Saturday, March 21, 2015

Actually, my mum doesn't have a blog.

Some of the questions I hear and see most frequently asked by newbie writers are those regarding blogging.

Should I blog? I want to, but what should I talk about? Everyone and their mums have blogs, how will mine be any different? Who will be interested in anything I have to say until I’ve sold a million copies of my book?

Well, my mum actually doesn’t have a blog, but I do totally get this. I fret over this last one in particular every time I start writing a new blog. Who cares about anything I have to say? Probably a handful at most, and perhaps my mum is included in that number, but hey, I don’t let that stop me.

Image result for love mum pictures

  • Why should you blog?

If for no other reason, treat it as writing practice. I’m sure you can reply to this with, ‘I have loads of documents for that on my laptop’. But the difference with an online blog is that these are samples of your work you aren’t allowed to bury deep in a Word folder with the odd spelling mistake or grammatical problem you don’t have to concern yourself over. Publishing them online forces you to look at some of the finer tuning, the polishing, which is pretty important when you come to submit to agents or self-publish a novel. In fact, it might just mean make or break. Agents stalk us too, you know, so show 'em what you got.

But also keeping a blog can indirectly help you keep a track of your writing journey, and in the future when you’ve signed with that agent and received your six-figure advance, you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

  • What should you blog about?

I guess this is a bit trickier to answer, but my instinct fires back: what do you want people to associate you with? For me, this is obviously writing and words and editing and grammar and publishing and so on. To be fair, I don’t blog all that often, but when I do it’s always writing related. I scream about online contests I’m involved with, or authors I’ve worked with who’ve signed with an agent or released their book. This is the only rule I abide by. But this doesn’t have to be the case with your blog. 

If you write romance, blog about all things hearts and kisses: movies, celebrity weddings, Valentine’s Day, etc. If you write sci-fi, relate your blog to all things science. If you write for children and want kids to visit your blog, write about the kind of things kids are interested in. Add colour and pictures and quizzes and games. Reel them in.   

  • How will yours be different to the other trillions of blogs?

I really don’t know. Make it different. Research what’s already out there and don’t do the same. Be creative; come up with new ideas and approaches.

  • Who will be interested?

Maybe to start with not many. I’m being realistic, not pessimistic. But I suppose this relates to the previous question. Make your blog stand out. But personally I wouldn’t let your focus be on the number of readers, return to why you’ve decided to keep a blog. For essential writing practice. 

Wanting people to read your blog also leads on to the business of marketing yourself and your work. You will need to do a fair amount of this when your book is eventually published, so now’s the time to discover the avenues of promotion, new and old. Do blog swaps, host other authors, agents and editors, interview people. Connect and network; writing contacts come in very handy in the future!

If you don’t already blog but are considering it, or have a blog but are wondering whether you should continue with it, my advice is to stop worrying and get on with writing all the words!

Image result for keep calm and blog on

But even now, after all this justification and excuses to start your blog, you really don’t think it’s for you, then don’t. There are plenty of successful authors who don’t blog, who don’t have Twitter profiles and Facebook pages. If it’s not for you, then so be it. 

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