• 101
    Best Websites
    for Writers

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and get the 101 Best Websites for Writers download.

  • Guide to Literary Agents

How to Create a Simple Writer Blog

Categories: Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog, Guest Columns, Social Networking and the Internet.

Writing is hard work. First, you have to write the story. Then you have to revise it, workshop it, revise it some more, write a query letter, do query research, then mail your baby out. While many writers think the work ends the moment they sign a contract, pros know otherwise. Being a successful author is an awful lot of work, not the least of which is promotion. A blog is an easy way to get started—all you need is a computer and an Internet connection.


Guest post by Peta Jinnath Andersen,
freelance writer & editor. See her website,
 *Insert Literary Blog Name Here*.
She also
writes flash fiction and short fiction.

 

There are lots of great blogging platforms out there, each with good points and bad points. But most die-hard bloggers and social media tweeple swear by WordPress.

Why WordPress? Unlike most services, even the free WordPress.com platform offers users a lot of templates and customization. Although this may seem unimportant, the Internet is blog centralmaking your blog stand out can help keep you up front in your readers’ minds. (And really, why pick vanilla when you could have mint choc chip with hot fudge sauce?) Another perk: WordPress can be setup much like a website (more on this below). It’s also easy to move to self-hosting later on.

WHAT DO YOU BLOG ABOUT?

Not sure what to write or blog about? Start with whatever interests youthe book you loved/hated/roasted on a spit, the latest update from Publishers Weekly, things you’re struggling with in your novel. Blogging is a useful way to keep readers updated on your professional life, show off your writing chops,  and show agents and publishers that you’re interested in going the extra mile.

Keep it professional, thoughit’s easy to fall into the trap of regular personal updates, such as what you ate for breakfast and how many times Baby has spat-up (twice in the last hour, if you’re wondering). Some details are okayin fact, you’re more likely to connect with readers by giving them some idea of who you arejust don’t go overboard. And remember, if it’s something you’d be embarrassed to talk about down at the local coffee house, don’t put it on the Internet! Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know.

SETTING UP

1. Head over to WordPress and sign up. Think carefully about your domain nameyou can’t change it later. (Your username and blog title can be changed in settings at any time.)
2. Follow the prompts and update your profile. Don’t just skip the “about yourself” section
take every opportunity to connect with your readers.
3. Check your inbox for the activation e-mail. Give the link a little love. (E-mail didn’t arrive? Check the update profile page to ensure your e-mail addy is correct. Scroll to the bottom of the page to change it.)
4. Log in at the top of the page.
5. Click on “My Dashboard” in the menu bar at the top of the page.

POSTS, PAGES, CATEGORIES & TAGS

Pages: Pages are exactly what they sound likestatic pages with your content. You can have as many pages as you like, and they can be called whatever you likeon *Insert Literary Blog Name Here* I have eight pages (Home, About, Upcoming Publications, the NRI, SFWP.org, Books, and Contact). To make a page, scroll to the Pages drop down on the left menu, and click “add.”

Posts: These are blog entries. Let’s say you want to put some writing samples on your new site (a good idea, by the way). Find the posts menu then click “add new.” Type or paste your content into the text box. (Use the “Paste From Word” function if you’re pasting from a word processor.) Don’t forget a title! Scroll down the right menu, and select the categories your post fitssay, writing samplesthen hit save (for a draft) or publish to go live. Voila!

Categories: Categories are like folders in a filing cabinet.They give you an easy way to sort posts and, in some theme,s create a handy menu bar. Since I use my website as both a blog and a freelance portfolio, I chose categories that reflect the areas I work in the most. You can use more than one category per post (only posts can be categorized), and create subcategories. Subcategories can be useful if you have a lot of similar content (say writing) but isn’t all directly related.

Tags. This is geek-speak for keywords. Tags are used in site searches, and are often listed somewhere on the post. Many themes also have tag cloudsa quick and easy way to show what you post about most.


