The really cool thing is there is such a platform. It’s called a blog. And it has become many upcoming writers’ best friend since the age of the internet dawned.
The figures are very encouraging: WordPress.com alone has 5,900,000 users in Australia, while Blogspot has 2,800,000 users in the country.
You too can make the best use of your blog to get a head start as a writer – and have fun while you’re at it. Here is how.
1) Think ahead, then think backwards
Confused? Well, this simply means you need to plan your blog around your writing career. By now you have already thought of the book you will soon be neck deep in. So plan your blog in such a way that its content keeps touching on your book’s big idea or theme in subtle ways.
You could, for instance, review books by authors in the same genre. Or write about your favourite classics that broadly fall in a similar category. Or even interview a writer you admire, someone who writes on the same themes and issues.
The possibilities are endless, really. You can think of a dozen ways to approach the subject. Keep at it, so that when your book is out, thousands of people already identify you as an expert of sorts on the subject or at least someone who is very enthusiastic about her or her genre.
2) Engage with your readers
This is your great opportunity to interact with your readers. Don’t just seek their comments after every post, but be attentive to what they are saying – and respond to them. You will quickly build up an enviable reader base, which will come in handy when you announce that upcoming book.
Be unfailingly polite. Always. Show genuine interest. There is nothing like building a fan club even before your book is out. It will boost your confidence – and your book’s sales.
3) Write a short story. Or two
Get your creative juices flowing. And experimenting with the short story form on your blog will get you noticed – and not just among general readers. The publishers and book firms of the world are always waiting to find the next big thing.
Who knows among your readers is the boss of a publishing company. Or her spouse. If your story-telling skills impress the right persons, it could mean your book launch just got easier.
Your readers’ responses will also give you crucial feedback. Writers and readers look at stories differently. You might be able to get a surprisingly new perspective about your own writing.
4) Connect to other blogs
Interactivity is the buzzword. Make sure you visit other writers’ blog you genuinely admire and leave thoughtful compliments. So even before you are formally a writer, you are already part of a community of writers. Getting that blurb on your book cover or someone to write a review will be a less stressful affair, particularly if you plan to self-publish.
It also helps to post more often. Studies show that once you publish 51 posts, blog traffic increases by more than 50%. It goes up three times after you have accumulated 100 posts.
5) Keep it informal, but not sloppy
Your words are your USP. Readers may overlook grammatical errors in, say, a blog by an astronomer or a musician (assuming they are not professional writers and have interesting things to say about astronomy and music). But since writing is your bread and butter, you will be naturally expected to maintain higher standards.
You don’t have to hire an editor. Writing with care and reading your latest post thoroughly before publishing it should suffice.
6) How personal should you be?
Your blog is your personal space, but do you really want to talk about your family and friends and lovers? It is possible to argue on both sides of the equation, but you may want to consider a separate blog or social media platform to share all aspects of your life with your readers. It is good if your writer’s blog has a more cultivated identity.
Your blog is your chance to live your writer’s dream even before becoming a writer. Follow these six mantras to make blogging a stepping stone to success.
“Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.” - José Saramago