Believe it or not, I’m much happier when curled up in my Papasan chair from Pier 1, reading a good book, than I am talking about myself and trying to promote my blog. The scared little girl inside me tells me I’m not original enough & I don’t have anything important to say, that nobody likes me. With that in mind, here’s how I got started:
I started blogging in August of 2010. I was motivated upon returning from RWA Nationals in Orlando. At first I started just to show agents/editors I had initiative and was willing to have a presence on the web (and I didn’t want anyone else claiming jamieayres.com before I was a famous author–lol). It was exciting to have my own website but with the start of another school year and trying to write, I rarely posted more than once a month and the only people who read it were a handful of friends and family that pitied da fool (me). Last summer when I couldn’t afford to attend Nationals again, I decided to participate in Deana Barnhart’s Gearing Up To Get An Agent blogfest and that allowed me to finally connect with other bloggers. I loved interacting with aspiring authors all summer long, but once school started again, it was hard to keep up with posting my own blog and commenting on others. Then when I was ringing in 2012 at a New Year’s Eve party, I spoke with an agent who told me when she’s deciding between two similar writers she’s interested in, she’ll take the one with more of an online presence if their writing is equal. Soooooo that motivated me. I’ve posted every week since then (mostly) and try to comment on all the blogs I follow as much as possible. Ultimately it lead to signing a contract with Curiosity Quills Press last month after I particpated in a contest hosted by fellow blogger buddy, Sharon Bayliss.
Some things I’ve learned: (taken from a blog post by fikshun b/c I couldn’t have said it better myself:-)
Focus on your own blog. Make it the best blog it can be. Don’t worry about how well other blogs are doing. Seriously. This really isn’t a competition. The more writing & book blogs the better:-)
Find your voice and stick with it. I’ve said it before. And I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers who have also said it. But it bears repeating because it’s so important. The only thing that distinguishes you from another blogger is your voice. Let it speak for who you are. Don’t try to adopt someone else’s voice or style. Your blog readers are there because they want to hear what you have to say, in your own words, not in someone else’s.
Focus on your content. Mix it up. Keep it interesting. Don’t let yourself or your blog get bored or boring. Find something entertaining or promotional or informational or fun and talk about it. You don’t always have to meme to fill the spaces. Come up with something of your own.
*One thing I’d like to know is how to create an AVI and a blog button with a grab code.
Okely dokely–this post is long enough & there are plenty of blogs to visit today that I know will have tons of fantastic information to share . . . and it’s not too late for YOU to sign up for the Buccaneer blogfest, too. Your thrilling, high-seas adventure awaits, matey!
I am so jealous you went to nationals! I can never seem to win–where ever I’m living they’re on the other side of the country! And the fact that agents use online presence to decide between submissions is a REALLY interesting tidbit I’ve never heard before–but it totally makes sense.
I can’t help you with the AVI, I don’t even know what it is. LOL!
That’s interesting the agent would say she’d take one with more online presence.
I found my groove and I’m sticking with it!
I was in Deana’s blogfest as well!
Excellent advice for everyone in the blogfest.
Jamie, I started in 2009 with one name, changed it to reflect more of who I am (although WP stubbornly refuses to make the new name my permanent address unless I buy it from them) … The progression of how we find our grove and connect to readers is different for each of us, but the basic you stated are true for everyone. I do it because I love it and I love NYC … I am fOIS In The City after all and who doesn’t know that New York is “The City.” Like Chicago is the Second City. It becomes a labor of love and any other reason takes too much work.
Don’t know how we connected and don’t care. Glad to be part of your journey and have you tag along on mine. Blogfests and blog hops are something I rarely do … as I told Brinda Berry … I am too damn old to hop even in cyber space. Aye matey … love your story 🙂
I remember Nationals! Life was good back then. Who is doing your headshot for your book/author promo?
I agree with your point about having your own voice. When I find a blog that speaks to me, the reason is usually because the writer has their own unique voice, one that resonates with me.
I should probably mention that yours is one of the voices I always tune in to read. 😉
I agree with the comment above from Kirsten that you have a great blog presence/voice. I can tell you are just cool, it oozes out from between the lines of your posts. I hope someone answers your grab button question, as I’d love to know that, too. I bet Stephanie over at Clay Baboons would tell you as I know she figured that out recently and she’s super nice.
Oo, nice post, Jamie! 🙂
Love what you say about focusing on your own blog – the same goes for writing fiction, don’t compare yourself to other writers, because your work is only as good as you make it.
Thanks for the great tips! You are so right about keeping your voice while blogging. Congrats on signing a contract with CQ!!! How exciting! 😀 Following now.
Great advice! Always thought it was pretty boring to blog about writing ALL the time. I like to get to know a blogger from their everyday life experiences 🙂