Anyone who has been following this blog knows how much I enjoy it but also how important it is these days for an author to have a web presence… whether traditionally-published, self-published or neither, but wants to be one day.
So, in May I created http://icanbuildyourwritingblog.wordpress.com and have been working closely, these last few weeks, with novelist, speaker, journalist, tutor, presenter and writing guru Jane Wenham-Jones, my first official client.
All the details of what I can do are listed on my blog design service page so I won’t go through them here but wanted to talk more about working with Jane on her blog.
I first met Jane at the Winchester Writers’ Conference in the summer of 2011 and she kindly agreed to an interview. This took place mid-January this year by which time I’d become part of the furniture on her darkskipper website’s chat room (where we meet every Sunday morning and most Wednesday evenings). Over the weeks I picked up on her frustrations with technology (doesn’t everyone have them) and on getting the word out about her books… something I’m sure everyone reading this will also share – marketing is the answer in 99% of cases to my ‘what is your least favourite aspect of your writing life?’ question and seen as a necessary evil. Whilst it brings us closer to our readers (which is fantastic) it eats time like a Cookie Monster. We’re writers, we should be writing and if having someone else do the background stuff for you frees up your writing time then it must be a good thing… I know, I could do with a P.A., although some are convinced I already have a clone.
Having developed ‘I Can Build Your Writing Blog’, I jumped in and reserved http://janewenhamjones.wordpress.com ‘just in case’ and so that no-one else would take it (as if there could ever be another Jane Wenham-Jones ). I mentioned to Jane in one of our conversations that I’d done this, fully expecting her to let it remain dormant for time immemorial (it doesn’t cost anything to reserve or use unless you go for optional extras – we haven’t yet) but Jane being Jane, enthusiastically jumped at the idea and our conversations flowed.
Because of how much Jane is involved with in her multi-faceted life, it’s taken quite a lot of work from both of us to get her blog just right (and we’re still developing it) and therefore is above the standard 5-hour for £50 package but, like this site, gives you an idea of what’s possible.
I have blogs on WordPress and Blogger but would recommend the former without question. Some people find WordPress tricky to get to grips with, and Blogger is more simple in some respects (that’s me being polite for “I find Blogger frustratingly limited”), but that’s where I come in.
My WordPress Writing Blog has been compiled using free options and your blog would be based on this format (though its design would be to your specification), this ensures costs (for my time) are kept to a minimum. My blog regularly attracts over 200 visitors per day (on a ratio of US2:UK1 plus many other countries worldwide) with 474 visits on the busiest day to-date (24th March 2012). I post 3-4 times per day with a variety of content and many visits are due to keyword searches because of that high level of content, almost 70,000 visits since inception on 31st March 2011. Jane’s has already had over 1,200 hits, 347 on launch day July 6th.
As the saying goes ‘you get out what you put in’ and as many of you know I put in a lot. So does Jane, and her site is also now a maze of information with the following twenty-one headings…
- About – everything you could possibly want to know about Jane
- Blog Tour – I’m proud to be one of two organisers for Jane’s Prime Time blog tour (if you have a blog and would like Jane as a guest do let me know)
- Books – split into six sections with details of, and links to, Jane’s books
- Bookshop – thumbnail covers with links to Amazon
- Columns and Articles – split into four sections for the articles that Jane writes Woman’s Weekly, a variety of newspaper, her local Thanet Gazette, and Writing Magazine
- Competitions – Jane experiences of being a competition judge
- Events – Jane’s forthcoming and some of her historical events (the latest also appears as a countdown on the top of the right-hand side menu column)
- Home – pointing readers back to her home page (which can also be accessed by clicking on her name) and some cute fish (they come to you if you hover your mouse over them) – there’s also a sub-heading of ‘Posts to-date’ (so you don’t need to trawl back through older pages, just click on whatever interests you)
- Interviews – Jane’s interviewed a whole host of celebrities and enjoys being interviewed on other sites. If you have a website (or other outlet) and would like to interview Jane do let myself or Jane know
- Jane Online – all the ways you can find (and contact) Jane
- Links – a few sites that Jane recommends (I’m on the list )
- Media Tart – Jane and the media… a love affair
- News – does what it says on the tin
- Photo Gallery – currently split into two sections with photographs of Jane’s readers reading her books (if you have a photo of yourself with Jane’s books do let us know) and her recent Prime Time book launch
- Public Speaking – involved with The Speakers Agency and womenspeakers.co.uk, Jane always has plenty to say.
- Reviews – just some of the reviews of Jane’s books
- RNA – Jane’s not only a member of the Romance Novelists’ Association but co-presented their recent RoNas with crime novelist Peter James
- Short Stories – as well as writing novels, Jane is a short story author and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies
- Videos – A couple of hilarious videos of Jane ‘in action’
- Views and Muse – Jane “holding forth” on a variety of topics
- Wannabe a Writer – more about her non-fiction books and website of the same name.
As you can see it’s become more than just a blog to me as well as to Jane and when I mentioned that I wanted to say a few words on my blog about hers, Jane offered to write something for me, this is what she sent me…
Blogging for Beginners… I am the Queen of Procrastination. As the last woman standing without her own blog, things were set to stay that way. My resistance to having one – even tho’ it was vaguely on my do-it-one-day-list (along with lose weight, drink less, and be a nicer person) – was that I already spent vast tracts of the day faffing about and was usually behind on the stuff I HAD to write. So I’m not sure how it was decided that Morgen-with-an-e would take on the task of building me a blog to call my own, but I’m pretty sure wine had been taken.
And she did it so well. Had she waited for “content” from me she’d be waiting still (that to-do list takes over the room). Instead, she scoured Google, trawled my website and filled pages with stuff about me I didn’t know myself. (Plus some truly ghastly pictures – thanks Love! :-/) This was the perfect approach – as we all know, editing and tweaking is a joy, looking at a blank screen is the pits. I was able to go through an existing site, taking out what I didn’t want (the pictures of the chins went straight away!) and making suggestions for what could go in as replacement. It is still a work in progress – a true collaboration between us both – but gradually I will write all of it myself and learn how to do the twiddly bits. In the meantime, I chuck info and ideas up the line and Morgen does the clever stuff. It works!
I am now ridiculously excited and proud of http://janewenhamjones.wordpress.com and spend endless hours poking about the statistics – ooh look another five hits from Switzerland – and tinkering with the quips (I am only allowed to touch words at the moment – I will be let loose on pictures and links when I’ve mastered the basics). No doubt you hardened blogged-out old-timers are rolling your eyes at my gaucheness but it is like a lovely new toy.
So – would I recommend Morgen-with-an-e? Reader, I want to marry her….
What can I say to that? I’m still blushing… and to top it all, this week Best Colleges Online named me twelfth out of their Top 100 creative writing blogs. My brother, by the way, lives in Switzerland, I wonder if it’s him.
I have been a writer for seven years and like my writing blog, am consumed by creative writing. This blog creation service (from just £50/€60/$75) is therefore aimed at, but not limited, fellow writers so if you, or someone you know, would like a blog setting up for them do let me know. I offer other services which are listed on the writer for hire page although it probably only scratches the clichéd surface of what I can do. My email is email@example.com and I look forward to hearing from you.
Back to this blog… if you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.
The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with Christian and cozy mystery author Kathryn Jones – the four hundred and four hundred and twenty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.
Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.