Should You Create An Author Blog?

Should You Create An Author Blog?

Author Blogging, Yea or Nay?

Should you create an Author Blog? There is a substantial group of writers who either think they are ‘above’ blogging or that they should spend all of their time writing their main projects. On the opposite side, there’s the group who thinks any time spent writing is a step forward and that having a blog could further their writing careers. What is so special about a blog that even authors of high-brow fiction should consider it?

Catharsis:

Speaking from experience, some people’s minds can only handle so much creativity in a day. The limit varies for different people, but I think everyone gets drained after a certain number of hours of dedicated concentration, regardless of the task. The type of writing in a typical blog is probably not going to be as intense as writing a work of fiction. A lot of people spend hours agonizing over every post, and others just go for it as though writing in a diary. It’s usually the latter that ends up conveying more emotion and relating more to the readers of their blog. I find writing a more conversational blog post cathartic after a long writing session. It’s nice to see the words flow after I might have been agonizing over a particular section in one of my novels.

Practice:

Compare writing to driving a car. It takes a certain number of miles to break in a car so that it runs more smoothly. In the same way, it takes a certain amount of words being typed into your keyboard to smooth out your writing. You can spend all of that time driving on a two-lane highway where you’re more conscientious of your lane, or you could hop on the freeway and get to your destination as quickly and smoothly as possible. I think having an author blog is a great way to hone in on your voice. If you want to really get into it, you could write your blog posts from the perspective of one of your characters. This might help you flesh out something you’ve been stuck on in your writing.

Interaction:

Having an author blog is a great way to interact with people who might like your work. Readers can sample your writing and you could put links to all of your work. After years of having an author website as well as an author blog, I’ve finally combined them into this WordPress site to keep things simpler for myself. If you’re just starting out, instead of even getting a website you could start a blogger or wordpress.com author blog for free. If the blog takes off or you find yourself in a better financial situation, you can always transfer those posts to your own domain using wordpress.org or other options.

Humanize:

Some readers are content with reading a book and knowing nothing about the author. I would bet they are the minority. Having an author blog is a great way to humanize yourself and show that you are, indeed, a real person. Come up with a good biography page and write posts from the heart and you could go far. Books aren’t written by robots yet, so it’s always important to be able to connect with your audience.

So, should you create an author blog? If you think you can write a post about this length every week or at least once or twice a month, then in my opinion you should. However, if you can’t write a couple of posts a month it might look like people have a dead site on their hands. People like going to a website and seeing new material. You wouldn’t go see a comedian give the same act over and over again, so what incentive do your readers have to return to your site? To help with Search Engine Optimization so people can find you in google, your posts should be at least 300 words. That’s just over a page. If you’re a serious writer, that isn’t very much, especially if you aren’t trying to world-build or remember character back-stories. Best to give it the old college try.

Here’s some examples of authors who have done it right.

David Brin

Neil Gaiman

George R. R. Martin

J.F. Penn



Get More Twitter Followers

Get More Twitter Followers

Twitter Followers can be a gauge of how well you’re performing on social media.  Watch my video tutorial to learn how to get more Twitter Followers.

This is not a quick scheme or a paid bot service, but real tips that will help anyone grow their number of Twitter followers sustainably over time.

 

Key Takeaways For Getting Twitter Followers:

1. Begin by following 2,000 users within your target market, whatever that may be. In order to follow more, you’ll need to get more than 2,000 people to follow you. After that threshold, Twitter will let you follow 10% more accounts than the number that follow you. For instance, if you have 2,000 Twitter followers, you can then follow 2,200 people.

2. Crowdfire. Use this service to unfollow the people who don’t follow you. By doing this, you are then able to follow more people who will potentially follow you back and continue to let you grow. It’s important to give this a little time because some people don’t log in every day. With Crowdfire, they will let you unfollow 200 people per day for free. I don’t suggest unfollowing any more than that in a day.

3. Repeat until you break the threshold. Eventually, you will get a rhythm going with Crowdfire. You will create a follower churn in which you collect the people who want to follow you and dump the rest. It can be a cold, cold world.

