This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
As a writer you’re supposed to have words at your fingertips whenever you want them, and even if you’re not using them to write a book, you’re expected to be maintaining your author platform. But how do you keep finding things to write about? And who are you writing for?
I’ve been writing this column for four years now, and I absolutely love it. It’s a great way to share my journey on the publishing roller-coaster, but it can also be a daunting prospect. Having to write a column about writing, every week, is tough. It’s especially hard in the weeks when I haven’t been writing, or if I can’t talk about what’s going on (e.g when I was waiting for a foreign rights deal to be announced – or when I’ve had a killer book idea that I can’t share yet).
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Amazingly, I usually find topics for all my Novelicious columns, yet that means I’m pretty much blogged out afterwards. My website gets a little bit neglected as I feel I’ve exhausted all my writing tips and publishing insight via the column, but I wonder if I am missing a trick. The majority of my readers probably aren’t interested in writing a book themselves. Which means if I want to attract them to my website or get them to return, I need to think of other ways to entice them. And that got me thinking: how do authors do this?I tend to visit other authors’ websites as a writer, so I naturally go to the websites of Miranda Dickinson, Julie Cohen and Sue Moorcroft, because they have brilliant posts about learning the craft of writing. I’m trying to find authors who update the content of their websites on a frequent basis, but not about writing or their books. Answers in the comments please!
I’ve been toying with the idea about starting a vlog, but again, my idea for that was writing related. I’m now wondering if I should try and think of a different idea to reach the regular readers of my books. Or am I thinking too much about this? Should I instead be using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to talk about my everyday life and give my readers an insight into it?
It’s not only platform that needs to be considered. Whilst we’re talking about giving an insight into our lives, just how personal do you get? One of the funniest author blogs I’ve read ever was Lucy Robinson’s when she was talking about a holiday she went on. It was very real-life and a few times I thought to myself “I can’t believe she wrote that as it was a little TMI”, but it all added to the humour and warmth of the blog. Then again, I’ve also read all sorts of posts on Facebook from fellow authors, which I’ve occasionally thought have crossed the line. I bite my lip and wonder if they really should be writing what they have on what is a pretty a public space. But how do you find that balance?
It’s like a minefield. What do you write? Who do you write it for? Where do you post it? And people think writing the book is the hard bit! For me, it’s definitely everything that goes alongside it with the author platform. What do you think?