Blogger: Mary Keeley
Recently I was asked what agents think of writers who begin as bloggers. I am always looking for new, fresh voices and do investigate blogs as part of that search. I know other agents who frequent blogs for the same reason.
Blogging is a good way to begin writing. It’s one avenue that gives you instant feedback. What was your reason for starting a blog in the first place? Was it a deep concern about an issue? Or did you go into it to attract an audience, knowing beforehand you wanted to become an author? Either way, agents understand bloggers learn much about your following from the comments you receive. I observe your responses and how you are connecting with and growing your audience.
I also observe writing potential as I read through a blogger’s posts. If you are open about being an aspiring writer, I want to see that you are covering the basics as someone who is educating yourself about the industry. I want to see that your grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills are professional and envision that your 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style is becoming well-used. Are you using words appropriately, and are they colorfully descriptive? Janet Grant blogged on this subject two days ago. you can read it here.
I recognize the name of a blogger I’m watching and observe the writing quality of your comments on other blogs, positively noting that you are reaching out to build community with other writers. It’s one thing to do well when you’re deliberate in writing your post. But I also want to see that you are appropriately eloquent or articulate in your responses to comments because it shows the quality is truly your level of writing.
Agents recognize that blogging is a natural way for a writer to discover and refine your unique voice. The key issue is if you are passionate enough to invest the necessary time and resources to learn the craft and continue learning the craft. Because it’s a never-ending process. I want to see that your voice and writing skills are consistent.
A factor that is especially important to me is tone. Is the blog writer encouraging, interested in sharing with others and in hearing what commenters have to say? or does he or she appear to be pushing an underlying personal agenda? Does the blogger exhibit any hint of being defensive? Those tones would be a yellow light to me that the person might be difficult to work with.
There are millions of blogs out there in the blogosphere. Those followers who have chosen to keep coming back to yours form the foundation of your audience. Agents recognize this. Of course, the same might be said for those who follow you on Twitter, friend you on Facebook, connect with you on Pinterest, and the rest of the social media. If I like what I’ve been observing on your blog, I’ll look you up on these sites as well.
As these other social media have exploded in popularity, I’ve heard speculation among SM gurus that blogs are diminishing in their value. Truthfully, blogging is a big time commitment. It’s also a challenge because you have to do it consistently to maintain and grow your audience. And for every post you have to come up with something to blog about that you think will interest your followers. But for writers, blogging is worth the investment because it’s an opportunity to practice and develop your skills, and you can learn about the audience you’re attracting in more than small sound bites. The information you glean can prove invaluable to your WIP.
Do you enjoy blogging? What has blogging accomplished for you? Do you have a story to share about your experience getting an agent’s attention from your blog? If you haven’t started a blog, what is keeping your from doing so?
Agents investigate writer blogs to look for potential clients. Click to Tweet.
Did you know that your blog posts might be attracting the attention of an agent? Click to Tweet.
Why do your best writing on your blog? Because an agent might find you there. Click to Tweet.
Wow Mary, now I’m more nervous. 🙂 (about the rules of style)
I don’t pay as close attention to the rules of style on my blog posts. I think the reason is because I’m more personal there. It’s more stream of thought for me. Whereas, in my manuscript writing, I pay very close attention to style rules and only break them occasionally for the sake of voice, tone, emphasis, or inspiration. But I see your point that it’s an agent’s first access point to the quality of writing.
My critique partner and I both work full time, so we decided to combine our efforts and share the load. The time commitment is certainly a real concern for bloggers. Plus, we write the same genre and hope to attract the same audience, so it seemed wise on that front as well. We noticed that many writer blogs talk so heavily about the work and world of writing, that it might not attract readers as well as writers. One of our goals is to focus primarily on readers.
I do enjoy blogging and interacting with the commenters. It’s also made my “in-person” social world aware that I write. Blogging has pushed me to work on a deadline, which is good practice. The drawbacks are only that I should be working on my MS edits as we speak! 🙂
(now pausing for a minute to edit my comments before I post!)
