First published at Write Anything in Feb 09
With the popularity of blogging as a communication form for everyone with a connection to the internet, we as writers need to harness the possibilities it presents in marketing and connectivity.Having an internet presence is essential for your work, building a network and fan base and making you accountable for your writing.
Although having your own website may sound appealing, often the initial cost, the web design and ongoing maintenance turns many would be bloggers away. Happily, there are a few inexpensive or free sites who will host your posts and files, should you not yet have something already set up. Blogger and WordPress tend to be the most popular – each with its own interesting quirks.
What is a blog?
At its most simplistic, a blog is an online journal, where the author posts entries onto the site on a regular basis. Blogs have become very popular for families who live large distances from one another – allowing an easy method of photos and videos to be shared on a communal space – or for interest groups to keep in contact with one another. For a writer, a blog can be a collection of their first drafts or a place for them to experiment with storylines and ask for feedback from fellow writers or their fanbase, or simply a place for them to commit thoughts about certain subjects and issues.
There are two camps of thoughts on the content of a blog for a writer. One camp see that a writers journal contains personal thoughts and diary entries as well as examples of their work. Another camp would maintain that you separate these things by having a personal thoughts or journey blog, a blog for your writing, a blog for your family news, a blog for your paintings, another for your podcasts etc. Although I side with the multiple blog theory, I can see the benefit of having just one site to update, rather than 5 or 6. My suggestion would be to think about the outcome you want to have when someone finds your name and this blog site. Perhaps it may serve your writing career to have a separate site for your poetry and one for your diet and fitness related rants.
Why have a blog?
Google literally feeds off regular content updates to direct people to your work. By using good key words in your tags, Google will be able to index your pages. There are also a growing number of people who have permanent searches for key words within the blogosphere. By turning up in one of their reports, you may have found yourself a valuable connection for future work and projects.
If you are an isolated writer, being a regular blogger makes the world a much smaller place. Having a presence allows you to connect with other writers, communities and publishers.
There are options on your posts to allow others to comment on your work. This is a valuable tool on your journey as a writer as well as providing a link to others blogs and sites.
As a writer, you become the brand. The information, photos and examples of your work online become your calling card and resume, available for all to access.
Promoting your work
As part of your blog, you can load up examples of your work, information on your published pieces, videos or podcasts of interviews with you talking about your work. Utilizing Facebook, Twitter or myspace with tiny urls to link back to your work is also an inexpensive but effective manner to market your work.
Sell your work yourself
That’s right – self publish or cut out the middle person. It is very easy to set up a shopping cart with Paypal and be able to sell your e-books and podcasts online. If you have a few blogs and site – ensure you link each site to one another for cross marketing.
Writers write – don’t they? Commit to blogging 500 words a day on events or issues that interest you – or about research you are using for your next book/ NaNoWriMo. The most dynamic way to stay an authentic writer – is to blog. Interesting issues and events happen every second. If something touches you, do a little research and blog about it straight away. If you use catchy phrases or include interesting information and post it immediately, it is highly likely that your blog will be caught in the google search words – thus channeling traffic to your site.
Getting a fan base
With an Internet presence, your work has the opportunity of being read by people all round the world – rather than sit in the bottom of your drawer or on your laptop for years. Utilize Facebook to grow your fanbase on your blog and regularly update your status with a link to your latest post. There are a few feeds ( RSS or Feedburner for example) you can use so that people can get posts delivered directly to their inbox and this in turn will build a loyal readership. Ask for feedback from this group and see how people respond to your posts.
With more writers looking at self publishing, a strong ‘brand’ and following is essential to your sales. Blogging enables you to build this worldly presence through a more friendly and accessible marketing manner.
So what are you waiting for? Go and blog about this!