Writes And Wrongs: Shiloh Walker On Doing The Blog Thing

Best-selling author Shiloh Walker pens this bi-weekly column of online advice for writers. Walker is a full-time author who is published in both e-book and traditional print formats. Now she shares her experience and advice to help aspiring and published authors figure out the "Writes and Wrongs" of the digital world.

Ever wondered if blogging is the thing for you? Trying to decide? Before you go yes or no, here is one rather important question… Can you commit to doing it on a regular basis?

Why is this important?

Blogging has become a ‘community’ of sorts. Now if you’re a big name and you only blog on occasion, it’s not an issue…you’ll catch interest and that’s one of the main reasons we blog, right?

But if you’re not already a name and you only plan to post a blog every three or four weeks, or when you have a new book out, and the only thing you really plan on discussing is promotional-related stuff ... well, it may not be the thing for you. Blogging works best, like most social media tools, when you invest some time into it and interact. It’s not investing time and it’s not interacting if you’re only using it to post when your book is out.

Does this mean you can’t blog or shouldn’t blog? Of course it doesn’t mean you can’t and only you can decide if the blogging thing is the right thing for you. But if you’re thinking about blogging (or already are) and the main reason is because you want another platform to reach people about your books, the best way to have a halfway fun blog is to take the time to maintain it.

If you only plan on taking a few minutes a couple times a month, it’s not as likely to become the platform you’d like. People visit blogs looking for entertainment, news, regular updates, etc. When they don’t find that after a few days or a few weeks…well, it’s not building a readership for your blog.

If you think you can do regular blogging but you aren’t sure what to write about, you can always try establishing a loose ‘schedule’ of sorts. Maybe plan on blogging three days a week, say Monday, Wednesdays, Fridays. You could even schedule something regular on one of those days and what you’ll post, like on Fridays, I do a ‘meme’ called the Friday 56—it’s book related and sometimes I get a lot of feedback, sometimes just a few comments, but readers seem to like it. On Saturdays, a lot of the time, I do a ‘Saturday Snippet’ post where I post a small bit of a book I’m currently either writing or editing. 

Visit popular blogs. See what they talk about. Talk about your writing process. Figure out what your blog ‘presence’ could be. It can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Just remember, it’s not going to work as well if time isn’t put into it.

- Shiloh Walker

Check back for the next installment of Shiloh Walker's column in two weeks. Seeking more specific advice? You can ask the author any questions about the "writes and wrongs" of online behavior here. Your question might even get featured in an upcoming article. And of course, you can also follow the Shiloh Walker online daily at her website, on her Facebook page and via Twitter.