Social Media for Writers: Should you start a blog?

Should you start a blog? If you're a writer, I think you definitely should. I share a few ideas and tips on starting one and help you decide if you should start a blog.

So you might have noticed that I’ve recently made a few changes to my blog. Notably: I’ve moved the whole thing over from Tumblr to Blogger. Hello from the new blog! (Blogger just comes up so much better on mobile, and I got so much traffic through mobile users compared to desktop.)

But this isn’t a post about how to start your blog. I’ve posted already about how to set up your profile, and I’ll post some other time about how to set up a blog, and what you need to think about.

No – this post is answering the simple question, Should you start a blog?

If you’re a writer, I think the answer is already yes. I’m going to throw out the big pro to having a blog.

It’s another way of communicating with your audience.

If they’re asking you questions, you can give a longer answer than on somewhere like Twitter. You can also share about your book, your writing, etc.

I started my blog as a way to talk to my readers, and to give them another platform to talk to me, since I didn’t always see my messages on Wattpad. At first, mostly people sent me messages or questions about my book (through the Tumblr ask box thing). After a while, I started writing more posts and sharing more than just a link to my latest chapter.

In 2014 I started up the Writing Wednesdays series to offer writing advice on different topics. I was getting a ton of questions through my blog and through Wattpad asking for advice, and it’s hard to give specific advice to each individual. So I started posting the series, and then when people asked me, I didn’t have to keep rehashing the same few paragraphs, or I could just direct them to the series on my blog if they wanted more general advice.

So there’s the big winning reason to start a blog: because it lets you interact more with your audience.

But I don’t know how to start a blog.

No worries. It’s pretty straightforward. Pick a blogging platform – Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, whichever takes your fancy. Sign up and play around a little. You don’t even have to customise it if you don’t want to, or aren’t confident. (But they all make it super easy.)

Your blog can be as basic as you want. You can add widgets for your Twitter and Instagram, post Google ads on your page… Or you can just pick your favourite of the free and basic templates available, and stick with that. No HTML skills required.

The blogging site will ask you for your domain name. Now some people have a custom one, where they’ve purchased the url. But you just stick in what you want your url to be – like mine is ‘authorbethreekles’ – and there’ll be a .blogspot or .tumblr after it.

There are plenty of comprehensive guides to actually setting up a blog on Google, if you need a little more help.

But I don’t have anything to blog about.

Sure you do! Here are a few ideas:

  • Do you read? Share book reviews, or just talk about what you’re reading right now, or what you read recently. You can even compile lists – like, ‘My Summer Reading List/My Favourite YA Dystopian Novels/My Top 17 Books of 2017’. You get the idea.

  • You’re a writer. Share your writing advice or habits. Talk about problems you’re having with your current WIP, or a backstory for one of your characters, or why you like writing so much.
  • Are there questions your readers are asking you? Answer them! You might’ve sent them a quick reply on Twitter, but maybe you want to talk more about it. Whether it’s, ‘Hey, I love the relationship between these two characters!’ or ‘Was it hard for you to write this scene?’, you’ll probably find there’s something they’re telling you that you can write more about.

  • If you’re published, talk about that. Can you release your book cover? Have you got something to share about a signing or launch party? Talk about your publishing journey, or things you learned.
  • If you’re publishing online, talk about that. Are there pros and cons you want to share? Do you have some fanart or covers to share? Maybe you’re taking a hiatus to focus on something else for a while – talk about that.
  • You can post about thinks in your personal life, too, or just talk about other topics that interest you. They can be book related – say, how disabilities are treated in the genre you write. They can just be something that interest you – a recent news topic, or a series you just watched on Netflix that you want to rave about.*
  • And, obviously, share links about your book. Where to buy it, where to read it. Share, share, share. Invite people to it.

*I’d just say that if you’re using this blog to promote yourself as a writer, bear that in mind. Keep the main focus of your blog on all things bookish, but feel free to post about other things every now and again! It’s your blog – nobody’s stopping you!

But won’t I have to pay for a blog?


You can pay for things if you want. You can pay for a custom domain name, you can pay for a different blogging platform that gives you more functionality, you can pay for different services that support your blog. You can pay for a custom theme or a better theme than some of the basic free ones.

But you don’t have to pay a penny for anything. Lots of blogging platforms are completely free for you to use.

You. Don’t. Have. To. Pay. Anything.

But I don’t know how to do HTML or make images or anything like that.

It’s cool. Like I said, you don’t have to know how to do any of that. Yes, blog posts typically do better when they come with images, and they’re certainly more shareable, but it’s no big deal. I love using Canva for mine, and I usually use some free stock images. But hell, I didn’t use images with my blog posts for the first couple of years, and people still read the blog.

Content matters. Images are just… the ribbon on the box, to make it more inviting.

And having all those extras on your blog? A sidebar, an Instagram widget, all that jazz – it gives it a little something extra, that’s all. It makes it look a little more professional, maybe it’s a bit more user-friendly, but let’s face it, that’s not a huge deal. People are still gonna read it if the content is interesting enough. (Like I just said: content matters. Don’t forget that.)

But I don’t have time to keep it up.

That’s okay. Your blogging schedule is up to you. If your blog is an addition to your writing, just another platform to connect with your readers and not your main focus (as in, you think of yourself as a writer before you’re a blogger) then don’t worry about it too much. Blog as and when you can.

You might find you blog more regularly if you try and set up some kind of calendar or plan. If you organise what you’d like to post and when, you might upload more. But nobody’s telling you that you have to conform to something like a blog calendar if you don’t want to.

You can schedule posts, too. Maybe you have a productive weekend and write five blog posts. So spread them out over the next month. Then if you don’t have time to do all these posts when you want them to go up, no sweat: they’re already done!

Sure, if you dedicate yourself to a weekly series, try and keep to that. But otherwise – blog whenever you want to, and whenever you get a little time. You don’t need to put pressure on yourself over it. It should just be fun! Don’t turn it into a chore.

What are your thoughts on authors/writers using blogs? Are there any great examples? Share in the comments!

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.