1. Get Started. Don’t wait until you have the exact area of interest or until you have perfected your style. These will come. Choose a topic and go.
2. Keep it Short. Write enough to cover your topic. Stop. I set time limits for reading blog posts (busy!) and, out of respect for other readers, I set word limits for writing them. My writing goal/post? Fewer than 500 words. More to say? Write a sequel!
3. Keep it Simple. Get to the point. Tell your readers what you are going to write about, write about it, and tell them what you have written.
4. Use White Space (or, in my case, blue. 🙂 White space is simply that, the leftover space around the words. White space around content actually draws readers toward content. To create white space, use short paragraphs. Get rid of unnecessary words. Use Point Form.
5. Include a Question to Encourage Readers to Comment. E.g. What are your best blogging tips?
6. Use a Call to Action. Ask people to subscribe or follow.
7. Share, and Ask Others to Share. Use Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, whatever works for you. Make sharing easy for your readers by including Share Buttons. A blog is a tool. It is useless if people don’t know it is there. Share. Share. Share.
8. Use your Twitter Handle in the Byline of your Post. When I read a good post, I share it via Twitter. I schedule my Tweets using Tweetdeck. If I can find the Twitter handle of the author, I add it to the Tweet. Why? If someone at-mentions you (e.g. @AnnieDaylon) it will show up on your Twitter stream; you can favorite it, retweet it, reply to it. Your post will gain more ground.
9. Always Check your Work. I just checked this post and realized that I had 9 tips, not the promised 10. I added this one. 🙂
10. Invest in a Good Resource about Blogging. Try Blog It by Molly Greene. It contains information on everything from Set Up to SEO. It saved me a lot of time and energy. Highly recommend!
If you are on the verge of blogging, as I was a while back, try the above Ten Tips for Beginners.
If you are already a blogger, what tips do you have for beginners?
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The what’s-in-it-for-me philosophy, WIIFM, applies here, but are we all so self-centered? I much prefer another concept, one which I just recently encountered, the what’s-in-it-for-us philosophy, WIIFU. The us being both writers and readers.
So, why read Blogs?
To learn about writing structure, style, grammar
To seek inspiration
To connect with like minds
To learn about the business of writing, aka marketing
What do both lists have in common?Value.
Bloggers give knowledge based on study and experience. Readers take knowledge, apply it, and, hopefully, pass it along. Bloggers promote their products; readers often buy those products. The result is a cycle, a supportive community, a collaboration of bloggers and readers and bloggers and bloggers and… you get the idea.
I write blog posts but I also read them. Tons of them. I return to blogs that are helpful. I keep track of new posts on all my favorite blogs—I use Feedly for this purpose—and I share new posts through Twitter and through my own blog.
Yes, the what’s-in-it-for-me concept—WIIFM— is valuable, but the what’s-in-it-for-us philosophy—WIIFU—is priceless.
Today, as the tide slips over the release date of my novel, Castles in the Sand, I am setting goals for 2014.
I started by listing accomplishments of 2013, an activity I recommend. I discovered that, despite bouts of doubt (do you have those ‘am I doing enough’ moments??) I accomplished a lot. Included on my list:
publishing a novel;
working with a partner (accomplished author, Michael Hiebert) to organize a book launch party;
diving into technology (almost drowned… still here!),
learning that I must pick and choose my path because there are so many options and there is no way can I do everything. (Must keep it simple.)
With that last point in mind, I am listing just three goal categories. In order of importance, they are:
Write first! Write regularly. (Novel first, always! I intend to finish, and market, my historical suspense novel.)
Write short stories for contests. (Love the contest concept; it is a vehicle for honing writing craft.)
Write a non-fiction book about writing. (Have learned a lot; intend to share.)
Read, Read, Read! Read up. Read down. (I laughed recently when I received an email from Goodreads congratulating me on having read twobooks in 2013. The reality is that I read a minimum of two books a week. 🙂 Since I already keep an alphabetical list of everything I read, I will transfer more of that info to Goodreads in 2014.)
