Episode 10: Author Blogging

All Freelance Writing Podcast Episode 10 - Author Blogging

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In This Episode

In today's episode we'll talk about:

  • Author blogging, from why you need an author blog to what you can write about on that blog;
  • A new freebie for All Freelance Writing newsletter subscribers;
  • The "fake it 'til you make it" approach to freelance writing, and how you can do so ethically instead of outright lying to clients.

Author Blogging

Why Authors Should Have a Blog

  1. It's one of the best relationship-building tools you can have to connect to readers (if you target the content properly).
  2. It's "owned media" -- your own hub on the web that doesn't put you at the mercy of third parties. Relying exclusively on third parties is always a bad idea from a marketing perspective.
  3. You can find other reasons for launching an author blog in this post on the All Freelance Writing blog.

The Time Commitment of Author Blogging

  1. You do not have to blog every day to see marketing and PR benefits from an author blog. Once per week, and even once per month, can still provide visibility and audience-building benefits.
  2. You can often save time by keeping your blog well-integrated with your books, looking for ways to repurpose content.

Using Self-Hosted WordPress vs WordPress.com

  1. WordPress.com limits you to 3 GB of data, which can be used up fairly quickly if you feature a lot of images or multimedia elements (which can be important in blogging these days).
  2. WordPress.com puts you on a subdomain, and if you want a brandable domain name you still have to pay to register it and pay a fee for the free site to be redirected to the new name (so you lose the "free" benefit of using it in the first place).
  3. WordPress.com doesn't allow you to post image ads on your site (such as when promoting other books to your readers or offering ad space to partners helping you promote your books).
  4. WordPress.com, on the other hand, does reserve the right to place ads on your website (and no professional website should have ads placed by a third party where you have no control). If you want to opt out of this, you'll need to pay, again taking away the benefit of it being free.
  5. WordPress.com has limited design and plugin options which can severely impact the customizations you can make to your author blog (which can, in turn, impact branding).
  6. WordPress.com limits your use of javascript, meaning you might not be able to use your favorite third party analytics tools, highly-customized opt-in forms, or other features a more professional author blog would include.
  7. WordPress.com has the right to shut your blog down if you violate their terms in any way. That means you risk losing years worth of links, traffic, and overall visibility. A host can also shut a self-hosted site down. But you can simply move your backups to another host, and you don't lose links and traffic.
  8. My recommendation is to stick with self-hosted WordPress.org blogs instead of WordPress.com.

What to Write About On Your Author Blog

  1. Publish short fiction that would appeal to the target readers of your novels.
  2. Answer reader questions on your author blog.
  3. Review books that are similar to yours to attract readers who are interested in those types of books.
  4. Post interview with other authors to tap into their related audiences.
  5. Publish tutorials or how-to content related to your books (ideal for nonfiction authors, but also possible with some fiction, such as posting recipes related to a cozy mystery series that revolves around food).

"Fake it 'til You Make It"

The Question

This episode's community question comes from Anton Roder:

Should you fake it? More specifically I've been reading a lot about believing in yourself and your career as a writer. My question is where do you strike the balance between being confident and lying about your abilities. Should you take work you've no experience doing and gloss over your experience, or should you be forthright about your level of experience?

My Response

The "fake it til you make it" idea doesn't have to revolve around dishonesty -- and certainly not to clients. It's not about lying about your abilities. It's about "faking" confidence even if you're really self-conscious and self-doubting.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • There's no reason to mention you have no specific experience unless asked; focus on the experience you do have.
  • Never volunteer information that could introduce doubt in a prospect's mind -- doubt that didn't previously exist in the client's mind. Stick to answering what's specifically asked of you.
  • If asked, never outright lie to clients. I've seen other freelancers give this advice. That's idiotic and truly pathetic. Don't let someone else's lack of professional ethics put your freelance writing career at risk. Focus on building real relationships with prospects and clients. That includes being a professional they can trust.

A little secret from someone who's been in hiring positions both in recruiting employees and freelancers: it's very difficult to find candidates for a position who satisfy every "want" on your list. And anyone with real experience in that position knows that. Hitting three out five might still make you the best candidate a client comes across. So get in touch with them even if you don't tick every item off their list. Emphasize the areas where you mesh well with their requirements. If they want to know more, they'll ask.

Get Your Writing Questions Answered

The All Freelance Writing Podcast regularly features community Q&As. So I'd love to hear your questions about freelance writing, blogging, or indie publishing. If you'd like me to consider answering your question in a future podcast episode, you can contact me in three different ways:

  1. Email me at jenn@allfreelancewriting.com.  Include the phrase "Podcast Question" in your subject line to make sure the email is filtered correctly so I don't miss it.
  2. Submit your question through the contact form on this page.
  3. Leave me a voicemail by calling 484-575-1345. You'll be directly connected to voicemail. Please note that if you leave a question via voicemail, I might play that voicemail during a future episode if I'm able to answer your question.

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