Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Get Started Blogging

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 10, 2017

What is a blog? And how do you start one? This past weekend, I gave a talk to a group of aspiring writers on “The Writer’s Life.” During the Q&A session, one person referred to my section on book marketing. “I don’t understand about blogs. Can you explain more about them?”

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So I thought this would be a good time for a review of the principles. I’ve been blogging for over ten years. I regard it as a live journal that includes glimpses into your life such as travels, hobbies, other fun activities or musings on life in general. Plus, as a writer, you can offer tips on writing craft and marketing and share the creative process. So here are some items to consider.

Define Your Purpose.

Are you aiming to build an author platform? Do you want to be recognized as an expert in your field? To engage with readers? Or to have other writers look to you for advice? Ask yourself why you want to start a blog.

Determine Your Goals.

Do you mean to increase book sales? Gain a substantial number of followers? Attract comments on each blog? Receive requests for guest posts? What’s your benchmark of success?

Set Parameters.

How often do you intend to post? What days of the week are best? What time during the day will more people likely read your post? How long should each post be? Check your analytics as time goes on and make adjustments accordingly.

Brainstorm Topics.

While you are writing a book, jot down blog topics related to your theme, research, and writing process. These will be useful either to show your story in progress or to provide fodder for blog tours when your new release comes out. Meanwhile, determine how your content can add value to people’s lives. In what way can your personal anecdotes inspire others? Some authors set certain days for specific blog topics. For example, one day they might post recipes. Another day they might bring in a guest blogger. Or perhaps they do author interviews. Excerpts, book reviews, or trivia related to a particular hobby or personal interest might fill in other slots. I like to do conference workshop recaps. Or you can write posts as they come to you.

Acquire a Site.

When you’re ready to start, register at WordPress.com or Blogger for a free site. Or add a blog to your website. Become familiar with the features and start posting.

Link the Blog to Your Social Media Sites.

Not only should visitors be able to tweet and share each particular article, but your posts can be linked to your Twitter and Facebook pages. Check your Settings for how to enable these features or ask your Web designer to add the proper Plug-In.

What Pages Should Your Blog Site Contain?

Keep in mind that visitors to your blog, if separate from your website, might not visit you elsewhere. So consider what Pages you’ll want to have. Here are some suggestions: Welcome or Home Page; About (Bio); Appearances; Book Trailers; Books List (with series books in order); Contact (your email); Giveaways. In the sidebar, you can show your book covers, a Blog Roll with links to other authors’ sites, a Search box, a Subscribe button, Social Networking Icons, and an RSS feed button.

Include Photos in your Posts.

Photos will draw more hits, but be careful of copyright issues. Upload your own photos. Obtain photos at royalty-free sites or at least make sure you provide attribution.

Use Keywords.

Use tags with keywords and put keywords in your text to drive traffic to your site.

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How to Gain Followers

  • Post often. Some people set themes, like “Recipe Monday” or “Guest Blogger Wednesday” or “Photo Friday.” Be consistent in your approach and keep your material current.
  • Have a clear and catchy headline for each post.
  • End your posts with a question to stimulate discussion.
  • Don’t use your blog solely to promote your books. You’re building a community of readers who want to get to know you, or else you are establishing yourself as an expert by offering useful material. Share new release info, reviews, and contests sparingly.
  • Comment on other people’s blogs.
  • Invite guests who have a following.
  • Always respond to comments and respect other people’s opinions.
  • On occasion, offer a prize drawing from commenters.
  • If you get a lot of comments on certain types of posts, steer your blog in that direction. Be responsive to readers. Note what engenders interest and what does not.
  • Be careful what you put out there. This is a public post. Avoid politics, religion, and any mention of personal business or issues you don’t want to share.
  • Always be respectful of other industry professionals.
  • Include links and images in your posts to raise visibility.

Index Your Blog

When your blog is a few years old, you might want to reissue an updated article. Keeping records of the topics, categories, and dates will help you retrieve these files. I suggest you write your blog in Word and save the posts by month and year. It’s imperative to keep your own blogs on your computer so you don’t lose them if there’s an online snafu. Then keep a separate file that’s an index so you can quickly search topics.

GIVEAWAYS

Goodreads Giveaway, July 6 – 20

Goodreads

Enter Here to win a signed ARC of Hair Brained (Bad Hair Day Mystery #14). Hairstylist Marla Vail determines to learn the truth when her best friend is hurt in a suspicious auto accident.

Booklovers Bench, July 1 – 18

GiftCards

Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench.

 

 

 

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Posted in Business of Writing, Marketing, The Writing Life, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Sunday Blog of the Week – Nancy’s Notes From Florida

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 13, 2014

Writer Friend Marcia Meara is sweet to feature my blog this week on her site. Follow along to her blog and see what else she has to say!

Bookin' It

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Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series featuring hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style. She also writes the Drift Lords Series, adventures more in the sci-fi romance vein.  Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

Nancy’s Notes From Florida blog is always a fun and interesting place to visit. I’ve been following Nancy via email for close to two years, and I have learned a lot about everything from her favorite recipes to her advice on writing cozy mystery novels, and the importance of networking via groups like the Romance Writers of America. She also blogs on general writing subjects of interest to authors in every genre. Her experience in the industry is wide and varied, and I…

View original post 46 more words

Posted in Appearances | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

New Release, Contests, More

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 4, 2014

April is a super busy month for me, so I won’t be able to write many regular blog posts. It’s my release month for Hanging By A Hair (April 18). As a result, I have a blog tour, online launch party, various appearances, contests, and all this while doing a final reading of Peril by Ponytail before turning it in to my editor. At the end of this month, I leave for the Malice Domestic conference in Maryland. So please bear with me during all these announcements and SAVE THESE DATES!

