Monday, December 15, 2014

Blogging For Writers

We all know by now that the days of an author writing novels in an ivory tower are long gone. Sure, we can still do that - my ivory tower is a bed with a broken footboard (long story) - but we're also creating content that we disseminate through the ever-growing cloud. Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, G+ *, and any other number of social media sites that have yet to really explode are patiently waiting for writers to figure out how to maximize their potential. 

Hey - remember blogging?

Yeah, it was that thing where we wrote words that people read. 

Some time ago I questioned whether or not blogging was still a valid outlet for authors in a world with an ever-shortening attention span. People want 140 character snippets. People want pictures. People want an easily digestible glimpse of you.

But here's the thing - I'm a writer. And I'd like to think that most of my audience is comprised of readers. So I blog. I do all the others things too (boy, do I ever), but blogging remains my focus. I've questioned that. I've asked myself if I'm wasting my time creating blocks of text when people really want one sentence and a picture of my cat. 

And then I was contacted by Robin Houghton, who was writing a book for Writer's Digest called Blogging For Writers: How Authors & Writers Build Successful Blogs. She wanted to talk to me about my blog and social media outreach. It was kind of amazing to get that kind of recognition, and I was even more flattered when she sent me a copy, which I devoured.

Yes, the fulfillment was totally awesome and then... I got sucked in by the book. It reaffirmed to me that blogging is still a useful and valuable tool for writers to reach our audience. In some ways, I'd argue that it's the best tool for us to use. Any personality can use the other social media outlets, and use them effectively. 

But can they write?

I've been blogging for years, and this book still taught me a thing or two. Even better, it walks the uninitiated through starting a blog from scratch on either Blogger or Wordpress, and explains the pros and cons of each. Worried about content? This books walks you through how to create engaging posts, and make them visually attractive as well. It even has a breakdown of how to use various social media outlets to get your blog noticed, and drive traffic. (Ahem, look for some screen caps of me in there).

So... I thought maybe you might want to check it out. Yes, the giveaway I've got marked below has a TON of entries, but there's a reason for that. It should give you a little tour of what's out there in social media, and how to use it. I'm pretty much everywhere, so you can go take a glance at me and see what I'm doing in all those places, then decide if it's the kind of thing that you might want to do to  up your exposure as well.

And if you're not sure, I bet this book will help you figure it out :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Did you follow the asterisk to the footnote? Good. So G+... I kind of thought of it as the graveyard of social media until I read this article about how it's actually the most useful social media tool in an author's tool belt for establishing online authority. Check it out.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome you contributed to this book. I still think blogging is valuable. And it's a way for writers to interact more deeply with other authors and readers than something like Twitter where you can miss so much.

Kel said...

I did follow the asterisk to the footnote. :) I'm not sure I'm willing to put the effort into G+ on top of all the other social media accounts I have, but that was a really interesting article. I can see the full gamut being useful to blogging authors. Great post, and congratulations on being in the book!

Erica Eliza said...

When people ask me who my favorite authors are, I name my favorite bloggers. Books come up once or twice a year. Faithful authors blog once a week. Unless they're Mindy McGinnis.
While the most useful tools are probably short form social media, as a reader, I prefer blogs because they have the most meat.

SA Larsenッ said...

Yeah, and my ivory tower is wherever I can hide from my kids. :) Major WOOT to you for having Robin contact you! That's fabulous. I love blogging and have met some of the most amazing and helpful writer friends. I think this book is a great idea.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Natalie - that's a great point. Social media is very fluid, and a great blog post will be something that holds its ground, while a great tweet, at most, might get Story-fied.

Kel - hooray for footnotes!! What I do for my G+ page is post whatever I posted on my FB Author page that same day. Most users of G+ are FB deserters, so I don't think I'm hitting the same crowd twice, for the most part.

Erica - I heard you met RC Lewis this weekend!! I had to laugh when she said someone came in and talked about my blog -- I was SO flattered. It's nice when a work of the heart gets some recognition.

SA - The book is amazing. Something for everyone!

Susan said...

As someone who's been blogging for about 7 years, I absolutely believe in its power. It's still a viable medium for ME. I follow tons of book blogs, a decent amount of author blogs, and lots of other kinds. Blogs remain the primary source from which I find new books and others. So, please, keep it up!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

And then you have those days where you write an awesome post and people tell other people- go read this and they come on over. That is way more impressive than clicking like or sending a retweet. (I popped over from the Shellshank Redemption)

I don't care to live in the ivory tower. Quite honestly, the readers are the best part of this whole writing thing!

Stephanie Faris said...

I came here from a blog that mentioned this blog--it's a subject that hits home for me. All of my fellow traditionally-published authors tell me blogging is a waste of time. Then they come to me and say, "How do you get so many people to read your blog?" I tell them, "I read other people's blogs--nobody's going to read your blog if you don't read theirs--it's how the blogging community works." They don't want to do that. So they go back to their school visits and events where they sell 100 books after spending every weekend working 8 hours each day. I'm not saying my blog sells 100 books...but minute for minute, I'd say my blog work sells the same # of books theirs does and I get to do it from the comfort of my couch! (Not that I don't believe events are useful--I'll do them, but I've come to realize they're mostly to connect with the bookstore, library, or school so they'll support your future works. They just don't sell many books.)