‘To Blog or Not To Blog’
by Morgen Bailey
A Blog: Why start one?
- You write and want to tell people that you exist;
- Writing blogs are usually read by other writers and readers and it provides you with a community;
- You’d like to invite other writers to take part in your site;
- You want to provide useful information to others;
- You want to sell your writing and you know you need an outlet.
What do you have to say?
- You want to share your writing – put up poems, short stories, novel extracts, non-fiction pieces;
- You’re writing your first novel and want to let others know how you’re doing;
- You surf the net and find articles of interest want to share the links;
- You want to learn about writing so you have guests discussing various topics;
- You have other hobbies, or businesses, you want share with the world.
How often should you post something?
- At least once a week. You don’t have to do what I do and post 3-4 times a day because you’d have no life and really, would you have enough to say? I don’t, which is why I let everyone else to do it for me.
- The advantage of having so many guests involved is that they give me the content and they are always so appreciative of having a platform to share the news about their latest book.
When should you post something?
- Probably without exception, most of your traffic will come from the United States so you’d want to post your items at a time that will catch most viewers. I post a main post at 7am so it catches late night US traffic and pre-work UK traffic then another post writing prompts at 6pm to catch the US lunch-timers and UK evening traffic (but not so late that they won’t get to do the exercises). It also means that most posts are at the top of the home page for at least 11 hours meaning everyone gets a chance to see it. I have menus at the top of the blog so the links to everything I post is accessible. This helps visitors, guests and I get to keep a track of who’s doing what when. It also fits in with my ‘working day’, although I generally schedule items in advance.
Which platform (host) do you choose?
- I have nine WordPress blogs, one Blogspot (Blogger), and a Weebly site. I also build (and maintain) blogs for other writers, so you can guess which one I recommend.
How much does it cost?
- It can cost nothing. To-date I’ve posted over 2,500 items on the mixed blog and 700 interviews on the interview blog and various on other blogs and it’s not cost me a penny. All the WordPress blogs have ‘WordPress’ domain names e.g. http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, which some authors wouldn’t want. For around $20 a year you can choose your own domain name. I didn’t because by keeping http://morgenbailey.com I have two ways for internet search engine users to find me. I may change this as you can’t put any advertising on the free versions, or you can let WordPress put advertising but it would be their choice. They can (and technically do) that already but I’ve only ever spotted one item on a random (old) post and I can’t even remember what it was for.
Pros and Cons
- PROS: Marketing your books is seen as a necessary evil with self-published authors knowing that they have to do all the work and traditionally published author still have to do the majority because their publishers don’t have the budget to invest. I’ve only had two authors say their publisher does all their marketing but those authors are still active online (Twitter, Facebook etc). It’s part of the ‘job’.
- CONS: Is there a downside to blogging? Not really. If like me, it takes over your life, then that could be seen as a downside time-wise, and it has affected my writing, or lack of it, but it’s been a wonderful experience and I’ve ‘met’ SO many people (authors, editors, agents, publishers, readers) because of it and other than a better balance of blog-time and writing-time, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Do you blog? Which platform (e.g. WordPress or Blogspot) do you use? What do you like or dislike about the blogs you’ve read?
about Morgen Bailey
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page).
Main blog: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com
She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog. Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has several short story collections and writer’s block workbooks available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.