I must admit, I've been avoiding this topic for a while, though I see it crop up constantly. Many self-published authors are told to start blogging to build a fan base, which sounds simple enough. Doesn't everybody offer free blogs these days? Isn't design easy thanks to built-in templates? So you create your blog and pick a pretty design...and then horror strikes. What the heck are you supposed to blog about?
Blogs, Books and Writing...Oh, My
It seems like there ought to be a simple solution, right? After all, you're a writer...shouldn't blogging be a breeze? In truth, maintaining a blog can be pretty hard work, especially when you'd rather be hard at work on your next book. It's especially hard if you aren't committed to your topic. So...what's your topic?
In the world of self-published author blogs, there are a few different types of blogs you'll see a lot.
- The author blog: This is a blog dedicated to telling readers about your work as a writer. What are you working on now? What happened today? Allowing readers into the process of your writing can be a very effective blogging style, but make sure you've got stuff to write about. This is why I personally have avoided writing a full-on author blog of this sort; I can't find a way to make typing for 12 hours day sound at all entertaining. Molly Snow's is one of the really good author blogs out there.
- The book blog: If you're a writer, it follows that you love books. This is why a great deal of self-published authors have book blogs. A book blog is a great choice because there's always something new to write about and lots of interesting recurring features you can add. Book reviews, cover reveals, excerpts, sneak peeks and author interviews are all common elements on book blogs. You'll find a good example at Aside From Writing.
- The personal blog: If you're an interesting person, or capable of writing blog posts that make you sound as though you are, you can always maintain a personal blog that features a mix of all your activities and snippets of daily life. Here, you'll talk about your writing, your reading and other aspects of your life. If you're naturally open and lead a pretty interesting life, this may be a perfect choice. A good example of this type of blog can be found courtesy of Annalisa Crawford.
- The niche blog: If you are an expert or an enthusiast in any particular topic, and it happens to pertain to any aspect of writing or reading or books, you should use it. Parlay this interest into a blog, as I have done. Look to Redwood's Medical Edge to find a much better example of a writing-related niche blog.
If you don't want to blog about your own writing, blog about other people's. Or maybe blog about writing in general, books you love. Whatever you choose, blog about something that you are interested in and something you can write about with some degree of knowledge or skill. Make sure the information you blog is correct, or you will lose credibility with readers. And stick with it. Many self-published authors are discouraged by very slow progress, but if you continue to blog and strike up professional relationships with other bloggers you will slowly build up a base of readers.