Blog Hop

April 15, Tuesday, Blog Hop sponsored by Florida Chapter of MWA. You can start with my topic, “Characters Too Weird To Be True” and follow along from there. Enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite and other prizes! So come back here on April 15 for this special event. https://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com

Online Launch Party

April 18, Friday, Online Launch Party 10:00 am – 8:00 pm with Nancy J. Cohen and Maggie Toussaint. Giveaways all day! Join now: https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

Personal Appearance

April 19, Saturday, 11:30 am, “Writing the Cozy Mystery” including 4 Giant Steps to Self-Publishing with Nancy J. Cohen, Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, Doubletree by Hilton, 100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach, 33441. Reservations Required, http://mwaflorida.org/

Blog Tour

April 18-May 20, Go here to get my complete schedule: http://nancyjcohen.com/appearances

Contests

Fresh Fiction Contest April 1-30

Enter to win a Hanging By A Hair T-shirt & door hanger, plus a signed print copy of Shear Murder at http://freshfiction.com/contest.php?id=6389

Booklover’s Bench Contest April 4-18

Booklover’s Bench, April 4-18, Win a $25 gift card or 1/6 books, including an ebook copy of Writing the Cozy Mystery, http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

Blog Hop

Enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite April 15-22 in FMWA’s first Blog Hop. Begin here on April 15: https://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com

Media Coverage

Fabulous Florida Writers: http://www.fabulousfloridawriters.blogspot.com/2014/04/nancy-cohen-hair-raising-whodunits.html
Interview in The Big Thrill: http://www.thebigthrill.org/2014/03/hanging-by-a-hair-by-nancy-j-cohen/

SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER for quarterly updates on new releases, cover reveals, contests, recipes, and more. Go to http://nancyjcohen.com and fill in the box in the Left Sidebar.

Have a Great Day!

 

 

Posted in Appearances, Author Interviews, Contest, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Valentine’s Day Contests

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Contest

Take advantage of these three chances to win a signed ARC of Hanging By A Hair, #11 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries!

Valentine’s Day Contest
Enter Feb. 10-24 to win a signed ARC for Hanging By A Hair, a door hanger, and a $10 Starbucks gift card: http://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/

LibraryThing Giveaway
Enter Feb. 7-21 to win 4 signed ARCs Hanging By A Hair. http://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list

Booklovers Bench, Feb 4-18: Enter our anniversary contest Feb. 4-18 to win a Kindle Paperwhite or 1/8 free books: http://bit.ly/13qZ4oF including a signed ARC for Hanging By A Hair.

And if you haven’t read my latest blog post on “Story Magic” over at The Kill Zone, take a look now: http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2014/02/story-logic.html#.Uv4g7omYYdU

Have a sweet day!

 

Posted in Contest, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ten Tips for Blog Tours

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 17, 2010

Since I recently finished my own blog tour, I learned a few things along the road.  Here are some tips I’d like to share:

  1. Aim for popular blogs that get a lot of hits and slant your blog to their audience.
  2. Schedule up to three guest spots a week so you don’t clog the loops with your announcements.
  3. Plan to be available to answer comments all day when your post goes live.
  4. Publicize the blog tour on your social networks, website, and other sites.
  5. Include a short excerpt from your book with your post when possible.
  6. Add a buy link to your book along with links to your website, blog, FB page, and Twitter at the end of your post.
  7. Interviews as well as blogs draw attention.
  8. Consider offering a giveaway for commenters.
  9. Thank your host at the end of the day.
  10. For next time, write down blog topics as you write your WIP.  This way, you’ll have a ready list of topics available when you need them (i.e. notes on research, the writing process, what inspired you to write this story, world building, themes, etc.).

 What else would you add?

Posted in Business of Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

ONLINE BLOG TOUR

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 14, 2010

NANCY J. COHEN’S ONLINE BLOG TOUR STARTS JULY 15!

  • Prize Drawing From All My Blog Commenters in July for a $7 gift certificate from The Wild Rose Press

  July 15, Thursday

Interview at Believing is Seeing

http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/

July 16, Friday

Interview at The Galaxy Express

http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net

Prize drawing from commenters!

July 17, Saturday

Blog at Babes in Bookland

http://www.pfd.bravejournal.com/

Topic: Settings That Sizzle

July 18, Sunday

Interview at Sapphire Phelan=s Passion Corner

http://SapphirePhelansPassionCorner.blogspot.com

July 19, Monday

Book Launch Party at SFR Brigade

http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.com/

Prize drawing from commenters!

July 21, Wednesday

Blog at Savvy Authors

http://bit.ly/9dzBIl

Topic: Scene Structure

July 23, Friday

Author Roast and Toast

http://www.authorroastandtoast.blogspot.com/

July 29, Thursday

Blog at Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal

http://ffnp.blogspot.com/

Topic: Sidekicks as Secondary Characters

July  ??: TBA

Blog at The Galaxy Express

http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net

Topic: Diversity versus Intolerance in SFR

August 6, Friday

Blog at Coffee Time Romance

http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts

Topic: Secrets and Suspense

August 24, Tuesday

Blog at Pop Culture Divas

http://www.popculturedivas.com/

Topic: Favorite Films for Mystery Fans

  • Prize Drawing From All Blog Commenters in July for a $7 gift certificate from The Wild Rose Press

Posted in Business of Writing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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