Blogging For Writers: Your Blog Sells Books

Blogging to Sell Books: 5 Tips

 

The discussion about blogging for writers has been going on for years. Is blogging a waste of time? Does it do anything for your writing career?

If you want to sell books, your blog can help, but perhaps not in quite the way you might imagine. If you’ve written a book, or plan to write a book, you may find these five tips inspiring.

My 5 Best Blogging Tips After 15 Years of Instant Publishing

My 5 Best Blogging Tips After 15 Years of Instant Publishing

Everyone has blogging tips. After 15 years, so do I. I’m even more enthusiastic about blogging now than I was in the beginning. Truth to tell, when I started out as a blogger, I had no idea what I thought I was doing.

Other writers had opinions. The popular opinion was that I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. “Write for free?!” Shock, horror and disbelief abounded. Yes, the generally derisive attitude towards blogging in those days was disturbing, but I wasn’t defensive. So blogging was weird; so what? I adored instant publishing then, as I do now. The idea that I could write something, and garner potentially millions of readers as soon as I hit Publish, thrills me.

Here’s what I’ve learned — in five blogging tips.  If you like, it’s what I wish I knew a decade and a half ago.

1. Be Yourself. You Can’t Be Anyone Else, and It’s Exhausting to Try.

You’re blogging for a reason – to promote your business, or a product, or a cause. (If you’re blogging for self-expression, you don’t need these tips. Let yourself go, and blog.)

Make a list of your goals. Most blog posts will include a Call to Action (CTA) to enable you to meet your goals. Beyond that, be yourself. The more you blog, the more traffic you will get.

Bloggers worry about how often then should blog. Mike Allton has the ultimate answer:

In order to finally answer this question, a business owner must first decide how much more traffic and leads they want. Using the data above, a business can look at what they’re getting from their website now, how much they want to improve, and quickly determine where they need to be with their blog campaign.

Blog as often as you can, and do the best you can on each blog post. Write the way you speak. Beyond that, don’t worry about it. I’ve written throw-away posts in 15 minutes which struck a nerve and got lots of responses. I’ve also slaved over blog posts which no one ever cared about – at least as far as I can tell.

2. Write Every Day. Some of That Writing Will Auto-Magically Turn Into Blog Posts.

I write every day. In my early years as a writer, I struggled with writing. Endlessly. I waited for inspiration… and waited. I waited to write books I wanted to write until I was a “better writer.” Finally, I gave up worrying about things I couldn’t control and wrote. I developed the writing habit, and a writing process which works for me, and my students.

If you say to yourself: “I’ll blog every day”, you’ll freeze. Just commit to writing something every day. Some of those snippets of writing will turn into blog posts. Use Evernote or OneNote to store your snippets. Then scan your snippets to see if they trigger anything when it’s time to write a blog post.

Create an editorial calendar, but don’t sweat it.

3. It’s Your Blog. Say What You Like (Be Kind!) Remember That You’re Responsible for Everything on Your Blog.

Some bloggers troll and write link bait. If that kind of thing appeals to you, ask yourself why. No, this isn’t a moral issue. To each his own. However, over the years I’ve come to appreciate Elwood P. Dowd’s philosophy:

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

(If you haven’t watched the movie Harvey, go and watch it. James Stewart is wonderful in it.)

I recommend pleasant over smart, too. Be nice. You need other people, in this social media world. If you make trolling a habit, you’ll not only put off readers, you’ll alienate other bloggers.

4. Trust Yourself. If You Think It’s Important, It Is.

Trust yourself and your blogging. In 1999, I read blogs, and wanted to blog, but I couldn’t think of a reason. At the time, I was writing business books for Prentice Hall, taking care of my copywriting clients, and writing for magazines too. I was a busy writer. Why on earth would I want to take on unpaid writing?

Although I tried to talk myself out of it (others did too), I started a blog. I can’t remember what it was about. Nor do I remember the platform. Then I started a blog for a weekly ezine I wrote for creatives, Creative Small Biz. I liked it, and the ezine got subscribers via the blog. More blogging and blogs followed.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to blog, not even your own. If you’re inspired, blog. :-)

5. Be Interested. Enthusiasm Will Get You Everywhere You Want to Go.

Follow your passions. Yes, you’re blogging for a reason: to promote your business or whatever. You’ve got plenty of leeway inside your basic parameters. You can include your private life in your blog, or not, it’s up to you. As long as “cat” (irrelevant) posts don’t take over your blog, you can blog about anything you choose.

Of course, if you’re a lifestyle, or “mommy” blogger, you’ll blog about your insights with your life as your source material.

Whatever you choose to blog about, be passionate, and stay enthusiastic. Your enthusiasm will make blogging easy.

