Thursday teaser: Blogging for Authors #excerpt

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By Barb Drozdowich

This week’s excerpt comes from Blogging for Authors, one of Barb Drozdowich’s series of books to help authors reach audiences.

Why do I need to blog?

THE QUESTION that comes up repeatedly during my discussions with authors — Why? Why do I need to blog? There are several answers to this question.

At the top of the heap, blogging is a writing exercise, another opportunity to develop that writing muscle. The second reason is to communicate with your readers and develop a community. We’ll talk about more reasons as we progress through the chapters of this book.

We all figured out how to make friends in Kindergarten: “Hi, my name is Barb. Do you want to play with me?” As adults in the electronic world, the way to make friends is admittedly a bit more complicated, but not impossible. It goes something along the lines of, “Hi, my name is Barb and I write books. Let’s chat about interests we have in common over a cup of virtual coffee.”

The third reason, as I mentioned in the previous section, is to communicate and share with your community of readers in a fairly permanent way. Unlike the other parts of your platform, your blog posts can be searched and found months or years after they were first shared. So a post that attracted a new reader into having a virtual chat with you two years ago could easily be found today and have the same effect on a new reader.

Your blog is your public face to the world. In today’s society if we want to find out more about a public figure, we “Google” them. Frankly, we expect all public figures including authors to have a website of some sort where we can find out more about them and their books. As we’ll find out in the coming chapters, it’s important to have a blog, but generally not necessary to have a website and a blog. A blog offers an author the ability to add fresh content on a regular basis to their site – something that Google LOVES!

Think of Google as a toddler. For those parents reading this, you realize that toddlers don’t stay interested in anything for long. Even shiny, new toys are quickly abandoned for the box they came in. Google is similar. Google is attracted to new content. A blog that’s posted to on a regular basis provides a steady stream of “shiny new toys” for the Google search engine. This helps a site rise up the ranks in a Google search. While it’s true that the majority of traffic to your blog will initially either come from your friends or be referral traffic from other social media, you want readers to be able to Google the genre they read and find your site in a search. We’ll talk more about this in a future chapter.

I often take people by surprise when I tell them that a country that I sell a lot of books in is India. As I’ll mention several times in this book, as beginner authors, we picture our books for sale in our local bookstore or at most, being sold to readers in our own country. As soon as our books are available online, they are available for sale in most countries in the world. India is considered to be one of the fastest expanding markets for books. I’m not going to be hopping on a plane to India any time soon, but I can interact with my readers in India or any other country by posting to by blog. No leaving the house necessary!

One last comment for this section is about tone and language. As I’ve mentioned previously, I feel that your blog should be a conversation — a dialogue with your readers. A blog post that’s a dialogue with your readers is typically casual in its language and tone, like a conversation between friends. It’s meant to share information as you would over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer with your friends. If your blog post is more formal, it will sound like a dissertation or even a monologue. It may end up conveying information to an audience, but it typically won’t turn your audience into a community. In short, your audience will react differently. Think about how you react when reading let’s say a Wikipedia page. You’re looking for information and you get it. Compare this to reading a chatty, personalized blog post. You’ll have a different internal reaction.

I’ll continue to remind you to keep the word “dialogue” in your mind as we go through this book. I find when you think of something as a dialogue, that is what you create.

About Blogging for Authors

Do you want to find more readers for your book?

Do you feel uncertain about the technology or what to blog about?

Technical trainer Barb Drozdowich has been blogging for the better part of a decade & knows what authors need.

Finding readers is the key to success. One of the best ways to connect with these readers is through the establishment of a blog – one that isn’t just a billboard for sales & releases, but a method for establishing long term relationships with readers.

In award winning Blogging for Authors, Barb teaches not just how to set up a blog but how to turn it into a powerful tool of communication with readers. She brings several decades of teaching experience to help even the beginner author.

In this book you’ll discover:

  • How blogging can help with communication with reader
  • How to create powerful topics to blog about that generate shareable content
  • How to create optimized blog posts that will get people talking
  • How to protect & backup your content to keep your site safe for years to come.

Through a series of free tools & helpful hints, Blogging for Authors helps you choose the right platform, understand the technical aspects & get started today.

If you like an easy to understand book that cuts through the technobabble that exists in many tech manuals, this book is for you!

Pick up this great deal today & start connecting with readers right away. 

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Social Media and WordPress consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about romance novels.

She is the author of 10 books, over 30 YouTube videos and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

She can be found on her

And follow her on  Twitter @sugarbeatbc.

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Monday Musings: Writing Advice To Blissfully Ignore

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by Kathleen Valentine

Never miss a good chance to shut up.” – Will Rogers

lucyFor several years now I have begun my writing day by creating a little graphic that consists of an attractive photo and a quote from a writer that I find interesting. I gather these quotes from the internet and am frequently amused by the really bad advice I encounter in the process. I’ve always loved Somerset Maugham’s quote, “There are three rules for writing a novel, unfortunately no one knows what they are.” The truth is that over the years I’ve found some books of writing advice that have been truly helpful, but just because someone has successfully written a few books that have done well, does not mean they know how to write. Picasso once said that you should learn the rules of your craft so you can break them like an artist and I think that is good advice.

