Why Your Author Blog is Stuck & What To DO

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Licht

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Licht

Ah the blog. Some of you might perk up at the word. Others? Blog sounds like some radioactive creature that hatched from a meteor and is only there to feed. Feed on your energy, your hopes and your dreams.

Many writers start the blog with high hopes, then a few months in? You can’t bear to go to your computer because the screen is a reminder of that shiny blog you started…then abandoned to the spam bots.

A blog done properly is one of the most powerful tools in our social media arsenal.

Twitter could flitter and Facebook could face plant, but the blog will remain. In fact, blogs have been going strong since the 90s and have taken over much of what used to be the sole territory of traditional media outlets. Additionally, blogging is the only form of social media that plays to a writer’s strengths.

Writers write.

Many writers get overwhelmed at the idea of a blog. But there are SO MANY blogs! Yes, there are. But don’t let that number fool you. Yes there are a gazillion blogs, but how many are any good? How many are consistent? How many have been abandoned?

When we blog properly, the competition isn’t nearly as bad as one might imagine.

What vexes me profoundly is when I attend classes on social media and blogging and witness eager authors listening to advice that frankly? Sucks. Not long ago, I literally walked out of a blogging class at a conference…namely because shutting up is not my strong suit.

So today, I want to outline some basics for you and get you asking and answering the correct questions before you begin to blog. If you want to know more about the author brand/blog I go into great detail in my book Rise of the MachinesI also have two classes coming up—Branding for Authors (May 16th) and Blogging for Authors (May 20th). This will keep this post a reasonable length because blogging is a vastly complex topic.

But the biggest question we need to ask in the beginning (before we get stuck) is….

What Kind of Blogger Do I Want to Be?

An Author Blog is Different

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean

One thing I want all of you to understand is that the author blog is a distinctively different creature. Part of why I got so angry in the class I walked out of was because the expert failed to make the distinction and acted like a blog was a blog was a blog.

NO.

There is a HUGE difference between a blog and an author blog so you need to ask yourself this BIG question before you ever get started because it will impact everything that follows.

Is your goal to become a professional blogger? Or, is your goal to use your blog to build your author brand and eventually drive book sales?

There’s no wrong answer, but there is a vast difference in approach and planning. Often bloggers will use monikers. Think Scary Mommy, The Bloggess, or Pioneer Woman. For a blogger, this is perfectly fine since the goal is to build the BLOG and often the goal is to become big enough to be able to sell ad space.

If, however, you are wanting to be a successful author who blogs? A moniker makes your journey unnecessarily longer and harder and will only add layers of friction to your brand. The only acceptable author brand is the name printed on the front of your books.

People don’t like thinking and they’ve gotten really spoiled. If I spend years blogging as HappyFunGirl, then no one browsing novels would even notice Kristen Lamb because I branded the wrong name. 

Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Steve and Shanon Lawson

Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Steve and Shanon Lawson

There is another constraint worth mentioning. Content. Often blogs revolve around a particular area of interest—cooking, family, parenting, pets, etc. These are all non-fiction topics and stuff the left brain loooooves.

The problem is that authors are selling a right brain product (fiction). Why are we selling a right brain product with a left-brained brand? It’s bait that’s less than ideal. Again, it can work, but it isn’t connecting the way it needs to in order to cultivate a fan base for fiction.

Another problem when we start a subject-based blog? It’s easy to burn out (get stuck). An author blog gives us far more flexibility and freedom in our content that will keep us passionate about writing for years to come. We won’t feel chained to a subject that no longer interests us.

Courtesy of Imagens Evangelicas vis Flickr Creative Commons

Courtesy of Imagens Evangelicas vis Flickr Creative Commons

Platform Matters

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 11.15.49 AM

Why it is really critical to define our goals in the beginning is this is going to dictate where to build our blog. Any “expert” who says the only difference in a free platform and a paid platform is how many fonts, colors and backgrounds you have to choose from, doesn’t know her stuff.

The reason I’m a huge fan of the blog is the blog is a great way to drive book sales in a noninvasive way. We blog on something that catches interest, a reader clicks and likes and subscribes, and over in the corner, what do we have?

A shopping cart to BUY our books.

The entire reason I became a social media expert was I fell victim to the same bad advice I’m warning you of today. The same advice being given in 2016 in that class.

I didn’t know that the real difference in the FREE version and the PAID one had everything to do with BUSINESS.

In the FREE version, we cannot conduct commerce, which means no shopping cart. I didn’t know this in the beginning and it wasn’t until I had over 25,000 subscribers that I realized my mistake. By the time I had books for sale? There was no moving my followers, my 500+ blog posts and my tens of thousands of comments.

