I’ve always been afraid of blogging.
“You have to have a blog,” they said.
“You can’t sell a book without a blog,” they said.
No pressure, right?
So, I took a class last weekend from the amazing Edie Melson, from The Write Connection, who patiently and kindly walked me through the process of setting up this blog. Thanks, Edie!
She taught me a lot I didn’t know. A lot I NEEDED to know. And, a lot that helped dispel some scary myths I believed about blogging.
We all are nervous about the unknown. But understanding what it’s all about can help a lot.
Here are five myths about blogging, scary or not!
Myth Number One You can’t sell a book without a blog.
This isn’t entirely true. You can certainly sell a book without a blog. In fact you never, ever, ever have to have a blog. Ever.
But what you’ll miss is immense. First, many publishers are reluctant to publish a book from a writer who has no obvious internet presence. Second, who will you sell your book to, if you don’t have a built-in audience? How many friends and family do you have? Three hundred? Four hundred? They may be the only ones who will even know that you have a book, unless you spend a lot of money on marketing. Three, getting an audience is expensive.
Which leads into:
Myth Number Two Blogs are expensive
Actually, blogs can be the cheapest promotion you can do. There are free blogging sites out there – Blogspot, Word Press – that are easy to use. You’re reading this blog on Blogspot. And, it didn’t cost me anything.
Myth Number Three Blogs are time-consuming
Yes, they can be. But if you blog once a week and answer comments for several days, it can be less than two hours for that week.
Myth Number Four I don’t have anything to talk about!
Really? Nothing? My problem is the opposite – I struggle to find only one thing a week!
Do research. If you like something, it’s not hard work to read about it. Then, write a couple of paragraphs, usually between 400 and 600 words long. Post it and let other people who are passionate come talk to you about it. My favorite blogs are about history and genealogy, specifically in Scotland, Ireland and England, since that’s where many of my ancestors came from. I read and enjoy and learn.
Myth Number Five No-one will read my blog
Not if you don’t write it!
Oh, sorry. This truly is a valid concern. There’s nothing more disappointing than to throw a party and no-one comes.
But there’s really a simple solution. Read other people’s blogs. Comment on them. Get involved. Find a community of people who love the same things you do. Make friends. It takes time but you’ll watch your blog audience grow.
If, for instance, you love genealogy as I do, you can find hundreds of genealogy websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, all out there for the looking. Each of them is an opportunity to find people - generous, friendly people - who are searching for like-minded souls. Explore that world and you’ll be surprised at the friends you’ll meet.
BONUS MYTH I have to blog about writing
Yes, you can, but it’s not required. In fact, most of the blogs I read are NOT about writing.
I’m working on a cozy mystery series right now and so I’m researching the location, ways to kill people, and small towns. And many of the people who write blogs about those things have told me that, when I get the books done, to let them know.
Create an audience, one enthusiast at a time. You can do it!
What are you passionate about? What tips do you have to encourage people to blog?
Dispelling 5 scary myths about blogging - @SarahSallyHamer
Sarah (Sally) Hamer is a lover of books, a teacher of writers, and a believer in a good story. Most of all, she is eternally fascinated by people and how they 'tick'. She’s passionate about helping people tell their own stories, whether through fiction or through memoir. Writing in many genres - mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, medieval history, non-fiction – she has won awards at both local and national levels, including two Golden Heart finals.
A teacher of memoir, beginning and advanced creative fiction writing, and screenwriting at Louisiana State University in Shreveport for over twelve years, she also teaches online for Margie Lawson at www.margielawson.com. Sally is a free-lance editor and book coach, with many of her students and clients becoming successful, award-winning authors.
You can find her at www.sallyhamer.blogspot.com or on Twitter @sallyhamer.