RSS Feed Print
Author or writer blogs - what are the essentials?
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2011 3:18 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

Do you have an author blog or writer blog? What's on it? What do you look for on other blogs and what, if anything, turns you off?

Lately I've been doing #sixsunday with a group of writers and authors where we post six sentences from our work for Sunday blog hopping. I've also been posting about my latest ghost hunting group and experiences. But I'm always looking for new ideas to inspire posts. 

Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:42 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

KS, you bring up an interesting point and one I see from lots of writers. You are looking at blogs for writing advice, and I see plenty of writers who blog about the craft of writing. But are you then buying fiction from these writers?

A while back I decided to drop the writing advice from my personal blog and shift the focus to topics that might be of interest to readers of my genre. Hence the ghost hunting and paranormal topics. I've seen an increase in book sales since then.
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:01 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227

I agree with Marie - there's a plethora of writing advice sites out there, and I'm grateful for each and every one of them. Being fairly new to fiction writing (less than 3 years), I just don't feel comfortable talking about anything beyond my own stories. I've occasionally talked about voice or other writing topics, but I'm still working on finding my focus. Next month, I'm switching two of the features to reflect my interests (professional and personal) and how they impact writing and books. Hopefully, that will help me build a niche.
Suzan Isik
Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:29 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 13

So, you guys seem to be concentrating on writing blogs, that is authors that write about writing. But what about authors that don't? I follow a particular author because she talks about herself and her life. She posts about her various crafty projects, and sometimes something weird her kids did. She doesn't offer writing advice. SO, I have to agree with Marie on that. Do you buy a particular writer's work because of their writing advice? What if their book has nothing to do with writing?

What would readers want from their favorite authors' blogs? They don't care about writing, unless they are writers themselves. Maybe they want that glimpse into an author's private life.

Unpublished writers don't necessarily have to use writing as a topic on their blog. I have a friend that talks about elements of the genre she writes in. She writes about funny quirks in Greek mythology and talks about her Kung Fu classes. I love her blog.
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 3:00 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

Blogs where unpublished writers offer writing advice always strike me as a tad dangerous. Sure unpublished writers can be wonderful writers. After all, you generally have to hit the stage of being a publishable writer before you're a published writer. But there's no one vetting the advice on blogs and blogs on how to write often appeal to other unpublished writers who may not recognize bad advice.

I had a critiquer in one group critique a few chapters of a mystery novel and point out all the rules I wasn't following correctly then point me to the blog where she was learning these rules. It was a blog by an unpublished writer working on his first mystery novel and determining the rules as he went. But you had to dig in the blog to find that out.

Danielle Bowers
Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011 1:08 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

I've been blogging about the progress of my book since January or December. It seemed like a good idea to have a sort of journal/log of the process that I can look back on. Right now it's mostly followed by family and friends (and my evil, obsessive mother-in-law).

One important thing to keep on your blog is contact info like email or some way for people to message you. I didn't realize this until I had an agent poke me and tell me to put some way to email up. Doah.
Carla Luna Cullen
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 5:16 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 8

I enjoy reading writers' blogs that have interviews with agents and published authors -- the agent interviews are usually very helpful and the author ones sometimes lead me to try new books/ authors. One thing I really enjoy with published fantasy authors is reading more about their worlds or their characters - tidbits of information that you won't find in their books. One example that comes to mind is NK Jemisin's blog (she writes the Inheritance Trilogy series).
Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 7:11 PM
Joined: 3/9/2011
Posts: 16

This is an interesting topic to see everyone's opinions considering I have a blog about writing in general and am not published yet. I have two blogs actually: a blog about writing in general (including topics I don't necessarily write myself) and a blog about my personal writing where I post most blogfest entries.

At one point I did question, and even posted the question on the blog, about whether or not my posts were advice. I wasn't sure a non-published writer should be really giving advice. Even in the beginning, Mur at I Should Be Writing had a few credentials when she started the podcast. And I have none. But the more I looked at certain topics, the more it seemed to come across as advice, which wasn't my initial intentions. So, I posted the question and received a few interesting responses. None of them were against the idea of a non-published writer giving advice.

The one comment that stood out for me was from a published YA author. Tamora Pierce commented on the post and said she didn't see a problem with unpublished writers giving advice (or suggestions). And she also pointed out that in critique groups, unpublished authors give each other advice all the time. Here is the link: http://dawnembers.blogspot.com/2010/08/is-this-advice.html
MB Mulhall
Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 4:24 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 81

I am an unpublished author who writes about writing, but it's things that I come across as I'm working on my novels. For example my most recent post was on making realistic writing goals. I personally need deadlines and goals to strive towards otherwise my procrastination will get the best of me and I won't finish things!

I don't come across as preachy (at least I hope not) and I add a lot of personal stories and info into my posts so I hope they feel like you're talking to a friend rather than someone telling you what you should or shouldn't do. I don't think I have the authority to tell you what to do so it's all really suggestions, things I've learned in my own writing travels.

I also love to hear back from people about what they do in regards to the topic and I have NO problems with someone correcting me or pointing to a better written blog/article on the topic! We're all here to help each other. At least I like to think that's the way it works
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 9:02 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

Here's another challenging thing to think of when blogging about your writing.

