It seems as soon as I feel like I’ve got a grip on a “how-to” of the digital aspect of my writing life, especially blogging – it changes. But just as the workings of social media and online informations can be daunting, those workings are also my greatest resources.
I’m a blogger and I love the online freedom to share what I’ve learned about the craft of writing, about people and this wonderful, crazy world. In order to get my ideas better organized, to reach my audience to let them know what I’m writing about, I’ve cruised, watched, and signed up with quite a few online “teachers.” Not all promote themselves as teachers, but I learn something each time I check in.
After a recent workshop that I gave sharing this info, I’ve had requests to share the resources again.
Grab a cup of coffee and settle to get some great sites and ideas. Here they are with my gratitude and thanks for my online helpers who educate and inspire me.
Online Resources and Author Blogs
Free weekly or bi-weekly e newsletters with great articles. Subscribe or just go to the site to get a dose of good ideas and current trends. For each resource, I have listed the site name, a brief description of what they do, and a sample from one of their blogs or article with the site’s link.
Authors Community Free or paid membership.
· Opt-in/opt-out membership. No contracts or long-term commitments.
- Where you learn from and share ideas with other authors. Self-led environment, so no pressure. Gain expert knowledge and help from our professional staff and vendor team.
Sample“Blog? Why? Blog What?” by Gina Burgess. Understand your motive to blog.
Figuring out what motivates you to blog will help you in more ways than you can count. Is it because your publisher requires it? That doesn’t bode well for continual blogging. Is it to help build your writing skills? Is it to help organize your memoir? Is it because you want to __________?…In my experience of blogging since 2005 and column writing since 2006, a blogger will have a lot of consumers of material but few responses to the posts. It’s because most bloggers don’t frame their posts in an information exchange effort (give a little ask a question, give a little more ask another question). Encouraging responses is a major key to building community…https://authorscommunity.net/blog-why-blog-what/#ixzz5U7lf7fUR
Chuck Sambuchino has been in the writing field more than fifteen years and seems to stay up to date on every trend so his blog ideas are on target too.
Sample: “8 Things Every Blogging Writer Should Know” 1. Headlines Matter Most
If your goal is to get people to click on something, you need a killer headline. It has to be interesting, short, and hopefully provocative without being bullshit link bait…
Dustn.TV Dustin W. Stout “Cut through social media clutter” and blogging tips. A mix of practical ideas and social media software.
Sample: “Writing an Epic Blog Post” 1. Two-Thousand Word Minimum
Does your blog post have a minimum of 2,000 words? Look, I wish we still lived in the days where 300-500 word blog posts were a thing that worked. But they just don’t anymore. With the sheer volume of content being produced these days (and it is staggering how much is being produced), short and sweet articles just aren’t cutting it anymore. Don’t believe me?… https://dustn.tv/blog-post-checklist
Ethel Lee-Miller author website. Blog: The Writing Life. An eclectic combination of writing blogs- how-to; personal essay, writers in the news.
Sample: Blog for local writers. NEXT STEP FOR YOUR WRITING: Local writers and lovers of words, why not expand your wordsmithing outside of your books? Storytelling in Tucson: Tucson Tellers of TalesTOT, Odyssey Storytelling, Female Storytellers FST, Bar Flies , and other events. …HOW TO:… https://etheleemiller.com/ways-to-expand-your-writing-and-other-talents/
Indie Book Marketing Karen Jonson, blogger; tips and newsletter
Sample: “Did Google Demote Your Blog?” Step 4 — Choose the Right Name
You may already have a blog name that you use. But if you are updating your blog, this is a good time to ask yourself if your current blog name is working for you. If you don’t have a blog yet, then of course you need a name.
Do a little brainstorming to choose the best possible name to promote your books. Many authors just use their names, or their names with some keyword — like JaneDoesBooks.com. Give it some thought, research other authors’ blog names for ideas, write down your ideas, ask your friends and family, and then make a decision…
Info Bunny. Online resource for social media and SEO. Founder Dexter Roona.
Sample: “Blogging Mistakes to Avoid” by Justin Penrose
- Not Including Images Omitting images from your blog is one of the blog design mistakes that seems to be becoming less common, as bloggers continue to get feedback from their viewers that they want and expect some form of visual media in a blog post.
Images in your blog posts help to:
- Break up the text
- Get a reader’s attention before reading the text
- Give the reader’s eyes a break
- Generate more engagement with readers And if you’re not convinced, according to blogger Jeff Bullas posts with images get 94% more views than posts without! https://infobunny.com/blog-design-mistakes-to-avoid
Ms. Friedman has been around for decades addressing social media and publishing trends. Sign up for her weekly newsletter summarizing her blog posts and other recommendations.
