August 15, 2012

Blogging ~ An Author's Time

This morning's post concludes my series on An Author's Time. Blogs have been around for many years now, probably the first form of social networking where readers could interact with the author by way of commenting. If I had to choose between blogs or social networks, I'd probably pick blogging.

What I like about blogging is that you can choose your own topics, set your own schedule, and use the site to reinforce "your brand" or your writing. It's a great way to show who you are and give yourself an online presence--even before you're published.1011023_hour-glass
So the big questions are:
  • How often should I blog?
  • What should I blog about?
  • How much time does blogging take?
Some people blog five days a week; some three; some one. There's no right or wrong answer. The key is setting a schedule and sticking to it.
I began blogging in 2005 and initially set up my blog as a website. I updated it with new content on a monthly basis and invited readers by email to view the new content. Once I had a publishing contract, I chose to set up an official author website, (more on that here,) and began blogging on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with Fridays being my recipe day. Which leads us to the second question: What should I blog about?
The answer depends on who you are, what you write, and what you want to accomplish. Do you want to connect with other writers? If so, you might offer writing tips or posts related to the publishing world. You could even have one day a week when you invite a guest blogger to post something relavent to the writing world.
Do you want to promote Christian fiction? If so, you could post reviews or blog about a new release. You might even offer book drawings to your readers.
Maybe you have a specific interest related to your writing that would draw readers, such as home schooling, crafts, animals, farming, recipes, etc.
Or if you want to keep posts related to your books, you might consider blogging on your research, your characters, author events, etc. The key is to find something that interests you enough to keep you blogging on a regular schedule and one that offers your readers enough to want to come back.
I post three times a week on my Country at Heart blog and try to offer something specific on each day. One day I'll promote Christian fiction (sometimes offering a book drawing), another day I'll write about my writing or about something specific to country life, and on Fridays I post a favorite recipe.
Readers are busy, so try to keep the content fresh, short, and always give them at least one visual. More if possible. Take pictures yourself and post them to your blog. Or go to Stock.xchng for pictures you can post on your blog for free.
How long does it take to blog? I can usually write a post in 15-20 minutes, and I like to schedule my posts ahead of time, preparing them in my free time on weekends or in the evening.
So, what about you? Do you blog? What do you blog about and how do you decide how often to post? Share with us in the comments below. 
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