I think you ladies complement each other so beautifully. Your blogging collaboration has been a blessing to me.
I love your dynamic duo blog!
Anne, it’s true that blog writing is a more relaxed style intended to personally connect with your followers in conversation. An agent will see this as appropriate. But an author blog should also exhibit professionalism. It’s a delicate dance. One of the ways to do this is to use good grammar, punctuation, and correct word usage while maintaining your unique voice casually in your posts and responses because you are putting yourself out there for all to see. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take occasional grammatical liberty when it’s suitable to your relaxed conversational blog style. But just be strategic. Does this help?
Yes it does help. I think I’ll be more conscious about the balance and the need to tighten it up a bit more. Thanks. 🙂
I love that you have someone to write with, Anne. 🙂 Even better that you both write in the same genre.
Thanks Jeanne, Jennifer, and Lisa!
What’s most interesting to me is comparing my own blog to that of other people. I’m slowly realizing I will never sound like Ann Voskamp or Lisa-Jo Baker. Writing my words every day and then reading theirs feels like a critique group, and I’m working to figure out what I can learn from them while remaining true to my unique voice and passion.
I like the idea of learning from other bloggers. As a newbie myself, i’m going to consider this. 🙂
Christy, seeing how other people do things is a great way to form and shape how you do things. And it’s fun. And free.
Christy, that’s a great suggestion to learn techniques and skill from reading other author blogs that you can apply to your own blog writing.
I just love to tell stories.
I love reading your blog, Michelle, you’ve had so many amazing adventures. Gelato in Italy? I might just get there this summer and taste some and toast you. 😉
Michelle, as a published author, you are experienced in telling your stories on your blog, which is a helpful example.
It’s interesting, Mary, when I began blogging more than 1 1/2 years ago, I thought I knew what my focus would be. But the more I blog the more I discover what I don’t want to write about, and my focus is a little broader than originally intended. As an editor, my grammar and style is strong, but my ability to let that go while I write freely has been an area of learning for me. I’m getting better at just writing and then coming back to polish. But, oh, so difficult.
I use my blog to get the message of biblical hope and encouragement to others in days that are filled with desolation, devastation, and confusion. Encouraging others is my passion and brings me joy, but it does take a lot of time and perseverance to write engaging material consistently.
Interesting, Julie. I didn’t think about the opposite problem, learning to relax your grammar to fit the relaxed blogging style. The learning sometimes works in reverse.
LisaR @ Who Stole My Baby?
Great post! Blogging hasn’t accomplished much for me yet, but I just started less than two months ago. But I’m not blogging for the sole intention of becoming famous or getting a book deal – like you said, it really helps to refine a unique voice.
What I love about blogging is that you write something, edit it once or twice, and then you send it out there. It’s so much more instantly gratifying than nit-picking a manuscript for months, and it helps me loosen up and realize that one typo or one phrase I would change shouldn’t stop me from allowing the world to read what I’ve done. It’s freeing.
In those ways, it is freeing, Lisa. On the other hand, you also need to reflect professionalism as a writer in everything you send into the universe.
Mary, I loved reading this, but you upped my nervous-factor quite a bit. 🙂 I began blogging just over two months ago. I started it because I wanted to encourage others. I also knew it would be a way for me to refine my voice. It’s been fun, and I’ve been surprised at some of the blogs that have received the most views. I decided to focus on readers rather than writers because 1) there are a number of great writer focused blogs already out there, and 2) I don’t know enough about writing, yet, to feel like an expert “in the field.”
I enjoy blogging, but it does take time away from working on my MS. 🙂 Now that I’m doing it, I plan to keep with it. It’s been fun to see what ideas come to mind to write about. I think I kept my focus broad enough that I have lots of ideas I can choose from and still stay within in my self-set parameters. Who knows, though, as I blog longer, I may find my focus shifting. I keep most of my posts 300-500 words. This helps me to focus on one main point. I’ve discovered one of the advantages is, I can continue to explore ideas in future blogs. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this. I’ll try to stop biting my nails now. 🙂
I agree, it has helped me refine my voice. I’m glad your started, you are a great encouragement on your blog and other places you visit 🙂
Thank you, Lisa and Jennifer. You’re both a huge encouragement to me! 🙂
Jeanne, your blog looks great and your blog voice is very caring and encouraging, just like you.
