Friday’s Fun Find: WOW! Blogging and Social Media

Whenever I go to writer’s conferences, an attendee will ALWAYS ask, “Do I need to have a blog?” and “Do I need to be on Facebook? Or Twitter?”

And the professional–editor, agent, publisher or author–will say, “It’s not absolutely necessary, but it’s a very good idea.”

That’s the short answer. The long answer is that first, what you write needs to be good. All the blogging and social media in the world is not going to make stinky writing smell nicer. But if you have sweet writing, then blogging and social media will give you a step up, will show professionals that you are a savvy writer as well as a good writer.

WOW!Women-on-writing’s issue this month is all about blogging and social media. What that means for you, dear writer, is a fun way to get all the info about this topic, whether you’re just getting started or you haven’t begun. Or even if you’ve been at it for a while and think you know everything (ahem) because now there’s Pinterest and really, shouldn’t you at least have an idea what that’s all about?

So.  The next time you’re at a conference, you can sit there, nice and smugly and in the know and skip the lecture about “Why Blogging and Social Media Are a Good Idea.”  Maybe you can pass notes to your friends instead (I recommend sitting on the back row).

Could Your Blog Turn You Into a Published Author? (Hint: YES!)

I am thrilled to have Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book, here as part of her WOW! book tour! And Nina’s stuff is so good, I think it best if I step aside and let her run the show. So here’s the scoop, straight from the author’s mouth. Er, pen.

If you balk at starting a blog because you think it will take you away from writing your book consider this: Your blog could change your status from “aspiring author” to “published author.”

Want some proof? Just consider some of the bloggers who didn’t even set out to become authors but who are now published, like Julie Powell (Julie & Julia), Christian Landers (Stuff White People Like), Jill Smokler (Confessions of a Scary Mommy), Jenny Lawson (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened), and Neil Pasricha (The Book of Awesome). They wrote some pretty amazing content on their blogs, garnered a ton of fans—potential book buyers and readers—and were found by agents or publishers. They then turned their existing blog content into a book or, in some cases, wrote a book based on the topic of their blog.

How can you repeat the success of these bloggers and use your blog as the path to publication? Let’s look at what these authors had in common that helped them land their book deals:

A Blog: This served as the hub of their promotion plan; even they weren’t conscious of this fact. From their blog they built out to social networks and found followers and fans. Their blogs served as their website, but it was dynamic, rather than static—filled with keywords and keyword phrases that helped them become discover-able by the search engines and by readers.

A Good Idea: These bloggers attracted so many readers because their ideas resonated with many people. The topic about which they wrote, and the angle from which they chose to cover that topic, solved a problem a lot of people had or answered a question in many people’s minds. It added benefit to people’s lives. It touched them emotionally.

A Large Fan Base:  Their blog attracted a large number of readers. This equates to an author platform, which is what most publishers require. It’s also necessary to create a successful self-published book—one that sells.

Great Content: They all wrote great content. Without great content, readers won’t stick around, come back or share your blog posts.

How can you create a successful blog and end up with a book deal? And, maybe more importantly, how can you blog and find time to write your book, too? Simple. Instead of re-purposing existing blog content, blog a book.

When you blog a book, you write it from scratch on your blog. That means you break your book down into post-sized bits and publish them, one by one on the internet. In the process, you create the first draft of your book. If you write consistently and often—2-7 days a week—and use your social networks to help promote your blog, you should begin to build a fan base. If it grows large enough, you may be found by an agent or publisher.

If you don’t get discovered in the process of blogging your book, you can send a query and a book proposal to agents and publishers. Or you can self-publish your book.

Here are some simple steps to help you blog your book:

  1. Choose a topic.
  2. Evaluate the topic’s marketability and competition.
  3. Re-angle your topic as necessary to make it unique in both the book store and the blogosphere.
  4. Create a content plan.
  5. Break your content plan down into post-sized bits (250-500 word pieces).
  6. Write and publish these post-sized bits on a schedule (2-7 times per week) on your blog.

Blogging a book is actually the quickest and easiest way to write your book and promote it at the same time. Whether you end up traditionally published or self-published, by using this method, you’ll find that your blog can help you realize your dream of becoming a published author—and a successful published author at that.

About the Author:

Nina Amir, Inspiration to Creation Coach, inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. She motivates both writers and non-writers to create publishable and published products, careers as authors and to achieve their goals and fulfill their purpose. The author of How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books), Nina has also self-published 10 short books. A sought after editor, proposal consultant, book and author coach, and blog-to-book coach, Nina’s clients’ books have sold upwards of 230,000 copies and landed deals with top publishers. She is the founder of Write Nonfiction in November and writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction NOW!, How to Blog a Book, and As the Spirit Moves Me. Sign up for a free author, book or blog-to-book coaching session with Nina or receive her 5-Day Published Author Training Series by visiting www.copywrightcommunications.com. Find out more about Nina at www.ninaamir.com.

And follow her here:

Twitter:www.twitter.com/#!/ninaamir

Facebook: www.facebook.com/InspirationToCreation and www.facebook.com/ninaamir

LinkedIn:www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Nina/Amir

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ninaamir

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/107098776847894040162

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NinaAmir

 

I know dozens of bloggers (because I visit your blog) who are sitting on a book goldmine! Nina’s generously shared a ton of info here–and her book is packed with even more great advice and tips–to get you started, mining those nuggets. How to Blog A Book could be a golden writing opportunity for you!

Blogher, Tags, and The Divorce Girl

Hmmm…that’s a strange title for a post, isn’t it? But it’ll make sense (and it’s all connected!) when I explain:

First, I added that little blog bling thingie (It’s over there on the sidebar. You did notice it, right?) because Blogher picked up one of my guest posts over at The Muffin.

Er, not that post. The post I wrote about tagging and how checking off those tags is a really helpful thing to do in the selling-books department.

And speaking of really helpful things, let’s talk about blogging. If you’re blogging for fun and pure enjoyment, then honestly, you can do whatever you want (well, within legal limits and such). But if you’re a writer/artist who’s blogging to build a platform or increase exposure or promote your work, then it’s a good idea to be mindful of what you’re putting out there on the wide world of the web. Your blog is you. Your style, your voice, your thoughts. So give it your best effort because you never know what good things may follow.

(Um, it may follow that people steal material off your blog without crediting you. That is not a good thing. So check your name regularly, and if you find someone lifting your work, without your permission, nip it in the bud.)

I was excited when Blogher contacted me about the post the editor wanted to spotlight. But I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if WOW! Women-on-writing hadn’t given me the opportunity to contribute to The Muffin (You can contribute to the Muffin on Fridays when they host a Friday Speak Out like this one. Details for contributing are at the end of the post.) And I wouldn’t be posting over at The Muffin if the editor at WOW! hadn’t read my blog and liked my voice.

See how it’s all connected? (I’m hearing “It’s a Small World” in my head. Okay, now, I’m singing it. Hold on a sec–)

So, put your best blog foot forward. (Oh! But first, zip over to this post about The Divorce Girl to leave a comment. I’ll be drawing a name TOMORROW to win a copy of this engaging YA/Adult novel on a WOW! Blog Book Tour!)