Devlin Blake is the author of over a dozen fiction and nonfiction books in various genres and pen names. The first fiction book took three years, while the second took only a few months—great inspiration for those of us plugging away on our first book. Devlin learned a lot along the way and shares those lessons with emerging dark writers at http://devlinblake.com.
Today, Devlin will be giving us some pointers on blogging as a fiction writer.
Blogging for Fiction Writers
You’ve seen dozens of articles telling writers how to blog. They talk about guest posting, using the word how-to and so on. This works great if you’re some kind of an expert or nonfiction writer. But, what if you’re not? What if you are, in fact, a fiction writer who's dealing with imaginary characters and fantastic worlds? How do you blog about that?
What Is a Blog?
You probably already know what a blog is. Or do you? An average person visits five to ten blogs a day. A writer in research mode probably goes to just short of a hundred. There are blogs on writing, blogs on history, blogs on . . . some pretty odd stuff, actually.
However, blogs have a unifying theme.
They have a purpose for being there.
So, what is your blog’s purpose? If you say it is to sell your books, you’re only half right. That’s why you want a blog. To be a successful fiction blogger though, you have to ask yourself, “Why would a reader want to go to my blog?” After all, it’s not like you’re solving a problem—it’s fiction.
What is a reader looking for when they go to a fiction blog? A little about the author perhaps, but that can get old pretty fast.
The reason they want to visit your blog is the same reason they want to read your book. It’s because it's entertaining.
Never underestimate the power of entertainment. Though something that’s simply fun is verbally looked down on in our society, there’s a reason movies make so much money.
Without stories, life isn’t worth living.
How to Make Your Blog Entertaining
Now let’s talk about how to make your blog entertaining. A mistake most new authors make is they blog about the process. We figure since it’s so interesting to us, it must be interesting to other people as well.
Or rather, it isn’t interesting to anyone but other writers. Unless you’re trying to attract other writers (like I do), skip posts on the process.
Attracting readers lies in immersing them in your world.
They want to know more about it; what inspired it, what it looks like, and everything else they can possibly learn about it.
Content Creation Ideas for Fiction Bloggers
There are many ways to create content that's enough for the readers of your blog. Here are just a few.
Show Your Work
Readers love getting deeper insights into their favorite stories. For example, Avatar: The Last Airbender based bending moves off real-life martial art styles. Knowing this gave the fans a deeper insight and appreciation of the show, which in turn deepened their enjoyment of it.
You can do that with your book too. Show the readers all the research you put into it. Have fun with your sources. Give out tidbits like where you found the carny slang, or that in the Victorian age, the legal age to sign a contract was 21 for men. However, for women, it was whenever they married (regardless if that was at 16 or 60).
Cultures, costumes, slang, current events—that’s all part of immersing a reader in your world and giving them a deeper enjoyment through understanding and, above all, entertainment.
Set aside some of your marketing budget to have a few graphics made. This is particularly important if you have a fantasy world that might need a map. By posting this map on your blog and other places, you can help a reader picture your world better.
Note: Don’t have graphics made for your characters, though you can do their clothing or other inanimate objects if you want. A reader likes to picture the characters as themselves or as someone they know. Graphics of the characters might ruin this.
Everyone likes recipes. You can take advantage of this on your blog. The point of recipes isn’t so much to be used, but more to be entertaining. Historically, cookbooks have used everything from rhymes to images to make them entertaining. There are two ways to handle recipes. They revolve around whether or not your story is set in the real word.
If it’s set in the real world, but in a different time or culture, you can use recipes from that time or culture. For example, if your main character lives in the Victorian Era, you can use some Victorian recipes.
If it’s set in an alternate world, you can create made-up recipes, like dragon stew. It’s your call if you want to give your readers real-world alternatives like substituting beef for dragon. If not, the recipes can stay as a form of entertainment.
We’ve all seen those quote posts. It’s usually something like “10 great quotes for” some kind of theme. You can do that with your books too. Go through your book and find some interesting quotes that you can tie together with a theme.
What are the best things your villain ever said? What quotes can you use to inspire other people? What are the most profound things your characters say?
We’ve seen them on TV, mostly on Disney. In the movie world, they are known as shorts. (The Toy Story That Time Forgot, Frozen Fever.)
A mini story, or literary short, is a tiny story that fits into the major story without taking away from it. This can be a continuation of the main story or something that happened years prior to the story's events. You can even retell a certain scene from an entirely different perspective. You can also just tell stories from the same world that have nothing to do with the main story at all other than the fact they are set in the same place.
It’s a little treat of fiction for your readers in between books and it makes them hungry for more. Plus, it has the added bonus of keeping your writing skills sharp.
Since books are made up of other books, you probably also spend a lot of time reading. Why not take advantage of it by reviewing one of those hundreds of books you’ve read? You can create a weekly, monthly, or seasonal schedule to review a book. Over time, the readers will realize that your taste in books is remarkably similar to theirs and they’ll come to your blog more often. Then, when you release your newest book, your readers will be more likely to buy it. After all, you’ve already proven you know exactly what they like.
Beyond the Blog
Now that you have all this great content, you can actually repurpose it for platforms far beyond blogs. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to post tidbits, quotes, or recipes. Fun facts can be turned into YouTube videos. Mini stories can be turned into podcasts and maybe even an anthology. The list goes on.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to your blog is that it’s about entertaining your readers, not fellow writers. A writer is simply a performer that hides behind a keyboard. Once you figure out the best way to entertain and delight your readers, you’ll find a hundred ways to blog for fiction.
An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. Her blog posts have been featured on popular websites like The Book Designer and Positive Writer. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.