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Welcome to WANA Wednesday, the day I teach you guys how to rock it hard when it comes to social media and based off my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Last week we talked about Sacred Cow #1—Writers write, thus they must write writing blogs, right? Um….WRONG! Go here if you want to find out why writing blogs are bad. I teach writers how to blog to create a brand. What is our author brand? Our name—US. Blogging gives us an opportunity to reach out to millions and give them a chance to get to know us and support us as fellow friends and human beings.
Why limit the topics?
Many of us became writers because we were interested in so much stuff that we couldn’t figure out whether we wanted to be a scientist, a dancer, a race car driver, an archeaologist or an astronaut when we grew up. As writers….we could do ALL those things. So why, when it comes to blogging, do we have this knee-jerk reaction that we can only talk about one topic…writing?
Last week many writers promptly had a panic attack when I said writing blogs were bad. There is a difference between a Writing Blog and an Author Blog.
Writing Blogs have cutesy titles like…oh, let’s see…Warrior Writers (look at the URL). Writing blogs lack the author’s name and they pidgeon-hole content. Author Blogs, however, have the writer’s name clearly visible and then a certain day is dedicated to blogging about writing. See? Never said you couldn’t blog about writing, so hand over the paper bag. It’s okay.
But, here’s the deal. Many writers are insecure and so the reason we get the same bright idea to blog about writing is, deep down, many of us need affirmation that we know what we are doing. It’s a security blanket. But, here is the thing, writers don’t need to be expert writing teachers to be amazing storytellers. Fiction authors establish expertise by writing great fiction. Our blog is for us to connect with others, not to prove we know what we are doing. Good books will prove that.
Back to blogging….
I have made all the dumb mistakes so you don’t have to. This said, after YEARS of highly unscientific testing, I have found what works and what is very literally a social media tar baby. Am I saying MY way is the only way? No. But, I am saying, “Hey, when I did this, this and this, I was losing hair by the handful and could hear crickets on my site. Ah, but when I did THIS, people CAME TO MY BLOG AND THEN HOLY CRAP THEY CAME BACK AND SOME EVEN BROUGHT FRIENDS! SQUEEEE!”
Then, to ensure I was not a lone anomaly, I used a lot of friends as guinea pigs (Hey, Piper!), and they found that these techniques worked for them too. Not only did they begin to ENJOY blogging–GASP!–but they saw drastic improvements in their traffic fairly quickly. This said, feel free to do any of these no-nos I am listing below. I will not stop you. But later, when friends and family find you curled in the fetal position under your desk with a letter opener to your thoat and clutching a bottle of scotch, it will be very difficult for me not to say I told you so.
Last week we tipped over Sacred Cow #1 The Writing Blog. Today? We take out a couple more. Mooooooooooooooooooooooove over, Bay-bee!
Sacred Cow #2—You need multiple blog sites if you talk about more than one thing.
Um, no. Multiple blog sites dilute your brand and erode your author platform. You need one place where alllll your precious nuggets of wisdom collect.
Our blog must be under our name and then just put certain topics on certain days (even writing). Then we are connecting with people via mutual interests and this, in turn, builds our brand and our name.
I am a social media expert. I have the burden of proving I know what I am talking about.
But here is the cool part. Even if you are blogging to establish expertise, you can still benefit from blogging on other subjects on different days. These types of posts make you more human and approachable, two essential ingredients for a great blog. I blog on all kinds of things, but if people want to learn about social media, they simply check in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
I don’t believe it has confused any of you that I have blogged about my junk drawers or growing up in the 70s. Why? Because those were on Friday, which is Free-for-All Friday. Did you start questioning my expertise about Twitter because I blogged about dreaming I was in a nasty divorce/custody battle with Batman?
Hmmm, maybe not the best example.
But back to my point. How many of you do more than one thing? Would it fracture your reality to know I do more than one thing? Why is our knee-jerk reaction to treat readers like they are morons? If we blog about writing every Monday and gardening every Wednesday and travel every Friday, but everything is under the banner of our NAME, which is our BRAND…most people will catch up. We don’t need totally separate blog sites that spread us thinner than a college kid’s budget. Keep it all in one place. Really.
Oh the humanity! She blogs about writing AND travel. How can I go on?????
If people like you and your writing voice, likely they will read your writing blogs and your travel blogs because they find YOU and your topics interesting. Um, and if they only care about your travel blogs they…are you ready for this? They just won’t read the other days. O-M-G!