Jeanne, no need to be nervous. You obviously have a handle on your blog strategy. Your consistency will be apparent.
Thanks, Mary. 🙂
Jessica R. Patch
I do enjoy blogging. I wasn’t sure I would. I looked back over my posts not long ago and discovered how much progress I’ve made in my writing.
If I felt stressed out about rushing to come up with a post, it would definitely suck the joy out of it. So, the key for me is to spend one day (usually early Saturday mornings) putting my three weekly posts together. Then all I need to do is be available to engage in conversation and I have plenty of scheduled time to work on my ms.
The cherry on the sundae (if you like cherries) is I’ve made some of the best friendships ever!
Jessica, that’s a great plan and one I strive to maintain myself. But I’m rarely as successful as you apparently are.
Love hearing an agent’s perspective on this, Mary! I started my blog originally because I thought I had to, but I’ve since found I love it! I get to share my thoughts on faith issues deeply close to my heart and develop my voice–and friendships–in the process.
And you get to meet great people in Minnesota who you wouldn’t have met otherwise, right?!?! 🙂
I’m always surprised by the quality of the blogs by the community (in a good way).
“If you haven’t started a blog, what is keeping your from doing so?”
As you said Mary, blogging is a commitment: I get bored rather quickly with social media, and my blog ends up just being a way for me to try out new writing, or have fun, and thus becomes the opposite of platform building, as readers wouldn’t get an idea of what my writing outside my social media is like.
Larry, in that case you’re wise not to blog if it wouldn’t accurately represent your writing.
There are so many talented bloggers, I sometimes feel myself getting discouraged. Standing out feels almost impossible.
I have grown so much through blogging though. If I look back at my posts when I started a year ago and my work now, the changes are huge. I know that is reflecting itself in my manuscript too. I also love the friendships I have made and the connections forged.
I sometimes make mistakes when I’m commenting places. I’m trying to proofread my responses now too 🙂
Lisa, I love your heart for helping those much less fortunate than we are. That comes through so clearly on your blog!
Lisa, you are an encouragement for anyone contemplating a blog as a way to develop writing skills and voice.
Add my name to the Rolodex of Nervous People!
My first foray into blogging was 12 years ago. Yes, that many! Blogs were just starting to make the scene, but mine was technically considered a journal. It kind of morphed into a blog at some point, but it also has a privacy setting, which I have kept current. A few people have access to it, but it’s not wide open like Tales From The Redhead. I started that ‘blog’ because I’d had a miscarriage and needed a place to put my thoughts that had nothing to do with the real world. I gave no thought to ever expanding it to be a blog as we know them today, therefore, that place is basically off-limits.
My current blog has been there a while, but is more about my ‘platform’. You still get the real Jennifer, but I put a great deal more care into what I put out there for the world to see. TFTR is all Jennifer Major, but nowhere near as intimate as The Previously Mentioned Place.
I am, and always have been, quite aware that my blog is watched, read and observed by all kinds of people. That’s why I take a huge amount of thought for each post. I know what I put up will be observed by everyone from potential agents to my mom. And honestly? If I’m comfortable with what Mom sees, everyone else can go over the blog with a fine tooth comb. Because trust me, I am WAY more nervous about my Mom calling and saying that pre-delicate-whupping phrase “You know, dear…” than even Michael Hyatt emailing me and taking issue with something!
I am a transparent blogger, what is there is what is on my heart. Everything from recipes to rants about justice, you’re going to get the real Jennifer. I’m almost certain that the fairly significant interview I just landed had maybe a bit to do with consistently being truthful about my work and my commitment to doing right by people.
Blogging wavers in its value, but one needs to read the room to see what people are looking for. I’ve cut back on my personal blog and helped two friends launch http://www.MarriedWithFiction.com, we’re stunned by the response. Truly, stunned.
