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Why writers need to blog

February 25, 2009

With the popularity of blogging as a communication form for everyone with a connection to the internet, we as writers need to harness the possibilities it presents in marketing and connectivity.Having an internet presence is essential for your work, building a network and fan base and making you accountable for your writing.

Although having your own website may sound appealing, often the initial cost, the web design and ongoing maintenance turns many would be bloggers away. Happily, there are a few inexpensive or free sites who will host your posts and files, should you not yet have something already set up. Blogger and WordPress tend to be the most popular – each with its own interesting quirks.

What is a blog?

At its most simplistic, a blog is an online journal, where the author posts entries onto the site on a regular basis. Blogs have become very popular for families who live large distances from one another – allowing an easy method of photos and videos to be shared on a communal space – or for interest groups to keep in contact with one another. For a writer, a blog can be a collection of their first drafts or a place for them to experiment with storylines and ask for feedback from fellow writers or their fanbase, or simply a place for them to commit thoughts about certain subjects and issues.

There are two camps of thoughts on the content of a blog for a writer. One camp see that a writers journal contains personal thoughts and diary entries as well as examples of their work. Another camp would maintain that you separate these things by having a personal thoughts or journey blog, a blog for your writing, a blog for your family news, a blog for your paintings, another for your podcasts etc. Although I side with the multiple blog theory, I can see the benefit of having just one site to update, rather than 5 or 6. My suggestion would be to think about the outcome you want to have when someone finds your name and this blog site. Perhaps it may serve your writing career to have a separate site for your poetry and one for your diet and fitness related rants.

Why have a blog?

Internet presence.

Google literally feeds off regular content updates to direct people to your work. By using good key words in your tags, Google will be able to index your pages. There are also a growing number of people who have permanent searches for key words within the blogosphere. By turning up in one of their reports, you may have found yourself a valuable connection for future work and projects.

Connectivity

If you are an isolated writer, being a regular blogger makes the world a much smaller place. Having a presence allows you to connect with other writers, communities and publishers.

Feedback

There are options on your posts to allow others to comment on your work. This is a valuable tool on your journey as a writer as well as providing a link to others blogs and sites.

Marketing yourself.

As a writer, you become the brand. The information, photos and examples of your work online become your calling card and resume, available for all to access.

Promoting your work

As part of your blog, you can load up examples of your work, information on your published pieces, videos or podcasts of interviews with you talking about your work. Utilizing Facebook, Twitter or myspace with tiny urls to link back to your work is also an inexpensive but effective manner to market your work.

Sell your work yourself

That’s right – self publish or cut out the middle person. It is very easy to set up a shopping cart with Paypal and be able to sell your e-books and podcasts online. If you have a few blogs and site – ensure you link each site to one another for cross marketing.

Accountability

Writers write – don’t they? Commit to blogging 500 words a day on events or issues that interest you – or about research you are using for your next book/ NaNoWriMo. The most dynamic way to stay an authentic writer – is to blog. Interesting issues and events happen every second. If something touches you, do a little research and blog about it straight away. If you use catchy phrases or include interesting information and post it immediately, it is highly likely that your blog will be caught in the google search words – thus channeling traffic to your site.

Getting a fan base

With an Internet presence, your work has the opportunity of being read by people all round the world – rather than sit in the bottom of your drawer or on your laptop for years. Utilize Facebook to grow your fanbase on your blog and regularly update your status with a link to your latest post. There are a few feeds ( RSS or Feedburner for example)  you can use so that people can get posts delivered directly to their inbox and this in turn will build a loyal readership. Ask for feedback from this group and see how people respond to your posts.

With more writers looking at self publishing, a strong ‘brand’ and following is essential to your sales. Blogging enables you to build this worldly presence through a more friendly and accessible marketing manner.

So what are you waiting for?  Go and blog about this!

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5 Comments
  1. February 25, 2009 1:42 am

    I was talking to a friend about this very subject. He’s thinking about starting one. While blogs are effective for many reasons, it’s also time consuming. That’s what he is worried about.

    I have a hard time keeping up with two. I don’t know how some people manage to update eight everyday. I’m so glad Blogger and WordPress allow you to schedule your posts. Don’t know what I would do without it.

  2. February 25, 2009 5:19 am

    Hi Andrea – yes scheduling rocks! You are def right about being time consuming – care needs to be taken that the blogging doesn’t take away from the time set aside to actually write.

  3. February 25, 2009 12:59 pm

    I agree with being careful to maintain the blogging/writing balance. I still struggle to maintain that delicate balancing act … I’m either writing or I’m blogging.

    Late last year I carved my blog into two – a personal one and a writing one. What has ended up happening now is that I no longer write anything personal, I only write a little on my writing site. Which is sad in a way – when I cleaved the blog it was like I actually did cleave part of myself off.

    Maybe I’m too gestalt – being the sum of my parts. And I need all the parts together to function properly?

  4. February 26, 2009 5:22 pm

    I’ve had a blog for about four years (actually about as long as I’ve been writing). As far as feedback goes, I haven’t gotten any useful, critical feedback from it: for the most part, if people don’t like what I’ve written, I think they just don’t comment. It’s been good for encouragement and exposure, though.

    For critical feedback, I think an aspiring writer would be much better off going to one the boards/forums: I’ve had really good critiques at Sonnet Central, for instance. They vary a lot, though, so expect to shop around.

  5. March 4, 2009 12:15 pm

    I agree about the need to write a blog. Since starting my freelance writing blog I’ve seen my pagerank and hits go up. Of course, my blog seems to be growing faster than my business site, so I’m not 100% sure that is good🙂 (kidding).

    I really agree with the commenter about not getting sucked into blogging though. It gets too easy to start spending an hour or two that you should be spending marketing or writing for clients on your blog. The really tricky part is that it is so easy to say “I AM working” because technically you are, even though you SHOULD be working on something else.

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