We don’t need separate blog sites to keep readers from clawing out their own eyes because we talked about something different. Having a bunch of different blogs might make US want to claw out our own eyes trying to keep up, but the reader will be fine. Multiple sites is a formula to go crazy. It might be fine now, but one day you are hopefully going to sign with an agent and you will have deadlines and a lot of work. This is why I am teaching you guys to streamline NOW. Make this blog puppy a well-oiled machine that grows as you grow in your career.
Sacred Cow #3–Group blogs are wonderful for getting your name out there and gaining a large following.
Uh…yeah, about that. Group blogs might not be the best use of time.
Can you contribute to a group blog? Sure. Can a group blog build your brand? Eehhh…not so much. The group itself gets the focus, so that is what will get branded. Think of it this way. Many of you will recognize Motley Crue. Would you recognize Mick Mars? He’s the guitarist. I had to look it up. But do you see what gets the name recognition? So unless we have an instance like The Police then Sting goes off and makes his own name, most band members’ names get lost to the overall brand…the name of the band. The BAND has the large following, not necessarily the individual members.
Same with group blogs.
There are a lot of wonderful group blogs and contributing to group blogs can open up your readership, but your own blog should be paramount. Readers know Writer Unboxed, Adventures in Children’s Publishing or Writers in the Storm, but many of us would be hard-pressed to name individual contributors unless they also happen to have their own blogs. I meet a lot of writers who are contributing hundreds and thousands of words a week to group blogs that will do very little to build their brand.
Worse still, they are contributing to the group blogs while their own blogs are neglected.
Are group blogs evil and a waste of time? NO, but they are a different tool for a different task. Is a tack hammer bad? Not if you are hanging a painting, but if you are busting up concrete? Wrong tool! Group blogs are great for getting you started and for even opening up your own blog to fresh readers. That is what group blogs do best. I contribute guest posts for group blogs. I have posted on Writer Unboxed and Genreality and I will be contributing to Adventures in Children’s Publishing in July. See, I contribute…but my own blog is first and foremost.
My tactics help you maximize time. If we are going to churn out thousands of words a week in content, then the best thing is to make some minor changes and have that effort fueling our overall goal…growing our platform and solidifying our brand.
Questions? Comments? Want to hurt me? Break out in song? What are your thoughts?
I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of June I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.
Important Announcements (Mash-Up of Awesomeness is Below)
June Week One Winner is Delorfinde
June week Two Winner is Jennifer Fischetto
Please send 1250 words in a Word document to kristen at kristen lamb dot org .
Make sure you join our LOVE REVOLUTION over on Twitter by following and participating in the #MyWANA Twibe. Read this post to understand how this #MyWANA will totally transform your life and your author platform.
In the meantime, I hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.
Mash-Up of Awesomeness
Ten Ways to Avoid Mid-Book Doldrums by the awesome and talented Jody Hedlund
3 Tips to Set the Mood for Romance by the amazing and funny Tawna Fenske
Villians Dissected: Magneto by awesome writing teacher Terrell Mims
Interesting blog by Bayard & Holmes. Is profiling logical?
Jenny Hansen has a great post about how writers can ROCK LinkedIn.
The brilliant word pirate Chuck Wendig has two special nuggets of awesomeness. First a HYSTERICAL blog about the new baby that every parent should read. DO NOT drink liquids while reading. Then Chuck chimes in about all this writer blogging stuff.
Albert Berg has a great blog about YA. Is it getting too dark?
Austin Wulf has a very helpful post about resumes for the freeleance writer.
Fun and short post by Patrick Thunstrom about the organic nature of social media.
Looking for the best shows to watch on TV this summer? Then you MUST go to Tiffany White’s blog.
Until next time…
Interesting to learn you don’t have to have more than one blog when discussing different topics. I talk about, travel, life, France, Portugal, gardening, toilets, shopping, UK, food etc…I had been considering creating a blog for my experiences in each country…perhaps after reading this it would just confuse and dilute my followers.
In the writers circles I’m involved with, having multiple blogs seems to be the thing to do. I’ve never had time for that. I co-write a blog – and we’re working on a novel together. We’re waiting on your books in the mail (Canada Post is on strike 🙁 because we know the blog needs revisioning. We plan to write more together, but also hoping to write solo. Lots of marketing decisions to make. How do you brand a co-writing team? We write together because we don’t have time with our freelance commitments to each do a blog well.
