Thanks to author Molly Greene for this guest post!
As an author, your most important goal is to find readers who become fans and buy your books, right? Well, a good solid author’s website that showcases a great blog can be an excellent vehicle to attract attention and build interest in your writing overall. You are “one of a kind.” Blogging can help differentiate you from other writers. Your unique perspective is individual to only you. Your job is to allow your uniqueness to emerge and have a presence on your blog.
Have you wondered if blogging can move your writing career forward? Do you agonize over what the heck to write about? One approach that addresses both questions is to publish blog posts that showcase similar ideas, voice, and writing style as presented in your fictional work. Every work of fiction incorporates certain non-fiction subjects – historical events, location, careers, hobbies, relationships, mental and emotional states – that you can write about as real world topics in articles on your blog. Craft your posts to mirror your novels to some extent, and ideally readers drawn to your blog will also be drawn to your books – and vice versa.
The challenge is and will always be delivering interesting, timeless, evergreen content that will bring your website visitors back again and again. Here are a few tips to help you accomplish that:
1. Content is king
Whatever your chosen blog topic, make every word count in one way or another. Great content is content that delivers value, and it is the single most important aspect of a successful blog. Evergreen content is even better: Go for posts that are timeless, that will be a good read and a great resource for months – or years – to come. Bottom line, to be successful you must focus on consistently writing good stuff.
2. Get real; be vulnerable
If you’re writing from the heart, make your readers cry. If your style is humor, make them laugh. If your goal is to be educational, by golly, educate. When a writer draws an emotional response from the reader, they’ve done their job, whether it’s provoking thought, laughter, or tears. The very best writers touch a nerve. The technical correctness of your craft is secondary to the reaction factor, although your craft should be sound. Make your blog your own. Be real. Tell the truth. Say something that matters.
3. Make it look effortless
The author should be invisible, which means don’t try too hard. Fancy words do not always make a good read. Posts that are personal and truthful and pertinent will get the most traffic and response. The same rules apply to both blog and fiction: Readers want something they can relate to their own experiences. Great writing is about relatability, about reaching deep and sharing truth. A writer’s first job is to address the human experience in some way, regardless of genre, topic, or style. Our second job is to get ourselves out of the way and make our writing about the reader, not the author. Emote, don’t self-promote!
4. Research your topics
Keep your finger on the pulse and your ear tuned to what’s happening in the world. By that, I mean find a way to passively research your chosen subjects. You can subscribe to lots of blogs and newsletters, set up a StumbleUpon or Alltop account, and rely on Google Alerts to bring the Internet and articles and information relating to your topics to you.
5. Approach your blog as a lesson in awareness
A blog can be a blessing and a burden, but it’s bound to produce growth regardless of your experience. The exercise of creating a 1,000-word post week after week that’s humorous, educational, insightful and/or touching is not a simple task. It forces you to be disciplined, focused, and productive.
You’ll become “that person” who is always on the lookout for content. Good news, though: Inspiration is everywhere, so be prepared. Your neighbors, friends, family, children, co-workers, even strangers will say things in passing that inspire you. So will other authors, bloggers, books, and articles. Your task is to pick apart events and filter all the incoming opportunities into content for your blog. When gazing through your writer’s lens, you will search your conversations and experiences for deeper meaning and significance.
Then you’ll blog about it.
Molly Greene is an author, blogger, and blogging coach with a preference for reading, writing, remodeling, real estate and rural life. Her nonfiction titles include the soon-to-be-released Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand, and the self-awareness guide, Someone Worth Becoming (July 2013). Molly is working on a second novel, Rapunzel; her fiction debut, Mark of the Loon, is available at major online retailers. Meanwhile, she blogs about her crazy, ever-changing world and self-publishing topics at Molly-Greene.com.