Last year I wrapped up a novella I was working on and sent it off to a publisher who has taken other stories. I mentioned this in my blog, not thinking anything of it. Well, the publisher decided the work was too dark for them. No problem. I had another lead on someone looking for novellas. Off it went. That submission led to a rewrite request and it was about six months before the final decision -- which was no.

But that second decision took so long that I actually sold a full length novel to another publisher during the process. And the new publisher had a submission call that would perfectly suit my novella. Which I'd blogged about months earlier mentioning two other publishers.

Now, if you're blogging about your writing, stop and think about that for just a minute. Because I had to. If the publisher checked my blog (most do), they'd know the story had been rejected twice and that they weren't my first choice in submission (of course I hadn't sold to them yet, but still...)

I did a little strategic deleting in my blog. I sold the story.

But it reminded me that whatever I put in my blog is visible to anyone who might be considering my work. I don't want them to see anything that might discourage them from accepting it.
Amy Sterling
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 12:32 AM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 26

Tammy Pierce is the nicest ever!!

I have the world's stupidest blog. I write whatever I want. I hardly ever pitch my own writing. I monetized it and have blog stats, and occasionally check other in-genre writers' blogs. They seem to have an awful lot of aspiring writers as adherents and followers. I am always ready to help other writers, don't get me wrong. But I'd rather reach real readers any day.

Lately I have written about all my fashion finds and unusual tidbits or topics that are interesting to me. I recently discovered I was related to royalty! Even I slightly questioned this, and of quickly learned - yeah - me and everybody else.

But you can find critical essays, writing discussion, but mostly just whatever on my blog. Because I want to write (and have written) for children and young adults, I try to be careful what I address. My blog is overall, G-rated in the sense that I don't use foul language and avoid "adult" topics as in "erotica" or extreme violence.
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 1:19 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224

I write a blog about writing. Actually, I have two blogs. One is personal, and one is on my experiences on writing. I update at least once or twice a week, maybe more.

I write about what is relevant to me at the time, and I find people -- usually other writers -- to interview.

If you're curious to see what I do, you can check it out at www.rebeccablain.com/wordpress

But, in general, I try to keep working at my writing blog as a way to help motivate me to keep improving at my writing. I hope people get something out of it, but I started it to focus my thoughts and share how I feel on it. As I improve, I write about what I am doing to improve. If something I consider a breakthrough occurs, I jot a note down about it.

I don't do it for a massive following, but I do feel like it was worth the effort every time someone replies to one of my posts.
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 8:23 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 103

I run a blog for my writing group. Each week a different member is responsible for providing a post. Having many writers contributing content keeps it interesting, in my opinion anyway.
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 2:35 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55

I blog about consumer affairs and social etiquette. It has absolutely nothing to do with my novel, but i figured it would drive traffic to my novel's website.
Having said that, my knowledge of SEO is so poor that I could claim to be in possession of a secret Obama sex tape and no one would stumble upon my blog.

I guess this leads to a question. How do you get traffic to your blog?

What i look for in other people's blogs is information. If I'm in the mood for a personal story or anecdote, then I'll curl up in bed with a good book. But that's just me.

Finally I just had to say that I smiled about the ghost hunting. I used to do that back in England when I was in college. And believe me, we have plenty of haunted, old places in England.


MB Mulhall
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 4:54 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 81

How to get traffic to a blog? Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. I post on Tuesdays & Thursdays and will tweet the URL maybe 4 times a day using the #amwriting hash tag. It brings in a decent amount of traffic. I've had people retweet if they like the post and some people post it to their daily writer newsletters
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 7:36 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55

Dear MB
This is such great advice. Thanks you so much!!!
How did you know that that was the best hashtag to use?
Am just learning the concept of this Titter hash tag business.
Again, thanks for the advice
MB Mulhall
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 7:46 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 81

I use a twitter client called hootsuite. It allows me to set up feeds to follow people I put on lists or certain hash tags or my mentions. I found #amwriting when I was participating in NaNoWriMo one year and because I set up the feed, I saw how populated and frequently used the tag is so I thought it the best bet to use that to pimp my blog since I blog about writing. You can google hashtags and find some directories as well.
Steve Weiler
Posted: Saturday, May 21, 2011 1:28 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 4

I've always read that you should have a platform even if not published.
I started a blog 39 days ago. When I started my alexa rank was 250,000,000 ( top 75%) now it is 3,441,894 ( top 12%). I got a lttle freaked out when I saw the numbers - people are like actually visiting the site, even people from Moscow. I think I overheard a person on bus today talking about my blog and she liked it. I have a plugin installed so it tweets after I make a new post. I had thought about writting my own blogging software originally but wordpress is working out very well for me. I am even using freecdn to try to reduce the load on my web server. My work had paid for me to take 8 SEO classes. I still can't believe that my site is getting traffic and people are actually interested. I just learned about #twitter #hashtags but I still don't use them extensively. I use SEO plugins for wordpress too. The two most important things are the titlte and the meta description.

Jump to different Forum...