Love it–and follow this advice. And my new bright-and-shiny Kristen-inspired blog home gets the lion’s share of my attention with 5 posts a week. That said, I’m not able to totally give up the “old” digs because that’s my connection to other writerly work (Paw Nation) so I hit that about once a week when a new article posts. And now I’m also expected to “blog” on my puppies site, probably 3 times a week. Very shortly the puppies site folks will establish a company FB page/presence to build THAT brand (not me individually) and I’ll be expected to flog that as well.
So…my question, Oh Wise One…how kosher is it to simply duplicate some of what I’ve got on my Bling, Bitches & Blood blog over at my Red Room home? I’ve done that a bit with simply a blurb and link from Red Room back over to the Bling blog (say that fast five times!). Truly, I’ve more followers over at Red Room esp when an AOL article posts–which in turn sells books. I really need to allocate more $-generating time spent and am struggling to come up with a work-able weekly calendar that doesn’t continue to suck me dry.
Sure. Reuse content. Maybe just change it up a bit. Or, you have been blogging for a long time. Maybe you can recycle some older content? some of my fave posts were over a year ago. Most people are not going to click back an entire year to read this stuff, but there are some fantastic posts–OUCH! I got a cramp patting myself on the back! :D.
But I think you get the point. You have created A LOT of content. You should be able to freshen some of it and then reuse it. Waste not want not. This help?
Yes, very helpful! Just got off the phone with my RedRoom awesome go-to-person and we’re trying to get me on Huffington Post again on a regular basis, too. Sooo….very timely advice. *s*
I could never manage multiple blogs. But I have taken your advice, Kristen, and I’m expanding my range of blog topics to include topics like cooking, analysing movies, and discussions about mythology.
I don’t want to hurt you, or break into song, but I would like more details about this Batman dream. Here, lie on this couch while I get my notebook…..
You’ve already heard from my co-writer Lisa Hall-Wilson above, but we’re feeling a little stuck. As she mentioned, we currently co-write a blog on writing 🙁 We started it because (a) we thought writers should write on writing and (b) we thought it would be easier to share a blog then to do one on our own. Our current WIP is co-written, but we also want to have independent careers afterward. We have our own websites, but the blogs on each are unused. We’re not opposed to having our own blogs if we could maintain them with the same amount of time we now devote to our joint blog. Is that possible? And then what happens to our joint blog? We’ve really been building steam lately, and would hate to leave those people high and dry. It also doesn’t make sense to start writing about other topics on the current blog because we have unique personalities. As you can see, we’ve gotten ourselves into quite the pickle.
You are fine so long as both of your NAMES are on the blog. For each of you to have your own blog is simple. Pick a day. One day is Marcy’s day and the other is Lisa’s day. Then, on your websites, you can either copy and paste the same blog or just paste the first couple of sentences and a hyperlink to the cooperative blog.
If each of you has a day, then people can follow one of you or both of you. Also, if something happens and the collaboration ends…I.e Lisa wins 20 million dollars in the lottery and decides to buy an island and teach advanced underwater-basketweaving to the natives, then you won’t have your platform collapse. The fan adjustment will be MUCH easier and unlikely to hemorrhage followers. This help?
Thanks 🙂 That’s going to be a big help as “overhaul” our blog.
Contributing is the right way to put it (although I did know who Mick Mars was ;-)). Occasionally writing for other sites is key to alerting the Google gods that you exist. As long as you’ve got a link to yourself in the byline that is. Writing exclusively for other people, as you say, ain’t gonna pay the bills.
I have been begging one of my friends to consider the idea of condensing her FOUR blogs. I will pose her dilemma and see what you have to say. My friend is a lesbian. She has a fabulous blog about what it is like to be a co-mingled family of 5 kids with 2 moms. She is also an amazing artist and she regularly blogs about the process – from the unfinished pieces of crap she finds curbside – to the amazing pieces of art that we would all want to buy. She’s amazing. We need not discuss the other blogs as they could easily be absorbed as well. That said, she is terrified that these worlds -work and personal – should never collide. She has worked hard for all her followers and she worries that she might lose followers to her professional site if people knew about her lifestyle. My argument is the exact opposite. Sure, she may lose a few readers, but I think she might gain a whole new audience. And she would have so much less moving back and forth between worlds. She would like to publish a book about art, about being a lesbian duo, and – get this – she has a romance manuscript locked and loaded. And it isn’t even represented anywhere! What Would KristenLambTX Do?
She can combine them. We can’t please everyone. She seems to have the dilemma that a lot of authors who also write erotica have. My answer is that you can’t make everyone happy and as the Internet gets better and faster, the thin veneer of privacy is disappearing. It seems to me that her lifestyle choice is part of her platform, so why is it separate?