Balancing blogging, writing,researching, learning and all the other -ings takes work and planning. Hopefully, the juggling skills get better. Because it only gets busier!
Heh. I was going to make that comment longer, but I ran out of the alphabet…
Heather Day Gilbert
AND I must add that Jennifer Major is giving away the much-hyped CANADIAN CHOCOLATE on our Married…with Fiction site this week! Lots of chocolate! And it’s worth the hype! She sent me some, too…grin. And yes, I agree, Mary. When I first started blogging, I wrote on the spur of the moment. Now I’ve gotten much better about double and triple-checking my posts before putting them up, ESPECIALLY when I interview other authors. There’s nothing more discouraging as an author than to see your interview get butchered or have five types of font or strange illustrations unrelated to the post! I try to format each one as if I were the guest author.
Heather, congratulations to all of you on the response to your new site.
You ladies are doing a wonderful job over at Married…With Fiction! I love your posts and the caring interactions you’ve fostered. Well done, my friend.
Thank you, Jeanne.
Heather Day Gilbert
Yes, Jeanne–we enjoy your participation and everyone who’s stopped in. We are blessed with such a large community of Christian writers, agents, and editors, and we are hoping to foster those friendships and help each other grow–just like the community here on Books/Such!
I just found this blog this morning! Looks great!
Jennifer, it’s apparent from the very title of your blog what readers should expect in your tone and content. That consistency is notable.
Yes, balancing all those elements takes planning and prayer that there aren’t too many unexpected interruptions.
I don’t blog however I do read and leave comments on numerous blogs. Because of a comment I left on the Book and Such Blog, I was interviewed for another blog (not an agent’s blog but a science fiction author’s blog) about what I do as a technical writer.
I started a travel blog over a year ago, but since then I have revamped it to include my passion for writing and reading – hence “Pens on a World Map.”
It’s hard work to keep up the blogging schedule, but the connections and opportunities to promote other Kingdom-focused writers and travelers has been such a blessing. It’s what the community I hope to keep building is all about – writers, travelers and readers gathered in one place for discussion, encouragement and more.
I believe my blog falls right in line with my author branding “Historical Fiction That Travels” because all my novels have modern-day and historical international settings. If anyone is interested in doing a guest travel post, just send me an email. 🙂
Cough cough. Hint. Cough.
Cough. Jennifer. Cough.
Did I say that?? lol. 🙂
I started the other way around. I was a writer first before I was ever a blogger. I wrote for years, chipping away at my full-length mss. In between, I wrote short articles, short stories, and moderate an email loop for home educators where I contribute in the discussions about academics and curriculum.
I didn’t start out wanting to blog. In fact I resisted it for years. However, four months ago, I activated my author website, and it seemed the most natural thing in the world for me to talk about things. After all “blog” came from the word “web log” and I journal all the time anyway.
“A Cup of Chai” is my blog about writing, reading, and life. Yesterday, I couldn’t help but blog about life. About Boston. My reaction to the tragedy. Recently, I blogged about a writer’s attitude. I’ve enjoyed blogging because it’s mostly notes to myself, and I think I need to be reminded about my purpose for writing.
I didn’t realize that agents could be looking at my blog. I write because I enjoy it (500-800 words — how hard is that). I hope that what I blog on will cheer someone out there who is trying to get published, who is working hard on her mss, and who is trying to balance social media and her many hats. Myself included.
“Why do your best writing on your blog? Because an agent might find you there.”
Now I’m nervous, Mary. I make typos when I’m nervous LOL. I will probably edit and re-edit an re-re-edit from now on before I post anything to social media LOL.
Jan, I’m guessing your writing experience has prepared you to write professional looking blogs. But it’s always a good idea to edit or proofread anything we put out for public view.
Thank you for the reminder! Even after I post, the perfectionist in me re-read it. You know, just in case! LOL.
I also found that if I wrote ahead of time, I can let my blog posts sit for a couple of days before post to my website, and I can usually line edit more fully. However, sometimes events pop up, e.g. Boston, and I have to blog on the fly.
