Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Novel Creation...Indeed

While last week’s post chronicled my journey as a writer and a widow, it is actually an account of God’s presence during this season of my life. God created me and continues to shape me. I am a unique creation…as are you. 

As I shared last week, one of the first pieces I completed toward become a published author was to attend the Write-to-Publish conference in Wheaton, Illinois. There I learned everything I could about writing. I attended workshops and met with agents and editors. It was at this first conference I met Eddie Jones who later offered me a contract for Breathing on Her Own. The conference was wonderful.

A very special part of the conference takes place at lunch. Participants have the opportunity to sit with conference speakers and publishers in a very informal setting as well as pick the brains of experienced writers. It was over lunch I learned I needed to have a blog.

I didn’t even know what a blog was much less why I needed one. Others at the lunch table threw around words like platform, audience, and following. I didn’t know exactly what they were talking about, but if I needed it then I would do it.

Once I had the contract for Breathing on Her Own I had to finish writing it.  That and teaching my final set of fall semester classes at the university consumed my time. When I turned in the final manuscript (read “my best draft” since there was still work to do) for the novel the last week of November, I breathed deep and set my mind on learning what I could about blogging.

I researched the topic on the internet and landed on a free introductory course offered by Jeff Goins. I found his teaching clear and concise. I started implementing all that he suggested.

I named the blog A Novel Creation…in part because of the view I have that I am a novel creation in the sight of God and secondly because my goal was to share my perspective on creating a novel.

The first six weeks of producing the blog, I averaged 34 readers for each entry. Over time my audience grew to an average of sixty-three readers for each entry. Keeping up with multiple posts each week proved taxing. I wasn’t getting any other writing done. I made the decision to post only once a week. Every Wednesday. Interestingly, my audience grew. I attribute this to consistency.

I was using Blogspot, a Google platform. It was/is free and has served me well. A few weeks before Breathing on Her Own was released, the publisher asked me for information to include in the front matter of the book. He wanted to know my website URL.

Website? Are you kidding? After a bit of research, I purchased a domain name and linked my blog to it. I included a button for people to subscribe. Once I had my blog under the domain name I noted another increase in readership. By the time the book was a month old, 246 readers were regularly visiting the blog.

Why am sharing this? So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

1. Learn all you can about producing a blog.
2. Decide the focus of your blog. Who is your target audience?
3. Spend time choosing your website and/or blog name.
4. Be consistent. If you are going to maintain a blog, make sure you can meet the demands. For me, once a week is perfect.
5. Use the tools afforded you to add subscribers and accept comments or contacts from your readers.
6. Write about a topic you enjoy.

What tips do you have for new bloggers?

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