Great post! Really gave me a lot to think about regarding my own blog. I do have a question.
I have a blog on Blogger and also one on WordPress. They have exactly the same name and I post exactly the same posts at exactly the same time. I do this first because of the issues that Blogger has had (I’ve lost posts, comments and followers.) and second because people who use WordPress find it easier to follow me on WordPress. I mostly promote the Blogger site and that’s the one with the most followers. WordPress is sort of a backup.
Is this a bad thing? Will this dilute my brand? Or is it ok since they have the same content?
You’re fine, but there will come a time that likely it could become a HUGE time suck. I udes to have both as well, then just started focusing on the WP blog because it is easier to upgrade into a web site.
Thanks, Kristen! I’ll definitely keep that in mind. For now it’s easy. Just copy and paste. 🙂 But when I’m rich and famous I can see it being a pain in the backside. 🙂
Well, there will come a time when you are going to have a LOT of demands and so these tips are just to make things as simple as possible. If it isn’t bothering you, then cool, BUT…you are dividing your following in half. It will take longer to hit the tipping point where your numbers jump because you aren’t focusing. So, if you can start easing readers over to WordPress, now is the time to start.
Good to know. I will have to play with WordPress a bit more to get comfy with it. Then maybe post a teaser on blogger with a link to WordPress until I get everyone over there. 🙂
I disagree with writing across a variety of topics. I am quite sure that followers of my quinoa blog aren’t at all interested in my writing blog, and vice versa. I have stopped following several blogs when the authors seemed unable to find a focus.
It’s the same with Twitter. I get very frustrated when I follow a photographer and suddenly her tweets are inviting me to Forex webinars. I follow a writer for writing tips and chat, not 15 ways to treat warts naturally. If someone says he tweets about business law in Massachusetts, potential followers only have to ask themselves, “Do I want to read about business law in MA?” If he starts tweeting his tips for growing prize roses, now there are two types of tweets a potential follower has to consider. There will always be a smaller pool of people who want to read about business law AND roses.
I agree that being a writer on Twitter or maintaining a writing blog works only to the degree you would rather promote yourself as a writing coach than a creator. If you have created good content, you should promote it to the people who want to read that content by creating a blog specific to that niche.
For example, if someone has written several books about Wicca, she may have great tips to offer me about writing and publishing, but I’m sorry, I don’t want to learn how to celebrate the solstice or cast a spell. And I would bet that 80% of those who want to learn how be a witch don’t really care about that night she had writer’s block, the baby was sick, and the deadline was yesterday – unless she created a cool spell that finished the book, cured the baby, and delivered the manuscript two days prior. Come to think of it, I might be interested in that spell too.
Just my two cents. I am always looking to learn from other writers.
But the author blog should be our NAME. Writers shouldn’t be starting a Wine Blog. They should start a THEIR NAME blog and then have topics on certain days, one of which might be wine. The blogs should have focus, which is why I advise sticking to predictible themes instead of being all over the place. Most fiction authors are not blogging to be experts. They are blogging to connect. And actually, readers are more flexible than most people realize. Kait Nolan blogs about writing, but she also has GF Fridays, because Kait is an amazing and talented cook. I can’t eat wheat. so guess whose blog I follow? People read the blogs because they like and support Kait. I supported Kait as a writer, but then she also had a topic that spoke to ME! Gluten FREE.
But, can’t please everyone. Thanks for the comment :D.
Difficult one for me. I never saw my blog as part of a marketing before. Then my editor…blah blah…
I’ve always written posts because I wanted to, I’m very reactive and instinctive. I see something in the news and bang, I just have to add my piece.
I love writing about everything and anything. I quickly noticed Mummy bloggers didn’t see me as one of theirs because I don’t talk about babies all the time. I’m not in a clique.
I also blog on Women on the Verge, where I feel free to express any views.
I suppose I went through a phase where I felt restricted on my own blog. That’s not me, so I went quiet for a bit.
Refreshing to hear your views. Why have a blog if we cannot express ourselves?
I figure my blog is a bit like me – all over the board but in an organized if experimental kind of way. I blog about writing, sure, but also reading, TV series I enjoy, humorous childhood memoirs and life as an office drone. Oh, and weasels. Must have weasels : ). This series of posts have really made me feel better about the direction in which I’ve been taking my blog. There’s a reason we can “categorize” posts to lump like content together.
I hart weasels…*s*
This morning my friend and I were having this exact conversation. Were you eavesdropping? I prefaced about 50% of my remarks with “well Kristen says”. LOL.
