Indie Publishing

12 Things I Learned About Blogging This Year

Calendar1. Be consistent – most veteran bloggers advise new bloggers to be consistent and post regularly. I’ve learned this lesson well. I was inconsistent with my content but when I committed to the blog it started growing. Part of the reason is that the more content you have the more visits you get.

2. Work ahead – I’ve found that the more I work ahead the less stressful blogging is. If I’ve got several posts scheduled then I seem to churn out more content ahead of time. Also, in working ahead you may have several ideas in the works but you may find that the content just doesn’t work for some reason and you have time to replace it with something else.

3. Write your ideas down – if you are working ahead then you can keep writing your new ideas down. I use Scrivener to plan and write my posts. This way my ideas – good or bad – are in a central location where I can write them as necessary.

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

4. Double-check your schedule – several times I’ve found my posts weren’t published as I planned. I use the scheduler in WordPress but a few times I’ve left a post in draft mode by accident. Verify your scheduled posts are actually in the hopper and not waiting in line for publication. There’s nothing worse than losing several hours of a day for the post – or worse yet having tweeted something that hasn’t been released.

5. Make sure you’re using correct forms – I thought I was using a good “Follow this site” form but it wasn’t correct for my needs. I had much greater success getting email followers with my current form.

6. Anything can be a topic – I learned to keep my eyes open for any stray thought, headline or other piece of information for blog post ideas. A stormy topic may be just the thing for your blog as well as something many people use. If you learned something you can bet other people may be informed by it. Just don’t think it’s been written about and doesn’t need to be re-hashed. Your followers may not have read that information so your new learning curve may be helpful. Also, you can link to other sources as a way of sharing additional information. Look for ways to give you opinion about an issue and you may find that you have more followers – even if they disagree.

7. Don’t worry about what you don’t know – I hesitated about blogging because I was uncertain about the whole activity. I didn’t know that much and couldn’t gage how well I could do it. If you are a writer, it’s a great way to consistently produce words and an opportunity to…

8. Keep learning – by blogging you will learn more about blogging. You will learn more about SEO, attracting visitors with relevant topics and linking to other blogs. Likewise, you will learn about sharing ideas through interviews, hosting guest posts and book tours. Also you find…

Businessman Speaking Through Megaphone9. It builds creativity – by blogging often you will find that it sparks your creativity. You begin to write frequently so your mind generates ideas with greater frequency which also…

10. It enhances writing confidence – those old newspaper writers never had trouble with writer’s block. They churned out their content and went to the next story. Over time, they developed consummate confidence in their writing ability such that they wrote without much thought. If they chose to write a book, they did it. Start blogging and you’ll find there’s little time to tolerate a block. This very blog is one such example. I was looking for an idea for this day and it just popped into my head. I’ve written the content to this point in less than twenty minutes.

11. Link your site to as many social media channels as you can – I’ve linked my blog to send tweets and Google+ announcements. I also have my blog linked to my Author Page on Goodreads. There are any number of ways to do this with apps depending on how your hosted. I’m currently limited by being free hosted on WordPress but you can bet when I grow my site into self-hosting or more customized on WordPress I will link my blog in as many ways as I can find. The word of mouth is incredible. I have readers who link my posts over various forms of curation like Rebel Mouse or topical sites built on writer.ly.

12. Schedule social media communication – I use Hootsuite.com for scheduling my tweets about my blog as well as other announcements. Since I use a free account at the moment I’m limited with how many social media channels I use but do make use of them. I also schedule my posts to my Facebook page. I tweet my posts numerous times a day. Why? With a growing number of followers all over the world people won’t see just one or two tweets due to varying schedules so I must tweet multiple times a day. Likewise, I tweet some of my most popular posts regularly as well as keep my newer posts in my feeds for up to a week. People are busy so give them a chance to find your content.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

What lessons have you learned from blogging? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Author Goals for 2015 Pt. 3: Reviews & Conferences

This is a continuation from Monday’s blog, The Serendipity of Christmas Generosity. It took time to get to the place where I was ready to commit to writing after the events described in my previous post. But that bit of serendipity certainly affected what I’ve done this past year as well as where I’m going next year. In Part 1 of this series I shared an overview of my goals and now I am posting a discussion of why each is important to me as a writer this year. Part 2 covered why I want to engage with a local writer’s group.

