How To: 7 Steps to a Great Writer Blog

Screen Shot 2012-04-26 at 4.18.09 PMI love it when writers link to their blogs when they’re querying me. I know not all agents agree, but if I’m interested in a query or a project I’ll definitely be looking you up. So what do agents look for when we’re going through writers’ blogs (which are different than author websites)? Here’s a glimpse into my thought process.

How To: 7 Steps to a Great Writer Blog

1. FREQUENCY

My biggest pet peeve is writers who set up a blog but don’t keep it up. I know things get in the way (life, marriage, kids, day job, etc) but the most important thing is some sort of schedule. I’m not saying you have to blog everyday, because you certainly don’t! What I am saying is try to create a pattern: once a week, twice a month, twice a week–whatever you can manage.

2. CONTENT

What querying writers shouldn’t be blogging about is the process. I know this seems strange because it’s the biggest part of your writing life right now, but trust me on this. Agents and editors don’t want to know how long you’ve been writing/querying/submitting this novel for.

3. VOICE

When agents are signing writers from the slush the most important thing to us is usuallyย voice. Plot we can revise, voice we can’t teach. So if we are intrigued by your writing and we want to know more we find our way to your blog and voila! We see if we like the voice more or less now that we’ve seen it in a different context.

4. FOLLOWING AND INTERACTION

You don’t need a big following on your blog for an agent to take notice. For fiction the writing always stands alone. However, it’s really great to see writers who blog interacting with the people who visit their site. Because if you have a following of 10 or 1,000 those are people that understand you, like you, and will support you when the time comes. That’s better than 500 empty hits.

5. CONTACT INFORMATION

Always have contact information on your blog. Link to your Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram (if you are open to sharing this with the public) so that people can engage on the platform they like best. Don’t forget an email address!

6. AUTHOR BIO

A succinct author bio lets me know this writer is serious and wants to be taken seriously.

7. COLLABORATION

If you don’t know what to write about, why not do it as a group! Pub Crawl Blog, All The Write Notes, and Writers in the Storm are all good examples.

**

My top writer blogs:

  • Have you checked outย Chuck Wendig? He does blog about writing, but also funny inspirational (with some NSFW language!) posts.
  • Sarah Dessen is also great. She mixes media and blogs about her Twitter posts too.

Further Reading: The Big Mistake of Author Blogs by Jane Friedman

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21 thoughts on “How To: 7 Steps to a Great Writer Blog

  1. Carly, what type of content do you like to see from fiction writers? It is most natural to blog about the process, but I can see how that wouldn’t necessarily connect you with readers (although other writers might find it interesting). A writer of non-fiction might be able to post interesting tidbits or research they are learning during the process, but I am having a harder time thinking of what type of content my potential readers might find interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve found that I get the most interest when I blog about a place – in my case London because I lived and worked there for many years so know it well. It also happens to be the city in which my novel is set.
      I have also written about a series on the BBC called Silk about a female barrister; my protagonist is a female barrister. I was an advocate and I wrote about the series from a legal view point. My blog is http://www.scribblingadvocate.com

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Certainly, but my hobbies don’t have anything to do with the type of writing I am doing, so I wasn’t sure that those types of posts would appeal to potential fantasy readers. I can see how existing fans of a particular author would like to see those insights into an author’s life, but can they help build a new fan base?

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    2. Claire, I’m glad you asked this question, and Carly, your answer makes me happy. I struggled for a long time with what was and wasn’t okay to blog about, given the wide range of writing I do and what I’m hoping to achieve. But struggling my way through that has helped me to find the pivotal issue that informs every one of my ventures. I have often worried that my blog is not focused enough to be of any use except as a journal. This outlook is very affirming.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m just starting my journey as a professional writer and I’ve been blogging for just a few months now. It’s really great to hear what agents might be looking for when I get the point of querying them! :D

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  3. Hi Carly, am sorry to bother you again, but just wondered – though I’ve written a women’s fiction novel, I mainly write poetry on my blog – would that be a problem? Do I need to write articles instead? Or a mix of both would be a better option? Would be grateful for any feedback at all. Thank you for your time Carly!

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  4. Dear Carly, great post!

    Thanks for the tips. It’s interesting to hear some of my writer friends say: ‘I don’t want to invest time on a blog, I much rather invest it on writing my work.’ I used to think that. Now, I’ve been working on creating a platform as well.

    I usually write about my travels and my country (Costa Rica) and I’ve found that these posts have the most following.

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  5. Great post Carly! And thanks so much for mentioning us :) Having a group blog is quite a bit of work coordinating (and making sure we don’t overlap each other in terms of topic), but it is extremely rewarding – and creates some pretty meaningful and supportive relationships.

    And we LOVE Chuck Wendig`s blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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