Blogs. Over time they've become a gateway of thoughts, for connecting others who feel, or may not feel the same way you do, but bring out great conversations when they don't agree. Learning about things that someone may have more knowledge about, or even teaching others things YOU may have more knowledge about, and want others to know.
They're important in gaining an author's platform, but also important for just people looking to make brands for themselves. We wanted to write this fifty page blog post about why one should have a blog, especially those hoping to release a book, or those who have already released a book. But we've decided to stretch the subjects out. I'd hate to give people too much to read, and it would ensure I can write as much as I want on the different reasons or excuses one may give themselves for not writing one.
The reason we're writing this blog is mainly through a connect on Goodreads. The woman appears so interesting, and her thoughts and opinions are so insightful, I was curious to know if she herself had a blog. I was in luck, as due to how specific her screen name was, I found a blog of hers right away. It featured everything I thought it might in my exchanges with her, and possibly more. The one drawback however was that it hadn't updated since 2011. This was disappointing, but brought back memories of my own blog I'd started years ago, but stopped writing for.
There are many reasons why you should consider a blog, but some never even consider the reasons, they only consider the excuses.
Excuses One May Have:
Excuse One-Followers. Having none, not enough, or having a lot of followers that are only along for the ride because of follow for follow tactics. If you have no or few followers, it's time to start get creative in gaining some. Research communities that you're in. Communicate with others in communities you've gained and find people who have common interests. Get them interested in your blog, and vice versa. Be as invested in them and you expect them to be in you. And while follow for follow can seem slow at times in your numbers, it does help. Researching blog hops are even better. Sometimes it's possible to gain 50+ in a week with a decent blog hop, and you're getting to learn about your audience as well as the blogs you've become an audience to. But when you follow others, leave a note or a comment! If you don't let them know, they may not even know that you're following them!
And as far as people whom are following you now? Even if it by gaining followers you'd done it through follow for follow, put pride aside. Say "Who cares?" The point is that they're following you. And hopefully they're following you because you at least have one common interest. For us it's been books. And we're positive not everyone is following us because they're passionate about multiculturalism. But our point is just to make people aware of multiculturalism, or the lack of it. Perhaps an interesting post title will catch someone's attention? But the point is, we're TRYING to catch people's attention. It may not affect most people(and when I say most, it could mean white, or able bodied, or people of the Christian faith, etc.) but imagine this situation. You're in a bookstore with your friend.
Insert Friend Here-
Imagine both of you going to the same section of the bookstore(for me, it would mostly likely be Young Adult) with the intention of buying a brand new book. The default for book covers feature Caucasian, able bodied, "All-American" types. You see many books you feel you can relate to, and leave with a book. You're completely satisfied in your purchase, but it bugs you that your friend didn't leave with anything. I mean there were so many books to choose from, and you wanted to share why you bought yours, and hear why she bought hers(or his ;p). Asking her/him why she/he left with nothing, she/he gives you some reply about wanting to be able to relate to the cover as well. Now you're friend is Black/Latino/Asian/Muslim/Disabled/Gay/Transgender(sorry I couldn't find any flattering pics of gay men or women that were cartoons =/) etc. You're friends with them because appearance doesn't matter to you, so you're unsure on why something as simple as a book cover would stop them from getting anything, especially when there were so many great choices to choose from! She/He tells you, "It's easy for you to say, because in books you're not invisible. That if race, religion, sexual orientation or disability are so insignificant, why can't a book cover ever feature a non-Caucasian, non able-bodied, non-Christian default type character? You don't know how to feel about that statement. So there's an awkward walk to the car or bus. You quickly change the subject, as you've already forgotten. Unfortunately this is not a luxury your friend has :( This subject will probably stay with them for much longer than a car/bus ride home. So I know not everyone will get what we're writing about, but for us the whole point is to get people thinking about it.
Excuse Two-Not having anything to write about. One of the biggest mistakes one could make about starting a blog is giving your blog a subject you couldn't talk about during your everyday life. Multiculturalism seems to come up in a conversation at least once a day for us. I can be watching one of our favorite shows "The Big Bang Theory", and while most of their cast is Caucasian, two of their major characters belong to two religions that don't fall into Christianity(One is Hindu, one is Jewish). I live in downtown New Haven, which is Yale territory. On my way to Starbucks, I'll see plenty of same sex couples, interracial couples, interfaith couples, etc. New Haven is colorful, so I'm pretty sure I even see a lot of transgender females and males. So as long as I notice cultures within cultures in society I'll be covered. Being Afro-Cuban American, I can't help but notice and care for different cultures. But being a book lover, the lack of a diverse world also gives me much to write about.
NEVER CHOOSE A SUBJECT YOU CAN ONLY GET THREE MONTHS OUT OF. If you love hair, and everything that goes with it, such as different ways to style it, how to combat hair during weather changes, or performing tasks on hair that is not a texture you're familiar with, then go for that. If you're a pet person, there are lots of subjects you can talk about with that. Music lover? Even better! But remember to choose wisely. I had a blog two years ago(it's actually still up 6_6). I choose a subject that I was passionate about, an anime I loved, but when that show came to an end, I stopped writing for it ^-^. Unbeknownst to me, that in while ignoring it for two years, I'd gotten 4800 page views, which was insane, because I only had two followers(and I'm ashamed to admit it was just Libby and I ^_^) and I didnt know all the ways in gaining audiences, so I never reached viewers on my own. Had I known it could have been a success, I would've improved it at the very least. So choose your weapon in war wisely. You may find out you've brought a pen to a pencil fight.
Excuse Three- Not having any time. While this is a relevant excuse, it's a dumb one. Many of us spend hours on social networks, researching things to buy, and following celebrity gossip. If you have time for those things, you have time to engage people whom you may want to read your book one day. There are dozens of ways to find ways to manage time, but unfortunately it's up to a person to follow them. I feel the best advice I could give, is to help you manage your blog with very little time.
Try committing to your blog 30 minutes a day. Even if those minutes are not consecutive. Duolit, a team of an author and marketer have great ways in using time wisely, and all their info is free! They give great advice about time management, launching your book release, creating your author platform and much more. They can be found at Official Site or Twitter.
And I don't think we have to tell anyone that the more you write, the more you're giving an audience to comment on, provoke conversation, and see what you're all about, but if school, parenthood, work or just life in general will not allow you a ton of time, any audience you have or plan to gain needs to know what you can commit to. At the very least, on your blog, there should be something indicating that you write weekly or even monthly. If this is all you can commit to, make it fun by counting down to your audience when the next blog post will be coming. Make your audience look forward to every post, even if they're infrequent. Also, try writing your blog posts in advance, that way you can just post them when they're scheduled to be released. Just try not to go more than a month without posting or updating anything. If you cant commit to at least once a month, some may question why they're even following someone who never updates their blog.
So with all this being said, if you start a blog, start it for the right reasons, but also always find ways to commit to it. You wont regret it, and people you learn from or those whom learn from you wont either!
Part II coming soon...