I had to start at GROUND ZERO if I moved. Yes, I was STUCK.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 9.40.55 AM

***Actually, WP now will allow me to move everything but I had to wait five years for the technology to catch up to my oops. I’ll be moving over the summer when things slow down. It will be way easier for me to have a shopping cart instead of having to hyperlink books and classes every post.

But here is the deal, I’ve done all the dumb stuff so you don’t have to. Plan for success and just invest the $100 in a paid site. You will thank me later😉 .

If you are stuck and not growing and not selling books? Might be time for an upgrade.

Interface Matters

We must remember that the easier we make it for people to find, interact, subscribe, follow, share and comment on our blogs, the greater the odds of the blog being successful. This is why I strongly recommend a WP based website. I know some authors love Blogger and are very successful using it and if so? Sally forth. This is more for the new folks.

WP, in my POV, is far more user-friendly. Blogger makes me solve five CAPTCHAS, submit a haiku, three letters of reference and a blood sample before I can comment. This is why if I click on a link and see the post is Blogger based? I don’t even read.

Blogs live and die by the comments, so no matter what platform you use, please make it easy for people to comment and share.

When authors don’t get comments and followers it is super easy to get discouraged and give up. Change the interface. It might just be your readers are having a tough time connecting.

Bonus Blogging Tip

If you start an author blog, make it your landing page on your author website.

Static pages are boring and no one wants to go there. This makes it easier for you to use blogs as bait to get folks to your site where hopefully they will buy books. Remember the more we make people click to navigate, the more chances we have to lose them. If the blog and shopping cart are right there on the landing page?

BOO-YAH!

Also, if you blog regularly putting your blog on your author site (home page) will make the search engines looove you and will give you algorithmic advantage which is essential for success😀 .

What are your thoughts? Did you realize there was a difference between the blog and the author blog? Are you seeing some things you’ve been doing that might be stalling your blog? Have you lost the love for blogging?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of MAY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.

More Classes

Your Story in a Sentence—Crafting Your Log-Line (THIS FRIDAY!!!) This is a great diagnostic for a floundering plot. I can tell what is wrong (or even right) with a plot by looking at the log-line. The first ten signups get their log-line shredded IN CLASS and for FREE.

Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist This class will teach you to be a master plotter. No antagonist, no plot. Weak antagonist, weak plot. Additionally this class will teach you how to put conflict and tension on every page.

Hooking the Reader—Your First Five Pages The first five pages are one of our best selling tools. We fail to hook the reader and that is a lost sale. In this class, we go over the art of great beginnings. Additionally, the upper levels Gold and Platinum I actually LOOK at your pages and critique your actual writing. I am offering DOUBLE PAGES for FREE so this is a fantastic opportunity to get feedback from a pro.

 

 

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  1. #1 by writeonthebeach on May 4, 2016 - 1:04 pm

    I fell into exactly that error as you’ll notice from my “moniker”. However, I bought “Rise of the Machines” a few weeks back and now have my author website. All I have to do, like you, is move everything over. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to somethin, with hindsight, seems obvious.
    PS Don’t want to sound crawly but I Loved the book!

  2. #3 by foguth on May 4, 2016 - 1:18 pm

    Xander de Hunter, a family-friendly feline 007 is the hero of my current series and he and/or my books get mentioned in blogs, when the topic ties in. However, the present focus of my blog is pet cat tips and/or humor. Do you think I need to alter the content of my blog, somehow, to better market books?
    Also, which one of your upcoming classes will explain how to make my blog the first page of my website (currently have my WP blog as a tab on my Wix website) AND explain how to add the shopping cart?

  3. #4 by 1authorcygnetbrown on May 4, 2016 - 1:21 pm

    Thank you, Author Kristen Lamb! I have been wondering what I could do to improve my blog and now I realize that what I need to do is 1) change it to my author name (getting tired of the crickets anyway) 2) make it a paid WP site 3) put it as the landing page of my website! Again thanks!

  4. #5 by historewriter on May 4, 2016 - 1:22 pm

    So the first thing I did right: I chose WordPress. I’m years (probably) from actually selling this 2nd draft, so I hesitate to invest; good to know WP will let me export the thing to a “business” version at some futuristic I-Am-Published time.
    First thing I did wrong: the NAME of the blog/site! Well, I saw many writing ADVICE blogs with non-person-name-names. . .perhaps they’re only interested in selling books about. . .writing advice?
    But JUST A NAME? Like yours? Hm… Kristen Lamb’s Blog. Gabriella L. Garlock’s Blog–just doesn’t roll off the tongue! I haven’t even chosen what version of the name to publish under. “The Blog of G.Lynn Garlock”. . .
    But this is great advice for the beginner not too far invested in their blog. Thanks.

