Many of us dream of writing a book. From a young age, we all love writing stories, and for some people, it is something that never quite goes away. If you are particularly talented—and lucky enough to get notices—you may even end up with a book deal where other people actually buy and read things you have written.
One way many budding authors get started these days is through blogging. In fact, even established authors should consider a blog now.
By blogging, you can reach your audience much more regularly. Most authors are only able to produce a book occasionally, and this can make it more difficult to build and engage a loyal audience. By blogging—perhaps once a week or even once a day—you can build a relationship with your readers and when you do release a book, you have a readership ready to go.
It also allows you to safely experiment. If you usually want one genre but fancy having a go at something a little different, it gives you a chance to try it out on a smaller audience with lower stakes. No one wants to spend months writing a novel for it to be turned down.
How do you blog though?
At first glance, it seems easy enough. Go online and you will find hundreds of thousands of posts telling you how to blog. The problem is that the vast majority of these will be giving guidance to those who write non-fiction. For fiction writers, the process can be very difficult. What should you be writing about?
Blogging tips for fiction writers
Write short stories
You could even turn it into a series of short stories. If you have published novels before, look at how to expand on them. Can you take some of the characters and do an offshoot on them? Can you do a sequel or a prequel? For a blog post, aim for stories of 1500 words or less. If you find you cannot write in short form, look at publishing chapter by chapter or scene by scene. You could use software such as bibisco, a really great novel planning software, to help you sort out your ideas.
Proofread, proofread and proofread again
You are a professional writer or hope to be one. If your blog posts, whatever you write about, are littered with spelling and grammar or fluency errors, it is not going to look good. Apply the same standards to every blog post that you would published work. Read it, reduce it, read it again, and continue to edit it until it is perfect. Once you are happy that it is ok, run it through a spelling and grammar checker such as Grammarly, and then get someone else to proofread it on your behalf.
Write about your writing process
One thing that readers love is a "behind the scenes" look at their favorite authors, so give it to them. Show them how you get your inspiration, how you organize your ideas, where you sit to write, what motivates you, and so on.
Whereas with a fiction book you can create more of an anonymous persona, when it comes to your blog you have to be authentic. Readers will know if it is "you" or someone writing for the sake of it, or even worse, just for the money. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, write from the heart. If you are talking about a problem, you can admit to not having a solution. Show your emotions and the real you.
Look at online support
Just like the book writing community, the blogging community is very supportive and knowledgeable. There are plenty of online forums and groups on social media platforms such as Facebook, where you can get advice on the more technical side of blogging and make friends within the niche. These support groups can be invaluable, especially in the early days.
Promote your blog posts
You may well have a professional marketing team helping you with the marketing and promotion of your book, but when it comes to your blog, you are generally on your own unless you pay for marketing. Make sure that you have a presence on all of your social media platforms and share your blog posts with friends, family, work colleagues and the wider community. Look at how to use relevant hashtags to reach people and how to implement SEO measures onto your blog to help them be visible in search engines such as Google.