Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Five Reasons Why Blogging Leads to Writing Jobs

I found this on The Daily Writing Tips Blog: If you have the time to maintain a regular blog, you can get a real following, earn advertising money and apparently, attract a book deal! I've never been a believer in blogging, but maybe it's time to change my thinking!

1. It’s a free (or very cheap) way to self-publish your writing
Posting your writing on a blog is a form of self-publishing, even if you don’t think of it that way. After all, blogging software uses a Publish button to submit a post, and if you run Google Adsense on your blog, Google refers to you as a Publisher. In the past, to get published you either persuaded an editor to print your work, or you paid to have the piece printed yourself. Blogging allows you to self-publish for free (or at the small cost of hosting and an internet connection). If your blog becomes popular, you could run advertisements to make some money or invite sponsorship from companies – glance over to the right to see some of Daily Writing Tips’s sponsors.

2. Blogging helps you build up a portfolio of pieces
One of the hardest things about getting started as a freelance writer is getting together a portfolio of your writing to show potential clients. Having a blog allows you to build up a sample of published pieces that you can use to show your writing prowess.
If you’re intending to use blogging to start your portfolio, why not write guest posts for other blogs? Editors may take you more seriously if they can see that other people think your writing is good enough to publish.

3. You get to write about topics that you love – and build your expertise and credentials
Much has been said about the need to have a blog on a niche topic – one topic that you write regularly about, rather than trying to include everything that you’re interested in. This makes it much easier to build up an interested readership, but it also helps to build your knowledge about the topic. If you’re reading other blogs and books on your subject and writing original material several times a week, you’ll almost certainly be learning something new.
Having a well-established blog on a particular topic is a great way to demonstrate your expertise. For example, if you want to write movie reviews for a newspaper, pointing to your long-running blog with a weekly round-up of the latest releases could be a great way to prove that you’re up to the job.

4. A popular blog could lead to a book deal
In the offline world, the sale of “blooks” is rising – books based on blogs. Several bloggers who I read have signed book deals: Darren Rowse from Problogger, Shauna Reid from The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl and Jennette Fulda (aka PastaQueen) from Half of Me. And, of course, there are some very famous examples such as Belle de Jour’s The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl. If your blog becomes big, it just might catch the attention of an agent.
And even if the agents aren’t phoning you just yet, a blog could help you sell your own book. Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer (‘Liz’ or ‘DaMomma’) from Motherhood is Not for Wimps has self-published one book and has another on the way. Collis and Cyan Ta’eed from Freelance Switch self-published How to be a Rockstar Freelancer (in both ebook and printed formats) and have another book on the way, How to be a Rockstar Wordpresser. Many other bloggers offer excellent free articles on their blog but also sell ebooks which go into more depth on the same topics.

5. If you’re a freelancer, a blog is a great marketing tool
Well-known bloggers who publish authoritative and well-written posts can use their blog as a mean of marketing themselves. Skellie does this brilliantly on Skelliewag, with a “Hire me” page and advertisments on the right hand side for her own services. Harry and James from Men with Pens have “Guns for Hire” which explains the writing and design services which they offer.
Make sure your blog tells potential clients how they can get in touch. If someone loves your blog’s style and content, they might well want to hire you. Also, blogs tend to rank well in search engines (due to the amount of content, and because other blogs often want to link to your posts), so you’ll have greater visibility online.

If you have a blog, has it helped you – directly or indirectly – to make money from your writing? If you’re not blogging yet, do you have ideas of how you’d like to use a blog?


Scott said...

Good post, Tiffany.

My blog has helped me make some money writing, although not a lot. I wrote a series of posts about free software for writers that led indirectly to an article on that subject in The Writer.

I say "indirectly" because the blog didn't help me get the article published. What it did, though, was help me organize my thoughts and determine which applications interested writers most, which had a major impact on my article. I think, though, that the blog was a distant influence compared to having a related "platform" that I could claim gave me some authority to write on the subject.

Because it's so easy to have a blog, just having one won't help you catch an editor's attention, unless you can show that your blog has a huge audience, big enough to create a ready market when your book comes out.

I like your third point best. Your blog gives you practice and, if you have a goal to post regularly, a deadline to work to. And, with promotion and luck, it CAN lead to the kind of audience that can help you build a platform and an audience.

Paul West said...

Thanks Tiffany, a great piece.

I think I've been doing my blog all wrong. I was told by some bloggers that it's a good idea to post about anything and everything, from personal experiences to politics to writing issues. But I think I'm finding that people who would otherwise be interested in my novel can be turned off by all that extraneous stuff.

I'm learning, thanks to you and others who I've been reading.

Tiffany Dominguez said...

Thanks for your comments Scott and Paul! I think I agree with Scott that having a blog in itself is not the answer to getting published, but can be used as part of a package to launch yourself as an author and garner a following. One great agent blog is Nathan Bransford's: He has a hilarious post this week.