Yessssssss!!! My blog has died a slow death in recent months. At first, I was writing about my faith and family. But as I’ve gotten serious about finishing my book and writing a proposal (not about faith and family), and my kids have gotten a little older, it’s hard to come up with the usual topics. I’ve thought many times “I wish I could write about writing!” (or cooking or cleaning or gardening or whatever)
My url is kristyblogs.com, but my blog title is Learning As They Grow. Thanks for giving me the kick in the pants to make it more about me :).
Thank you, Kristen, not only for the absolutely cooolest picture of a cow that I’ve seen EVER, but for your advice about blogging. I’ve recently taken your advice to heart and am not blogging about writing, but about topics in my top 100 “likes” that you suggested we write down about ourselves during our online class. I’m trying my best to get people to know ME as opposed to anything that I write.
I totally get the benefit of scheduling topics, but I have a hard time with it. I like talking about pop culture, comics, movies, TV and the like. Some weeks I’ve got a lot comic stuff on my mind and others it might be movies. Should I try to be more specific or do my topics fall under the same category?
You’re fine. Your topics are all pop culture. The only time you would need to specify a day is if you just started blogging on something totally different. I’d leave it be :D.
Your blog tips are always so insightful! I took your advice last week and branched out(now I talk about interior design, with a little serving of writing on the side) and I’m already so much happier! I’m blogging about my passions, and not trying to teach people who are more talented than me things they already know.
Now my biggest issue is figuring out how to direct traffic to my sight, since it seems like interior design blogs work a little differently than writers blogs. Some of the big name design bloggers don’t even have twitter accounts!
I’m happy to see you suggesting that it’s okay to blog about different topics. I had started my blog with that very intent, but as I went along I started to feel penned in and limited in what I “could” write about. Setting a day of the week for a specific topic feels a little scary, which probably means that’s exactly what I need to do. I found you through Clay Morgan’s site and am sifting through your posts, seeing that I have a lot of work to do!
Moooosic to my ears! Cheers 🙂
Thank you for the blog love & linkage!
I’m so glad we only have to have one blog if we post about different topics. I can’t imagine how difficult the maintenance would be keeping up with more than one site! Of course, I’d do pretty much anything you say about soial media. You say jump, I say how high….
Kristen…would love to know what you think of my blog. I made it very reader-focused. I have What I’m Reading Wednesdays (I discuss books I’ve read that week and the links to the cheapest copy I’ve found on sites I shop if they want to buy). I also have Free Read Fridays where I have links to free reads. The idea is to gain a following of romance readers. Then, intermingled put out snippets of life and news on any writing. What are your thoughts? Can my blog be too focused?
I think you need to think more outside the box. Most Americans do not consider themselves to be readers, but if they like someone or know them or have heard a certain book is THAT good, then they can be swayed to buy a book. Why are all writers looking for the mythical “avid reader”? Who cares if someone only buys two books a year if one of them is YOUR book? Why do we naturally go after avid readers who devour books like candy? How many books can we write?
If you like posting book reviews and that is your passion, then sally forth, but it will cost you the fat part of the Bell Curve that made Twilight a hit. There are many people who won’t qualify themselves as “readers” but who ran out and purchased every Harry Potter book in hard cover. Meyers and Rowling became mega authors because they mobilized the average person to become a fan.
I am getting you guys to blog on passions beyond the writing and the reading to help you connect to those massive groups of people who hold tremendous potential energy. Best of luck!
Kristen, if not here in the comments, then in a future post, will you explain this idea a bit more?
I don’t write book reviews, but I’m curious as to why you think doing so would devour the Bell Curve. If I’m following your thinking, then Average Annie won’t read Book Reviews b/c she doesn’t consider herself to be a Reader. Therefore, book reviews have smaller mass market internet appeal.
You’ve got my full attention because I’ve never thought about reading in this way. (Talk about a tipping a sacred cow!)
Ever since the first Tipping Sacred Cows post I’ve been thinking about my blog — first thing I did was re-name it, Amy Kennedy’s blog etc. Then I made a list of all the weird stuff I like. I realize I’m no expert in any of it, but I’m not sure that’s a problem. Is it?
I love paranormal and steampunkish stuff, so my wriitng reflects that — I figured I can write about the stuff that interests me: tv shows, books, gadgets, fairies in my back yard. And still have it tie into me and my “brand.”
What a relief! Trying to stick consistently to one topic is difficult even when you are passionate about the topic. More of the same, same, same, would probably bore my readers as much as it would me.
