Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog, Anne R Allen

Anne is at it again with a most excellent article on Blogging for Authors. If you’re an author and you’re looking to learn more about how your blog differs from a business blog, check out this post. She talks being true to your brand, not defining your blog success by numbers, networking and not sacrificing your WIP (work in progress).

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.

Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, (Laurie will be visiting us in January.)

Good writers don’t need gimmicks. We only need to entertain and inform: content really is king. Be accessible and be yourself. Nothing else matters. (Well, correct spelling and grammar help too. 🙂 )

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the entire article.

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Meet and Greet: 11/3/17

Looking for more exposure? Danny’s hosting a Meet and Greet, stop through, say hi and leave your Link 🙂

Dream Big, Dream Often

 

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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Shortlinks and Pingbacks

Sometimes you’ll have a post you would like to share on a social platform as limited as Twitter where only 140 characters are allowed. Or, you may want to give a link to someone of your blog post but…it hasn’t exactly gone live yet. You can do both by way of using short links.

A short link is a way of providing a link to a post that is shorter than the permalink. Also, like I said, you can use it to send people the link to a post that has not gone live yet. (They won’t see anything until it is live). It is how I give direct links to authors of the Introduce Yourself Interviews on this blog. They can use it to go directly to their post (in case they don’t see it show up in their email or reader or if they are not already following this blog).

To access your shortlink:

After drafting your post be sure you are in the old editor.

Note: It’s easier in the old editor. I have found that if you click on the link icon next to the post headline in the new editor you can copy the link. As seen here:

 

However, it is not a short link. If anyone knows how to get the shortlink while in the new editor, it is appreciated!

So, in the old editor…

Under your headline you will see the permalink to your post or the permanent link to that post.

Right next to it you’ll see Edit….

(…..where you can edit the permalink. This is useful when you change the title to your post which I’ve done sometimes. I noticed changing the headline does not change the permalink. For the permalink to match, you’ll have to edit it. I caution that this should probably not be done if the post has already been shared. For example: I recently published a post to this blog called: “4 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow.” I publish my post midnight my time because I know that while I am sleeping, many of you on the other side of the world is up. That said, by the time I woke up the post was already being reblogged. The problem is that I had five bullet points, not four! I changed the headline to 5 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow. BUT I DIDN’T CHANGE THE PERMALINK. (If you notice, the link still says 4) This is because I don’t want to mess up the reblogs I already got. It would be a shame for someone to go to that link and that 404 message shows up. I am not sure if it will but I would not risk it. If the post has already gone live and you need to change the headline, leave the permalink be just in case).

….I digress (as usual, dang)

Next to edit is Get Shortlink. Click on that and copy and paste your shortlink. It is a shorter link to your post instead of the long permalink.

Note: If there is nothing written in the post, you will not see the shortlink button.

Pingbacks

When someone links to your blog or a post on your blog within their post, you get a comment in your comments section of that link back. That’s a pingback.  It means someone is literally, piggy backing off your post. This gives people a chance to share your post without re-blogging with credit back to the original owner. Google defines it:

  1. an automatic notification sent when a link has been created to a person’s blog post from an external website, allowing a reciprocal link to that website to be created.

Sometimes I pingback to my own post. Whenever I place a link to a previous post within my own blog post  it creates a pingback link in the comments section of whatever post I am linking back to. My Introduce yourself feature is the perfect example. Go to the comments section and scroll down. Because I link to the original post from every guest post, you will see them in the comments section.

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The first one is my pingback and the others are from others. Either way, they are all in the comments section of the original post. You can click on those links to go to the that post and since people can be notified of new comments (if they check “notify me of new comments” when making one), they can be notified every time a new Introduce Yourself interview is posted because it will link-back like a comment. No Writers Wednesday is the same way. Every time I say to “Click here to learn more about this segment” with a link to that original post, I am creating a new pingback in the comments section of that post. Although this was done by accident (and is always weird since I get a comment from myself) it has turned out to be a good thing. Link juice at its finest.

Pingbacks are also an alternative to re-blogging. While I’d rather reblog, ping-backs can be used to share posts as well.

Getting the Most Out of Guest Blog Post – by Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

It’s me again, EC. I’m back on The Story Reading Ape’s Blog and today we’re talking getting the most of your guest blog posts. Come on over, let’s chat. What are ways you get the most of your post? Let us know!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Peace and welcome,

Today, I’d like to talk about guest blogging. After all, that is what I am here for. So, let’s chat.

Why is it worth it to Guest Post? Why is it beneficial to write articles on someone else’s blog? Can’t you just write it on your own blog? Surely, the people will flock to you, right?

Your blog home is equivalent to your real home. It is your house, your rules and you can pretty much do what you want. Well, I hope you aren’t getting crazy (we’re still on the World Wide Web) but it is your domain. Naturally, you are going to behave differently on your own blog.