I enjoy blogging because it has given me a medium to continue to share my health journey and faith after diagnosis, treatment and acceptance of the thyroid autoimmune condition I now have.
What has blogging accomplished? It motivates me to stay engaged with readers, followers, and those interested in learning and growing. Through blogging I’ve connected with other men and women who are affected by thyroid and autoimmune diseases. These readers inspire me to keep going because somehow it is making a difference.
All good reasons to blog, Stacey. In the process you are attracting an audience and building relationships with them.
I enjoy blogging, partly because it gives me the opportunity to share portions of my life. Also, I appreciate the comments I occasionally receive, which help me to understand how others relate to the issue at hand.
Good point, Dale. And an agent who might investigate your blog will see your positive interaction with commenters.
I entered the blogging world kicking and screaming. After 550 posts, I’m still blogging. My first blog summarized info from writing books. I also quoted novels that had great description and turns of phrases. My current blog emphasizes news in space science which fits better with my debut novel, a science thriller.
I’d appreciate info on how to attract new followers to my blog, maybe in a future post. Thanks.
Bonnie, your blog sounds fascinating.
I’ll keep your request in mind for a future post.
I have wanted to write for so long, starting my blog a year ago was the best thing I’ve ever done. I am finding my voice (and wow, is it snarky)and having fun.
I do not get much traffic, and I realize now that I am not seeking other writers out. I’m thankful to know what agents are looking for in bloggers.
One of these days, my novel might hit someone’s desk 🙂
Carrie, in beginning to blog now, you have freedom to practice and grow in craft and skills. By the time you have a significant following, you can present yourself and your voice professionally, while easily relating to those followers with whom you’ve been connecting. It’s a good way to start your writing career.
Susi Robinson Rutz
I do value blogging, Mary. Keeping to a consistent schedule requires quite a bit of time and commitment. I have chosen not to make that a priority right now, but I am hopeful for the future. I do appreciate each and every person who has shown interest in my writings by following my posts. The number of men who follow continues to surprise me. Starting out, I thought my style would appeal more to women. So, while I’m feverishly tapping out my devotional book, blogging serves to inform my writing and how I will eventually market it.
Susi, writing a devotional is especially demanding. I understand why you don’t commit to the additional deadlines of a regular blog at this time. Perhaps when your manuscript is complete.
Hi Mary, Thank you so much for writing this post! I’m not sure if it was specifically in response to my suggestion last week, but it’s a topic I’ve hoped you would address here for a long time…so, thank you.
It was really interesting and helpful to read all of the things you look at when evaluating a blog. I assumed the blog posts themselves were important, but I hadn’t thought much about the comments – especially on others’ blogs! It makes complete sense. Thank you for the transparency.
How do agents find bloggers to look at in the first place? Do you actually go searching for people writing in certain areas, or do you really only get into this level of evaluation when you receive a query/proposal from someone?
To answer your question, I love blogging! I started my blog about 1.5 years ago and have been transformed by the experience of having my words impact people’s lives for the glory of God. It feels completely natural that I want to evolve that into writing books. I just completed my first proposal (the “business case” portion) and am currently writing sample chapters. I love having the opportunity to write something in longer form than a blog post now!
What has blogging accomplished for me? It introduced me to a love of writing I didn’t know I had and it increased my passion for the topic on which I write. My audience growth has also given me the confidence to believe I have something unique to offer readers. There are weeks I certainly don’t feel like blogging, but overall, it has been a wonderful experience.
Thank you again for addressing this topic!
Natasha, I’m glad this has been helpful to you.
There ere are a number of ways agents learn about writers they decide to investigate. Queries and proposals certainly are two ways I am introduced to a new writer. I also read commenters on this and other blogs and investigate blogs of writers who are referred to me.
