Welcome to the Author Toolbox Blog Hop! It’s a new monthly blog hop organized by the lovely Raimey Gallant aimed at helping authors discover all sorts of tools to help them be successful! Each month I’ll be sharing a different idea that has helped me or something new that I’ve just discovered that I’m trying out. To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.
The Secret to Successful Blogging
One thing as an author that I feel I finally have a handle on is blogging. I’ve spent a while stopping and starting, getting on a roll then faltering, and feeling like my blog is nothing but a junk drawer full of random odds and ends. Now, I’m posting regularly, I’m on a roll, and I have a plan. I got to this point by adhering to three main principles: practice, engagement, promotion. PEP! Haha! I made an acronym. This will add PEP to your blogging. 🙂
I use Mondays on my blog to practice my writing. Before, I’d spend time crafting long stories or musings, but that didn’t allow me to post regularly because it takes time to write something lengthy. I realized–on accident almost–that I could practice my writing simply by creating a short (very short) story about a photo. One day I saw all my hairbrushes lined up on the bathroom counter and I thought, Geez, if someone saw this, they’d think ‘it takes a lot to get this girl ready!’ So I started a weekly Photo Story post. I find a photo on Pixabay (great free-use photo site!) and create a story behind it. It’s only about 5-6 sentences, but it helps me practice my creativity and writing on a weekly basis. And it doesn’t take a lot of time!
It’s important to bring people to your blog. But you can’t just say, “Hey! Come to my blog!” You have to engage with other bloggers in a meaningful, non-self-promotion way. I’ve discovered the weekly memes are a great way to do this. I participate every Tuesday in the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish. This connects me with book bloggers and also helps me get great book recommendations. There are a ton of other weekly blog hops on every day of the week. Here is a list of some you can check out.
Thursday is my promotion post. Promotion can mean a lot of things. If you have a book coming out, you can promote it. I like to limit it to once a week so people don’t see my blog as just a self-promotion tool. I want people to come here to get information and to be entertained, too. But I also think of promotion as promoting things I love or sharing info I feel I sort of specialize in. I love music, for example. So on some Thursdays, I have a Music Match-Up post. I pair a book I’ve read (or am reading) with a particular song or band it reminds me of. Sometimes it’s a feeling thing and other times it’s totally random, like this Music Match-Up post about #Famous and Sade! I keep this as a “potpourri” day, so that I’m free to post anything that comes to mind. Recently, I’ve been keeping Thursdays to promoting my “self”, who I am as a person, and using Wednesdays as a promotion post to celebrate my upcoming novel release.
To bring my blog to the masses, I pre-plan a bunch of tweets using Hootsuite. This way I don’t have to remember to post a link to my blog post throughout the day or week. I have a set amount going out each week. I write all my blogs posts and schedule my tweet links on Sunday. Then I’m done for the week! This frees me up for other author stuff and for doing more spontaneous tweet interactions with people.
Setting out a course for my blog and incorporating these three tenets has really helped me stick with blogging. I’m posting on a regular basis now and gaining some regular followers. It’s also made it easier because I don’t have to sit around and think, “What should I write about?” My next step will be to create a monthly newsletter! (Anyone have any tips for that?) 🙂
I am a YA writer and middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.
When I’m not living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances, torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service.