On the other hand, writing articles on other blogs, preferably ones more established than yours, gives you the chance to showcase your work on a larger scale. Whether you are writing an article, an inspiring post, or…

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The PBS Blog Award Page

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What a way to end the week! It’s been a long time since I’ve been nominated for a blog award. When I first began blogging in 2014, Blog Awards were a great motivation for me and a big part of helping to keep this blog going during those moments I felt like blah. Though I no longer participate in Blog Awards (Blog Award Free Since 1/20/16) I do acknowledge those who’ve nominated me and I have created a page for the awards. They are neatly stacked on the virtual shelf of The PBS Blog Awards page HERE.

Special thanks to Don Massenzio for nominating me for The Blogger Recognition Award. Every piece of support, every like, every comment, every re-blog, and every blog award gives this blog the fuel it needs to keep going. I still go through every like when I get the notification on my phone as if I don’t know who’s picture is coming up lol. They are just as important to me as the commentary and gives me the excitement I need to push onward.

Since I don’t actually participate in the Blog Awards I won’t go on to follow the rules but I would like to give the two pieces of blog advice, if I may.

 

  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers

 

  1. Make sure your blog is as easy to follow and navigate as possible. Keep it clean and the text easy to read (black text on white background always works). Be sure your blog has a Blog Follow button. Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets > I would recommend the one that says “Add an email sign-up form to allow people to follow your blog”
  1. Network with others. Comment back to comments left on your blog, visit the blogs of those who follow or liked you. Share content from other blogs. Carve out a day where you do nothing but read and interact with other blogs. Do for other blogs what you’d want people to do for you. Share their content across social media like you’d want them to do for you. Like their post and comment as you’d want them to do for you. Not just for the sake of trying to get something out of it but because good always comes back. Sitting on your hands wishing for more engagement won’t change a thing.

Now, go change the world.

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3 Reasons You Need an Author Website (And Why It’s Not the Same as a Blog)

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Let me start by saying that a blog and an author website are two different things.

From the word weblog, a blog is a website that is designed to be interactive with regularly updated content. This can be why they are so popular today and why every writer should have one. Blogs are a great way to communicate with readers, meet new friends, and network with business people in your field.

A website is less interactive, not updated in the form of publishing new posts, and exists for selling products or services, promoting products, and displaying more information about the owner. Every professional business person will have a website. The biggest disadvantage from the network side for websites is that they are stationary. After someone purchases your product or service, joins your newsletter or discovers more about you, there is no room for interaction like with a blog. This may have you to question, why then, is it important for authors to have both?

  • Professionalism

Having a blog is great, especially since they are so popular. The blog, however, is really just the first step. Every professional person will have a static website where people can go to learn more about them, discover where they are offline, follow their social media, and purchase their products. It looks more professional on business cards and flyers to display a website people can go to that is formal and stationary in addition to the blog. Though there’s no interaction on a website, you don’t really want it to be. The author website is to be as professional as you can afford without a lot going on. It’s your online store and people do not get to kick it in the store.

  • Products / Services

One of the biggest advantages of having a Website is being able to sell your books through your website. Instead of relying solely on Amazon and other places (where you can’t monitor who your fans are), selling directly through your own website gives you more control in this area. You can sell paperback copies of your book, add other products related to your books, add an email sign-up form to collect email addresses, and know who your supporters are. You can see exactly who just bought your book and reach out to them more personally. Even though you can, technically, sell through your blog as well, there’s a lot going on. On this blog, I have people following, commenting, liking, and reblogging daily, I’ve got the slide sidebar widgets, and pages. There’s just too much going on. I’d prefer my online store to have its own space on an author website and to also have a blog so that I can further build with those who support me.

  • Paperback and Hardcopy

Paperback and Hardcopy books are highly underrated, as well as the author website. Today, everyone relies strictly on Amazon and Lulu. It makes sense then why there’s always a complaint about Amazon’s algorithms: authors will have nowhere to go to sell their books. I am not sure why. As a Self-Publisher, you have the freedom to sell your books however you want* (Disclaimer: In case there are restrictions on you selling your books through your website, you can instead create a new page and link it to your Amazon account. People who go to that page–your book page or store–will be taken directly to your page. Check out Angela Ford’s page HERE. She does this beautifully. Also see how her blog and author website is so integrated. Goals!).

Build an author website and add a store for your paperback books. In 4 Common Sense Reasons it Can Benefit You to Self-Publish, we talked about the benefit of having more control but I am noticing that we do not always exercise this right. We are adding more and more rules to Self-Publishing that limit our ability to be creative and to have more control of our work. (By limit creativity I do not, in any way, mean that your creativity should ever supercede excellence. Be as creative as you want but don’t just put anything out there).

Despite their issues, I would still recommend that authors have a presence on Amazon for readers. The two questions I get most from first time customers:

“You gotta website?”

“Are you on Amazon?”

I am not talking about writers, bloggers or people familiar with the online scene or the publishing process in any way. I am talking about regular everyday readers (especially those who spend a lot of time offline) whose first thought to find a book is to go to the library or look it up on Amazon. If only for this reason, I would say to have a presence there. Amazon and Goodreads (which is owned by Amazon) is where the readers are right now. However, you don’t have to be a slave to them. There is no way that Amazon should successfully enslave any Independent Publisher to where they can no longer sell their books in the unfortunate event something happens and they can no longer sell through Amazon.

