Do I need to start a blog or a website?
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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  It seems rather self-indulgent because I'm unpublished and have zero followers.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? 

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  • 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.

    www.melanieconklin.com

  • Hi Melanie, The way I follow Wordpress in my blog roll is by copy and paste of the link into the blog roll section of blogger. It doesn't show that you are a follower that I can tell but it does let you follow the posts. I don't think there is another option but I will look tomorrow to see if there is another widget or something else to add. As you can see I am fairly new to word press. I have been doing a non writing blog in blogspot. I can't decide which I prefer just yet. I might look into the URL for blogger although the few authors I know use Wordpress for websites which I why I started my writing blog there. It's early on so I figured now was a good time to play.
  • 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.

  • 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.

    http://michelleziegler.wordpress.com/

    http://holycowmoment.blogspot.com/

  • Hi, Alison!

    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.  :)

  • Daphne, 

    As far as Twitter goes, I recommend following finding tags to follow where you can get to know other writers or people who would be interested in reading your genre.

    Since I don't know what you write, I recommend checking out the #amwriting tag. :)

  • Hi Alison,

    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'

    Claire

  • This is such a helpful group... good information and support!

    I did set up a web page with a blog (daphneq.com) as I started writing my novel. It's therapeutic and also motivates me to write every night because I want to be sure I don't have to write in my blog something like "I haven't written for three evenings now."

    I also joined Twitter and Facebook. Not sure how much help either of them are, but it's free and it doesn't take much time, so why not?