The Author Blog #amwriting

Sometimes, I find it difficult to pull my creative mind together long enough to write a coherent sentence. This is not an unusual thing. Actually, I do battle with it daily. However, I can always talk about writing craft here on Life in the Realm of Fantasy.

The “looming deadline” of my self-imposed  schedule keeps me focused. Blogging is an affordable way to connect with readers. It’s a platform where you can advertise your books and discuss your interests. See my 3-part series that posted on 30 May 2018, Creating Your Author Blog.

Today’s image is a picture  my husband, Greg, shot of me reeling in my little kite in 2018, during a time when we could still walk freely on the beach. I always suggest finding good photographs for your blog post, as images break up the wall of words and keep things interesting. However, it’s essential to keep it legal, so see my post of 08 January 2020, Using Pictures and Quotes.

Author Johanna Flynn is just building her website. She has an affinity for benches and their diverse settings, featuring various images of them on her website.

Ellen King Rice features mushrooms and other fungi on hers.

Both of these authors’ websites are eye candy.

I write two essays a week on the craft of writing. These articles help me clarify my thoughts on those points.

Friday is art day, my favorite day of the week. Exploring the brilliant art that emerged from the Netherlands in the early-to-late renaissance is something I can do despite not having a formal education, thanks to the internet and Wikimedia Commons.

At first, I was torn because whenever I do research in either field, I learn something new and I want to talk about it.

One day, I realized I could do both. After all, art and literature are inseparable, and where you find one you will find the other, along with music and dancing.

Regularly writing blogposts has made me a “planning” author, as well as a “pantser.” A good length for a blog post ranges from about 500 words to around 1,100, give or take. Limits require me to keep my area of discussion narrow, and not get sidetracked.

Blogging never fails to keep me humble. I use several tools to proofread my own work before I schedule it to publish. I make use of spellcheck, Grammarly, and rely heavily on the Read-Aloud function that MS WORD comes with.

Nothing bursts your bubble of self-importance like discovering gross errors and bloopers several days after you published the post.

Yet, it happens to me all too regularly.

For me, writing blog posts isn’t that difficult. I can knock one out in an hour if I’m fired up about the subject.

During the week, I make a note of any interesting topic that might make a good blog post. If there is a lot of research involved, I make footnotes with citations and sources as I come across the information. When that is the case, getting the week’s articles ready could take the whole day. Usually, writing the posts for the week only involves the morning.

If you are a blogger who only posts once a week to give potential fans an update of what you are doing, writing your essay should take less than an hour.

I always pre-schedule my posts. By using the tools each platform offers (be it WordPress or Blogger) to schedule in advance, they will post without my having to babysit them. Having that ability allows me the rest of the week to work on my real job, which is writing fiction.

Many of you have blogs that are languishing in limbo. You’ve lost interest because it’s challenging to gain readers when your website is new. It can be discouraging, but you must keep at it.

When we have a limited audience, we feel a little defeated in our efforts to gain readers. In the world of blogging, as in everything else, we start out small and gain readers as we go along. I began with four hits a day and celebrated the day I reached twenty.

The algorithms are such that those who keep the content updated regularly gain more views and readers. New content shows up at the top of the WordPress reader, so publishing regularly keeps your site in front of readers.

I use the WordPress Publicize options to automatically post my blog to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.

On the left of your Blog title, under the words “My Sites,” click the dropdown menu. Scroll all the way to the bottom and open the WP ADMIN menu. This is the menu I use for posting everything on this website because it never changes and I don’t have to get used to a new dashboard every time the bored geniuses at WordPress decide to liven things up.

Step One: In that menu, scroll down to “Settings” and open that menu.

Step Two: In the Settings menu, open “sharing” and click on it. That will take you to the “Sharing Settings” page. Click on the button that says, “Publicize Settings.”

That opens a list of what I think of as blog warehouses, places that collect blogs and offer them to their regular readers. You want to activate as many of them as you can.

Because authors want to gain readers, we need to use every platform available to get the word out. Updating our website blogs twice a month offers us many opportunities to do just that and keeps us in touch with the people who count—our readers.

But most importantly, writing a 500-word blog post means that you wrote 500 words. For some of us, that is a huge accomplishment in these trying times.

If you are an author, you really should be blogging too, but you don’t have to post as frequently as I do.

Think about this: your website is your store, your voice, and your discoverable public presence. Readers will find you and your books there.

So, offer people a reason to stop by. Be nice, and don’t give your work the hard sell.

Credits and Attributions

The Pink Angelfish Kite, image by Greg Jasperson ©2018, All Rights Reserved

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