4. Tweet every day. It’s important to maintain a presence. Also, you should tweet only things that will help your end goal. If you’re an author like me, you might tweet about your books, other people’s books, your blog, writing, author quotes, or pop culture depending on the genre you write.

5. Get engaged. No, I’m not talking a marriage proposal. Be active with other users on Twitter. Retweet and reply to others, but avoid being a serial promoter who has few followers and tens of thousands of tweets. The only thing this accomplishes to making you look like a spammer. I’ve been tweeting about five times a day which has worked pretty well for me.

6. Use Twitter Analytics. Seriously. This free service will let you see how many Twitter followers you’re getting by month, as well as how well your tweets are being engaged, the interests of those who follow you, and other great metrics. This is really how you know if you need to tweak something. If you’re tweeting multiple types of tweets and one is consistently performing poorly, replace those tweets with something else. Maybe your following would rather hear inspirational quotes than the exploits of your cat. (Though, I’m always down for a good cat story).

7. Use Hashtags. Using sites like Topsy or Hashtags.org you can see what is trending and compare different hashtags to one another. There a lot of other sites available out there as well. I would caution against a tweet that is mostly hashtags. Using 3-4 is fine, but don’t overdo it. Again, it looks like spam.

8. Get involved with communities. Almost every niche has a community of people, even if it’s just a list, already built into Twitter. For authors, a big one is Promocave. It’s a collection of hundreds of authors who agree to retweet and reply to posts within the community. This can go a long way to reaching your target audience and growing your following. In these situations it’s always best to pay it forward.

9. Beware of Newsjacking. Newsjacking is exploiting a trending news hashtag to promote yourself or a product, even if it has nothing to do with what you have to offer. This can get out of hand quickly if you don’t know what you’re tweeting about. You can write something really insensitive and not realize it. I would say research is your ally in these situations. If you know what a trending hashtag is about and want to contribute, go for it. Don’t go in blind.

10. Schedule your tweets. Hootsuite is what I use but there are other social media schedulers out there. You can schedule a day or even a few days in advance using their free service. This really helps if you have a busy schedule and need to be sure to send out some of what I call “Core Tweets.” Then, if you want to add a note sometime during the day for something that’s trending, go for it. But, you’ll know that even if you do nothing else, you’ll send out a few good tweets.

 

Using this method (As of 4/29/2015) I have more than 8,500 Twitter followers, which is 8,000 more than I had six months ago. I’ve grown to the point where I’m getting more than 1,300 Twitter followers a month and expect to hit 20,000 by the end of the year. Using these steps, you too can grow your Twitter Followers sustainably. Have more tips? Put them in the comments below and they could make it into a future update video. You and I both know social media moves fast. I’ll be sure to link to any future updates here.



How To Get More Twitter Followers: For Authors

More Twitter Followers now.

What the tweet are you doing with your twitter account? If you’re just retweeting what others say or hardly tweeting at all, you’re doing it wrong. After reading this short primer, hopefully you can take your twitter account from useless space on the internet, to something useful that will drive sales and help you make a name for yourself. A tall order? Maybe. But not as tall as you might think. By following the 8 steps listed below, you can get more Twitter Followers and see results fairly quickly.

Note: some people have asked how much time I spend on Twitter. The answer is less than an hour a day spread out as much as possible. Step 2 takes me about 10 minutes a day, and the rest is spent crafting tweets or goofing around looking for something cool to retweet. I could probably do it in less time if I was a little more foc–Squirrel!

If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, now’s your chance! I follow other authors, readers, and real people I find interesting!

1. Who are you following and what do they do? (Using Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Voice, of course)
Twitter is a funny thing. If you’re sitting around wondering why people aren’t following you and you think it has something to do with your tweets, you could be right, but there’s probably something bigger at play. Unless you’re a celebrity or well-known and already established as an author, you probably won’t get any meaningful number of followers at first. Not only that, but your ratio of followers to the number of people you are following will probably be about even, or even skewed more toward following. Is that a bad thing? No. I would contend that it just ‘is.’ If you’re just starting out and you want more followers, guess what you have to do? Follow other people! But how?

