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 ‘blogging’

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?”

NSU2

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.

Blog2

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

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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

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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 »

2015 in review

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 31, 2015

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Business of Writing, Florida Musings, The Writing Life, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

2014 in Review

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 1, 2015

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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

Blogging Made Perfect

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 12, 2014

So you want to write a blog. Or you already have a blog but want to increase your subscribers. What now? Here are tips on getting started and attracting followers.

Define Your Purpose.

Do you wish to share news about your work? Be recognized as an expert in your field? Build a community? Engage with readers? Have other writers look to you for advice? Share information relevant to a special interest?

Determine Your Goals.

Do you mean to increase book sales? Have a substantial number of followers? Get a number of comments on each blog? Have folks reblog your posts? Receive requests for guest posts?

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?

Brainstorm Topics.

When you’re 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 what readers want to know and address these topics. What information can you share with others that might be useful? How can your content 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. Excerpts, book reviews, or trivia related to a particular hobby or personal interest might fill in other slots. Or you might wing it, writing posts as they come to you. Just keep in mind the image or brand you wish to project.

Acquire a Site.

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

Link Blog to Your Social Media Sites.

Not only should visitors be able to tweet and share your particular article around the Web, but your posts should be automatically tweeted and sent to your Facebook pages. Check your Settings for how to enable these features or ask your Web designer to add the proper Plug-In. Get Share Buttons at http://www.sharethis.com or http://www.addtoany.com Add your blog to Networked Blogs, http://www.networkedblogs.com. Some authors use Triberr to raise their visitors: http://triberr.com/landing/bloggers.

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 tabs you’ll want to have. Here are some suggestions: Home; About (Bio); Appearances; Book Trailers; Books List; Contact (your email); Contests. In one sidebar, you can show your book covers. In lieu of this, you can use a rotating carousel or slide show from Amazon. Sidebars can also contain a Blog Roll, Search box, Subscribe button, Social Networking Icons, Live Twitter feed, and RSS feed button.

Include Photos in your posts.

Photos will draw more hits, but be careful of copyright issues. Upload your own photos. Buy photos at royalty-free sites or at least make sure you provide attribution. Many writers skirt this issue, but you do so at your own risk.

Tag your Posts.

Use tags and categories with keywords to drive traffic to your site. Tags are for individual posts while categories classify your topics.

Avoid Messy Code Issues.

Write your blog in Word or another word processing program to keep your files on your hard drive. Then copy and paste each blog to Notepad or Windows Live Writer. These eliminate messy code issues. Download Windows Essentials for free from Microsoft. This includes Windows Movie Maker (for DIY book trailers), Photo Gallery and Live Writer. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-live/essentials

Offer a Blog Roll.

Ask other authors for a cross-exchange of links. More links leads to more traffic.

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. If you prefer to blog randomly, still do so two or three times a week. Keep your material current.
*Have a clear and catchy headline.
*End your post 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, contests and such sparingly.
*Comment on other people’s blogs.
*Invite guests who have a following.
*Always respond to comments and respect others’ opinions.
*Offer giveaways to commenters.
*Evaluate results. 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.
*Link to other authors and favorite pages as appropriate to help spread the word about their sites.

Index Your Blog

When your blog is a few years old, you might want to reblog an 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.

Blog Hops

Blog Hops pool you with other authors. Study your listserves for these opportunities or get one going with your author friends yourself. What is it? Each author posts a blog about an agreed upon topic with links to all the other bloggers on a particular day. Offering a prize for commenters will bring people to your sites, and hopefully you’ll gain new readers from among these other authors’ fans. Participating in a blog hop will broaden your exposure.

Blog Tours

If you wish to do a blog tour, determine if you want to do guest posts, author interviews, or have the site offer a review or book blast. Then solicit hosts by asking other authors if you can guest on their site. Make sure you study their slant and offer an appropriate topic. Write your guest posts and assign each one to a host. To attract readers, offer a grand prize drawing from all commenters, a prize on each site or a Rafflecopter contest. Publish your tour schedule on your website and broadcast it on your social networks. Be sure to show up the day of the posting to answer comments. OR hire a virtual tour company if you don’t wish to DIY: Goddish Fish Promotions http://www.goddessfish.com, Great Escapes http://www.escapewithdollycas.com/great-escapes-virtual-book-tours/ (Free Cozy Mystery Tours), Bewitching Book Tours (Paranormal Romance), http://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/, Buy the Book Tours http://www.buythebooktours.com/#axzz2OqJtoGjs , Partners in Crime http://www.partnersincrimetours.net/

What other tips would you add?

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Marketing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

2013 in review

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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

Virtual Blog Tour

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 6, 2013

Warrior Rogue

Join me on my virtual blog tour and have some fun! Tweets and Shares would be appreciated.

Grand Prize Drawing from all blog tour commenters for a $25 Amazon or BN gift card and multiple giveaways of Keeper of the Rings!

Please leave a comment at each stop! I’ve worked hard on these interviews and promise you’ll learn something new at each one.

