Blogging for Authors
Writers write, that’s what they do. However, many writers are uncomfortable with blogging, as if it’s an entirely different mode of expression. Which I guess, in many ways, it is.
Yes, it sort of resembles “writing;” words on a page (or computer screen), however the style is very different. It’s more “chatty,” and indeed, it’s meant to be a two-way conversation, as opposed to more traditional forms of writing, which are largely one-directional; me telling you a story, for example. Blogging encourages—even depends on—reader feedback.
Then it comes as no surprise that many writers are reluctant to start a blog. Or if they do, it’s a hesitant effort, and quite often, not very good. The reality is, they need to get out of the writers’ mentality and really focus on channeling a blogger’s spirit of engaging with an audience instead of only informing or entertaining them.
Blogging for Authors: A Few Pointers
I’ll hear writers say, “But I’m a really good writer…why isn’t anybody reading my blog?” Well, it doesn’t really have anything to do with their writing, per se. It’s the way that they’re presenting it and promoting it.
There are several “non-writing” factors to keep in mind. And remember, your readers aren’t the only ones reading your blog articles; Google is “reading” them, too.
What Should You Blog About?
The first rule is to always keep all your blog content relative to the topic of your book writing. If you’re a non-fiction writer, this is fairly easy. For example, if you write books about healthy eating, blogging easy recipes seems like an obvious choice. If you write books about financial strategies, you could blog about current economic trends and tax advice.
For fiction writers, it can be more of a challenge. You can write about the backstory in your books (content that editors often delete from final drafts). You can “interview” one of your characters. You can write about your process of writing, and the craft of fiction in general. Also, don’t be afraid to write book reviews of other authors’ works in your genre. Just make sure that it is an honest critique and not a criticism.
Pay Attention to Keywords and SEO
You don’t have to go crazy with this or become an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert, but 5 – 10 minutes of keyword research will help your blog articles seem more relevant to Google and other search engines.
As a non-fiction example, let’s say that I’ve written a series of e-books on “Wines of the World.” So for my blog, I might consider publishing an article called “The Best Red Wines from Tuscany.” This then becomes my primary long-tail keyword phrase.
However, you will need some related keyword phrases in the body of the text to help confirm to Google that my content is relevant to the larger topic of wine. Related keywords to be used in the post would be “wine pairings with Italian food,” “wine regions of Italy,” and “best vintage for Tuscan wines.” These phrases verify the larger topic of the article and add credibility.
Then using a plugin such as Yoast SEO can really make the writing part easier when it comes to reconciling your “creative” draft with the search engine criteria.
Do Not Neglect the Visual Appeal of Words
Beyond their meaning, the way the words look on a page matters, too. Making the arrangement of words visually appealing to the eye counts for a lot when it comes to such metrics as “time on page,” and “bounce rate.” Some best practices:
- Write shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs.
- Use simple, web standard fonts; nothing too fancy.
- Black or dark gray only, with the exception of hyperlinks.
- User bigger fonts (14 point is now standard) and larger line spacing.
- Bold (yes), Italic (rarely), Underline (never) Why?
- Breakup the text with graphics, bullet points, numbered lists, call out boxes, etc.
- Only images that enhance the text; do not distract or place random images that don’t connect
If you already have book-length content created and want to jump right into Kindle Publishing, here’s a handy guide to walk you through the technical steps of converting your Microsoft Word document into a Kindle book: Building a Kindle Book
As for the decision of “self-publishing” versus “traditional publishing,” please read my article on LinkedIn Pulse entitled, “Your True Value as an Influencer.”