Monday, July 18, 2011

How do Fiction Writers Write a Blog?

Nonfiction writers have it easy. They are considered experts in some sort of field. Fiction writers, while being specialized in some style of writing, don't have that expertise. They write well. They make up stories. But what the heck do they have to write about to justify maintaining a blog?

Okay, all you fiction writers. I'm about to give you reasons to blog, and remove your excuses not to.

1. Write about your struggles with writing.
However, and this is a big however, spin it into a lesson for all writers. This blog isn't about just you. Frankly, unless you're a NYT Bestselling author like Rick Riordan of the Percy Jackson YA books, why does anyone want to know about you? So you are in essence using yourself as an analogy for a larger point applicable to all readers. Jody Hedlund publishes faith romance novels via Bethany House Publishing. Her blog covers inspirational and motivational messages for writers, based upon her personal experiences. She has a huge following.

2. Write about your genre.
Who are the movers and shakers in your part of the world? What have they released lately? Does it accurately represent the genre? Is it better or worse than the last book? What is their characteristic voice that makes them successful? If you claim to be a romance writer, show you know the business. Jungle Red Writers is a blog by eight mystery/suspense writing women. They cover their genre, from reviews to thoughts to breaking news. Femme Fatales covers crime fiction and the list of writers contains names like Hank Phillipi Ryan, Elaine Viets, Dana Andrews, Dana Cameron, and Charlaine Harris.

3. Write about the business of writing.
As with Item 1, cover the news of publishing and the cost of doing business as a writer from your standpoint, but in order to make a larger point for the reader. Give them take-away value. Horror and mystery author JA Konrath is extraordinary in this regard.

4. Review books.
How hard is that? Just keep the books defined to your genre, or people don't correlate the genre with you and your books. Sarah McCoy, author of The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico, has Thursday Tea Party on her blog where she reviews a book and explains what type of tea the book prompted her to sip.

5. Cover events.
Pull a journalistic feat of reporting about your book signings, speaking engagements, online chats. Be creative. Be cute. Be informational. Use anecdotes and descriptions. Bob Mayer recently covered Thrillerfest, not only to show us who he met and what he concluded from events, but also to analyze his switch from traditional to self-publishing and how he felt about meeting the people who used to publish him.

6. Interview people.
Agents, editors, other authors published in your genre. Literary review publishers, retreat sponsors, MFA professors.

7. Show book trailers.
Pick a book trailer in your genre and dissect, recommend or critique it. Here's a book trailer for Jessica McCann's All Different Kinds of Free, a new release from Bell Bridge Books. It convinced me to go to Amazon and place an order.

8. Write about your research.
Diva Jefferson, a very young writer in my Columbia, SC writers group is intense in her mission to become publisher in the romance genre. She's researched Scotland, applied to retreats in Scotland, read books on Scotland, and designed her website around Scotland. She's already prepared a book trailer that impresses me. She could write about what she's learned about dialect, regions of the country, dress, food, small towns, weather, shopping or history. Historical romance author Elizabeth Boyce writes about words and the many ways we love them.

9. Talk social networking, electronic publishing, and all the NEW technology in the writing world.
Most writers are lost in this regard, and whenever a fellow writer can make common sense out of it, they have great potential to snag followers. Sci-fi novelist and technie Cory Doctorow can talk technology in all its glory.

10. Cover your hobby.
Pets, cooking, the environment. Fiction authors have a life away from the computer. Mystery Lovers Kitchen is the brainchild of several cozy  mystery authors who have characters who cook, bake, eat and love food.

Those are just a few ideas. Surely now your head is spinning with blog concepts now. If not, by the time you visit the above sites, you'll spark something. Tell me what you think? What type of blog can you think of as a fiction writer?

15 comments:

Sioux said...

I watched the book trailer and I too am going to buy "All Different Kinds of Free." Thanks, Hope.

Hope Clark said...

It's an impressive book, Sioux.

Jessica McCann said...

These are all great ideas, Hope, thanks! I love Sarah McCoy's tea party blog, which you mention in #4. Such a creative and fun way to do reviews, and proof positive that there are so many ways writers can find their unique niche. Thanks for mentioning my book trailer, too!

Karen Lange said...

These are great points. I have learned a lot from the fiction writers' blogs I follow. Jody's is one of the best.

Diane said...

Great ideas! I do a lot of book reviews and giveaways. I'm still trying to find my niche though. :O)

Michelle Fayard said...

What excellent advice, Hope, and, again, congratulations on Bell Bridge Books contracting your suspense series! It couldn't have happened to a nicer person. I can't wait to read this, and I hope you'll consider appearing on my blog for a review and author interview.

Wishing you a great day!

Michelle

P.S. I hope I'm now showing as a follower, because I look forward to your blog and newsletter with much anticipation. :)

Hope Clark said...

Hey, y'all. Remember to leave your website or blog site when you comment. After all, you want people to follow you home, right?

Michelle - where's your blog?

M.E. said...

Time for me to go blog touring for more ideas. One I had not thought to do was the Book Trailer Critique...thanks, Hope!

You can find my blog at www.meandersfit.com.

Valerie Stasik said...

Thanks for a great blog, Hope. I've used #1,3,and 9 myself, and plan to use your other suggestions in future blogs.
Valerie Stasik (Valerie Stasik's Pen Central, website, and The Sequill,my blog)

Elizabeth Boyce said...

Thanks for the great suggestions, Hope! Some of your ideas are percolating on the burner for future posts at the Ball. Thanks so much for the link! :)

Elizabeth Boyce
bluestockingball.blogspot.com

James said...

Ah, great post. I'm always looking for these kinds of suggestions; I'm blogging about "nonfiction" topics, but also writing fiction. Bringing that to the Web has been a learning experience.

PS: The title's meant to begin with "How *do*", right?

carlos de la parra said...

My blog, http://www.themicrostories.blogspot.com
Since 2009 I've been posting micro stories, and short stories when they take growth beyond my will.
I feel the micro story genre to be something like searching for gold, sometimes you find it, other times not quite so. But I go on for the sake of perseverance and polishing my style.
I've noticed that in this genre sometimes one arrives at the eureka moment, and even myself ignores what caused it beyond the effort to stay in health and good spirit on a daily basis.
EXAMPLE;
He went into the internet to never return.

This small narrative will find a point of contact for many a reader.
All postings begin in a spanish version, and if you clic down you will find the english version.
Not a translation but an intent to adapt each one to it's own culture.
I plead not to read them using the google translator because it devastates them.
Robots ,so far , have no business in literature.

gargimehra said...

Love all your blogging advice! Thanks!

chaoticmusing said...

As a fiction writer, I struggled as well. However, a great author once told me to find what I love and blog from my edges finding where the audience of my blog will intersect with the audience of my one-day published book. That is what I try to do.
TRY to do. :)
See for yourself at www.chaoticmusing.wordpress.com
PS
Go Tigers! LOL

Hope Clark said...

Go Tigers!