May 6 Spotlight and Book Review
Jessica Loves Books
http://www.jessicalovesbooks.com

May 7 Author Interview
Pembroke Sinclair
pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com

May 8 Spotlight
2 Bibliophilies Guide to Seriously Awesome Books
http://2bibliophiles.blogspot.com/

May 9 Author Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com

May 10  Author Interview
Roxanne’s Realm
www.roxannesrealm.blogspot.com

May 13  Author Interview
Fang-tastic Books
www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

May 14  Book Review
Musings & Ramblings
http://judy-ree.blogspot.com/

May 15 Spotlight
Eclipse reviews
http://totaleclipsereviews.blogspot.com

May 16 Guest Blog: Meet the Drift Lords
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life
http://paranormalromancefanforlife.blogspot.com/

May 16 Spotlight
Faerie Tale Books
www.faerietalebooks.org

May 17 Guest Blog: Legend of Sigurd
Preternatura
suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com

May 20 Spotlight
Brianna Lee Book Reviews
http://www.briannaleereviews.blogspot.com

May 20 Book Review
Eclipse reviews
http://totaleclipsereviews.blogspot.com

Posted in Author Interviews, Book Excerpt, Book Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nancy J. Cohen’s Blog Tour

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 30, 2013

Today begins my online blog tour to celebrate the release of Warrior Rogue. Leave a comment to be entered into my grand prize drawing for a $25 Amazon or BN gift card. Two runners up will each win a signed print copy of Wicked Women Whodunit. And at each stop on my Bewitching Blog Tour sponsored stops, I’ll do a drawing for a free ebook copy of Keeper of the Rings. So please follow me around the Web and show your support by sharing the sites and leaving a comment.

April 30 Guest Blog: Brain Games
Terry’s Place
http://terryodell.com/terrysplace/?p=2770

May 2 Interview
Love in a Book
http://www.loveinabook.com
Commenter Drawing: Ebook copy of Circle of Light

May 6-20, Bewitching Book Tours
Commenter Drawings: Ebook copy of Keeper of the Rings

May 6 Spotlight and Review
Jessica Loves Books
http://www.jessicalovesbooks.com

May 7 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair
pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com

May 8 Spotlight
2 Bibliophilies Guide to Seriously Awesome Books
http://2bibliophiles.blogspot.com/

May 9 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com

May 10 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm
www.roxannesrealm.blogspot.com

May 13 Interview
Fang-tastic Books
www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

May 14 Review
Musings & Ramblings
http://judy-ree.blogspot.com/

May 15 Spotlight
Eclipse reviews
http://totaleclipsereviews.blogspot.com

May 16 Guest Blog: Meet the Drift Lords
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life
http://paranormalromancefanforlife.blogspot.com/

May 16 Spotlight
Faerie Tale Books
www.faerietalebooks.org

May 17 Guest Blog: Legend of Sigurd
Preternatura
suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com

May 20 Spotlight
Brianna Lee Book Reviews
http://www.briannaleereviews.blogspot.com

May 20 Review
Eclipse reviews
http://totaleclipsereviews.blogspot.com

 

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

Shine On Blog Award

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 26, 2013

Thanks so much to David Fernandez for nominating my blog for the Shine On Award. David discusses writing, sports, movies, and more at his entertaining site, so stop by for a visit. Thank you, David, for the nomination. It’s always nice to know people are reading my posts!

The Shine On Award

shine-award

The Shine On Award Rules

  1. Link back to and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Post the badge on your blog.
  3. Answer the questions posed to you.
  4. Nominate five bloggers who shine a little light in your day and notify them.
  5. Ask five questions for your nominees.

David’s Questions for Me

(1) Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

I develop my characters first, and then I’ll plot the story. I write a complete synopsis before I begin writing. This acts as my guideline, but that’s not to say the story doesn’t change as I write it. When I finish the book, I’ll go back and revise the synopsis accordingly. So I am definitely a plotter. I need to know where the story is going from the start.

(2) When you’re in a rut, where do you go for inspiration?

I’ll keep working out the plot in my head until something comes through. I might talk it out with my critique partners. Sometimes you just need a sounding board. Ideas may come to me when taking a walk or in the shower. The mind relaxes and allows a new connection to come through. It’s important to acknowledge these roadblocks as part of the writing process and to have faith that you’ll get through them like you do each time.

(3) What writer, living or deceased, would you compare your work to the most?

My work has been compared to Janet Evanovich for her humor. However, the humor in my mysteries is more wry and less slapstick. Also, my books are whodunits while hers are more adventures at heart. Jill Churchill’s humorous series is what first inspired my mysteries so my books could be compared  to her Jane Jeffry stories with the funny titles. There are many other humorous cozy writers out there whose work has a similar tone. As for my romance series, Alyssa Day comes to mind for her Warriors of Poseidon series.

(4) What is your story writing process?

For a mystery, I decide on the victim and then determine the suspects. I’ll do character development sheets at that point to help me figure out each character’s possible motive. Preliminary research is done at this stage too. When I have these elements in my head, I write a synopsis. This acts as my writing guideline although the story might change. For a romance, I develop the main characters and then the plot. After the synopsis is finished, I put myself on a writing schedule of five pages a day. Once the book is done, I do several read-throughs for line editing, consistency, repetitions, and smoothness.

(5) What is your blog writing process?

When I get an idea, I’ll either jot it down or write the entire blog at that time. When I’m working on a book, I may note possible blog topics to use later on when I’m doing a blog tour. I don’t have set dates when I blog except on The Kill Zone, where I am a regular contributor every other Wednesday. I encourage reader feedback on my blogs.

And I nominate

Mudpies and Magnolias for the writing life by Maggie Toussaint: http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com/
Terry’s Place for tips and strategies on writing by Terry Odell: http://terryodell.blogspot.com/
Scams & Cons for updates on scams by Terry Ambrose: http://terryambrose.com/category/scams/
Hasty Tasty Meals for easy-to-make recipes by Cheryl Norman: http://chefcheri.wordpress.com/
It’s Not All Gravy for life’s absurdities by Maryann Miller: http://its-not-all-gravy.blogspot.com/

My questions for the nominees are

What genre do you read for fun?
Do you revise as you go along or wait until your first draft is done?
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Do you have beta readers and who are they?
What’s an interesting item you’ve researched for your current work in progress?

Posted in Business of Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

 
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