by Vivian Zabel
As far as we are concerned as an author, illustrator, editor, or publisher, a blog is a way to build an audience who will purchase our work, another way to promote ourselves, build our platform.
Blogging creates excitement. It’s a way to get people interested in what we have to say. As we begin to generate the excitement, we begin to be recognized as a possible authority in the field we write about both in our blogs and in our books. People want to know more about us and our creative endeavors.
Many of us begin to blog to attract people to our work, readers to our books, clients for our illustrations. However, we can begin to enjoy the process of blogging, since it is a creative way to show ourselves to others.
Quoting The Internet Writing Journal’s article called “The Authors Dilemma – To Blog or Not to Blog”: “The business of being an author has changed considerably over the last ten years. No longer is it sufficient to write a brilliant manuscript and manage to get it published. Authors now need to be excellent promoters of their own work. And for the intrinsically shy, that can be problematic. But an Internet trend has the potential to revolutionize author marketing, even for those who despise public speaking: blogging.”
A few questions pop up, such as how often should we post on our blog, what subjects should we use, or how much advertising should we do?
Let’s look at how often first: We should blog often enough to keep people interested, but not so often that we allow blogging to take the place of our other creative endeavors. Some people blog once a week; some every day. One suggestion for authors is to use a short blog post as a warm-up for the day’s writing.
What subjects should we blog about?
- We can write about an arena in which we excel or know much about. I can write about writing because I’ve studied it for most of my life and taught the subject for nearly 30 years.
- We can write about a work in progress. We don’t want to give too much away, but enough so that people would be interested.
- We can share excerpts and/or reviews of a published work. Illustrators can give samples of art work.
How much should we advertise ourselves or our work? Any advertisement should be subtle. The majority of any post needs to be about something that might lead into promoting a particular work. Aidana WillowRaven and Ginger Nielson explain how they create something, which indirectly promotes a book – the main topic is the creation of the art work. The post should generate an interest in what we’re selling, not make people tired of our “hard sell.”
Now, where do we find a blog site or platform?
Blogger – http://www.blogspot.com (free, and they have a paid option)
LiveJournal – http://www.livejournal.com (ad-supported & paid options)
MySpace – http://www.myspace.com (free, not recommended for professional blogs)
Typepad – http://www.typepad.com (paid)
Vox – http://www.vox.com (free & paid options)
WordPress – http://www.wordpress.com (free & paid options)
Xanga – http://www.xanga.com (paid)
Once we have site, how do we add some of the site visits and such, track activity on our blogs?
Blog Catalog – http://www.blogcatalog.com
Technorati – http://www.technorati.com
Digg It – http://www.diggit.com
Site Meter – http://www.sitemeter.com
Yes, we need a website and a blog, unless we have a website that has a blog option. Remember we need to promote ourselves and our work, build and maintain a platform.
Vivian Zabel, author of Midnight Hours