I appreciate this post and the insight always available on this site! I’ve been trying to apply tips I’ve learned from the experts regarding blogging, even when it goes against my gut feelings. The first was learning to have others guest on my blog rather than focusing on guesting on other people’s blogs. This has already increased my readership–the Oprah concept. The next one was to write something I am truly passionate about, even if it is controversial. I usually try to be only encouraging on my blog, but heeding the advice I began a series on the connection to human trafficking by certain events in our culture–my first was Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime show and that post has gotten over 1200 hits. Friday I’ll be posting about the Gosnell trial and trafficking. I’m nervous about the backlash, but better to make a difference than to please everybody, right? So I’m grateful to all of you who pass on what you have learned to those of us coming behind!
Kimberly, it sounds like the expert advice you heeded has proved very beneficial to your blogging.
Thank you so much for this post. I started blogging nearly three years ago because I was interested in becoming a published author. I’d heard that authors were often expected to have some sort of blog or website to help promote their book, and I thought it might be wise to figure out the blogging world before it was important. 😉 I decided to blog about dolls and whatever else struck my fancy.
My little blog has grown far beyond what I ever expected. I’ve greatly appreciated the feedback from my readers and the interaction with others who hold similar interests. After reading your post, I have a better idea of what agents might be looking for as well. The top two things I need to work on that I can think of are the overuse of commas and the overuse of emoticons. 😉 I write very conversationally, so I’m sure my grammar could use some work too.
Again, thank you for sharing this valuable information with all of us.
You’re welcome, Hannah. I’m glad you found it helpful.
What I love about blogging are the connections I’ve gained on a personal level. I started out in order to build a platform, but met some extraordinary people who shared their faith on music fan sites. I asked them to send me their testimonies to post on my blog. They’ve inspired me and my readers more than anything I, as a writer, could share. I now keep in touch with many of these people through Twitter and Facebook, and have even met some in person. Not my original goal, but an amazing byproduct.
Connie, thanks for sharing your great example of the ways blogging can increase a writer’s connections. And by reaching out to share others’ stories, you can multiply your audience.
I have been blogging for over a year now and I wonder why I didn’t start sooner? I love blogging. My best advice for someone seeking publication is to start their blog as soon as possible, for all the reasons you mentioned.
For me, the three things I enjoy most are making connections and friendships (this has been my very favorite part), hearing from people who are impacted by my words and sharing my passion for history, my faith and my home state of Minnesota. I’ve had many people come up to me at church or the grocery store, or even in line waiting to pick up my children from school, who share amazing stories about how my blog has encouraged or taught them something. It always reminds me that even if my ultimate goal is to be published, God is using me where I’m at in the journey.
You have a GREAT blog, Gabrielle. Very welcoming. I hear your voice in each post I read.
Hey Gabe! I love your blog, I have to echo Jeanne, about your voice. Reading your blog reminds me to open up a bit. So excited for you! 🙂
Gabrielle, your blog posts are obviously connecting with many people in meaningful ways, and this not only serves God but is also growing a loyal audience for your books.
Recently an author whose blog I follow has been talking about blogging and how it can be a time-suck and not worth the investment. Honestly, when I looked at her questions about checking if your blog is worth your investment in it, I came up with nothing. It wasn’t until I realized that I started blogging – and continue it – simply because I love to blog that I knew my blog is worth it and always will be. As long as I love blogging and connecting with readers, blogging may not be a “good investment,” but it’s still worth my time and efforts. After all, that’s the only reason we should be writing anything – be it blog or book… right?
Emily, your passion for blogging makes it a good investment of your time. And yes, anyone who isn’t passionate about writing books and all the work and growing in craft that involves shouldn’t be doing it.
What a great discussion. I love learning why others have decided to blog and getting an agent’s perspective on blogging.
The more I think about my own blogging alongside these, however, the more I wonder if any of my blogs help my writing as a way to attract an agent.
I began blogging in 2006 because I didn’t know how to create a website. I soon, discovered, however, that it was difficult to come up with fresh content; not because I don’t have a lot to say, but because I try to be so careful about everything I post. Also, the story of an aspiring author is probably not that interesting to anyone outside of the aspiring author’s circle of friends.