  5. #6 by Foster Haskell on May 4, 2016 - 1:27 pm

    My blog is stuck!
    /eyes that blogging class…

  6. #7 by susanalia on May 4, 2016 - 1:29 pm

    Probably my biggest problem is topics. All of the author blogs I’ve seen are advice blogs. The best ones are from people who have been writing books and blogs for years and have valuable advice for people (like me) who are just starting out. I don’t feel like I can compete with that. So figuring out topics has me stuck and overwhelmed when it comes to blogging.

    • #8 by Jill DeFelice on May 5, 2016 - 8:02 pm

      I feel the same way!

    • #9 by Earnie Painter on May 5, 2016 - 8:07 pm

      I’m not claiming to be a professional, but I’m all about encouragement. Are you an author? What do you write about? Do you write antebellum mystery novels set in New Orleans? Your blog could be about NOLA, its food, its culture, etc.

      I would imagine that if you write books, there is something that interests you. My thoughts are to write about the things you find interesting, and things that might end up in your books. Trees, gardening, historic mansions… anything you incorporate into a novel can be explored in a blog, to help flesh it out and to spark interest.

      • #10 by susanalia on May 8, 2016 - 9:45 pm

        Thanks! I already do a version of that, and I was able to post about twice a month for about six months. Now, the topics seem to be harder to come by and I’m trying to strike a balance between only talking about my novel and topics that might be interesting outside of that.

  7. #11 by David Villalva on May 4, 2016 - 1:35 pm

    You showed me the light. Thanks mama😉

  8. #12 by Michael J Lawrence on May 4, 2016 - 1:52 pm

    One of the things I recently “realized” even though it’s been right in front of me the whole time is the WP reader does not take you to an author’s blog. It takes you to a post – stripped of everything, including menus, widgets and even the arrows to navigate next and previous posts. This really mucks up the ability to use a post as a barker for other stuff on your blog page.

  9. #13 by liz feltham on May 4, 2016 - 1:55 pm

    I have been struggling with my blogging direction; I write cookbooks and it’s a food blog so, simple, right? Well, I have never given myself permission to view it as MY AUTHOR blog, d’oh. You just flipped a switch for me Kristen, thank you!

  10. #14 by annerallen on May 4, 2016 - 2:08 pm

    Preach it, Kristen! I’ve just had to surgically remove a webmaster from hell who simply refused to understand that an author blog is an entirely different medium from a monetized blog. There are so many fundamentals that are different. I almost wish we had another word for them.

    And I agree sooo much about not having a static front page. Making people click around to find new content is silly. Amazon has been so successful partly because of “one click” technology. So why do so many web designers think making people click as many times as possible is a good idea?

    (BTW, your guy Jay Donovan is one of my heroes. He helped rescue me from a very bad situation and alerted me to what a mess things were.)

  11. #15 by amyshojai on May 4, 2016 - 2:09 pm

    TAKE KRISTEN’S CLASS NOW!!! Seriously…I wouldn’t have a successful blog today if not for her class a few year’s back. I’m one of those “special snowflake” cases with both nonfiction and fiction books, but they ALL relate to each other (pets). And yes, my brand is my name. Now I blog professionally on the nonfiction side, and it also helps build platform on the fiction side of things (special snowflake, much?). Kristen even gave me my “Bling, Bitches & Blood” title for the blog. *s* Seriously…SIGN UP for her class. You won’t be sorry.

  12. #16 by William P Hunter on May 4, 2016 - 2:23 pm

    I’m an unpublished author and I don’t want to have a blog about “how to” on writing. There are plenty of blog like this and are better than what I could create. So, what do I put there? How would I make it interesting enough to follow? This is what has stopped me about going forward with a blog.

    • #17 by KaylaJT on May 4, 2016 - 8:58 pm

      I’m curious about this as well. I’ve considered starting a blog that’s a mix of short stories and real life (parenting and such), but I have mixed feelings about it and wasn’t sure if it was the best strategy.

      • #18 by Stina Lindenblatt on May 6, 2016 - 7:45 pm

        I made this mistake when I started blogging. The writing blog was popular and landed me a position on the Query Tracker blog, but my followers were all over the place when it came to genre (which didn’t matter because when I became publish I had switched from YA to romance). When I lost my domain because of a screw up at the domain holder’s end (and a troll bought it up the moment it was available), I had to start my blog from scratch. I no longer blog about writing, but that also made it tough to figure out what to blog about. I still struggle with this and my blog content is inconsistent. Part of the reason for that is because I’m published in several different romance subgenres. It’s hard to find something that works for everything and which will appeal to a variety of readers.

        Good luck!