Edgar Allen Poe once wrote that a writer should “include a beautiful woman with raven locks ad porcelain skin, preferably quite young, and let her die tragically of an unknown ailment.” That might have worked for him but it certainly has no useful information for the rest of the writing world. Elmore Leonard said, “Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.” Clearly he was not a fan of Marcel Proust. But even non-Proustian writers can write deliciously thrilling descriptions. One of the scenes that will live in my memory forever is from A.S. Byatt’s Possession. When Roland and Maude go into Christabel’s old bedroom for the first time and find the cradle full of dolls that conceals her love letters, I got a chill down my spine that recurs when I think about that scene.

In addition to that writers are often advised to avoid adjectives and adverbs but anyone who has read writers like Salman Rushdie or Alice Hoffman know how beautifully those words can be used to paint pictures in the reader’s mind. Kurt Vonnegut was not a fan of semicolons. He called them “transvestite hermaphrodites” and claimed all they did was prove that you went to college. Of course, Virgina Woolf, who never went to college was quite fond of them. They worked for her.

Then there are the old canards that many writers accept as true, but are, in fact, not. Probably foremost among these is “write what you know.” It is true that writing out of one’s experience can often create exciting reading, but where in the world would J.K. Rowling have experienced the world she created in her Harry Potter books?

Don’t forget all the advice about creating outlines for stories. To me, this is one of those concepts that may be very true for one writer and a complete disaster for another. Some writers have a gift for “story.” They can sit down and begin to write and watch with fascination while their characters appear and develop, and plots unfold. Their characters can change direction and do crazy, unexpected things and the writer is just along for the ride. Other writers need a road map. One is not a better way to write than the other—what matters is that you know what works for you and write accordingly.

Of all the writing books I own, the one I most often take down to peruse is Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing. In it he says, “Work. Don’t think. Relax and work.” It’s hard to add anything to that.

Thanks for reading.

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Focus Friday: The Book Blogger Platform, by Barb Drozdowich

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TheBookBloggerPlatformLarge

Just as all book bloggers are different, their approach to book blogging is also different. Some book bloggers consider themselves primarily book reviewers. Some book bloggers consider themselves primarily promoters of books. Some book bloggers will only post about a book they have read. Some book bloggers will post about any book that belongs to a genre that fits the profile of their blog.

Book bloggers who consider themselves primarily book reviewers make their reviews the main focus of their blog. They often take their self-imposed “job” of reviewing books very seriously. They put hours of work into reading a book and then creating the right combination of words to best describe their thoughts and impressions. It’s a labor of love.

Many book bloggers, such as myself, consider themselves primarily promoters of books. I began my blog posting reviews of books I’d read, and I worked hard to grow my blog’s audience. I am very proud of my blog and the work that goes into it. However, I have a full-time job and a family. I don’t have enough reading hours to review one book a day, so I fill my blog’s days with a mixture of reviews and promotions. I don’t post more than once a day, but I use the platform I have built to promote as many books and authors as I can that fit within my reading taste.

As I mentioned above, some book bloggers will only post about books they have read. They feel that posting about a book is a recommendation of that book and they don’t want to recommend a book they haven’t read.

Have I read all the books that are promoted on my blog? No. I fit into the other camp of book bloggers. I see promoting books, whether through blog tours, reviews, or other promotionsas simply sharing information. I leave it up to my readers to decide whether to read the book or not.

Another area in which people hold strong feelings centers on whether or not to post negative reviews. One camp feels that all book bloggers who review books need to post negative reviews. They feel that having an assortment of positive and negative reviews creates balance. It allows readers to read about what the blogger likes and doesn’t like and why. It is often said that reviewers who only post positive reviews risk having their honesty questioned.

I am of the camp that doesn’t bother to finish a book if I am not enjoying it. I feel no need to talk about a book I didn’t like. I have boxes and boxes of books to be read. My Nook (e-reader) is full of little gems waiting for my attention. Maybe it’s my age, but I don’t soldier on, I move on. I do, however, make it clear in my review policy that I only talk about books that I enjoyed reading.

This topic will come up again later; you do need to give some thought to your philosophy on book blogging. Are you going to only post reviews? Are you only going to promote books you have read? This isn’t necessarily something that will be decided on at the beginning and that you can never change. Many book bloggers change their views as time progresses.

Accompanying your philosophy of blogging is your view of how much of a platform you are going to have. I started my blog to express my thoughts about the books I’d read. It never really occurred to me that other people would read what I had read, let alone comment on it or share it with friends!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with creating a book blog to share your thoughts with friends—old friends as well as new. If, however, you actively seek out blog tour posts and post promotions of author’s books, you should also be actively growing your book blogger platform. If someone is paying to post on your blog via a blog tour, you should be able to share this information with as many people as possible.

Everyone starts out as a baby blogger. Everyone has a different view of what they want their blog to be. There is no right or wrong answer. Every blog should be a reflection of its owner and its owner’s tastes.

I hope to use this book to describe the Book Blogger Platform in its entirety. I hope to give you a lot to think about. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and my blogs every day. My contact links will be listed at the end of this book. I love answering questions and chatting about books!

The Book Bloggers Platform is available on:

About the author

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

Barb can be found: 

And follow Barb on Twitter @sugarbeatbc

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