Blogs for bloggers and writers – part 1.

blogger3aI’m a writer of science fiction and a blogger and I think it’s fair to say that the blogging is more successful than the writing.  The blog gets ‘goodish’ traffic (more would always be nice), some interesting comments and I hope it interests/amuses/informs/inspires most of those who take the time to read it.  There have been also been a few notable peaks when a blog has been picked up or given prominence on other blog sites such as ‘Carnival of Indies’ (see below).  As for the writing, well the writing goes well, it’s the subsequent marketing that could be better.  OK I admit it, a lot better.

So I’ve decided that when I’ve sent book number three ‘Bleak’ out to some initial readers, whose opinions I value I will put the writing down and try to make some plans for how I launch that book in a few months and how I try to increase the sales of my current books (possible future blog).  That will mean spending time trawling through information that is out there and the starting point for that will be blogs I have come across in the past and thought were sufficiently interesting to bookmark.

Having made that decision it struck me that while I have been writing and blogging, recently I have not been visiting other blogs as much as I used to or should do.  Which is a bit remiss as a blogger and writer.  How can I know what is new, what the trends are, what people are talking about if I don’t read other blogs?  OK, I pick some things up from twitter, but I don’t think that’s enough.  So I’m putting that right and sharing what I find:

  1. Joanna Penn, ‘The Creative Penn’. Having written two books, I then realised how difficult it is to get an agent (yes, I was that naive and yes I went through many rejections).  Like a lot of authors, I guess, I then became serious about self-publishing my work.  Luckily I found Joanna’s blog (it was on a site that listed, in its opinion, the top 10 blog sites for writers).   I suspect most indie writers and bloggers will know this one, if not, try it.  Joanna has made a success of writing about writing, writing fiction and blogging.  She is clearly doing something right.  On the sight there is much free content and good advice on writing and publishing.  Having gone back there it is also a place to gain inspiration and to remind yourself that it is possible.  She’s one of the best adverts for ‘building a platform’, something she has obviously worked hard at.
  2. The Writers Workshop. This was probably the first site I read in detail when I started writing.  There’s lots of useful basic advice as well details of courses they run.  They can also find you an editor (for a fee).  I used this service for my currently published books.  The first time round in particular it taught me things about the art of writing that might have taken years to learn otherwise.  A good investment in my opinion.
  3. The Book Designer – Joel Freidlander. This is a site I have been back to recently, not least because I try to have a blog that fits their ‘Carnival of Indies’ criteria every month.  If you have, they will list it.  The month I was chosen as one of their feature blogs resulted in my best few days of hits.  There are always useful features and contributions from other indie authors as well as Joel’s blogs and free information to get you started.  I first came across Joel when reading about self-publishing on the Amazon site.  I also used one of his design templates for e-publishing my own books which work well.elmore leonard
  4. Anne R Allen’s blog is a new find for me owing to the fact that she kindly linked to my blog. It’s full of good advice from a successful author and former editor.  Having read her latest blog ’10 things that red flag a newbie novelist’ has made me question some things I’ve done.  But that’s good.  You don’t have to agree with every bit of advice out there, but you should be asking yourself those difficult questions.
  5. Elmore Loenard’s ten rules of writing. Not so much a blog as good, simple advice (I bought a hard copy).  I guess most writers will know these, but it does no harm to be reminded of them once in a while.  No link, just google them.

Well, that’s it for my start to revisiting blogs or finding new ones.  Just one caveat from me:  There is lots of advice out there and some of it (maybe lots of it) can be conflicting, so don’t follow it slavishly.  However, do use it to question your work, can it be improved? (almost always the answer is yes), am I being just self-indulgent?.  But also remember it is your story to be told your way.

As always comments / suggestions welcome.

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

If you have a view on this, let me know: