Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Starting a Writing Blog: The Basics

by Shelly Brown

So you're writing. Good for you! It ain't for the weak of heart, is it?

You've started (or finished) a story you feel passionate about. Kudos!

You've been told by your friend/agent/publisher that you need to have a platform and you keep imagining one of these.

And although this is a great metaphor for a writers platform and blogging in general, it's not what they are talking about.

The Platform

Platform the means in which to get your voice to your audience. It will help you grow a fan base, friends, and hopefully book buyers. Potentially your platform will bring in new readers and get your name out there. In the publishing industry your name is your brand.

So a platform (as seen by publishers) is mainly for growing your readership (even if it's just a blog for now) and branding your name, so that people know who you are.

Did you know that when you submit a manuscript to an agent/publisher, if they are considering it they often times google you looking to see if you have a blog (website, Facebook author page, Twitter account, etc.)?

So You're Gonna Blog

FIRST! Spend a couple of days (or weeks) reading blogs. What do you like to read about? What do you like about the layout of your favorite blogs? What grabs your attention? What are your pet peeves? You can learn a LOT just by reading other people's blogs for a while. This helps you so that when you start you don't waste months or even years struggling to get readers because of random content, poor layout, or accidentally slowing down your page, etc. Plus it will give you a feeling for the voice you want to have. What are you attracted to? This will attract others like you!

Ready to start?

There are a number of different ways to start a blog.

It actually can get very complicated and there are a lot of different things to take into consideration. I am going to assume that you like to get the most bang for your time and effort and give you a simple and effective way to do it. But do understand that there is more than one way to skin a...blog.

Free blog servers- With very little effort you can start a blog on 
CLICK HERE to see a couple more that I have never used, so I won't be talking them.

Oh, my goodness this is all too much for me! I don't want to write a blog! Do I have to?
A simple way to create a platform is a clean professional looking website.
It really doesn't create much readership but it's better than nothing.
Weebly.com offers a free website service
Wix.com as well.

You can also just focus your attention on social networking without having a blog or website. That works just fine for some people.

Picking A Name

If you are creating a brand (remember, getting your name out there) the best blog URL and blog title is... your name (or pen name.) You want to get that name in front of people as often as possible. You want them to remember who you are when they see that name again later (on your book!) and you want them to remember your web address when they look for you again. You don't want them saying, "What was Joe Schmo's blog address again? Happy Happy Joy Joy? Or something like that?"

If your book is close and you feel like you will be shopping/publishing it in the next year or two then I suggest securing your domain name now. There are many places to purchase a domain. 
What is a domain? 
It's the address www.JoeSchmo.com


You only need a platform if you plan on selling books. If you just want to write and you are not worried about publishing or selling you don't need a platform


  1. This is great! My writing blog grew out of my personal blog because I was writing so much about writing. lol

  2. This is perfect! Anyone thinking about starting a blog...I will be sending here. I love the platform pic, btw. It IS a great metaphor, lol. :)

  3. This is very very useful, Shelly! Thanks a lot :)

  4. It's really hard to put yourself out there, creating a name and an image and trying to interact with people you've never met. However - I LOVE IT! Scared me to death at first, but I've made so many amazing friends I can't believe it!

  5. I love this on so many levels. Passing this post along :)

  6. Love it! I'm really kinda digging the other platform...though I worry about sharks!

  7. Here's a great article on Jeff Goin's site about also considering the "why" of anything you do to sell your book and build a platform, including blogging. What is easy to do, and what we really don't want to do, is look like everyone else in the blog world. Consider carefully why you participate in hops or fests or memes. They aren't a bad thing, but nothing should be done without an intentional purpose-- not on your professional platform (personal blogs are another beast). http://goinswriter.com/why/

  8. I checked out the link above and found it a great companion to your post, Shelly. Thanks. This was timely for me.

  9. Great tips. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Thanks for sharing your great tips! I still find the blogging world confusing and intimidating at times so I always enjoy reading others' insights about bloggyville.

  11. Hi Chad - I'd have never considered blogging if some friends hadn't helped me get going .. now I'm fine and out there!

    It certainly has opened a lot of doors for me ... but always gave me an interest in life, history, learning, new ideas and technologies, being around what is going on in the internet, while my mother and uncle were terminally ill and elderly ... it means I have something 'to do' that I can move forward with now, that they've both gone.

    I hope your family life is easier .. and I have to read your book .. I will - cheers Hilary

  12. Spot on post! Man, I don't know how a writer makes it without being part of this community... it would be so lonely and desolate!


Comments are the sunshine butter on the toast of life.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...