Home Forums Fiction Writing Publishing & Platform Any Advice for A Soon-To-Be Blogger?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  jenwriter17 1 month ago.

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  • #60788

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    Since I’ll be self-publishing a short novella I wrote over the summer of 2017, I plan on getting an author website/blog up in the spring. I’ve done tons of research, but nothing is like advice directly from people I know who actually have a blog. What were some things that were unexpected? Challenges? Time commitment? And I’d love to know if you have any thoughts about keeping identity somewhat safe while still giving followers the feelings that the person behind the blog is indeed a real person. I’ll appreciate any and every thought!

    @jane-maree @audrey-caylin @radically-surrendered @dragon-snapper @aratrea @daeus @that_writer_girl_99 @mariposa @anyone else

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

    #60791

    Audrey Caylin
    @audrey-caylin
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @jenwriter17

    First, congrats on being almost ready to publish! That’s awesome 😀

    I’ve had a blog for a little over a year now. What was surprising was how difficult it was to actually get people to read and comment on my blog. I had to go around and comment on other peoples’ posts and leave a link to mine. I learned that you have to foster relationships with your readers, rather than just writing the post and leaving it at that. Answer comments, read their posts, etc. — it’s definitely a bit of an investment, but I’ve made some amazing friendships through it.
    For time commitment in general, it takes me about an hour or so a week to get my posts ready — that’s including the first draft, editing, proofreading, and preparing a graphic. Other than that…I’m a bit ashamed of how much time I spend on social media interacting with people XP If I were a bit more strict with myself, I’d say I would commit 3 hours a week to blogging and interacting with others online.
    The biggest challenge for me has actually been the interacting part. I love people and talking about writing, but sometimes I overdo it and run out of steam, but feel like I still need to do more and contribute to the community. It’s been a challenge to find a balance between contributing and resting.

    Lastly, keeping your identity safe. That’s a really, really good question. I personally have a pen name (this name, actually). There are bloggers/writers who I know very well or have met in person whom I’m comfortable giving my “real name” out to, but I keep all my social media accounts strictly under my pen name. I do have a picture of myself, mostly because I personally feel more at ease on someone’s blog if they have a picture of themselves (that’s just my opinion–it’s no rule of thumb!). Another thing that really helps followers to know that you’re “real” is to be honest with them. Mention how much you love pizza or something, or that you went to a concert and something funny happened there. Tell them you have doubts sometimes. Show them through what you write that you’re a real, living person — likes, dislikes, quirks, virtues, flaws. It can feel a little awkward and confusing at first to try and “be you” in your posts, but I think the effort is really worth it in the long-run.

    Wow…that was long. Let me know if any of that was confusing 😛

    #60792

    Grace H.
    @gh24682468999
    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
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    @jenwriter17 Congratulations on being published!

    Definitely one of my challenges was ideas/motivation. At first my blog started out as writing about literally whatever in my life, but I struggled to find lasting motivation behind the random ideas I was coming up with, and ended up failing the schedule I had set for myself. So write about what you love and write feeling good about your content, knowing that it will benefit readers.

    Also you’ll need to set aside time to manage the theme and customize pages, etc. For me this was a bit time-consuming (probably because I did 2 or 3 minute bits of it between classes) but it’s worthwhile putting thought into and making it look professional.

    It's g-h, 2-4-6-8 twice, three 9's
    literatureforthelight.wordpress.com

    #60796

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @audrey-caylin No, your response wasn’t confusing at all! Very helpful, actually. 👍Thank you for all your advice, I have been considering a pen name….

    @gh24682468999 Thank you too!

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

    #60818

    Mariposa Aristeo
    @mariposa
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @jenwriter17 I’m not sure I’m the best person to offer advice on the subject since I’ve only been blogging since May. I agree with @audrey-caylin that getting people to read a blog is the hardest part (I’ve been struggling with that myself). Posting about yourself and your life’s happenings is advice I’ve heard on various places (I think that might be what’s lacking about mine).

    The second major problem I’ve encountered is finding a website host that actually works like I want it to. I’ve tried blogger and was never very satisfied with them (too many glitches). Weebly is pretty good; the main issue I have with them is that I can’t resize images on the app and their site is rather slow (but that could just be my internet which is really a sloth in disguise 😉). I’ve heard WordPress is excellent but I decided not to go with them because they limit storage space and I needed a lot since I’d be posting tons of artwork and images.

    As for safety, pen names are always an option; another thing you could do is only include your first and middle name. However, if your name is a common one, like Sarah Smith or something, it probably wouldn’t be an issue giving your name since there’d be thousands of other people with it. Also, avoid mentioning things that could give away your state/city, like the name of a river by your house or a local store. Also, you could avoid talking about the weather because that could indicate the general region you’re in.

    I hope this helps and I wish you the best on your novella! @ethryndal and @winter-rose have blogs too, so they’d probably have some useful tips. 🙂

    #60827

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @mariposa Thank you! I was thinking of going with WordPress maybe, hosted by BlueHost (I think that’s what it’s called) Do they only limit story space only if you don’t own the domain? Like with .wordpress.com?

