The latest craze on the web seems to be blogging. Should you blog or not? The Macquarie Dictionary explains it this way:
blog(say blog) noun 1. a record of items of interest found on the internet, edited and published as a website with comments and links. 2. a personal diary published on the internet. 3. an online forum. [shortened form of web log] –blogger, noun
It can, of course, be as the dictionary describes it, but if you want to make an impact for you or your book, it needs to be so much more. You need to set up a blog that is effortless to negotiate, easy on the eye, informative, interesting and fun. There are so many now that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.
Your content has to reflect you. It doesn’t have to be like a true diary. Don’t give every little detail. You only need to write about what you want when you want. But, you also need to be careful about your content. If you don’t want to offend anyone you need to be cautious of racism, sexism, swearing, plagiarism etc.
Don’t write anything you are uncomfortable with. If in doubt leave it out. You can write about your family but remember this is a world-wide web. Don’t publish information about where you live or where your children attend school. Keep your private life private. You never know who will be a voyeur in your life. The idea of a blog is to portray who you are but safely.
If you are a writer the natural thing to do would be to write about writing. That’s okay if you want to do so but don’t be limited by that. There are plenty doing just that already. If you’ve seen a magical sunset and it made the start to your day happy – write about that and explain why.
Other suggestions to write about are:
- A recipe your family loves.
- The nicest thing anyone ever did for you.
- An awful moment you’d rather forget (but writing it will help the process).
- Your faithful dog.
- The school you went to as a child.
- Why the smell of baking bread makes you smile.
- How much you want to make the next diet work.
To create a following, once you find one subject that you’re happiest writing about, write about it regularly. You need to find a niche to keep readers interested.
There’s plenty to write about but what’s the one thing missing from that list? It’s your book, business or product. As often as possible talk about it. Why did you write it, produce it, etc? Where did you find inspiration? What was the process? How long did it take? How does it make you feel to be a published author?
Set up a separate page for your book or product. Explain where to buy it and any other relevant information. You can also make it your avatar instead of a picture of yourself or you can just place it in your text often enough so plenty of people to see it.
Always have your book title or product as a tag (even if it’s not mentioned in every story). Make sure you have a link to where it can be purchased such as http://www.zeus-publications.com or Amazon.
The easiest way to understand blogging is to get started. Most of the blog sites have features that let you choose from design templates that you can add your own photos and information to. They also provide widget to allow other bloggers to subscribe or link to your site plus much more – videos, podcasts etc.
To get people reading your site is on a par with getting people to reading a new book by an unknown author. You need to work at it by reading other blogs and commenting on them. This way they may in turn look at your site. You can also attach your blog to your website and search engines.
I suggest you link it to your Facebook, My Space, Twitter and the like. By printing your blog address on all your stationery, such as business cards, bookmarks, letterheads and invoices, you’ll be putting it out there for people to log on to.
If you publish an article include the blog address in your bi-line. Tell friends and family.
I’ve been using WordPress because it has some terrific, templates and is user-friendly. Setting up is simple and free. There are also Blogger (the official Google blog), MSN Spaces, Yahoo 360 and AOL Journals. A warning though – blogging can be addictive.
I recommend you stop when:
- It interferes with real paid writing.
- It stops you meeting deadlines.
- Your family has forgotten who you are.
- Your dog goes next door to eat.
- The grass is so high you can no longer see your fence.
- Your teenage kids have forgotten how to use MSN because you hog the computer so much.
This was originally posted in the my Zeus blog at : http://bookszeus.wordpress.com/
I have changed a little of the content to suit the layman.I thought it was worth sharing because many people are new to blogs.
On Friday my stepson married his gorgeous bride (and I MEAN gorgeous – stunning, divine, beautiful – you name it she was all of the above).
I’ve had many proud days but this was one of the proudest. Of course the proudest being giving birth. But though I didn’t give birth to Kris (yes, I’ll credit his own mum with that) I have helped bring him up. I love him as if he were my own, and as a step-son, his is. To see him with his younger brothers standing beside him in his (sexy) white shirt and them in their black shirts – I can just say – wow! I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball.
Our mixed family (steps, halves, married, not married, not related) all came along and blended well. I guess it’s the way things are today. Families just aren’t what they used to be. Now, at ‘family gatherings’ (incidentally this is what the ‘wedding’ was called to avoid paying over three times the price) there is no normal family.
So at this wedding there is a groom (Kris), bride (Elise). Kris’s dad is my husband. Kris’s mum has a partner. My sons were the groomsmen or witnesses (wow did they look handsome in their black shirts and so grown up) and are Kris’s brothers (halves but we never say that because they are just all brothers). Elise’s sister and brother were the other witnesses. My family (my mum – Nana to Kris, sister and her husband, brother and his wife – are all the steps) all attended. My husband’s parents. Half of Elise’s family were missing. Half of the groom’s mother’s were missing. For different family estrangement reasons it made us and odd and mixed bunch.
It didn’t matter at all because everyone was happy sharing the joy of their wedding day. Yes, over the years we’ve all had our ‘moments’ trying to bring up a little boy in two different families, in two different states, with totally different viewpoints, but we all got past that for this enormous family event.
We shared delicious food, a good quantity of beverages (yes alcohol) and much laughter and reminiscing. I can only hope that when Kris and Elise sit proudly at their own children’s weddings that, no matter what course their life and marriage takes, that everyone will choose happiness over anger and fun over jealousy and love above everything else.
To Elise and Kris – happy marriage – and you did indeed make the most adorable couple and should have been in the social pages – alas none of us are famous and I’m glad we kept it between ourselves. But really, the satin blue Manolo Blahniks that Elise wore with her pearl white dress were definitely ‘Sex and the City’ and made the wedding that much more special because it had the bride’s touch.
Me – I’m the proud step-mum and now prouder step-mum-in-law and I finally have a daughter.