Advice for bloggers and would-be authors
Posted By Emily Warn on March 24, 2012Our guest blogger today is a terrific blog-to-book success story. Rebecca Agiewich is a novelist, journalist, and writing teacher living in Seattle. She got her big break in the publishing world when she started a blog called Breakup Babe in the summer of 2002 to vent about a horrible breakup and to chronicle her dating adventures. This led to BreakupBabe: A Novel, published in 2006 by Ballantine Books. You can read an excerpt of Rebecca’s funny and fascinating journey at www.RebeccaAgiewich.com and find articles first published in the Seattle PI, OutdoorNW Magazine, MSNBC, and others.
The four blogging musts
Blogging, like any form of writing, is a very personal endeavor. There is no one right way to make your blog compelling. What is most important is that you create the blog that is right for your needs and your audience’s needs.
But there are a few elements that are crucial to all successful blogs. Whether you’re writing about parenting or Disney, scholarly publishing or grammar; whether your tone is chatty, snarky, profound, or irreverent—here are my top four blogging “musts.”
- Passion. Passion about your subject will help you commit to blogging and engage readers.
- Focus. The most popular (and financially remunerative) blogs have a clear focus.
- Consistency. Once you create a formula that readers like, they’ll want you to stick with it (this formula includes what you write about and how often you post).
- Voice. Blogging demands a personal, highly subjective voice.
Promoting your blog
It’s a time-honored tradition in the blogosphere to promote other bloggers. My own blog eventually became popular because *one* other blogger linked to it via her “blogroll” (or list of favorite blogs). Here are a few tips for increasing your blog’s visibility.
- Create a blogroll where you link to other blogs in your genre, blogs you like, or blogs that you would love to see a reciprocal link to your blog on. (Bloggers will see that you’re linking to them via their site stats, and, in an ideal world, link back to you.)
- Comment on other blogs and include the URL to your own blog in your comment.
- When you write a new post, link to it via Facebook and/or Twitter.
- Include the link to your blog in your email signature.
Want to write a book?
Blogging is a great way to get your writing noticed and build a platform for a book. But writing a compelling blog is very different from writing a compelling book-length narrative. When/if the time comes that you want to use your blog as a launching pad for a book, be sure to study up on the basics of writing a book in your genre.
While I was great at writing blog entries that were compelling in themselves, I realized I needed to understand dramatic story structure in order to write a long narrative. I tried pitching an idea for a memoir based on my blog before studying story structure, and again afterward. Guess which time I succeeded?