This week I decided to take on two goals in this post.

Reading GroupReviews

One of my goals was to read and review more books. As I mentioned in my original post about my goals I’m a VIP member of Rave Reviews Book Club and to meet my membership requirements I need to review a minimum of four books. I’ve already reviewed one so I need to review more. However, I’d also like to review more than three books during 2015.

Why haven’t I been more busy with this goal this year? I’ve been busy with a big revision of my own book. I’ve also been busy with growing this blog, social media and my crowd-funding campaign. Now that I’m done with my revision I can focus more on reading – just as soon as I replace my broken e-reader.

However, the main idea behind the goal is to connect and give back to fellow authors. Initially, I’ll be targeting my chosen genres – fantasy and SciFi. I’m even considering posting my reviews as blog posts as well as on Amazon, Goodreads, etc…

Conference Attendance

HandshakeI already attend a local conference which is convenient and inexpensive. While I enjoy the conference and all that I learn as well as the interaction with other authors, I do want to experience a different conference.

Much like my first goal of attending a writer’s group, I’d like to network with a wider range of authors. I’m looking for something close, convenient and inexpensive. However, another goal is to simply get out of my regular schedule and nurture both my creativity and motivation. Along the way, I hope to learn more than a few things.

What goals are you considering for next year? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 3

This is a continuation from Monday’s blog, The Serendipity of Christmas Generosity. It took time to get to the place where I was ready to commit to writing after the events described in my previous post. But that bit of serendipity certainly affected what I’ve done this past year as well as where I’m going next year. In Part 1 of this series I’ll revealed how I’ve progressed this year in several ways but now I want to get more specific starting with my email decisions. Part 2 covers my choices with email.

HammerAfter I obtained my domain registration and email address hosting, I then launched my website. I knew the site would be a work in progress which didn’t bother me too much. The one thing that gave me pause was blogging. I’d never blogged though I knew a little about it. I was hesitant to proceed with the activity.

But why would blogging leave me hesitant? After all, I am a writer. What left me with qualms was the amount of regular content I needed to produce. I didn’t think that I had what I needed to develop content frequently. What would I write about? What about the time commitment? My main concern was starting a blog and then doing nothing with it when it’s supposed to be an enhancement to my longer content.

I started with infrequent post but researched how to blog and what kind of topics I could share . Here’s where I made a mistake. I committed to that crowd-funding campaign too soon. I needed to build my blog with regular posts. True I could have blogged more during my campaign but because of the campaign I lacked focus for the task.

Once I completed the campaign, I took a look at my blog analytics. They were abysmal. Clearly I needed to address this. I made a commitment to myself to blog more frequently and try a variety of different types of posts. I started hosting blog tours more as Typingwell as engaging in a guest post. Re-blogging is now a regular element of my blog. I write more related to what I am doing and how. Along the way the blog grew by a great deal. It’s not a huge thing but growing is good.

Looking back on the last seven months, I’ve come to enjoy blogging and I’ve learned a great deal too. Now I post a blog Monday through Friday and have a Newsletter. I may not keep up this pace next year but I certainly have fewer concerns about blogging now that I’ve committed to it. I look forward to learning more about the activity this coming year. I’m also going to expand the types of posts to author interviews while continuing to host more blog tours and guest posts.

I plan to share more about the details of how I started, what I used and the reasons for my decisions – good and bad – in the coming weeks. I’ll also use another series to discuss my plans for the upcoming years and why I’m setting such goals. Along the way, I’m also planning to reveal what I hope will be a helpful Scrivener template related to all these issues and how I plan to move forward. Again, I’m sharing this for other new or floundering would-be authors so if you know someone giving a it a go as a writer please share my posts with them.

The Bow of DestinyHow did you start your blog? Do you struggle to produce content? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.