That’s when I started interviewing other authors, which led to me reviewing books. My blogs have never specifically been about my own writing, though one might get a flavor for how I write if you read my reviews. I have a children’s book blog, too, but again, it features other writers, not me. All my blogs, seven total, focus more on readers. And only one of them covers children’s books, which is my market. I blog simply because I love it. Is that a good thing? Is that helpful to my writing career? I don’t know.
Cheryl, your reviews may be well-written, but you’re no doubt drawing attention to the authors of the books you review, rather that to your own writing. You do need to be letting your followers know about your own writing and experience your own voice. Then they’ll truly be your followers rather than a source for finding others to follow. That’s the way to put your love of blogging to best use for helping your writing career.
Thanks Mary. I appreciate your insight. That’s kind of what I thought.
I started my blog in order to give myself an on-line presence, but I have discovered real pleasure and satisfaction in crafting my posts and exploring subjects beyond my novel’s plot. Thanks for letting us share this topic today.
You’re welcome, Christina. Blogging has obviously been good practice for your writing.
Fantastic post and one I will keep to remind me to display quality instead of quantity. I enjoy stretching my writing muscles through blogging and have met some amazing inspiring people along the way. Learning this craft is not easy but I am enjoying the process. Thank you.
You’re welcome, Kath. It’s good to hear you’re enjoying the learning process as you practice it in your blog writing.
I’ve gone back and forth on blogging and how it works for me. One one hand, I’m very personal in my blog and use it to be funny, bounce ideas off friends and family, etc. But…it also allows me to flex my writing muscle and journal openly, which I love.
Tawnya, if you are interested in writing professionally, you’ll have to think about having two blogs, the one for family and friends and another devoted to your writing. They have two different purposes. The goal of your writing blog should be to attract readers to the things you write about.
I started blogging as an extension of my tea room business. After I closed the tea room, I continued to blog and at one time had a tea store as part of the website. When I decided to follow my lifelong dream to write, I eliminated the store, except for our one of a kind Teapot Bank, and continued to blog now and then.
Now, my poor little blog is playing second fiddle to my other writing! I enjoy blogging and am very encouraged by email and Facebook comments from readers, but time is an issue. When I finish my next project, I intend to resume blogging regularly.
I love reading, following and interacting with many bloggers. They are some of the friendliest people on the net!
Thanks Mary for a great post and I adore all the interaction on this blog site!
Kate, lack of time certainly is a hindrance to blogging. If you have enough followers on other social media, that helps to compensate in attracting followers and potential future purchasers of your books. Which is something publishers want to see.
I started blogging a little over a year ago for the purpose to connect with others as well as connect with writers since I have been unable to make it to the meetings of my local writer’s guild. The idea was great, but a blog wasn’t the best place for a book study group on writing fiction, ha! But since then I’ve learned a lot, especially from Kristen Lamb, she’s awesome. I’m an introvert and normally, I don’t start up conversations, so blogging is teaching me to find my voice. It’s been a journey and I love it. Right now I’m taking a class on it, and I’m working on redefining my blog and moving it to my website. Exciting times!
Jennette, it sounds like blogging has been, and continues to be, a splendid asset for your writing career. Exciting indeed.
donnie and doodle
I don’t blog anymore because my normal Blogging Time seems to conflict with my afternoon naps.
Darned if it doesn’t happen every day!
Well Donnie, you might think about changing your normal blogging time.
This was very informative, Mary! I do wish you would address one more thing though (maybe here in the comments?): Blogging is good for writers, that’s a given; should writers who are reaching out to young adult audiences invest time in blogging? Especially if the said YA novelists write primarily romance and thrillers.
I just have a bad feeling that I’m going to invest myself into a social media platform that attracts the wrong kind of audience (not teens) — the audience that will not be subsequently interested in my books.
If you could take the time to respond to this even briefly, I’d really appreciate it.
Great question, Katya. If your audience is strictly YA, you do need to connect with them through the social media in which they are most active, and speak their language, in your own unique voice.
Thanks for bringing this up. It’s an important point.
I began blogging at the nudging of the Lord 2 years ago. I decided to write the memoir of my early life to show how God called me into writing. The weekly commitment has been a extremely helpful writing exercise for me.
