Sometimes the hardest thing about keeping a blog is finding topics on which to write, especially if you’re looking for fresh content multiple times a week.
The most important thing for writers to remember when blogging is that you’re doing it to serve the reader first. This means you don’t want to make the same mistakes I made at first (and the same mistakes so many authors make).
Don’t blog about your book.
Don’t blog about your characters, and certainly not from your character’s POV.
Don’t blog about writing or the writing process.
Your blog should be finding your audience. Unless your audience is other writers, you don’t want to blog about writing. For example, I blog here about writing, publishing, and marketing, because that’s my current audience with my nonfiction Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author. So, actually, my audience currently is other writers.
But if you’re trying to promote a YA book, romance novel, mystery, crime, whatever else, don’t blog about writing. And please don’t blog about your characters or from their POV. Why?
This is going to sound harsh, but it’s the truth.
No one cares about your characters or plot. Not yet. They’re not interested in your characters until they’re interested in your characters (i.e. after they’ve read your book). Your blog (and your social networks like Twitter & Facebook) aren’t for selling your book. They are for marketing and branding YOU. The author.
So, for example, if you write Mysteries or Crime, blog about things your readers are interested in. If they’re mystery fans, then they’re probably interested in true crime stories or forensic medicine. If you write romance, then blog about relationship and love and sex. That’s what I do over at my alter-ego’s site. And my readership has grown exponentially. Before I started blogging about relationship issues, I would be lucky to have 20 views a day, now in just a few short months, I normally hit around 200 hits every day and sometimes spike up to 300. And it’s still growing.
And you don’t have to write only about one topic. Pick days on which to do certain topics. Like on Tuesdays over at Caught in the Cogs, I write about Steampunk. On Wednesdays, relationships and sex. Fridays are rather a free day where I post convention reports, poetry, updates about me or my book, and, more recently, podcasts.
Start by getting a blank piece of paper and defining your demographic. If you write YA, remember than teens don’t generally read blogs. If you write MG, they certainly don’t read blogs. So your target audience are their parents. Write about parenting or teen issues. Write about cooking or knitting or soccer games or dogs. Whatever it is that your main demographic is interested in, as long as it’s also something you’re passionate about. You must feel passionate about it to be able to write about it so often.
Then brainstorm on blog topics for at least 15 minutes, or until you have 50 ideas. Start there. Blog posts don’t have to be long. They can only be 300 words. They can point to another blog source, too.
The point here is that your growing audience will get to know you and your writing style. As importantly, you’ll further develop your writing style and you’ll get in the habit of writing often. It’s an excellent exercise.
My book goes into this and managing social networks in further detail. Another great book is Kristen Lamb’s Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer for blogging advice, and for overall social networking, We Are Not Alone.
While we’re on the topic, always feel comfortable asking me to write about something specific if you’d like. Whatever questions you have, I’m more than happy to explore, answer, and blog about them.
What would you like to see more of on this blog?