If you read the previous post, Why Authors need a Website, you might now have a website up and running. If so, kudos! Your books are all nicely available for purchase.
Perhaps you have noticed that no one is visiting it.
You need to offer readers a reason to come and look at your books.
Writing a post about what is going on in your writing life is a good way to connect with readers. It’s a platform where you can advertise your books and discuss your interests, and most importantly, talk about what you are writing.
I first began blogging because my former publisher, hereafter known as Lord Voldemort, insisted I do so. This, he said, would help get my name out there, and give me a regular platform for my opinions. That original blog is long gone, and those posts were pathetic attempts to write about current affairs as a journalist. That blog failed because writing about current affairs is something that has never interested me.
What I learned from that otherwise-negative blogging experience is important.
It wasn’t until I stopped trying to fit into a mold someone else had designed for me and began writing about my interests that I learned to love the craft of blogging.
When I made that connection and commitment to writing about what I enjoy, I began to grow as a writer.
When I’ve had a small success and am in danger of becoming too full of myself, blogging never fails to provide me with a sharp dose of reality. I must work hard to proofread my own work and then publish it. Nothing bursts your bubble of self-importance like discovering gross errors and bloopers several days after you published the post.
Regularly writing blogposts has made me a “thinking” author, as well as a “pantser.” I can write using the “stream-of-consciousness” method or write from an outline of whatever interests me at the time. I do the research, and the post begins to write itself.
Once you have your blog set up, and the catchy title picked out, etc., it’s time to start writing.
Both WordPress and Blogger offer you the ability to use html (Text) if you choose, which I don't have a clue about, or to go with the Visual (what you see is what you get). Unless you are a programmer, stay with ‘Visual.’
In WordPress, choose a category now for your post–do it first, so you don’t forget to do it. I published this post in the category of writing. Each blog post may have a different category, but you decide what your categories are. If you should forget to choose the category, it will go into the ‘uncategorized’ pile–the dreaded WordPress slush-pile where blogs go to die.
Also, in WordPress, chose a few TAGS now, if you know what you're writing about, so that you don't forget to tag the post. That button is below the Categories list. Chose tags that most represent the core of your post, so that searchers for that subject will find your post.
For this post, I would use ‘blogger, blogspot, blogging, WordPress, WordPress blog how-to.'
If you are using Blogger, PICK YOUR LABELS NOW–Blogger doesn’t use categories, so your labels are very important. On the right-hand side, click on ‘LABELS’ and simply type your key words into the BOX, separated by commas. In Blogger, LABELS are what TAGS are in WordPress, so use words that represent the core of what you are blogging about so that interested searcher will find your blog.
Next, schedule your post: In WordPress, in the right-hand menu-list you will open the ‘status bar.’ Use the calendar to pick the date and set the time of day you want the post to go live.
You will find that it's hard to gain readers when your website is new, and you first begin to blog.
This is true, but that will change if you just keep at it. If you blog at least once a week on a specific day and at a specific time, readers will come.
My personal blogs are scheduled to post at 06:00 PDT Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I average 50 to 125 readers a day now, but I started out with maybe 5 or 10 a day. If even one person reads your post, that is one person who has been inside your store, which is where you sell your books.
Remember, the reason we write is so people will read our work, and to do that they must be able to find it. When we have a limited audience, we feel a little defeated in our efforts to gain readers. In the world of blogging, as in everything else, we start out small and gain readers as we go along—but we gain them more quickly if we keep the content updated at least once a week.
Because authors want to gain readers, it's necessary for them to use every platform available to get the word out. Updating our website blogs twice a month offers us many opportunities to do just that and keeps us in touch with the people who count—our readers.
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Portions of this article were published on Life in the Realm of Fantasy, Creating your Author Blog part 2, 04 June 2018, ©Connie J. Jasperson All Rights Reserved, Reprinted by Permission.
Connie J. Jasperson is a published poet and the author of nine novels. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies. A founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group, she can be found blogging regularly on both the craft of writing and art history at Life in the Realm of Fantasy.