2. Crowdfire.
Crowdfire is a free (with premium options) website that allows you to unfollow those people who have not followed you back. If that sounds familiar, it could be because they changed their name from JustUnfollow recently. So, step 1, follow a bunch of people, step 2, unfollow those that don’t follow you back. That’s not so hard I guess. Hold on. Using the website, you can also do a search of twitter users using keywords that is a little more in depth than the search on twitter, and follow 50 people this way every day. There are a number of other options you can use that make the process more complicated, but also more effective. But who the heck do you follow?

3. Who the heck do I follow?
I would start with other authors for two reasons. Number 1, authors are generally readers themselves, and I’ve had a number of people tweet me and tell me that they’ve bought my books after following me (verified with KDP’s sales tracker). Number 2, authors tend to follow back, meaning if you follow them, then they follow you. If you use Crowdfire, these people will not show up in your list of people to unfollow, and if they use the same service, you will always follow one another. Beyond authors, who are plentiful on Twitter, I would search for readers or fans of genres similar to the one in which you write. But don’t stop there! Also add people and businesses around where you live. I have a number of followers in the Reno area who consistently retweet my tweets to support a local author. People dig this stuff and by becoming involved in your community, it can easily lead to more Twitter followers.

4. What do I tweet?
Here, I would say refrain from anything too political unless your writing concerns politics or political thrillers and it’s relevant. You can do a lot on twitter without offending or alienating your readers. Most of my posts are more personal, with the occasional retweet from a celebrity I like or a scientist who posts something interested related to my work. About 10-20% of my tweets are actually promotion for my novels with links to Amazon or this blog.

5. How do I know it’s working?
With recent updates to Twitter, there’s actually a number of ways to know if you’re having an impact. There’s a little symbol found near the star (favorite) icon at the bottom of each tweet. This will bring up the stats for that tweet, including how many people have seen it and how many have clicked the link, etc. Beyond that, I look at the Google analytics on my blog and can see when I get traffic from twitter or a boom in views right after a tweet. Finally, you can use your number of followers as a gauge of how effective your twitter campaign is. For instance, my number of followers has continued to grow consistently since I broke the 2,000 follower mark. Since then, I’ve gained about 1,000 a month and that number keeps going up. It turns out, the more followers you have the more attractive you become to other authors who are on the same path as you. They likely see that I have around 7,200 followers and am following 7,500 people (as of this writing) so it’s likely that I’ll follow another author back. (Which I always try to do).

6. Engagement.
Authors on twitter have a sort of unspoken community. When you can, reply to other authors’ tweets or retweet something they say if it’s interesting. What goes around comes around, and you’ll be building up a relationship with that other author. Twitter sort of revolves around this pay it forward system, where if you give out retweets and favorites you’ll likely get a return from them or someone else in spades.

7. Promocave.
This is a newer website and Twitter community that is anything but unspoken. If you’re an author, definitely look them up on Twitter, follow them, and then sign up on their website and promote your books. Promocave’s purpose is to help authors network with each other. When I post something and add #Promocave to the end of it, I’ll often get around 50 retweets, allowing my post to be seen by thousands of people. The more people that get involved with this, the more effective it will be for everyone!

8. And another thing: Hashtags ###
A post without a Hashtag will likely only be seen by a select few who stumble across it. I often use #Amwriting, #Amreading, #Promocave, or something more specific to my post. Try to leave room at the end for a Hashtag and you’ll end up seeing random people follow you. Going back to Crowdfire, you might want to be selective about the ‘fans’ section (which is people who follow you that you don’t follow). You’ll get some bots and some crazies that aren’t worth following. However, if you see another author or an actual person who seems like they might like your work, I would definitely follow them back, if only to prevent them from unfollowing you. Most readers would love it if an author they dig follows them on Twitter. They might even tell their friends.

Do you have any more suggestions for being successful on Twitter? Sound off in the comments below if you have something to add or have a question about Twitter or other social media sites.