writers - blogs

(25 Posts)

Thanks Mme G, some great advice there - and lots to aspire to.

Hello Avuncular. Its great to have a column. I'd like to be an 'expert'!

Avuncular Tue 01-Jan-13 22:17:01

I'm a semi-retired professional engineer but have always enjoyed writing.

All genres, not just technical. I looked at one or two professional journals which might carry stuff I wanted to say, which I thought might be of wider interest. Contacted the editors. No dice with the first, but with the second .....

A bit of negotiation and adjusting my material to meet his readership, style, space and advertising revenue needs, and the offer to contribute free of charge, and now I have my own one-page monthly column alongside other 'experts'.

Honour satisfied, but then the day after the December edition was published, I got an invitation to speak at a national seminar from one of the readers. On precisely the theme I wanted most to 'plug'.

Maybe one day there will even be some income arising.

Joined Mumsnet as a grandpa for (let's admit it) a bit of work-related safe social networking - and I'm hooked totally on the full spectrum of threads!!

Will follow your thread with interest, for further ideas.

MmeGuillotine Tue 01-Jan-13 22:09:32

I'd written my first book before I started the blog but published it and completed and published the other two after I'd started. It acted as a real impetus to get them out there as I wrote about the research while working on them and so knew that I had an audience before they were published!

(This can be a double edged sword though - my next book has taken ages to write and I'm getting daily emails/comments/messages/tweets asking when it's out, which is making me feel a bit pressured and also guilty!)

I was already working from home when I wrote my first three books but did find it pretty hard to juggle working and looking after my home and family with writing. It's much easier now - I've been a full time novelist since last January now, when my sales really took off, and get quite a lot done. smile

I really would recommend writing about stuff that interests you and only doing a post about writing if it really is something that you really want to say rather than slapping a post up because you feel obliged to. I post about my writing every so often but only when I have something to say. Otherwise, I just post about stuff that interests me. smile

pillowcase Tue 01-Jan-13 21:26:26

mmeG that's helped me decide with relief that I shouldn't try to blog about writing (except to mention i do it) and blog on a subject I'm interested in. If it eventually helps on the writing front, great, and if I get fed up doing it, i'll stop.

Thanks mme g, which came first the books or the blog? Had you already written lots of novels before you started blogging? And also, before you could write full time, how did you find the time to do it all?!

MmeGuillotine Tue 01-Jan-13 20:35:57

I'm a writer with a blog which gets around 3,000 page views a day, which is pretty good. I also have over 4,000 followers on Twitter, including some very well known writers. I personally don't use my Twitter account to 'network' but rather to chat with people. My blog isn't entirely about my writing but also about history in general (I write historical fiction) and I believe that a lot of its readership isn't limited to other bloggers.

I've been approached by agents and publishers because of my blog and Twitter feed but with a couple of exceptions (because I already knew them from Twitter basically) I knock them back as I don't really see what benefit they would be to me. I've chosen to self publish my work and with sales of around 1,000 books every month, I'm already able to write full time and making more money than they would be able to offer me as an advance.

My advice would be to forget trying to network or catch anyone's eye but to blog and Tweet about things that you enjoy. People are actively turned off by writers who do little but self promote or try and garner attention for their books whereas chatting and being generally pleasant and interesting works much better!

Well, the only time an agent has asked to see the rest of my book, she didn't ask for any blog or twitter etc details, nor did I supply them. (Or have them!) I have won short story competitions without having any of those too. I wonder if its all part of a panic distracting us from actually getting our heads down and writing!

pillowcase Sat 29-Dec-12 16:35:53

Wondering what short story magazines you read if any? I've been submitting to a few without reading them and have ordered Writers' Forum magazine but haven't a clue which ones to try. There's so much out there, it's really quite hard to know where to focus.

pillowcase Sat 29-Dec-12 16:35:43

I'm taking a year out to write (well am SAHM and lost part-time job so...) and really want to do all I can to get it right. Obviously the writing needs to be good or none of the rest is of any value.

I blog about my life, pillowcase. I'm not sure why!

I don't know if having a platform would really make the decision for a publisher - sure it would help sway but a good work would/should stand alone. Getting a platform is hard in itself too. The whole self promoting thing is v tricky - most people struggle with it, certainly at first.

pillowcase Fri 28-Dec-12 23:00:24

Flowery, me too, I hate the idea, but I think it's reality these days. I've also realised that huge book deals are rare and you shouldn't expect to make any money. I have a friend with 20 published (properly) books and say she makes 100s rather than 1000s per book. But I still want it!!