    @audrey-caylin Forgot to ask; is Caylin a middle name? Would this pen name go on the books you publish?

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

    #60829

    Danielle
    @dragon-snapper
    • Rank: Chosen One
    • Total Posts: 3264

    @jenwriter17

    Like @audrey-caylin said, the biggest thing you can do to build your base and bring people to your blog is comment and build relationships with other bloggers. I’ve had to do that myself.

    Unexpected… Actually, the main thing that I didn’t expect was how much I’ve enjoyed it. There’s not much that I haven’t liked so far. But you have to be careful not to get sucked in to the internet. XD

    Concerning identity, basically yes, just be yourself. I use my pen name–everyone does, and everyone understands. It almost confirms that you’re human. XD Also, just let your personality show. I have this humorous value that I let seep into my posts. Make people laugh. Everyone has their own voice, so don’t hide that voice.

    Hope that helps!

    silverphoenixwriter.blogspot.com
    *melts chair*

    #60835

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @dragon-snapper Thank you! I definitely see your humor and fun-ness (is that a word? well, it is now!😜) in your blog posts. ❤

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

    #60861

    Audrey Caylin
    @audrey-caylin
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @jenwriter17 acutally…neither Audrey nor Caylin is part of my real name *hides* I did that because my real first name AND middle name are always misspelled and mispronounced. So my mom and I came up with something totally different, thus Audrey Caylin. (Though I definitely feel I look like an Audrey and my mom did almost name me “Carly,” thus “Caylin”).

    Anyway…yeah. That would be on books when I publish 🙂

    Oh, and I use Bluehost and WordPress.org too. You can pay for bigger storage options, but I went with the second one (I think). I’m pretty pleased with how they work, though I would advise spending a few extra dollars on domain privacy–it’s a really good thing to have.

    #60871

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @audrey-caylin I really like your pen name! I think you look like an Audrey too, but I may think that just ’cause that’s the only name I’ve ever known you by 😉

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

    #60892

    Mariposa Aristeo
    @mariposa
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @jenwriter17 If your blog is mostly text, WordPress would probably be fine for you (even if you included post graphics, it’d still take a while for the memory to be used up). My blog is image heavy so that’s why it wasn’t right for me. 🙂

    #60913

    Jane Maree
    @jane-maree
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 853

    @jenwriter17 I basically second everything that Audrey said.

    Getting people to read and know you and your blog is simply  a three step matter. (‘simply’ but not ‘simple’ XD)

    1) Spend time on other blogs with similar content and styles to yours. Comment regularly, maybe guest post, just be present in the blogger community so that people know you exist.

    2) Be you. The thing that will make people stick around your blog, is uniqueness. The only thing you can offer to them that they haven’t had before is yourself. You need to be in every single blog post and comment and comment reply. The style of the sentences, the topics of the posts, the random jokes or references hidden in there. It’ll show them you and that’s how it should be.

    3) Be you….for them. Even if you’ve only got five followers, those five people should feel like you care about them and you’re talking and doing all this for them. (because you should be) If they read a blog that’s all about you blathering on about yourself and why everyone should like you, it comes of as selfish and boring. They’re not going to stick around. Yes the blog should have you in it, but it should also be for the readers. To connect with them. To become friends with them. To help them. To make the smile or maybe even laugh.

    So don’t be afraid. It can be really scary and it’s SO easy to compare yourself to others and feel down about yourself. DON’T DO IT. Also don’t try to be too professional. I struggle with this myself, but if I ever try go too professional I start losing the genuinity and realness of myself, because I’m a bouncy, friend-making, laughing person.

    – I hope that helps, and wasn’t too long. 😛

    Writing Heroes ♦ Writing Hope // janemareeauthor.com.au


    SeekJustice
    @seekjustice
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @audrey-caylin and @jane-maree have basically said everything.

    On privacy, you could definitely use a pen name. I personally used my real first name and my initials–Chelsea R.H. my name is fairly common (I’ve googled it before) so I’m not too concerned, but I still don’t want to plaster my full name around the internet. I’m also very vague about where I live, because I only live in a small town. I’m happy saying that I live in Australia, rural NSW because there is a lot of rural NSW so the chances of anyone tracking me down is quite slim.

    So basically, I would either use a pen name or not your full name and only give a general idea of where you live ( I find I like knowing where people live because it helps me place them in my mind and it only needs to be as general as Queensland, NSW, Texas etc)

    Hope that’s been helpful @jenwriter17

    INFP with an army of origami cranes and a sabre from Babylon.

    #60920

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @jane-maree Thank you, this is very helpful! Your blog was one of the first I followed so I could get a feel of blogging, and I’ve been really enjoying it and you!❤

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

    #60928

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 432

    @seekjustice Yes, this is helpful! Been brainstorming pen names. I like the first name Evelyn, but I usually like shorter names. Any ideas?

    Also, if anyone else has any short pen name ideas, it would be appreciated 😉@mariposa @seekjustice @jane-maree @dragon-snapper @audrey-caylin

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

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