  13. #19 by Jan Rider Newman on May 4, 2016 - 2:34 pm

    Blogger users can go into Dashboard/Settings/Posts and Comments & turn off or adjust the requirement for word verification, comment moderation and who can comment. Doesn’t mean all Blogger users do it, but they can and should. I find Blogger more intuitive than WP. The first paid blog I set up with WP was a booger to figure out!

  14. #20 by glendacouncilbeall on May 4, 2016 - 2:52 pm

    Great advice. I began blogging back in 2007 and abandoned one blog. Started a writing studio business in 2010 and began another blog for that. Now I am getting some help in consolidating most of my pages, etc. to make a more readable and helpful blog. There are days I’d love to chunk it all and start over.

  15. #21 by Raidon T. Phoenix on May 4, 2016 - 3:01 pm

    Glad to have the fact that I just dropped $100 on a .com was a valid move. I as for blogging? I didn’t start til I read your book, as you well know, and I think my blog just took a turn for the unintentionally controversial, but we’ll see how it goes. In the mean time, I’m looking forward to, as you mentioned, adding a store, and uploading at least a short story already. Love the blog, love working with you, and can’t wait to keep reading.

  16. #22 by storytellergirlgrace on May 4, 2016 - 3:48 pm

    Thank you so much for clarifying the difference between a “blogger” and an “author who blogs.” For some reason I’d never thought of it that way before. So glad I read this post!

  17. #23 by bridgetstraub on May 4, 2016 - 3:51 pm

    Looks like I need to come up with $100 and switch over to a paid blog so that I can add a store!

  18. #24 by betsyashton on May 4, 2016 - 3:56 pm

    I am so happy that my website designer pounded me into submission. I started years ago with cutsey-named blogs on Blogger. Two, to be precise, in order to separate my more politically influenced words with writing life/book reviews/cat pics. Yup, all over the place.

    A wise guru convinced me to move to WP. I think her name is Kristen something. Oh, yes, Lamb. I did, but all I achieved was a great platform that didn’t link to much. My website was hosted on Go Daddy.

    Enter one web designer who said if we don’t move from Go Daddy to WP, find someone else. We set up a simple clean author site and chose a template that lets images from each weekly post appear on the home page. The site is no longer static. And the clean look conveys what I want: I’m a professional who likes to have fun, hence blog images of kitties.

    And my agent pounded one more bit into my head. I am branding me. She “encouraged” me to change everything to my name: website, blog, Twitter/FB/LinkedIn/Goodreads accounts. Yeah, I liked being Mad Max, but that is only one character. I have other…

    Again, thanks for the encouragement that I am making more of the right decisions.

  19. #25 by morgynstarz on May 4, 2016 - 4:10 pm

    Awesome content. Reblogging on my crit groups G+ page!

  20. #26 by tammyjpalmer on May 4, 2016 - 5:11 pm

    I have a blogger blog, and I’ve known for awhile that it’s not working. I get pageviews when I post to twitter/FB but it’s too hard for people to leave comments and no one signs up. It also wasn’t about fiction, so the people who loved it weren’t the audience for my books. Still fun, but not going to help my writing career much. I’ve been trying to decide what kind of website to put up, and what to call it. I thought it should have a landing page, rather than the blog on the first page. Now I’m rethinking that as well. Thanks to this post I know what I’m going to do now. WordPress—with my pen name as title. Thanks.

  21. #27 by areece on May 4, 2016 - 5:25 pm

    Argh! I have so much to learn! Thanks, Kristen.

  22. #28 by Patricia Robertson on May 4, 2016 - 5:50 pm

    Kirstin, what are your thoughts on going with a wordpress.com website and upgrading to business as opposed to setting up a wordpress.org site? I currently have a wordpress.com site under my name but difficult to sell books on it. I’m considering going with business since I can then sell books and don’t have to worry about plug-ins, security, etc. I’m not sure about wordpress.org because I’m technologically challenged.

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 4, 2016 - 7:15 pm

      You want to upgrade. The interface isn’t all that different and there are YouTube tutorials. I am seriously tech challenged and I do just fine with our WANA International site. I am looking forward to finally getting THIS blog upgraded. But yeah, it will be a LOT easier to do commerce if you upgrade.

  23. #30 by Flynn Gray on May 4, 2016 - 6:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Flynn Gray and commented:
    I started this blog last year with no plan at all, and no idea what I was doing. I still don’t really know what I’m doing, though I’ve learned a lot over the past 9+ months. This article by Kristen Lamb provides a lot of solid advice on planning and maintaining a successful blog, focusing on blogging for authors and building an author brand.

  24. #31 by Serena Dracis, Author on May 4, 2016 - 7:57 pm

    I soooo needed this refresher!