While it is important to focus on work while working (and I’m still working on that one), it’s the interesting other things in our lives that make our writing interesting.
On a more technical note: Can you tell me how to link back to your blog from my blog? Is it as simple as commenting about yours then putting a hyperlink in, or is there something I’m missing?
What? I won June Week One? Yay!
Okay, so now I totally need to find a novel that isn’t a first draft…
*suddenly realises she may not have one*
Is there a time limit on this?
Just submit when you are ready. No rush. Congratulations :D.
I’m learning these lessons–in some cases–the hard way. In some you’ve saved my time, and in others, I was doing them. All the same, I visit here regularly because I can always pick up a tip or two. Loved the book by the way.
I have to say – I tried out a topic other than writing yesterday (My Little Ponies) and had more hits than I have ever had on a post not linked to a blogfest! And the comments section was FUN! MLPs will definitely be a regular on my blog from now on, and I’ll choosing another love of mine (RPGs, which ties in to the comments in the MLP section) for next week 🙂
Thanks for the posts! My hyperventilating is all over 🙂
i thought one of the best tips you gave in WANA was to blog under your own name. i couldn’t agree more that people understand and enjoy a bit of variety – while i blog on a variety of topics, my subscribers know that fridays are always reserved for “french fridays”, a column of insider tips, amusing anecdotes, and restaurant recommendations i gathered during my years of living in paris. thank you, thank you, thank you for the advice that this type of blog should have been done under my own name. before i read WANA i’d registered a title for the blog, a catch phrase that had no association with my name. thankfully i read WANA before i put up that first post.
I have PROOF that you’re right, Kristen! I changed my blog from a writing blog to one that covers writing one day, a historical article and links on a 2nd day, and 3 days of navigating mid-life, which I had been blogging about for several years. As a result, I have several new subscribers, some friends who notified me that they have bookmarked my blog now and I have gained 20 tweeps and several FB friends—all this in 3 days! I watched the stats on my blogs and saw that the days I did not write about writing, I had more viewers. Interesting, huh?
Awesome news. The cool thing is also your writing with stay fresh and this will help alleviate burnout. I can’t wait to see how you do in a few weeks. Great job :D.
Hey, Kristen! *bweep, bweep* As you may recall, when you first drove me kicking and squealing into blogging–I mean first gently introduced me to blogging–I got the bright idea to start a second blog about two weeks into it. I’m soooo glad I spoke with you first. Indeed, I found that no one’s brain broke because I mentioned belly dancing in the same line with life and apocalypse. In fact, one of the most common compliments I get on my blog is that people enjoy its eclectic nature.
Based on my own experience, I think the tone of an author blog is the more important than its content. I think people know they can count on Holmes and I for honesty, humor, and good will to everyone who isn’t asking for a Cyber Smack. That accurately reflects my writing voice in my own fiction, and the duo voice of Bayard & Holmes.
Thanks for your wise guidance and for saving me from overwork burnout.
And mega-thanks for the shout out!
I agree with you on that one! 😀
I like that you told the world that writing blogs are bad. I thought it was an excellent post.
I visit quite a few blogs and I tend to stick with the ones like Piper Bayard’s, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales and The Pink Fuzzy Slippers. Like Piper mentioned above, these tend to be the more eclectic blogs. They give me a little bit of everything and that’s exactly what I crave.
I do however enjoy a few writing blogs, Jami Gold is one of my favorites. I love how she’s able to put in her two cents, give me a new perspective on the craft and say it all with a cyber smile.
When I finally get that blog/website constructed, I’ll be sure to take your advice. Every day I’m getting closer and closer and less and less scared.
Thanks for your wisdom!
Have a great evening:)
Fortunately, I found Kristens’ blog before I started one of my own and was able to take advantage of all the great information. Trust me folks, listening to Kristen will save you from a world of headache and wasted effort.
Did I mention Kristen is awesome? Well, she is 🙂
Kristen you make a lot of sense! 🙂
It is true we are all individuals; and our expertise and passion lies in different fields, so we can’t always write about writing. We need to build our blog just like we have built our characters.
I do have one question though –you talked about group blogs; what if you decide to have guest bloggers slots on your own blog –would that not be an effective tool or would that mean the appreciation will be directed to the guest blogger?
Also, which topics -other than religion and politics, would you suggest as a no no for a blog? Whilst pondering on this, I began to think if philosophical discussions on politics and religion would be less of a taboo than the two topics being discussed as it is?
If I have not made any sense let me know –I’m absolutely shattered so I could be talking gobblygoop for all I know!
