I was delighted to give a presentation for the Dallas Area Romance Authors last month. I talked to them about blogging and even a little about social media.
Here are some snippets of what we talked about:
What is blogging? - Blogging is just writing/journaling in a public forum
Why is important? (Specifically why is having an online presence for writers
important) - Writers need to have a community. Meeting in person, having a review group is great but having you work always available to lots of different sources is only something you can do online.
Where to blog: Deviantart, other writer communities, Facebook, actual blog. There are lots of writing communities but its also great to start your own, more eyes can see you and also you can connect and form your own community.
How to blog: Etiquette - the golden rule still stands. You like comments? Give them. You want links? Link to others.
Wordpress: I suggest starting with a free wordpress blog to get started. You can always get a personalized domain later and lots of snazzy add-ons but for basics Wordpress is the most SEO and user-friendly.
Fears: Other people taking your work - A couple of ways around this. First of theft does happen online. Fortunately it doesn't happen terribly often. If you're really concerned, don't post anything you plan to publish, or post just sections. Little bread crumbs about your work can really get people intrigued.
Blogging can help you
* Gain an audience - one you didn't previously have access to
* Improve your writing skills - Just like journaling you are exercising those writing muscles. Also you have plenty of critics to help you improve!
* Help you stay on track with your goals - it helps to be accountable. Having readers will force you to connect on a regular basis and stick to what you promise.
* Promote your published works - Once you've written something feel free to shout about it on your blog! Publish reviews or cover art. Tell people where to buy it. Create a splash page promoting it if you are using wordpress.
* Getting involved in an online community - Once you start updating regularly find some other writers you trust and connect with them. Create a little circle of people helping one another.
Paid blogging - Paid gigs exist out there. They don't pay a lot (some time $10 an article) but it can be a great way to earn a little cash doing what you enjoy.
We also talked about social media, specifically about how Twitter works and how to connect better using it.
This is the list of blogs and Twitter handles that I have. If you are part of DARA feel free to email me or put your information in the comment to keep the list updated.
Non-DARA people: These are wonderful, talented women. If you enjoy romance take a minute to check them out!