  25. #32 by Southpaw, HR Sinclair on May 4, 2016 - 8:01 pm

    My landing page is a static page, but I have the blog feed on it. Visitors can see the title and first 100ish words of the post.

    • #33 by Southpaw, HR Sinclair on May 4, 2016 - 8:03 pm

      Have to add, the worst thing about Blogger is GooglePlus. I have a blogger account and visit and post away on Blogger, but if someone visits and their name links to GooglePlus–it’s over. Mostly ’cause I’ll never be able to find their blog.

    • #34 by Stina Lindenblatt on May 6, 2016 - 7:47 pm

      I have to figure out how to do this!! I prefer my landing page as a static one since I don’t blog frequently anymore. I have no idea how to get the blog feed on it. I have WP. *adds to to-do list*

  26. #35 by Kessie on May 4, 2016 - 8:18 pm

    I’ve been trying to beef up my blogging, so I’ve been working through Yaro’s tutorial on making money off your blog. It’s fantastic. I used to own my own website, but it was hacked to the point of malware being installed on the server, so I said screw it and went to WordPress.com. I’ll buy a domain for it, but I want professionals to handle security. I can’t face being hacked once a month again. Nothing ruins your mojo like that.

  27. #36 by Jennifer Jensen (@jenjensen2) on May 4, 2016 - 8:39 pm

    Like Serena said, great refresher, Kristen! For all of you wondering what to blog about, take the class! I learned SO much with Kristen a few years ago. I still struggle, but that’s because I write children’s but am switching to adult, and I haven’t truly determined the direction I want it to take. Need to re-read the book one of these days!🙂

    Kristen, would you consider writing a separate blog about pros and cons of different front pages? Static vs full blog vs excerpts vs whatever else is out there? It would be hugely helpful!

  28. #37 by Shea McIntosh Ford on May 4, 2016 - 8:42 pm

    I have abandoned my blog. *hangs head in shame* But part of it is because I can’t do that upgrade yet and get frustrated with the tech part (WHY is my avatar gigantic?). The other part is because I just went through a depression. But I think I’m ready to start back up again. I’ve picked my WIP back up, and have topics to blog about🙂 I was also thinking of starting a book review day on my blog since I have a beef with Goodreads for not taking down someone who bullied on a friend’s book page…

  29. #38 by suzannebowditch on May 4, 2016 - 9:03 pm

    I have had my blog running for a year, but it is just in the last few weeks that I have got more serious with the content of it and what I’d like to achieve. I am a self published author (one book published and the other coming out onto Amazon in a couple of weeks) I will be linking my book to my blog, but am still learning the whole author blog vs blog which I didn’t know about Its a learning curve for sure and thanks for sharing🙂

  30. #39 by Elle Knowles on May 4, 2016 - 10:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Finding Myself Through Writing and commented:
    Great advice here from Kristin on author blogs. There is a difference you know between bloggers and author bloggers. ~Elle

  31. #40 by Elle Knowles on May 4, 2016 - 10:31 pm

    Reblogged this on my WP site and with WP it’s easy to reblog WP blogs – most of the time. On any other blogging site reblogs are impossible! ~Elle

  32. #41 by Anita on May 4, 2016 - 10:48 pm

    I think I’ve made all the blogging mistakes possible, Kristen. I’ve had a cooking blog for several years. I’ve recently added a writer blog, however, I don’t have a published book yet, so there is nothing for anyone to purchase. All the traffic is on the cooking blog, anyway. Neither blog has done much to promote me as a writer, sigh.

  33. #42 by ugiridharaprasad on May 4, 2016 - 10:53 pm

    Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

  34. #43 by Adrian Webber Thomson on May 5, 2016 - 3:04 am

    Great read thank you. I’m using WP also for my blog, but like another comment above, I too have a static homepage, but with a blog feed so google will pick up the updates regularly. I would like to argue against using just your blog page/posts stream as your homepage (especially for authors who don’t plan to use one heavily) as with a static page you can have far more control over what key information is displayed on your home page (latest books, promotions etc). So, yeah, for me, I’m combining both, just to cover all the bases right from the start of a visitors browsing experience.

  35. #44 by Don Massenzio on May 5, 2016 - 5:32 am

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here are some awesome tips on the differences between a blogger and an author blogger.

  36. #45 by Gina X. Grant on May 5, 2016 - 8:08 am

    I love your blog posts. I cut and paste them into a read-aloud ap on my phone and listen while driving or walking the dog. Thank you!

  37. #47 by Icy Sedgwick on May 5, 2016 - 8:51 am

    I’ve been using self-hosted WordPress for a few years now and I love it! I use my blog as my home page but I have the posts set to just snippets with featured images so that readers can click on the posts that catch their eye, rather than having to scroll through them to find what they’re interested in.