So, there you have it. My best tips after 15 years of blogging. Have fun with your blogging.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips To Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the Mood: 3 Blogging Tips Get Over Bloggers’ Procrastination

Not in the mood to write a blog post? Although I love blogging, half the time I’d rather be reading – or doing something else undemanding. If you allow it, procrastination can kill your blog. For hobbyist bloggers, that’s okay. It’s not okay if your job or your livelihood depends on writing more content.

Check out these three blogging tips for those times you’re just not in the mood.

1. Get Inspired by Google Suggest – Tip Toe Through the Alphabet.

Google’s the savior of recalcitrant bloggers. Hie yourself off to Google, and enter a topic – any topic. Add the letter “a.”

google suggest

As you can see in the image above, I entered “blogging”, plus “a.” I haven’t anything to say on blogging away debt, but I could create a post on any of the other three ideas, even if I wasn’t in a blogging mood.

2. Write a List of Words. Use Them in Your Blog Post.

Challenge yourself. Write a list of words – any words. Author Ray Bradbury used nouns:

These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.

You can use any words you like. Example: summer, drizzle, sly, sky blue, river, petunia… Now write a blog post, and include those words. Or not, your choice.

Writing a list of words primes the pump. You’ve given the logical side of your brain something to think about. Before you know it, the creative side of your brain gets in on the act, and you’ve written a blog post.

This exercise works well if you need to create your editorial calendar for the month.

3. Temper, Temper – Think About Something That Annoys You.

Got a temper? Me too. I’ve calmed down over the years, but I can create a list of annoyances which get me into a temper without any effort.

Think of something which annoys you. No, don’t blog about that. Use the energy and make a word list. Anger is just energy, and you can direct it anywhere you like. Direct that anger into creating a blog post. Tip: keep your post positive.

So there you have it. Next time you’re not in the mood, try one of these blogging tips. They’re fun.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photopin cc

Create A Blog The Minimalist Way (For Blogging Haters)

Angela Booth Roon blog

My new blog on Roon… I couldn’t resist it…

 

You hate blogging, but you want to create a blog. These days, you can blog anywhere. Quora lets you create a blog, and you can create a faux blog on Google+. Many other sites encourage you to blog with them. But what if you want to create a blog on something you own, rather than on a social network?

While doing some research for a project on Markdown, the so-easy-it’s-a-joy text-to-HTML conversion tool, I came across some simple options for creating your own blog, completely for free, simply and easily.

Not a Markdown aficionado? If you’re not familiar with Markdown, relax. A Markdown document is just a text file with Markdown syntax; saved with either .md or .markdown file extension. It takes a minute or two to learn Markdown syntax, and hey presto – your writing life got a lot easier. As Brett Terpstra says in his two minute explanation, Markdown fits in any workflow.

Let’s look at three ways you can create a blog you love the minimalist’s way.

1. Try Calepin, if you’re a Dropbox user.

Calepin
If you’re a Dropbox user, great choice, Calepin is for you. Read the Calepin page, and you’ll find a link to this example of a Calepin blog.

Jon Mitchell’s written a paean to Calepin in a little tutorial.

2. Got a website already? Dropplets offers free no-hassle blogging.

Dropplets

If you’ve got a website already, Dropplets gives you a simple, no-hassle totally free way to blog. You just upload the contents of the Dropplets ZIP file to your server. Open your new website in a browser, and follow the prompts.

Then you simply create your blog posts in a plain text file, using Markdown, then upload it to your server using the Dropplets uploader.

Here’s a demo of a Dropplets site. Dropplets comes with a free template, and you can buy a premium template from the Dropplets marketplace.

3. Roon: just gorgeous. Easy, and free.

Roon

I hit the Roon website, and couldn’t resist creating a blog. As if I didn’t have enough blogs already. Never mind. My Roon blog will fit into my life somewhere. Here’s my Roon blog.

Roon creates gorgeous blogs, as many as you like, for free. You can buy add-ons like your own domain name, and an analytics package, for a small charge.

Let’s see what Roon looks like in action, in the image below. Here’s the backend of Roon. It’s simple, and gives you lots of space to write, right in your Web browser. Click around the various areas, it takes just a minute and you’ll see how everything works.

Roon backend

Ready to publish? Hit the Publish link on the top right, and you’re done. Here’s my first published post on Roon. Blindingly simple to create. Write, upload an image if you wish, and you’re done.

In the backend, you’ll see your published and draft posts in the left sidebar.

If you want to create a blog, but can’t face the hassle of either creating a blog, spending hours choosing a theme, and then the endless updating, let alone writing blog posts, you need a minimalist option. Choose one of the three options above. (And if you’re already a blogger, be wary of Roon — or you’ll be the proud parent of another blog before you know it.)

, and on Twitter: @angee