Thank you for referring your readers to Albert Berg’s blog. I loved his writing!!! I thought one correction is in order. Albert’s blog about YA isn’t about the darkness of Young Adult Fiction. It is really about the lack of Young Adult Fiction for young adult males and his concern that young adult males may not be reading if no one is writing for them. However, there is a program called Guys Read, started by Jon Scieszka to get boys reading. Scieszka has put together an anthology of guys’ writings because they “know what guys like to read.” Scieszka’s anthology is called Guys Write for Guys Read. It is definitely worth checking out, if anyone is interested in helping boys read!!
Kristen- What you preach is what you do, and so well. You teach, enlighten, and entertain. For that we thank you, and for that, we show up.
If I begin to Blog, those would be my objectives. It’s quite freeing to hear you say that it’s all about “connection.”
For me, connections are the best part, and the main reason I would Blog.
It seems that if we do those things well, the following should, well, follow.
That said, as writer, I want to read writerly stuff, at least twice a week, or you might lose me.
BTW, I think your sense of comedic timing is impeccable.
Thanks :D. I honed my comedic skills from the bowels of high school lockers. I totally LOVE talking about writing, but I recommend multiple posts a week or it is going to be super tough to generate a large following in a decent amount of time. We don’t have a DECADE to get traction. This said, if I blogged four days a week about craft, I would want to punch a fluffy kitten in the face.
Not that I would…but I would want to.
I love that you shake it up. Life is full of interesting topics! And people will travel the distance for a good laugh! (People like me.) And you always have me in stitches, the good kind!
I’m kind of glad you’re saying that one needn’t have a blog per topic. That’s freeing me up to consider folding another blog I have into the “writing” one because I want to write about that topic (decluttering), I just don’t want to do it every day. Which is why that blog has stalled.
Hi Kristen! Missed you while I was on vacation! Excited to catch up on your posts tomorrow, and this one is excellent as always. I thought this advice was really helpful during the LIRW class because when people started sharing their multiple blogs, I was overwhelmed. You really gave some qualm to my nerves about to use your brand and blog about multiple topics without having to upkeep multiple blogs. Time smart and creativity boosting! Thank you!
I’m with Damian, though, where is this dream about Batman? I must have missed that one.
And I recently found Tiffany White and LOVE her blog! Smart idea for her topics, can’t wait to catch up on the other posts too!
Good god I love your blog…Haven’t said much in a while, but who can resist a good cow tipping in TX? 😀 I write on different topics and focus on only one blog so this falls in line w/my brain! Have a great week!
OMG! Why did I not find you before? I have been struggling with this blogging, tweeting thing but now all becomes clear!! I have had one day following your advice on tweeting and already the re-tweets and new followers are increasing and I’m enjoying it. Now I am fair set to follow your advice on blogs. I am now going to blog on topic some days. Very best of luck with your books. Happy networking!
I’ll admit I read this post a tad confused. I’ve only just started reading, We Are Not Alone, and it says to find to your content. The examples given are based on genre. So I spent the better portion of my week’s downtime “figuring out” my focus. 🙂 This isn’t a bad thing. It helped me to realize I wanted to use a tag line I created a few years ago, and gave me some fun ideas of future posts. I also, however, deleted a couple of categories I’d been blogging on for a few months, like manicures, food and personal life tidbits.
And now I’m reading that’s okay?
I write (for the most part–there’s always that stray idea) mysteries with paranormal and romantic elements in a chick lit tone. I just created a new header that, I believe, states ME more. At first I thought all those genres would have the blog too unfocused, but I guess it’s okay, now that I’ve read this post. So if I’m understanding correctly, the blog “should” focus on the genre(s) we write in, with the tone we write in, but can include other pieces of us? As long as it’s not about writing, which I rarely do since I am not a writing expert. 🙂
And I had to do a double-take when I saw my name listed for week 2. Woo hoo! Thanks! 😀
Jennifer, I have learned a lot about blogging in the year since WANA was released. Blog your passion. Both are okay. I think when I wrote WANA I was seeing that blogging with your passions was they key, I just hadn’t gone deep enough. At the time I was a social media expert, but not near as strong with blogging as I have since become.
The key to blogging is connection. Connection generates community. At the time I wrote WANA, I saw a lot of writer blogs that were either on-line journals or chapters of a book. Both no-nos. So comb through that content and see if it can be retooled in a way to create connection. Blogging about a manicure is fine, IF we are approaching others in a dialogue that gets them to contribute. Not just inform them we got a manicure. Make sense?