FloweryDrawers Fri 28-Dec-12 20:58:32

"I've read editor/agents will take a look at your 'platform' ie your potential to be able to network, sell when required, regardless of the topic."

See, that's what puts me off even looking for an agent or publisher - that sentence made me shudder. It seems that more and more being a writer involves selling yourself and your books, and I'm just not prepared to do that. (I write short stories, so there's only a limited chance of the whole agent/book deal thing anyway.) And self-publishing looks like it would be even worse. I think I may be cut out for blissful obscurity grin.

pillowcase Fri 28-Dec-12 20:41:49

It does seem to be a small incestuous world out there, but if you can’t beat them…
sorry about all the posts, can't post longer ones

pillowcase Fri 28-Dec-12 20:41:07

I've read editor/agents will take a look at your 'platform' ie your potential to be able to network, sell when required, regardless of the topic. I'm not sure though cause all my writer friends have writer blogs, which are mostly followed by other writers.

pillowcase Fri 28-Dec-12 20:40:43

I suppose I’m interested in starting a blog about a subject which interests me, but hope it doesn’t take all my time. I’m hoping it will also serve to prove I can market my book when necessary.

pillowcase Fri 28-Dec-12 20:40:24

Yes I agree blogs are really for one public, and won’t necessarily attract any agent/publishers. Also blogs that are just there to promote a book are tiresome.

FloweryDrawers Fri 28-Dec-12 10:29:40

I don't blog but the whole Twitter thing is also rather incestuous - writers following other writers and hoping to get followed back. This doesn't bother me because I'm using it so I can chat to other writers and find good stuff to read. However, I imagine it would get frustrating if you're hoping to connect with general readers who aren't trying to be writers themselves.

Submitting stories to magazines is good, although again, sometimes I suspect that a few are only read by writers wanting to submit their own work! I think the best approach is just to swing with it for a while, rather than feeling you need to start setting goals and <shudder> "marketing yourself". Definitely get on Twitter and follow a few writers, as you can get practical tips on where to submit, upcoming contests, etc.

If you're trying to be more focussed, then I'm not the best person to advise, but as a reader/writer I immediately unfollow/stop reading blogs/Tweets that are only about plugging the person's writing. Thinly disguised stuff also gets dumped!

I suggest that you think very carefully about the audience that you want to be reading your stories, and blog about something that appeals to them. You'll be followed by people who are into that particular hobby - but what you're hoping is that there will be a crossover between these people and your coveted "reading public".

Good luck!

I had this dilemma - but I suspect that blogs are really read only by other bloggers, so it might be good practice but i'm not sure you will get a deal out of it? I don't use twitter or anything anymore.

pillowcase Fri 28-Dec-12 09:49:10

I think I'll start blogging about a hobby/interest even if not directly related to writing (my real purpose is to have a 'platform' though so I hope it'll be worth mentioning to potential agents)

pillowcase Fri 28-Dec-12 09:48:52

Yes I'm worried about spending too much time on any of these.
Thanks for your comment on twitter - I'll look into that.
Do you blog about writing itself/literary themes or something else?

Hi pillowcase, I think it depends on how much time you've got. I started blogging this sept, after I found I needed a break from other writing - I soon found it has become all consuming- you need to read other blogs, comment, etc, etc.
I have enjoyed it massively, and it's been great for me to finish and polish pieces rather than start and abandon, however, it's taken time that perhaps I should be spending on bigger writing projects. I don't know.
I would def get a twitter account- no need to reveal yourself on it.

pillowcase Sun 23-Dec-12 13:43:17

I know it would be best to blog about a hobby that I'm genuinely interested in and hopefully followers will be interested in buying book. Do you prefer blogs that only focus on one thing or on several interests?

(and sorry about 4 messages, must try to contact site stuff to see why I need to do this)

pillowcase Sun 23-Dec-12 13:42:38

So just wondering what kind of blog is the right way to go. I see many writers have blogs just about writing/publishing, but I think only other writers read these.

pillowcase Sun 23-Dec-12 13:42:19

(sorry I can't post long messages on mumsnet so have to break into 4 messages)

I'm also advised that I'll need to have blog/facebook/twitter and really gather followers etc. I'm not good at that kind of thing being a v private person.

pillowcase Sun 23-Dec-12 13:41:33

Hi all,
I'm currently writing novel/children's novel/short stories and aim to really get 'out there' and get published in 2013. One thing I'm doing is submitting short stories to literary mags/competitions to put some published works on my author biography.

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