Although eBook is king, having a place where people can purchase paperback copies of the book is beneficial in more ways than one, but I’ve edited this due to certain third party restrictions you may have selling your books through your website. I wouldn’t want to get anyone in trouble. Just research and read your terms and conditions. It is good to have paperback versions of your books through along with the ebook. Be sure to research also when pricing your paperbacks. You can charge anywhere from $13.95-$17.95 or even upwards to $20.00 but you should do your research before setting your price and do your calculations. Setting the price too high OR TOO LOW can influence sales. Be sure to factor in how much it costs to print your book when setting your price. For print-on-demand, the method many Self-Publishers use to print their books, the printing cost will be deducted from your retail price, meaning your book royalties comes from the retail price minus the printing costs and wholesale discount. You don’t want to price your book so low that the printing costs leave you with little to nothing in profit. Also, consider the cost of shipping, handling, and State tax. But remember not to over price either.

Where to Start

There are tons of easy-to-use website builders you can use to create your author website but the gold standard for an author website is WordPress. I really don’t want to be repetitive. There are already tons of excellent articles on why WordPress is the best place to build an author website and there’s no use re-creating the wheel. I found an informative article that should provide all you need to know HERE.

Now, about WIX…

I hear a lot of talk about how bad sites like WIX are and how authors should not use them. While WordPress is what I’d recommend, you use, there’s nothing wrong with using WIX starting out. You have to start from somewhere. WIX may not be something you want to make a permanent home but it’s not terrible. I use WIX now and it’s not great but it can work until you can do better. (I’ve had my author website longer than I’ve been blogging or even knew about WordPress so I’m behind in that respect but, like I said, it works for now.)

Author Website? Blog? Or Both?

It only makes sense for authors to have both a blog and an author website.

Author websites present a professional image for the serious author, enabling them to build an online store where people can go to purchase their books and to access their Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Lulu, Apple iBookstore or Smashword links.

Blogs help to foster relationships and build trust with readers. Instead of purchasing a book once from a website, they can come on over and join you in a place where they will receive consistent content and insight into your writing life. People can provide feedback and interact with you daily. The more time you spend with someone, the more time you have to get to know them. Blogs give you the opportunity to build trust with your readers and to stay connected with them.

The purpose of the blog is more providing valuable and informative content than it is selling. Though you can surely sell through a blog, I would suggest using the 80/20 rule: 80% providing value, and 20% selling. That’s because blogs aren’t really for hard selling but for networking. Authors who lack the skills to blog (and focus only on writing and trying to sell their work) often find that the blog doesn’t work for them. That’s because the true purpose here is not to just write but to also interact.

If you really want to make your blog work for you:

  • Be sure there are links to your author website on your blog.
  • And then make sure your blog is accessible on your author website.
  • Go back to your blog and add an Author Media Kit, Media Page or a page with a list of your books. (I have all three). Since your website is your online store, you obviously don’t need to create a book page there but these pages on your blog will drive people to your store.
  • On your author website, create a new page and link to the Author Media Kit on your blog. It will save you the time of having to re-create the page and further connect your blog with your author website (unless you are already utilizing the blog feature of your website).

Built-In Blogs – Most website builders (Like WIX) will have the blog built into the site already and you can always use that. However, I happen to like WordPress better far as blogging is concerned. You get much better engagement and interaction blogging via WordPress than you’ll get through the blog feature of your website builder. That is because blogs here (and blogs in general) tend to have more traffic.

Summary.

  • The blog’s sole purpose is to be interactive (updated content, promotion, guest posting, interviews, building trust, forming relationships, creating bonds, etc.), driving people to your website.

Blog > Social Media > Author Website > Shop > Purchase

  • Your author website’s sole purpose is to sell.

“Blogs and websites work in very different ways, serve very different purposes and produce different short-term results. However, they are both necessary to increase your online exposure and to strengthen your online business reputation. It is important to have both as part of your online presence. They function well together and undeniably, you will see positive results over the long term if they are a part of your business online.” – Michael Cohn


Speaking of Author Websites, be sure to stop by mine! The Stella Trilogy Box Set is on sale. If you were wanting to get your hands on physical copies, now is your chance. Sale ends 2/28. Click on the image below. (Who is Stella? Learn more about these books by reading what readers had to say HERE).

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Calling All Indie Artists!

Another great opportunity to network from Lisa.

Lisa W. Tetting

Calling All Indie Artists!

I have decided to start a new feature on my blog called ‘Indie Shine’. This will begin in February 2017!

The purpose is to shine a spotlight on individual indie artists. It doesn’t matter what your chosen field is as long as you are indie and an artist.

I have received responses so get yours in today. Space is limited, as this is only a monthly feature.

Go to http://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com & complete contact me form. I will respond with detailed information and a questionnaire. Once I receive the completed questionnaire, I will let you know when your feature will post.

#indieartist #bloggers

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