I highly recommend the new book, “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer” because I combined all the blogging lessons into one, easy to access book. This help?
Yes, totally helps. 😀
I have your second book. Thought I’d read the first…first. 😛 Still will, and I look forward to “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer”.
Thanks, Kristen. This is awesome and fun.
I’ve found that my writing posts historically got masses of hits, but I’m guessing that’s because most of the people I follow and who follow me on Twitter are writers and therefore interested in that kind of stuff. Now I just started a weekly interview slot which I’m hoping will appeal to the ‘reader’ in my followers, rather than the ‘writer’. Honestly, I’m too scared of what you might say to ask what you think of my blog. So was there any point to this comment? Hmmm.
I’m not sure how much benefit my guest posts are to me at the moment. I guess it’s still early days. I have learnt first hand that fiction doesn’t go very well on a blog, at least, not on mine. Maybe I’ll start blogging about the benefits of Pilates classes 🙂
I would look broader, but you are on to something with the Pilates. Just tie that day to health and well-being and now you have a HUGE trove of possible topics that apply not only to writers, but to everyone. A lot of blogging is trial and error. What is connecting? What is falling flat? This is why I advise everything be put under our name (aside from branding). If we start a Sewing blog and realize after three months that even the spam bots are bored, we have to start all over. By starting an US blog, we are free to explore many different topics until something sticks and takes off. Make sense?
Hahahahahaha!!!!! Yes, makes sense. Thanks! I’m running out of days of the week, which is a good thing, really 🙂 Thanks again – Healthy Me Mondays, coming up 😀
You covered all this in your awesome online class and I still read every post like gospel ’cause some day it might all sink in. 🙂
In the meantime, thanks for reminding me that it’s ok to blog on different topics on different days – was having a moment this week when I was seriously doubting my choice to do just that.
Love the idea of doing different topics on different days. 🙂 Trying to do that right now. After half a year of exploring things on my own, I’m finally beginning to incorporate the advice of Master Kristen. 🙂
I’ve also noticed a mere COMMENT on a group blog can pull in just as many hits as a contributing post – and gosh is that about a billion times easier….
I’m reading your “Are you there” book. I’m putting into practice what your saying. I know it will work , can’t wait to experience it!
Wish I had read this post BEFORE I helped form a team blog. Where were you when I needed your help when I was younger. Oh, yeah, now I remember—you were a baby. Too bad for me. At least you will help me minimize my errors and build for the future.
Love, love, love your insight and lessons! I noticed that your blog name is different from your address. So, could I keep my same address, but change the name on the home page and that would work in order to keep it inline with the author blog format? Thanks for all you do!!
So helpful, as always. Thanks Kristen!
Another great post! THANKS! I changed my blog title to my name when someone asked which blog was mine. heeehee I have a book review blog and a family blog plus my writing blog. Shesssh. I may need to consolidate…
OMG! I honestly am clueless when it comes to blogs. I never even read one till I got on Twitter and actually started using it. (that was about mid March 2011, when I realized I could meet other writers that way). Thank you for landing in my lap the other day because I have been neglecting my blog, thinking that nobody would be interested in anything but my writing, but now I don’t care! I’m free and I’m going to blog away, but not at the expense of my WIP. Thank you for this awesome blog!
You just saved my life.
I am going to blow up my author blog, and I am going to stop being afraid of using my blog that *already has a platform* to write about other things.
To be fair, people have been trying to tell me this for a while now, but you explained it in a way that actually MADE SENSE.
Can I have a girl crush on you?? THANK YOU SO MUCH
I’ve considered having a “regular update” blog with slice-of-life posts, and then a separate one that I update only once a month that has deeper, more meaningful posts that I spend a lot more time on.
I want to provide an uncluttered blog on topics I’m truly passionate about and then a “here’s something interesting I did this week” blog that covers new recipes I tried, gardening exploits, writing adventures, maybe posts about the kids/my dog.
What are your thoughts? And if you think one blog is still preferable, how would you recommend I approach it?
Thank you! Now I’m just worried about loosing all my lovely followers if I rebrand and restart my blog under my own name. [sigh] Wonderful advice, though, thank you! I’m already feeling my panic attack about keeping a writerly blog dying down.
Oy. I added a new feature (a humorous take on style while aging) to my writing blog, and couldn’t count how fast former visitors unsubscribed. So, I’m moving those posts to a new, dedicated site. I’d better see whether I picked up new subscribers after I began blogging about the stylish ole woman. Thanks for this post and for the terrific comments it inspired.