Sample: “What Should Authors Blog About?”
Here are several models to consider, based on how challenging I think they are (assuming you want your blog to “pay off”).
Easy: The Literary Citizenship Model If you’re not familiar with literary citizenship, you can read more about my views on it here. It basically means celebrating and bringing attention to authors, writing, and books—the things you presumably love and want to support.
Easy-Medium: How-to Model Many seasoned authors have considerable advice and insight for others—and the audience of aspiring writers and established authors is massive.
Medium: Behind the Scenes ModelYou write about the research, people, news stories, or current events that play a role in the construction of your books or other work.
Difficult: Personal Essay or Daily Life Model Regardless of genre, some writers write short missives—that can extend into personal essays—that comment on what’s happening day to day or that reflect on their personal life. This could also involve regular posting of specific media, such as photos or videos. https://www.janefriedman.com/blog/
Jodi Picoult author website. If you want to cruise a website that utilizes just about every aspect of online information, entertainment, and marketing, this is it. https://www.jodipicoult.com/JodiPicoult.html
Kristie Hill “Straightforward and helpful instructions to help you start and grow your blog” Regularly offers free email courses.https://kristiehill.com
Sample: “MARKETING YOUR BLOG” Writing a blog and then having no one read it- soul-crushing. I don’t want that to happen to you! The checklist covers setting up social media accounts, a newsletter and optimizing for search engines!…
Levonne Gaddy author. Home page utilizes crisp images as page headers. https://levonnegaddy.com
She Writes. Online women’s writing community on every level and area of writing. Free account. https://www.shewrites.co
Sample: blogs by members (free) on any and all topics for blogging. https://shewritespress.com/about-swp/blog/
Social media and search engine news
Sample: “Blogging Trends You Need to Follow in 2018-2019” by Harry Southworth
Trend: Longer and deeper. New trends in blogging dictate the rule: the longer, the better. People are tired of kitsch content, short messages they read while taking a taxi or waiting in a line. Although a time killer, people now want informative and meaningful content. Most, however, have neither the time nor motivation to read books. That is why long posts with more informative content have become more and more attractive. People prefer to think of blogs as a means for broadening their mindset…
Story Circle Network. A national community of writers.
Hosts annual conference. Online classes. Shares blogs, has member e newsletter, publishes member- written anthologies, holds member contests. Member fee.
Sample: From SCN’s Blog page by members “The Space Between Words” by Linda Wiseniewski
Author and speaker Charles Eisenstein says our world looks so crazy because we are in “the space between stories.” The old story said our society was sound, our ecology was fine and our economy was just. But that old story is falling apart, and many of us are afraid. We want to go back, when life was safe, stable… We are in what Eisenstein calls “a period of true unknowing.” We are between stories. https://storycirclenetwork.wordpress.com
The Writing Cooperative “A community of people who help each other write better.”
Weekly newsletter. The Writing Cooperative Founder Steven Spatz. writer, marketer and president of BookBaby, a leading self-publishing company (www.bookbaby.com).
Ultimately, there are three key factors that should be considered:At the end of the day, if you’re deciding whether or not to start a blog, you need to consider the following:
- What is your experience level?If you’re a new or inexperienced author, a blog can be an excellent place for you to hone your skills. It’s an excellent way to find expression, discipline, and experience. But if you already have a strong following or have scant time to devote to any kind of writing, you might say no to blogging.
- What’s your genre or subject matter?If you write non-fiction, a blog is essential. This is where you can really demonstrate your subject matter expertise. Your posts will amplify anything you publish. Romance writer? Are you going to be tempted to leak out some of your plot twists or interesting character developments? Maybe you should keep these private.
- What’s your motivation for blogging?Are you looking to just get revenue from your online writing? That blog ship has sailed. But if you’re blogging to cultivate readers, give people a chance to get to know you, gain followers, and establish a tribe, then a blog might be a great use of your time…
Writers Digest. American magazine and online site for writers at all levels.
Sample: “8 Things Every Blogging Writer Should Know” by Chris Higgins. Ask Commenters to Contribute: This is very, very important. Whenever you make a list of things, end it by asking readers what you left out. This makes the inevitable “You left out Wiseniewski awesome thing!” comment a happy collaboration rather than an indictment of the blogger’s intelligence. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented: “I can’t believe you didn’t include [some obscure nerd thing], furthermore [you are an idiot] and [should be fired].” But when I invite people to contribute, they do so gladly.
Such a simple lesson. Worth so much. Do it. Also, you’ll often get people giving you links that lead to new posts down the road.
With thanks and acknowledgement to the writers. Ethel Lee-Miller Enhanced Life Management https://etheleemiller.com
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.