As a writer planning to blog, your first decision is whether you want to write about the topic covered in your most recent book or about the process of writing and publishing a book. Or possibly both. Both are subjects you should know well.
The option is yours. You can always mount two blogs. Or better yet, combine the two subjects in a single blog. Either way, you must be certain that you have the time to keep them updated. That's crucial. A blog requires continuous fresh information or commentary to keep readers coming back. Allow your blog to become stale, and you will see a speedy exodus of visitors.
You certainly don't have to feel restricted to the two subjects I mentioned above. I picked them because you're a writer, but you have the option to select any topic you wish to concentrate on. However, that topic should in some way relate back to your book. After-all, your reason for embarking on this blogging gig was to hype and sell your book.
The prime consideration as you sit down to plan each edition is to remember that this site is not an advertisement for your book. Not even an advertorial. To be effective, a blog must offer solid content. It is an informational resource; not a promotional vehicle to sell your book or boost your vanity. The days of mental meanderings about personal issues that characterized the early stage of the blogosphere just won't cut it any longer. Leave those messages to Twitter.
The ideal blog serves as a treasure chest of information on a subject the reader wants or needs. Consequently, it is imperative to keep it updated with fresh material on a regular basis. I suggest that updates be made at least every week and more frequently if possible. Archiving earlier issues is important too. This gives your visitors the opportunity to research back to find the information they need which may be contained in a previous blog that you posted.
Starting Your Blog
There's little risk to developing your own blog. If money is a concern, you can find free sites on the Internet to assist you in building it. If you are unsure whether or not you can sustain a blog with its demanding updates, create a chart of 25 or so subtopics that you can write about within the overall subject to which you plan to dedicate your blog. That will assure you of substance for at least 25 weeks of posting as you get into the swing of blogging on a regular basis.
By entering "Creating a blog" in your favorite search engine, you'll find an assortment of free design sites that will lead you step-by-step through the process. One of the most popular is www.blogger.com, a product of Google, but you will find others as well. For those who want a more sophisticated blog with a design that is unique to them, most website designers also prepare customized blogs. Search the Internet for them, and check out their galleries of websites to find the best.
The designer's function is to create the shell into which you can easily drop copy whenever you prepare a new post. The prices range widely. They are based on the designer's experience and expertise.
Your Blog Is Your Signature
A visit to your blog is the closest contact most readers will ever have with you. They will judge you and your work by the quality of the blog. A well executed blog will boost sales of your book and contribute to building your reputation as an expert in the field you choose to write about.
Two major factors will form each blog visitor's opinion. The overall impression of the site-its cleanliness, neatness, excitement-will tell the reader a great deal about you. The quality of the content you place on the blog will bring him/her back again and again and will serve as an invitation to read articles you write, visit your website and perhaps buy your book.
Taking Full Advantage of the Blogosphere
Using the blogging world to your greatest advantage includes reaching out beyond your own site and placing material on the sites of other popular bloggers. This can be done by either posting comments to the content on the other blog or by actually offering content to a fellow blogger.
You have a distinct advantage in placing your copy elsewhere because bloggers function as a close-knit community and are usually quite welcoming of submissions by fellow bloggers. This is a carry-over from the early days of blogging. As a newcomer to the communications world, blogging was disparaged by other journalists and looked upon as an amateurish, often narcissistic form of writing. That has changed dramatically today, but the sense of camaraderie between bloggers remains strong.
Stick to a Schedule
It is essential to stick strictly to a regular schedule of posting, as I stated above. This doesn't mean you suddenly have to devote your life to blogging. If you devote 10 to 12 hours a week to creating your own posts and supplementing them with comments on other blogs, you can enjoy a great deal of success and build a sizeable following. You'll gain great satisfaction and have a good deal of fun as well. So join the thousands upon thousands of your fellow writers who have discovered this marvelous tool for harnessing the promotional power of the Internet.
View more than 60 free, informative articles by author and editor Charles Jacobs. Click on to his new website http://www.wisewriter.com. Click on "Library" to discover this world of information to help you write, publish and promote better. Read Charles' widely-heralded book "The Writer Within You," named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR seven times and a gold and bronze medal winner.