Thursday, January 5, 2012

Your Author Blog is Your Home

Good morning! This is Shar blogging and not Michael once again. First of all thank you to all the lovely people who commented on my blog yesterday. I am floored! Wish I could win the Kindle but ah well, another story for another day. *grins*

The Authors Blog
Author Sharita Lira

So much has been written and talked about when it comes to your blog. Whether it’s how often, how it should look, the do’s and don’ts as well as the content you should have and how it’s presented. In my opinion there’s no right or wrong way. Think what makes you happy first what you think is feasible to maintain.

Now, I’m not saying throw anything up there, meaning blogging about your visit to the vet or to the dentist, nor am I advocating filling the blog with, ahem, interesting pictures. Just keep in mind when you do make a blog, it’s is in a sense your home. What you but out there is visible to the world. You’re allowing your audience to visit you completely unannounced. Is it tidy? Is it a place where everyone can feel welcome?

Let me preface this by saying in no way shape or form am I an expert. I’m only stating my opinion so here it goes. Again, let’s use the analogy of your house since the blog is essentially an author’s home base.

Is it tidy? When you invite people into your home, you don’t like to leave clothes strewn about or empty food boxes, etc. In blogging sense what about the links on your blog. If they are images do they work? If they are covers to your books do they lead to the best place to purchase it? I know I‘ve done some cleaning on mine since one of my pubs recently updated their website. Tidiness can also mean is it updated? A lot of people say everyday it should have SOMETHING up there to tell the readers and our followers that you’re still writing. With the holiday just passing, I’m sure a lot of us didn’t update a whole hell of a lot. I know I didn’t. So I did that these last couple of days. Updated, said happy new year, welcomed a guest. In truth, I believe your blog should have something new up everyday even if you have nothing to say. How about a picture? A blog about your WIP? I have a schedule so even when I don’t have a guest, something is up from the previous day or two at least. This I something to think about when you create yours.

The appearance? In your home, you put very inviting things up. Vases full of flowers, pictures of your family, etc. Now this is touchy because I love a saucy blog. Pictures of love in its many forms, especially of the m/m variety are such turn on’s and on my blog Menspirations, I try updating everyday with some very saucy pics but I had to think, on my writer’s blogs, I might want to tone down the sidebars just a tad and even on my Wow Wednesday, I moved it to Menspirations and I have a pic that leads to it from Taboo on most days. When it comes to being an m/m writer we have to think about the people who visit. They might not be fans of gayporn.  To some, this might be disturbing. Still, I’m all about free speech and when you want to showcase your favorite pics don’t let them dictate what you put up but just keep in mind, you might have some people who will either not come back or take it a step further and report you. I won’t because I love it all. Along with the pics, I wonder about promotion on the sidebars. At Michael’s, I have every cover Michael has been associated with so far. I think that will change since I’m sure Michael will have many more. Will I put up every single one? No. On BL’s I have hers up too. She has more books coming as well. I’ll keep hers up for now but when she gets past six, it might be time for it all to go. How about a blogroll which is a list of your fave blogs, some promo for your fellow authors? I have the book I’m reading now with a buylink. This leads me to my next point.

Guests? You like people to come to your house, right? When they come they stay awhile, they eat with you, etc. I hope you’re not a person who doesn’t like to have guests by. With blogging, in my opinion you should like to have guests on a regular basis. I try to have them come over twice a week. Michael and Rawiya are on a set schedule. BL has her own set of saucy questions but I also invite Cassandre Dayne over every other week. Rawiya has Xakara over twice a month for ménage Monday and Michael has a fan, Sheila G, do a monthly post, usually at the beginning and a monthly author spotlight. Some might say this is too much but I like paying it forward. So many people welcomed me into their “homes” when I first started even when I was a nobody. *laughs* I’m still fairly new but I’ve done the same to authors well known or not. How about blog tours? On the day I’m writing this, I’m part of a blog tour which has garnered about 50 comments so far. Wow, I’m floored. Surely the giveaway, a Kindle Fire, has something to do with it but just the contribution I made resulted in new followers and I don’t have the views but it has to be many. What about the wonderful things like Six Sentence, Weekend Dirty Dozen, Flash Fiction? All things that can draw traffic. Only a few things but hopefully they’ll help. I know they have for me.

Advertisement? Okay this is an odd one. When you have people over, do you have things about your books all over the place? Do you bombard the guests who come by with your news? Is that all you have to talk about? *laughs* Hopefully not. We don’t want to bombard our readers with our latest book on every post. Wip’s are good, free reads, yes they are good as well, something to look forward to. What about a topic related to your writing? Mine is the men I use in stories or the music I write to. Rawiya has the best one. Titillating Tuesday is her picture day and Wind Down Wednesday is her or the guests inspiration. Her blog is still new so I’m testing things to see if they work before I invite guests to do them as well. They get a lot of views so far so that tells me they might be good ideas to continue. As I stated earlier, I love pictures. Michael’s Wow leads to Menspirations where more saucier pictures are shown. Just pics, no words. I also occasionally do Thursday 13 when I have a topic and on Saturday’s all the muses do a Saturday Sip of a book or WIP if they aren’t doing WDD or FFF. On the flipside of that, I don’t get overly personal either. I don’t talk about my kids or family or even what I’ve done outside of writing too much unless it relates to the topic. Think about what you want out there on the web my friends. *smiles*

Those are only a few things I could think about. The color scheme, music on the blogs, the text, all things totally up to you as the author but just think about the message you’re sending as the writer to the world. I know with the pictures, I’ve been very stubborn. It’s my blog, don’t like it, leave. It’s still my attitude to an extent but I had to think about it. As much as I like the porn, others may not like it. Now, funny thing is, my Menspirations blog has more hits than all my writer’s blogs combined, so the Google stats say and it’s really risqué but I rarely promo there. There’s a blogroll, a link to my others, and that’s it. Really, if people knew who I am, they might not know I actually run it. LMAO but I do.

