Social Media for Writers: Should you start a blog?

Should you start a blog? If you're a writer, I think you definitely should. I share a few ideas and tips on starting one and help you decide if you should start a blog.
So you might have noticed that I’ve
recently made a few changes to my blog. Notably: I’ve moved the whole thing
over from Tumblr to Blogger. Hello from the new blog! (Blogger just comes up so much better on mobile,
and I got so much traffic through mobile users compared to desktop.)
But this isn’t a post about how to start
your blog. I’ve posted already about how to set up your profile, and I’ll post
some other time about how to set up a blog, and what you need to think about.
No – this post is answering the simple
question, Should you start a blog?
If you’re a writer, I think the answer is
already yes. I’m going to throw out the big pro to having a blog.

It’s another way of communicating with your

If they’re asking you questions, you can
give a longer answer than on somewhere like Twitter. You can also share about
your book, your writing, etc.
I started my blog as a way to talk to my
readers, and to give them another platform to talk to me, since I didn’t always
see my messages on Wattpad. At first, mostly people sent me messages or
questions about my book (through the Tumblr ask box thing). After a while, I
started writing more posts and sharing more than just a link to my latest
In 2014 I started up the Writing Wednesdays
series to offer writing advice on different topics. I was getting a ton of
questions through my blog and through Wattpad asking for advice, and it’s hard
to give specific advice to each individual. So I started posting the series,
and then when people asked me, I didn’t have to keep rehashing the same few
paragraphs, or I could just direct them to the series on my blog if they wanted
more general advice.
So there’s the big winning reason to start
a blog: because it lets you interact more with your audience.

But I
don’t know how to start a blog.

No worries. It’s pretty straightforward.
Pick a blogging platform – Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, whichever takes your
fancy. Sign up and play around a little. You don’t even have to customise it if
you don’t want to, or aren’t confident. (But they all make it super easy.)
Your blog can be as basic as you want. You
can add widgets for your Twitter and Instagram, post Google ads on your page…
Or you can just pick your favourite of the free and basic templates available,
and stick with that. No HTML skills required.
The blogging site will ask you for your
domain name. Now some people have a custom one, where they’ve purchased the
url. But you just stick in what you want your url to be – like mine is
‘authorbethreekles’ – and there’ll be a .blogspot or .tumblr after it.
There are plenty of comprehensive guides to
actually setting up a blog on Google, if you need a little more help.

But I
don’t have anything to blog about.

Sure you do! Here are a few ideas:
  • Do you read? Share book reviews, or just talk
    about what you’re reading right now, or what you read recently. You can even
    compile lists – like, ‘My Summer Reading List/My Favourite YA Dystopian
    Novels/My Top 17 Books of 2017’. You get the idea.

  • You’re a writer. Share your writing advice
    or habits. Talk about problems you’re having with your current WIP, or a
    backstory for one of your characters, or why you like writing so much.
  • Are there questions your readers are asking
    you? Answer them! You might’ve sent them a quick reply on Twitter, but maybe
    you want to talk more about it. Whether it’s, ‘Hey, I love the relationship
    between these two characters!’ or ‘Was it hard for you to write this scene?’,
    you’ll probably find there’s something they’re telling you that you can write
    more about.

  • If you’re published, talk about that. Can
    you release your book cover? Have you got something to share about a signing or
    launch party? Talk about your publishing journey, or things you learned.
  • If you’re publishing online, talk about
    that. Are there pros and cons you want to share? Do you have some fanart or
    covers to share? Maybe you’re taking a hiatus to focus on something else for a
    while – talk about that.
  • You can post about thinks in your personal
    life, too, or just talk about other topics that interest you. They can be book
    related – say, how disabilities are treated in the genre you write. They can
    just be something that interest you – a recent news topic, or a series you just
    watched on Netflix that you want to rave about.*
  • And, obviously, share links about your
    book. Where to buy it, where to read it. Share, share, share. Invite people to

*I’d just say that if you’re using this
blog to promote yourself as a writer, bear that in mind. Keep the main focus of
your blog on all things bookish, but feel free to post about other things every
now and again! It’s your blog – nobody’s stopping you!

won’t I have to pay for a blog?

You can pay for things if you want. You can
pay for a custom domain name, you can pay for a different blogging platform
that gives you more functionality, you can pay for different services that
support your blog. You can pay for a custom theme or a better theme than some
of the basic free ones.
But you don’t have to pay a penny for
anything. Lots of blogging platforms are completely free for you to use.
You. Don’t. Have. To. Pay. Anything.

But I
don’t know how to do HTML or make images or anything like that.

It’s cool. Like I said, you don’t have to
know how to do any of that. Yes, blog posts typically do better when they come
with images, and they’re certainly more shareable, but it’s no big deal. I love
using Canva for mine, and I usually use some free stock images. But hell, I
didn’t use images with my blog posts for the first couple of years, and people
still read the blog.
Content matters. Images are just… the
ribbon on the box, to make it more inviting.
And having all those extras on your blog? A
sidebar, an Instagram widget, all that jazz – it gives it a little something
extra, that’s all. It makes it look a little more professional, maybe it’s a
bit more user-friendly, but let’s face it, that’s not a huge deal. People are
still gonna read it if the content is interes
ting enough. (Like I just said:
content matters. Don’t forget that.)

But I
don’t have time to keep it up.

That’s okay. Your blogging schedule is up
to you. If your blog is an addition to your writing, just another platform to
connect with your readers and not your main focus (as in, you think of yourself
as a writer before you’re a blogger) then don’t worry about it too much. Blog
as and when you can.
You might find you blog more regularly if
you try and set up some kind of calendar or plan. If you organise what you’d
like to post and when, you might upload more. But nobody’s telling you that you
have to conform to something like a blog calendar if you don’t want to.
You can schedule posts, too. Maybe you have
a productive weekend and write five blog posts. So spread them out over the
next month. Then if you don’t have time to do all these posts when you want
them to go up, no sweat: they’re already done!
Sure, if you dedicate yourself to a weekly
series, try and keep to that. But otherwise – blog whenever you want to, and
whenever you get a little time. You don’t need to put pressure on yourself over
it. It should just be fun! Don’t turn it into a chore.





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What are your thoughts on authors/writers
using blogs? Are there any great examples? Share in the comments!

from Blogger


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