I have completed my first novel, done two rounds of edits with a freelancer and embarked on the agent querying process. I've received twelve rejections in the past month, which I've read, is nothing. (I'll admit that it does sting a bit.) One problem is that I have no publishing credits and very few connections. Now I'm wondering if I should I start a blog about writing or my life... or perhaps both. It seems rather self-indulgent because I'm unpublished and have zero followers. Do any of you first timers have blogs or web pages?
Thanks so much... I'll give that a try!
I am unpublished and haven't tried hard enough to send my work out yet, but in the meantime I wanted to have more than the first three chapters of my novel as a calling card, so I started a blog and at first wasn't sure what I would write about, but that eventually came to me and now I write about the books I read because I am always on the lookout for paragraphs of extreme beauty and sentences that move mountains and occasionally a plot that's really drawn me into its clutches and I even write about those that don't do any of those things because thats a challenge and I don't like to orevent anyone from discovering something that they might love, which I don't necessarily.
So now I have the equivalent of a business card (or as some call it a platform) and although I don't use it so much to discuss the writing process, I have started to publish very short pieces of my writing. I hope that by the time I do get published, I will have a loyal following.
Its a positive step to create a blog before you 'have to' because it can evolve naturally rather than feel like an obligation, which is usually less inspired.
Good luck Alison and if you would like to vsit my blog, it is 'Word by Word'
You aren't the only writer who has been thinking about this. A similar question was asked over at my blog, so I gave my answer yesterday: http://wosushi.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/youve-got-questions-do-writ...
Feel free to add any additional questions if you have them!
Amber Medina West
I would definitely suggest starting a blog, if not a website. But eventually both. There are so many cool places where you create blogs for free, using sites like WordPress and Weebly (if you're interested in starting a website), and they're so user-friendly. I have blogs on both of my websites (I used Weebly to create a personal website for my books, and a business website, for publishing other people's works). Doing it that way kind of makes me feel like I have a "one stop" place for readers to visit and look around. I'm also trying to create a presence on Twitter, but that's tougher than I thought, because you have to be so brief with the tweets. I'm slowly getting subscribers and followers, but geez. It's a process.
I created my own blogs and websites, and I'm sure it looks like it, but I know that some people prefer to hire pros. If you look around, you'll get a feel for what you like and don't like, and what direction you want to go in for your own blogs and websites. :)
As for whether or not they should be about writing or life, I'd say a little of both, but maybe prepare yourself to compartmentalize a little bit when you're ready to target a reading/buying audience.
Writers blogs about the writing journey are all great (for other writers), but I've heard and read that when you're targeting readers, you have to write about things that interest them, and make genuine connections to build good platforms. I agree with that opinion. In the beginning, your readers may not care about personal struggle or challenges of the writing/publishing journey. They want you to deliver to good reads. Talk about the stuff that interests you that you may have in common with them. Genuine connection. Then once you've built up your platform and brand, readers will probably take more of an interest in your personal journey and struggles.
What's your book about? Maybe you could find some groups that have readers in them who are interested in things discussed in your book. And then blog about that. Then, once your book is for sale, you've built an audience and possible customer base.
I'm learning all of this as I go along, but I believe that's the right track. Good luck to you, and continued happy writing. :)
Why not add my two cents to this. :-) I have a blog but struggle with finding followers. At some point, thank you word press, i know i can convert it and make my blog into a website. Although that will take some work. I was reading here that someone said there are cheaper ways to do this other than wordpress and that might be true, i am just starting to look at all the options. I still struggle with finding followers and getting the blog to show up in search engines.
Otherwise agents seem split on blogs and blog interviews. I think long term you will need something, a website for sure but unless you can captivate millions of people before publication it is more of a hobby to have a blog. I talked to an agent at a writers group i attend and she said unless you have a substantial following don't mention the blog for now. So it could be a great benefit and obviously you can't have followers if you never try. Besides if you start now by the time we get published we will at least know how to run a webpage/blog.
I write two blogs.. one for writing and one for fun.
Attracting followers is a challenge--especially if you want followers you can market to. For now, I'm more focused on building connections with other writers and people in publishing to share information and learn. I figure once I have a novel out, then I'll need something in place for fans. But for now, that is a glimmer in the future :)
Michelle--I clicked through and read some of your blog. I think I struggle with wordspress blogs, because I don't like subscribing by email. I follow dozens of blogs, but they show up in my blogger feed rather than getting an email. Do you know if wordspress gives you another option to let people "follow" you without signing up for an email? Just curious.