I had no idea what I’d blog about after I caught up to my present life, but, God has always given me something when I need it. I did a series of things I’ve learned while truck driving related to the Christian life. I’m thinking of turning that into an ebook. As the first Christmas season approached I did a series of Biblical fiction/devotional posts. That’s when my blog started picking up subscribers. So, I went through the Easter story the same way. Then widows and orphans in the Bible. Now I’m going through the teenagers.
Last summer God began niggling me into writing a humor blog. I kept resisting until Labor Day. That’s when I decided the 2 AM divine nudgings had to stop and I only knew of one sure-fire way to do that. I thought the time issue would interfere, but, the stress relief from the laughter I get out of it has been worth the effort.
I brain-stormed the idea about turning my Christmas posts into a book with Steve L, yeah, you know who. He said if I could make a 24 chapter book out of it he could sell it. Well, He says my proposal has merit, but, he’s busy enough to be very selective, so he passed on it. So, if you know of any agents looking for fresh, raw talent send them over to wadewebsterwrites.com and laughoutloudloveourlord.com
Wade, thanks for sharing how God has been leading you in your writing. It’s sure to help someone reading this to recognize God’s nudging in his or her own life.
Regarding connecting with an agent, visit agency websites and follow their submissions guidelines to submit a proposal. You’ll be viewed as a writing professional this way, which will be positively noted by agents.
I enjoy blogging and love it when people I don’t know write back to tell me what I’ve written is funny or that I have struck a chord with them. I was lucky because an editor contacted me after reading my blog interested in turning my blog into a book. I never thought that would happen in my wildest dreams when I first started writing what I thought maybe one or two people would read at most!
Jennifer, I’m happy for you and your serendipity experience. Anyone who reads your comment will be inspired by the possibilities.
Cathy C. Hall
I *wish* I had an agent checking out my blog! 🙂 But I can say with absolute certainty that blogging helped me develop my voice, pushed me to write regularly, and introduced me to a ton of writer friends I’d have never met otherwise. I started blogging as something I thought I “had” to do–and now, six years later, I can’t imagine NOT doing it. Excellent post! (Even if I’m feeling a *tad* nervous now…I wonder if I need to scale back on my overuse of exclamations marks??!) 🙂
Hello Mary, I’m glad I found your article from an FB friend’s share. Blogging has been a form of training for me ~ in writing with a personal voice, editing, hearing feedback & mingling with new friends (yeah, for me mingling requires training, too)! I’ve benefited from it a lot more than I’d expected. No agent requests yet, but it’s an extra sunshiny strand of motivation.
Interesting comments. I have found that because people aren’t responding to my blog, I am getting quite disappointed. I have updated it quite regularly, until recently. I was attempting to reach out to other amputees and help them with my struggles to adapt, but all I seem to attract are spammers. I would appreciate your comments. Thank you & regards, Wendy Hancock
I really have come to love blogging. In fact, I’ve had to cut back to three times a week officially just to make sure I’m making progress on my novel. Blogging helps tighten my writing. It also helps me bring other voices out there to my readers. It’s an online ministry for me to blog. Recently, I re-launched it with a tweaked brand and new logo.
I’m working through my first draft of a nonfiction book that revolves around topics similar to much of what I blog about. Is it ever OK to use material from these blogs and use them word-for-word in the book, or is this a major no-no?
The struggle I’m having is that I’ve already spent so much thought, time, and energy succinctly writing my thoughts via my blog posts that I’m having a hard time finding ways communicating those same ideas using different words. Obviously, most of the content would be original, but I’m just wondering if nonfiction writers–who are also bloggers–ever do this in their books?
Steve — I think legally it’s okay to copy your own blog content into your own book, although I’m not 100% sure on that. However, it’s incredibly frowned upon by readership in general. In fact, a nonfiction author whose readers discovered he had copied his old blog posts into his book were very upset, and there were a few news articles about him. Considering previous examples like that one, I would recommend not doing that. Maybe use your blog posts as a starting point to develop those portions of the book.
This is exactly what I was wondering! Thanks, Emily!