For this week's Blog Shout Out March Myers invites us to visit his Author, Artist and Nerd blog. Find out more below:
Blog, blogs everywhere… but where to begin building your own?
I have developed websites for years, but none of them were as difficult to develop and construct as my personal author’s blog. Honestly, I’ve never been comfortable talking about myself — so I agonized over every detail from how to market my work to whether anyone would care about what I had to say. But whatever my misgivings, I needed to to tackle this head-on once I became a published author in 2013. If you’re a novelist, you will be expected to have a website / blog. More and more readers are seeking ways to connect with their favorite authors and an engaging blog is one of the first things they’ll look for.
I had launched my site, http://marshmyers.com, two years before my book was released to build name recognition and make sure it was fully optimized for search engines, but initially I didn’t have much content to offer. I compensated by thinking about my intended audience — primarily teens — and anticipating what would draw them to any website. I started writing movie, video game, toy and book reviews, concentrating on titles of interest to young people but also reflecting the fantasy, thriller and paranormal themes I used in my writing. To give my intended audience a taste of my fiction, I also created a series of short stories called Tiny Tales of the Mostly Macabre and made them downloadable as free epubs. This turned out to be one of the site’s most popular features, as these stories are continually accessed even though some are now years old.
Writing blogs proved trickier. I have very diverse interests but had to work at tailoring them to my audience. Thus, a blog about filmmaking (something I do professionally) turned into how teens can use smart devices and easily accessible apps to make their own video creations. Some of my most popular blogs have actually been about my creative process, which surprised me. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would care how I wrote, but then a friend who frequents writers’ blogs told me that’s exactly what he wants to see. Those details, he explained, not only fleshed out the author’s published works, but allowed him insight into who the author was as a person. Taking this to heart, I wrote more blogs about my process and created discussion pages for both my books where readers could access answers to commonly asked questions, pose others, see supportive materials and purchase my titles.
Naturally, all this was combined with having an active social media presence, a tricky proposition if you’re trying to connect with young adults who are notoriously fickle in what platform they use. Still, effectively using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, etc., can drive a ton of traffic to your site and greatly raise your visibility.
Finally, I came to understand quickly that it’s very important to update your blog often. Websites are organic things, and if you don’t care for them properly, your readers will abandon them and go looking for fresh content elsewhere. Now go out and blog!