Read more Indie Authors (I am one; should support same. Mea culpa.)
Write a few short reviews.
Continue to share info via Twitter and Blog. Am focusing on these two because, like I said, I can’t do everything. However, I will also use other media, such as Linked In & Pinterest, and, of course, Goodreads.
Hire for Tech issues. (In many cases, time trumps money; I cannot spend hours trolling tech forums when I can spend a few dollars employing tech wizards.)
Learn to do Webinars.
Get help with marketing. (Not sure what this looks like yet but am putting it out there.)
So, there it is. A list of goals. Seems simple enough. And that’s the point: to keep it simple. Simplicity allows for success, for change, and for adaptation to whatever rolls in with the tides of 2014.
Indie authors have a lot of work to do in terms of marketing. If you are considering a paperback giveaway (as I did for Castles in the Sand), consider doing it through Goodreads. Here’s my experience:
In July, I
Checked the details on Goodreads:
Contacted Goodreads with minor questions (got quick response)
Chose the dates (August 1-31).
Elected to give away 10 books.
Filled in, submitted the Form. Goodreads published the Giveaway almost immediately. (Super efficient!)
During August, I
promoted through Twitter, Linked In and Email List.
set aside a box labeled “Goodreads Giveaway. Into it, I put 10 books, each with a bookmark, 10 mailing envelopes, 10 handwritten notes which congratulated winners and asked if they would rate/review the book on Goodreads.
Note: I left space for individual name on each note.
On August 31st , I
checked Goodreads and discovered that there were 428 entries in the Giveaway.
checked my email. The list of winners was there, 5 in Canada, 5 in the USA. (Did I mention that Goodreads is efficient?)
made address labels for the winners
packaged the books
Note: If possible, keep size within post office limits. (In earlier attempts at mailing, I slipped books into corrugated covers. Mistake! Way too expensive! Use paper!) Each of my books fit through the standard postal slots so regular mail fees applied. Fortunately, I live very close to the U.S. border, so I mailed books bound for the United States in the United States. Mailing costs? In Canada, $3.75/book. In the U.S., $2.53/book.
In September, I
Read a wonderful email from an excited winner.
Received (to date) three reviews on Goodreads, one of which also appears on that reviewer’s website Book Reads and Reviews. (Many thanks to all who took time to rate/review the book!)
Emailed Goodreads to thank them for their support and efficiency.
Goodreads: Author’s Guide to Giveaways
For me the Goodreads Giveaway was an excellent marketing experience, one that I wish I had known about sooner. That’s the thing with going indie; so much to do! As I wrote to a helpful staff member at Goodreads, ‘I wish that I could assemble the minions! Alas, there is only me.’
If you live in a small place and want to work at home, you need a designated space, one that can accommodate your work without commandeering your life. Here’s a suggestion: an armoire.
We downsized a few years back and planned the move in great detail. The fact that there would be less floor space in our new home inspired us to take wall space into consideration. I sold my old computer desk which sprawled the wall at chair rail height and replaced it with an armoire.
Open, the armoire is a complete office, with space for computer, printer, paper and storage containers.It also has a file drawer and a desktop for plain old handwriting. I can open the doors to 180 degrees or angle them so that everything is at arm’s length.
Closed, the armoire is an attractive, unassuming piece of furniture, six feet high and three-and-a-half feet wide. Not only does it fit almost any small space scenario, it also masks the detritus of the workaday world.
Anyone working from home needs to ‘get away from the office’ occasionally. What better way than to use an armoire? One of my favorite things about my ‘Write’ Space is that I can lock the doors and hang my Closed sign. This is my reminder to disconnect. Later, I can return, refreshed and ready to create.
My armoire has proven to be an ideal writing space for me. What is your ideal ‘Write’ Space?
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