, didn’t it?

Blog titles are a bit like book titles: they grab the readers attention either by offering information or by something intriguing. I have a book titled The No Sex Clause and yes, that grabs a lot of attention. Sounds a bit raunchier than it is, but people want to know why there’s a need for such a clause, and what happens between the sexy couple on the cover…an attention getter.

This blog is called Romance Can Be Murder, because that’s what I write about: Stories with romance and mystery (and a few murders). I also have a touch of humor in my books, which is reflected in the blog title, too Smile 

Some of the most successful blogs combine information with a style like chatting to your best friend. They can be very short, or quite long, but bear in mind this is work that will appear on the Web, so try to keep paragraphs short, dole out in formation in little bits rather than huge lumps that would choke a reader.

Most of all, while blogging is a great way to get your name in front of readers, it shouldn’t be used to constantly sell, sell, sell your work. Mention a book release, use your work as an example, but constantly asking readers to buy, buy, buy your books without giving them anything else is going to mean your blog gets lonely fast.

So, now it’s your turn. What adventures have you had in the Blogosphere?

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