    My biggest problem is feeling like I’m running out of things to blog about. I don’t want to fall into the trap of blogging about characters or world building that no one cares about because they haven’t read the book yet, because I always find those kind of blogs tedious! I’ve been trying to blog about stuff related to my genres but it’s driving the traffic to the posts that’s taking the time.

    • #48 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 5, 2016 - 9:38 am

      Icy, I know you’ve read the book, but the class might help you out. I give time at the end of class where you can ask questions and we can brainstorm. Might help you get unstuck. I am pretty good at that😀 .

      • #49 by Icy Sedgwick on May 13, 2016 - 7:48 am

        I really wanted to do it but I’m in the UK so that’s like midnight – 2am for me😦

        • #50 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 13, 2016 - 9:26 am

          Let me know a good time and day for you to take a class. I am working to move around times and days to accommodate folks like you. Then when I reschedule I will keep it in mind.

          • #51 by Icy Sedgwick on May 14, 2016 - 1:57 am

            Just a couple of hours earlier would be cool🙂 Friday is still a good day!

  38. #52 by Jill Foer Hirsch on May 5, 2016 - 9:15 am

    Clicked over courtesy of Elle Knowles’ blog https://knowleselle.wordpress.com/
    Your distinction is fascinating to me because I’ve been in and out of both phases you mention. The first time I ever blogged was on CaringBridge in 2010, when I had breast cancer, simply as a way to get my status out to people and not have a phone tree. My blog was (hopefully) funny and irreverent, and people really responded. I eventually turned the thing into a book, and was told I needed to blog to build a platform. So I started blogging on WP with just a general humor, snark angle (my very essence) but plenty of posts about cancer. I’ve made absolutely no money on my book, but ultimately I realized that wasn’t the point, because my book has connected me with women (and some men) all over the world who need advice, or move me by telling me it’s the first time they laughed since being diagnosed, etc., and overall that is precious to me. As to the one person who left a nasty comment on Amazon, well, my life’s quest may be finding out where she lives and proving to her I really am funny. Really. But I digress…

    After that I went back to work full time and suspended my blog. I got sick again, different disease, and had to stop working, so just started blogging again. Frequently about my illness, because it occupies so much of my free time, but about all kinds of other stuff too. I do it for fun, to keep my mind active, to tell my story, and to connect me with the world when sometimes I feel so isolated after working all my life. So I try very hard not to worry too much about number of views and follows and likes and comments; I remind myself it’s for me. I think that’s enough.

    Oh yeah, I also blog cause my mom makes me. http://universalmusings.com/what-the-world-needs-now-another-semi-amusing-blog/

  39. #53 by Nadine Roth on May 5, 2016 - 11:34 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This blog topic appeared just when I needed it most! I am coming up on my first year anniversary of blogging and I am well aware that I need some re-vamping. These tips are THE ticket! I’m going to WP right now!

    (P.S. Full disclosure: I don’t know how to link your blog to mine– I am an island. Haaargh!)

    • #54 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 5, 2016 - 12:25 pm

      Hyperlink it. In your dashboard there is a symbol that looks like a link in a chain. Highlight the words you want to link to mine and hit that button. Then paste my URL in there and save. That should make those words glow blue and then you have a hot link😀 .

  40. #55 by Jana on May 5, 2016 - 12:41 pm

    Kristen, hi! Is your blogging for authors class from 7 to 9 PM Eastern or 8 to 10 PM Eastern – there were two different times listed, one of them in the drop-down box.

  41. #58 by Judy Hudson on May 5, 2016 - 1:11 pm

    Hi Kristen. A great post for me as I’m publishing my first series, just moved my website, lost it and started over and wonder what other mistakes am I making?
    I looked at the two courses you mentioned and wonder what time zone are they listed in? I’m in PST.

    • #59 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 5, 2016 - 2:17 pm

      They are EST, but if you miss or can’t make it there is a recording and I am happy to do some follow-up via e-mail.

  42. #60 by Earnie Painter on May 5, 2016 - 7:42 pm

    Kristen, you get more comments than you can shake a stick at. I always feel like if I leave a comment it will be lost. But, I comment anyway.

    I have been blogging for a few years, but I am trying to switch my focus to writing to publish. I had already decided to switch to a paid website and was wondering about WP. Thank you for the advice. I don’t have any books actually written yet, so it’s a little academic. But, I was working on changing the name to something pronounceable and using my actual name, working to build a readership and then be able to use that as leverage for when I do have a book to publish. Maybe I’m working in the wrong order, but it seems to make sense to me. I’ll definitely have to read your book.