Also, yes, blogger is totally free to use your own URL with, whereas wordpress makes you pay. But wordspress has much more writer-ly templates than blogger. I've heard of people loving each platform for different reasons.
Yeah, I get you! I copy URLs into my feed, too.
I checked out Wordspress, too. I didn't want to pay to use my own URL, so that kept me on blogger. I wish they made it easier to follow, but obviously they're in competition so they're not going to. It starts getting technical fairly quickly if you're trying to really push these templates to be something unique or perform unique functions.
I still sit and stare at my blog sometimes, wondering how to focus it, or what it should really be about. It's not my stream of consciousness, but it is about things I'm interested in. I have other writer friends who've given their blog a focus, like a writing project, and I admire that approach. But I want to write about too many things. However, I do fear blog burn-out. I'd like to settle into a regular pattern of when I post certain content.
I post book reviews because I read a couple of books each week, BUT I don't want to be a book review site, so . . . I post about the creative process because I'm a designer, and it's something I've spent a lot of time learning about, but it can get technical quickly . . . I post about pop-culture TV/movies I'm into because I want to share . . . But for now I post very little about me or my works in progress. I'm not looking for an open-air diary for others to follow. But I know that would be interesting for readers.
So, I'm thinking about doing another poll to see what people are most interested in reading! I write for me, but on the blog, I'd like to write for the readers, too.
Platform building, for me, is a chore, but it does help. I started a blog more than a year ago just to have a place to share some of the things I wrote, and the blog itself turned into my first book. I put the stories together in a collection and self-published this past May. Now, the book is available in paperback on Amazon and B&N as well as being available as an e-book for Kindle. Once I knew I was going to publish, I set up a Facebok writer's page. When the book came out, I set up an Amazn author's page. I joined She Writes and GoodReads. I made a trailer for my book and put it up on my FB page, on my blog, on YouTube, and anywhere else I could put it. I've been learning as I go. You are going for traditional publishing, so I think a bit of a platform would help until you get a few publishing credits for your resume. And you can work on that, too, if you are interested in witing shorter pieces for literary journals. You're off to a fantastic start, and can add other helpful tools as you go along. My blog (which I've neglected since the book came out) is at http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm all trembly- just hit the "confirm" button of a url purchase on GoDaddy.com Thank you, thank you Melanie for the great suggestion- I've been wondering if, and if, where and how to purchase a url for my WIP. This discussion gave me the information and motivation I needed.
The URL I registered is the title of my novel, which I started a mere three weeks ago. The website will have no content for many months to come, as I write my MS and learn about marketing/promotion. But I wanted to get it in and secured.
I'm coming about this a bit backwards, or from my own direction, I guess. I started blogging in summer 2010- a place to post book reviews and navel-gazing musings. I wanted a public place to play that wasn't a journal. I wanted to write as if I had an audience, which of course was no one but my husband when I began the blog. Blog writing sparked my latent desire to write fiction, which I started via a non-residency course a few months later. The course finished in June and I started work on the novel a couple of weeks later.
Now the blog, in addition to book reviews, is becoming a place to write about my writing life. Although I've published short stories and a couple of articles, I don't feel that I have enough experience to offer helpful hints and suggestions; rather, I share the experiences of a fledgling writer. Through my blog and Twitter I am meeting so many writers, engaging in conversations that have such meaning for me, inspire and inform my writing.
But the url I've just registered is where I intend to direct attention specific to my WIP (of course, anyone is encouraged to visit the blog, as well!). But it will be the marketing/promotion vehicle. My goal is to have a website created by a professional, whereas the blog will remain homespun Julie.
My blog is chalkthesun.wordpress.com I've been very happy with wordpress. I'm not a tech fan and it's been quite easy to work with.
My novel website is TheRefugeOfDoves.com (still pending, so nothing yet to see). Stay tuned. I hope.
My wishes to all for peace and inspiration in your writing. Thank you for being here so that I may learn and move forward!
This is very, very exciting news Julie. I shall follow your progress with avid interest! And your novel/web site name is gorgeous. Just those words alone are enough to pique my curiosity and whet my interest and desire to read more! Good luck! xxx