 

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts
  • Print Circulation Form

    Did you love this article? Subscribe Today & Save 58%

9 Responses to How to Create a Simple Writer Blog

  1. Ester Shifren says:

    I have a domain name but haven’t yet set up a website. I’m a bit confused about whether you’re saying I should ONLY get a wordpress blog (and is it wordpress.com, or .org?), and not have a webhost as a start. I want to get this done ASAP as I’m currently sending out posts in emails and on social media sites. Please clarify this once and for all so I can get off the ground. Thanks.

  2. @theresa – thanks for the kind words! You can do as Samantha says, and most people will follow you.

    If you set up your own domain name, you can import your blogger blog, and then put a redirect on your blogger site so visitors are automatically forwarded to the new site.

  3. Great post. I also can attest to the greatness of WordPress. I use it for my blog and it’s easy to use, easy to set up and has great customization and search engine optimization features, which I love. It basically does everything for you.

    Also, I chose WordPress when I started my blog partly because users don’t have to login to leave a comment, unlike services such as Live Journal. I think the experience for the reader should be as seamless as possible. And WordPress is easy to use for both the blogger and reader, which is great.

    Theresa, I don’t know much about Blogger, but if you want to make the switch, you can build your WordPress blog, and when it’s ready, put a post on your blogger blog saying you’ve made the switch and giving a link. You might lose a few readers at the beginning, but they’ll come back to you once they see the post. And do some research online. There might be a way to port your content from Blogger to WordPress, but I’m not sure.

  4. This was a helpful post for people considering starting a blog. I wish I’d seen it before I set up a blogger account in September. At the time I wanted to create a blog, I knew Blogspot, but I didn’t know about Word Press (Probably because Word Press doesn’t come up in the address, which is another bonus). I don’t want to lose the readers I have, so I’m afraid to make the switch.

  5. Hey Chuck – Thanks for linking Christina’s guest blog from my blog under your footnotes. She is amazing! And as a YA and NF author, I have found her advice beyond helpful!!!

  6. Kristan says:

    @Peta- Thanks, Peta! I’d probably feature Riley in every header if I didn’t think people would get sick of him. :)

    And no worries, I too am a sucker for WP themes, hehehe.

    @Paulo- Or even just "Book Thoughts"? I agree that it’s valuable to have the right expectations for a book, and for writers books (both good and bad) can be great learning tools.

  7. Paulo Campos says:

    @Kristan: That’s an excellent point about writing reviews.

    I just added regular blogging to my routine as a writer and have been thinking about writing an occasional review. A model I’ve been thinking of using is Nick Hornby’s "Stuff I’ve Been Reaing" column that used to be monthly in The Believer.

    He avoided explicit negative comments about books he didn’t like. It wasn’t even a proper review column, but was a useful context for learning about books (old and new) I wasn’t familiar with and getting a sense of what to expect if I read one.

    Maybe something like a Book Expectation Post (a clunky phrase) rather than Book Review Post?

  8. @Kristan – thanks! I used Blogger for a while, and I did like it, but I prefer WP because it’s easy to shift to a self-hosted site once you get used to the whole site/blogging process. That, and the themes. I’m a sucker for fooling around with WP themes.

    I think the roasting thing depends on the how and the why. Have you ever been over to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books? That said, I was mostly just indulging my own silly sense of humor.

    By the way, I love how you’ve put your previous header images up on your site (I especially love "too pooped to pup").

  9. Kristan says:

    Great start up guide! I LOVE WordPress and definitely recommend it, but I’ve seen a number of good blogs on Blogger too, which is a little more basic/newbie-friendly. Both offer the option to post to your own domain, when you’re ready for that too.

    The *one* thing I would caution against, actually, is roasting books publicly. I used to "review" books on a blog with my friend, and then I thought, "Oh man, what if someone did this to one of my books someday? And worse: what if it was a fellow writer?" That’s when I realized that *publicly* lambasting another writer’s work just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, and probably wasn’t a great idea anyway. There’s enough negative energy in the world, ya know?

    Now I still rate books on GoodReads, so my friends know whether I liked it or not, and I think it’s okay to say that a book didn’t hook you or just wasn’t your thing. It’s crossing the line into "roasting" that I would be wary of.

    (Sorry, haha, I know that’s a REALLY small point in the context of this post.)

Leave a Reply