That’s the big question, when it comes to platform-building, isn’t it? What should you blog about? Where should you put your blog’s overall focus?
I mean, you can only write about “the writing process” half a dozen different times before both you and your readers become unbearably bored. So how do you solve this problem?
You’ve got to hook an audience who might one day become interested in buying your books, and the truth is, nobody (except maybe your mother) cares much about your writing process. But they do care about free stuff online. They seek answers. They look for workshops, artwork, tutorials, suggestions, giveaways, recipes, photographs, memes, movie reviews, and free entertainment. People seek these freebies out in droves, so that’s what you need to provide if you want to build your platform.
Now that handout I gave last week asked a series of questions like:
- List things your family says you’re good at.
- Describe something you could easily teach someone how to do or make.
- List some places you’ve been that most people have not.
- If someone gave you a camera, and you had all the time in the world, what would you take pictures of (other than family)?
- What do you collect?
- List sports you play or like to watch.
- In your day job, what do other people come to you for (i.e. you feel confident training people in this capacity)?
These questions are designed to help you brainstorm a topic for your blog. Think about areas in which you are an “expert”. Do you know how to arrange flowers in lovely bouquets? Do you coach basketball? Do you know a bunch of good recipes for gluten-free cupcakes? Fill out the handout honestly and choose one of these areas that you feel passionately about. Blog on that topic. If you follow this advice, you won’t get bored and neither will your reader.
“But what about my book?” you ask. If your book has already been bought up by a publisher, changing your format could be a problem. If not, simply adapt your novel to fit your blog. Write your passion into your book. Who knows… it might be a better book once you do!
Maybe you like to restore old cars in your spare time, but you’ve written a mystery novel. It’s not too hard to adapt your plot so it includes an abandoned Model T in a parking lot near the protagonist’s hotel. And while you wait for an agent or publisher to discover your genius, you can blog about your on-going auto restoration projects in real life. Take pictures as you restore your old cars and keep an online journal of your successes and obstacles along the way. Other people with similar hobbies will follow your blog, and when your book comes out, they’ll be dying to read it because you’ve taken photos of similar Model T’s and posted them on your blog.
Here’s another example: Do you enjoy making stained glass angels? Have one hanging in the window of your romance novel’s heroine’s summer cottage. Meanwhile, on your blog, post the stained glass angel patterns you design and create. Other people will with similar hobbies will be inspired by your projects and download your patterns, trying to imitate your creations, and when your book hits the bookstore shelves, you will have developed a fan base.
Do you take videos at your son’s baseball games every Saturday? Write yourself into your book as a minor character (the comical neighbor guy who’s always filming his kid playing T-ball in the yard), and make how-to baseball videos that you post weekly on your blog (for coaches and for kids learning to play).
If you blog about what you love, and you can connect that subject to your writing, it’s a win-win situation! You won’t be bored with your blog, and neither will the audience who follows it.