The bottom line is our blogs contribute to our brand. There are no numbers to support it but your blog will help your sales. People want to get to know you as an author, so open your home, keep it tidy and looking good. Most of all updated. Try for a weekly post, set a schedule of friends to come by or regular things just so something goes up. You might be surprised at how many will follow you. I know I’m floored by this when I show up at places like Goddess Fish and or TRS. They show up in the follow link and their names look familiar when I go to those other blogs.

Hate to blog? C’mon it’s not that bad. Learn to love it. It is a part of your writer’s life after all. Leave your thoughts.


Vampirique Dezire said...

Brilliant post Shar, have never thought of it in that way.

Thanks for some of those tips, will have to see if I can put it into action.

*bites n kisses*

Naomi said...

Wow! I'm so glad I read this. I seriously need to be looking at my blog to work out how it can be made better. You have given me ideas and shone a little light for me to stop me from stumbling so much. Thank you for a wonderful blog. I for one will be making regular visits to see the other gems here. Bravo!

BLMorticia said...

TY Mistress Dezire. Like I said, Im only giving my opinions. We writers should help one another right?

Youre welcome Naomi. Anyway I could help let me know

Jean said...

Great post, Sharita. You're right. I need to check out my blogs and make sure they are neat and tidy and get some guests going in here.

vampiremorbius said...

Great post. I have found that I love to blog and feel that I have to post daily but I do need to tidy mine up quite a bit lol.

BLMorticia said...

TY Jean, Im glad I could help.

JS, you're welcome. :D

Leaundra said...

I have to say as a reader I love when authors have blogs/page. Usually when I read a book that I loved I will go to an authors blog/page. I like to check out their books and what they have coming out next. They can be very helpful to readers like me. I have been disappointed when I haven't found one for a certain author. So for every author who has one thanks:-)

BLMorticia said...

Thanks Lee Lee for your input. I too like to go to an authors blog after I've read their book.

:D Appreciate your comment and visit

Delaney Diamond said...

I like the analogy you made by calling our blog our home. It really drives "home" the message.

I only have blog posts once per week. Even though I see the value in it, I've actually thought about going strictly to a once per month newsletter format and using the blog only for special announcements. I'm still deciding and looking into newsletter programs. MailChimp seems to be inexpensive and very popular and I'm told it's easy to use.

Pictures are so subjective. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of porn on sites. After getting burned a few times on Facebook when I clicked on a link and landed on a page of naked men, fully erect, etc., etc., I've become more cautious.

If I can't see the whole picture on FB, chances are, I won't click through. Even though it's not my personal taste, I would never complain, and I think it's ridiculous of people to do that. I take the attitude of if I don't like it, I stay away. Other people should, too.

To further build on your analogy, why call the interior design police just because I like contemporary furniture but someone has decorated THEIR OWN HOUSE with French colonial pieces?!

Just to show how subjective taste is, I participated in a blog hop where my site was labeled "adult." Now, you know me, so the only thing I can think of is that they had a problem with one of my book covers, which shows a woman in red lingerie. Similar attire you could see at a beach.

Okay, I've gone on too long, which is proof that I really enjoyed this post and the points you made.

Have a great day!! :)

BLMorticia said...

TY Delaney. I appreciate your input. IDK, I haven't done the newsletter thing yet but I've had readers ask me so I better get on it.

I really enjoy blogging, its the one part of promoing I love doing. I'm striving to get better at writing and I believe your blog should be a reflection of how you grow as a writer and what you've learned

Delaney Diamond said...

If you like blogging and like sharing what you've learned, you might consider the Marketing for Romance Writers Group. Even though there are over 1000 members, there's not a lot of activity on it. There's no promo allowed.

Are you a member there? If not, it's really good. Tonight there is an advanced class on how to use Twitter.

The authors there are always sharing their experiences, ideas, tips, and teaching classes. If you have an informative blog post every now and again (like this one), you're allowed to share it, which is a way to promo yourself.

If you want to check it out, here's the link:

BLMorticia said...

TY Delaney. I will indeed. I like hearing peoples advice on Promo.

Tessa said...

Great post Sharita, I find it difficult to blog sometimes because my day job gets complicated and by the time I sit down to pen something, I re-read it and think 'why would *anyone* want to read that?' And proceed to scrap it.

I think you're definitely right about consistency, I should set myself a goal of a once weekly, whatever I do. I find it so difficult to promo myself, but it is so necessary because how else do readers know we exist? I have a lot more hard work and thinking to do :-)

BLMorticia said...

Thanks for chiming in Tessa.

I hear you, I still sort of shy away from promoing, I do that on all the social media to a certain extent but you need to do this to be successful, the thing is bombarding your readers.

You don't want to do that