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Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Start a Blog ~ For Fiction Writers

Starting a blog can be intimidating. If you are a writer you do have an edge. But if you are planning to be a fiction writer, why do you need to blog and what do you blog about?

Blogging is a great tool to build an audience or platform. Blogging is used successfully everyday in the corporate business world in conveying their products and services to likely clients or consumers.

You as a writer will eventually become your own business. You are in the business of selling your products... books. Hopefully you'll sell lots of books. If you have never been published and are new on the scene, then you need to create a buzz. Blogging is one of the most inexpensive and productive means of getting your name out in the public arena.  It gives you an opportunity to showcase your skills, share valuable information, and connect with other like-minded individuals.

How to start.

You will need to decide what platform to use. I've used Blogger since it first came out. Three of my first blogs were stolen by spammy advertisers. Lots of work lost but I didn't give up and thankfully learned the valuable lesson of baking up ALL my posts and I don't use Ads. Don't freak out about that right now, Blogger is one of the safest places for blogging now. Let's talk about your options.

Blogger. Getting Started With Blogger Guide. Easy steps included in the link provided. Blogger is very easy to use for the most part. There are a few learning curves to making it look professional. But if I can do it, anyone can. Posting is easy. You can add pictures and links. I do schedule my posts. Blogger is part of the Google family and has a good SEO, (Search Engine Optimization Guide for Beginners), which means your blog has a better chance of being seen because it is in the Google search engine.

Wordpress. Getting Started with Wordpress.  I also use Wordpress for another personal blog as well as managing several small business blogs. I'll confess, it's not my favorite. But there's many things that Wordpress can do and functions that are not available in Blogger. Like Blogger, you can schedule your posts, add pictures, links and make it look more professional with a bit more ease. But you may have to pay for what's usually free with Blogger. I get a little impatient when I work on Wordpress. 

Tumblr. Getting Started with Tumblr. Tumblr is a blog on steroids to me. It's like teen heaven. Flashy, filled with Gifs, Vines, Memes, and if you're struggling with the verbiage, Tumblr may not be for you. It's short and sweet, well actually what I've seen isn't too sweet. I've created a couple of Tumblr blogs for business accounts and I am still trying to figure out how to maintain one. 

There are several more to mention that I've not familiar with except for LinkedIn. Although I do not use the LinkedIn blog feature, I do have a professional profile there. See me at: Cindy M. Jones.

For other blog platforms, here is a list of 18 of the so called best blogging platforms. You may notice that Blogger isn't mentioned. But I've been using it for about 10 years now. Here is a list of 10 free blog platforms.  If that hasn't made your brain hurt, here is a comparison chart

Now that you've decided what platform to use, several other decisions need to be made. 


As a future novelist, your name is your brand. Don't agonized over some cute name and title. I've changed my subtitle a 100 times but always keep my name as the site name. Your content is how you connect with future readers. Treat them the way you want to be treated and your blog will be successful, just be yourself. Trying to be anyone else is exhausting and unproductive. Write about the things you enjoy.

Share your common interests. Add follow buttons and share buttons. Include a bio and links to anything previously published, if possible.

This is the fun part. As a fiction writer you have so many options. If you are an expert, (even if you don't feel like one), in any area, now's your chance to talk about it. Do you enjoy cooking, gardening, social media, photography, painting, kayakingsewing, crafting, writing, reading, being a mom, the list goes on. 

You are building connections with people who are interested in getting to know you.  The key to successful blogging is not making the blog all about you. Most of us run and take cover when confronted by a narcissist, so don't make your blog self-absorbed. While you are sharing about yourself, provide helpful information to your readers. As in the books you write, it's all about the take-away value. What valuable information, help, encouragement, are you giving your readers? 

Here is some expert advice from a well established novelist, Anne R. Allen, one of my favorite blogs to follow, 14 Do's and Don'ts for Author Bloggers and another important post, Does an Author Really Need a Blog? 10 Reasons a Blog May Help Your Career.

And you can always scrap what doesn't work and start over. It may be painful but look at it like a college course for free.
I'm still here after several failed attempts. Don't be intimidated, it's not as hard as you think.

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