  43. #61 by Kathy Ramsperger on May 5, 2016 - 7:52 pm

    Great advice. I have a WP site, under my author name, and my other two sites are under business names. Always used WP. Now I need to get rid of godaddy and hostgator, I suppose, having read all the responses. I also blog for big sites that gets my name out there (Yahoo Parenting, Huffington Post, Your Tango, and Thought Catalog), about topics that relate to my novel’s themes and characters. I’m still not getting much traffic, but my hope springs anew! Thank you, Kristen Lamb!

  44. #62 by Jill DeFelice on May 5, 2016 - 8:08 pm

    Hi Kristen, Loved this blog today. I used to have one on goDaddy to share my life in China with the folks back home but let it lapse when we returned to the USA. I was planning to resurrect it but I think I need to revamp. I also think I need two separate paid blogs (I am also an artist).

    I am traveling all week and missed tonight’s blog but I definitely want in on the one on the 14th. How does te recorded version work? I won’t have a free evening until the 18th at the rate I am going.
    Jill

  45. #63 by Audrey Kalman on May 5, 2016 - 8:14 pm

    Wow… just read your advice, which is counter to so much I have read from other sources. In particular, making your blog your landing page–which mine has been for years! I’m about to publish another book and was about to change to a static page to be “more professional…” but you have made me reconsider. (I blog regularly, 2x/month, and my author identity=my blogging identity.) Thanks as always for challenging the status quo!

  46. #64 by Ken Hughes on May 6, 2016 - 3:35 pm

    There’s one other, potentially huge problem with being on wordpress.org (not just using the WordPress blog software), or blogspot, or any other free domain system. You “get what you pay for” in that you have no real rights to the space you’re blogging in. That means everything you do and every follower who’s used to finding you there is running the risk that some misunderstanding will get you kicked out of the space– which *does* happen, and there’s almost *never* anything you can do to protest. Then everything you’ve done is just GONE. Or the system itself could close down; like you said, “twitter may flitter.”

    The big names call it “digital sharecropping”: http://www.copyblogger.com/digital-sharecropping/

  47. #65 by V.L. Perillo on May 6, 2016 - 9:25 pm

    Thank you so much for the advice! I really needed it. I was feeling like I should find a subject for my blog other than presenting my author brand, but now I’m thinking I’ll stick to my posts about the writer’s life. Thanks!

  48. #66 by Leila on May 7, 2016 - 5:11 pm

    I love how your brutal honesty is simultaneously so blissfully reassuring! I no longer feel like a blogging failure for abandoning mine in favour of writing fiction, but now thinking maybe I should be looking at posting samples and snippets e.g. my better pieces of flash fiction, to appeal to draw in more “reader-y” readers.

    I know most works won’t be touched once they’ve been published online, but do you have any idea where extracts stand, e.g if I post a character piece (about 200 words) that may or may not end up in a novel I’m drafting?

  49. #67 by jlennidorner on May 8, 2016 - 12:19 am

    Brilliant! I’ve linked this to my own blog. Interestingly, I was just asked about this topic (from my 4th Liebster giver). I’ve taken the classes that offered terrible tips– that is, terrible for authors. If I wanted to sell sailboats, it would have been a superb class.

    I did start out with a paid blog attached to my author website page. But then GoDaddy stopped hosting blogs, so I had to link it over to WordPress (org /paid). It’s the same address, but I’m pretty sure my search engine love took a massive hit. (Not the only reason that I currently hate GoDaddy, but in my top 3.)

  50. #68 by Inspirations By Katheryn on May 8, 2016 - 9:13 am

    I have had a blog for several years related to the genre I write. One big mistake I made was to send the entire blog to followers’ mailbox. Duh. They never clicked on my website! Well, I fixed that about a week ago. Also, in my cover picture (of clouds), I am showing the cover of one book and calling it, “Featured Book for the Month of ______”. My website and everything else is “Inspirations By Katheryn” because my last name is so hard to pronounce or remember. Don’t know i I’m write about it.

  51. #69 by jazzfeathers on May 8, 2016 - 12:31 pm

    I really thank Lenni above who directed me to this post. Loved it!
    I didn’t realise there is a difference between a blog and an author blog, though I’m still not sure what it is in terms of content. I do tend to brand my blog with an overall theme (the Roaring Twenties, which is when my stories are set), but after reading this post, I’m not sure whether this is good or bad.

    I’m creating my landing page just these days. I didn’t know that BlueHost allowed subdomains, so up to a week ago I just gave up the idea of having my site hosted on the same space as the blog. I did create an author site on WP free platform… but really it isn’t the same thing.
    I’m keeping my site and my blog two different but connected entities… is that bad?
    It’s just that I love the theme that I’m using for the site and landing page, but it won’t allow sidebar in the blog. I use my blog extencivelly, and I like to have a sidebar, it’s hady for so many things.

    And another thing I know it’s bad, I use a monicker nearly everywhere on the net, including on my blog. This is because when I started blogging, I didn’t like people to know too much about me. I didn’t like using my name on the internet. True, most of the people who follow me know my name. If you google my name, the first entry is my own blog (The Old Shelter – Sarah Zama’s Author Blog)… but I don’t know. I’m kind of attached to my monicker because I think it says something about me.
    My site has the same name as me🙂

    Thanks so much fr sharing this. It’s fantasitc🙂

  52. #70 by Damian Trasler on May 9, 2016 - 12:12 am

    Posts like this remind me why I took the WANA class. Also, my blog name is what it is as a result of a bet with Kristen…

  53. #71 by dtkrippene on May 9, 2016 - 9:43 am

    I’ve been tasked (or is that shanghai’d?) to revamp our writer’s group blog. Transforming the old free WP bleh to a newer one, is the easy part. Soliciting members to participate is like getting a teenager to clean his/her room. As a bonafide Lamb warrior, I take content (with a capital C) very seriously on my own site. I can’t be certain leading our group horse to the river will drink. But I’ll certainly try. Thanks as always, and belated booya to spawn’s mom.

  54. #73 by aurorajeanalexander on May 9, 2016 - 10:54 am

    Reblogged this on Writer's Treasure Chest and commented:
    Kristen Lamb posted about what to do when your author blog is stuck. She’s a fantastic blogger and one of my favorite authors, bloggers and supporters! Thank you, Kristen!

  55. #74 by KFD Wilk on May 9, 2016 - 12:32 pm

    In a case of you don’t know what you don’t know, this message has been extremely enlightening. I am just building a site. Back to the drawing board, armed with your advice. Thanks Kristen

  56. #75 by JenniferShelby on May 10, 2016 - 5:11 pm

    thanks for all the great advice

  57. #76 by Renee Lannan's blog on May 11, 2016 - 4:08 pm

    I am SO glad I went to your workshop last year! So when I started my blog this winter, I got to sidestep all those oops you mentioned! Thank you!

  58. #77 by missdoudy on May 14, 2016 - 9:19 am

    Reblogged this on Houda becoming author.

  59. #78 by Kim on May 18, 2016 - 6:49 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I didn’t even realize until I read it that what I was really after with my blog was an author’s platform and not another kind of blog. Maybe that’s why my blog makes no sense. My domain name is my name, but I’m blogging about midlife, but there’s so much else I want to say, yet I feel constrained to write about midlife. I’m not being true to who I am and what I’m about. I also worry about what my friends and family will say if I write about what I really want. Not to mention I have incomplete novels that are almost finished, and I LOVE the characters, but I’m not finishing them for some reason (could have something to do with a demanding full-time job, children, husband, home, etc.). You’ve reminded me that my greatest dream is to write stories, preferably ones that people will read. And that I blog because I love to write. Thanks again.

  60. #79 by gretchenwing on May 22, 2016 - 6:30 pm

    Thanks for the pep-talk, WANAMama. Caught me right when I needed it. 😏

  61. #80 by C.L. Mannarino on May 26, 2016 - 7:48 am

    What kinds of topics do you suggest authors blog about if they want an author blog, and not a blogger blog?

  62. #81 by barryknister on June 11, 2016 - 4:45 pm

    Headgear aside, Kristen, you are not just another pretty Valkyrie.
    Beginning in 2008, I developed a series of three blogs meant to promote my work as a novelist. I never got anywhere with them because, unlike you, I never figured out how to get people to visit. So, I gave up. I have an author website, with info on me and my books, audio files of me reading from them etc., but nothing has ever come of my efforts. And for the same reason: I don’t know how to get people to visit. All I want–for Christmas and every other day– is to find a savvy, honest book marketer who will charge me something less than an arm and a leg to develop a sales scheme, AND THEN IMPLEMENT IT. I would of course do whatever the marketer told me to do, but I’m old, so I need a fast-and-dirty approach, not one that takes years. And for the same reason, I need someone who doesn’t just formulate policy (as they say in MBA school), but also implements it.
    If you know of any such people and can pass along their names , I will buy you an all-expenses getaway weekend to Valhalla.

  63. #82 by Jeannie Hall on July 14, 2016 - 11:56 am

    Reblogged this on Jeannie Hall Suspense and commented:
    Blogging Advice From Expert Blogger Kristen Lamb

  64. #83 by rosevbutler on July 26, 2016 - 11:27 am

    I seriously needed this right now, as I just started an author blog! Now I’m off to change my boring static page.😉

  65. #84 by Lisa Ciarfella on July 26, 2016 - 12:49 pm

    thanks for this post. Very informative!

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