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A Fiction Author’s Dilemma: What Should You Blog About?

blog topic ideasYou’ve been toying with the idea of putting up a blog.

Your engagement with your subscribers over e-mail is great. You’re already seeking resources on where to get themes and hosting for your potential blog.

But there’s something that’s stopping you.

You don’t know what you should blog about.

And you know it’s awful. You can think of countless story ideas and write about them, but when it comes to blog topic ideas, you’re all out of creative juice.

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way

You know your characters and your stories all too well. Your readers love and devour your stories, so clearly writing isn’t the problem.

And it isn’t motivation, either. You already have a compelling reason to blog: to introduce your writing to new readers and promote your stories.

Trouble finding blog topic ideas to promote your writing shouldn’t stop you from starting a blog.

But before we dive into what you should blog about, let me refresh your memory on the benefits of blogging.

Blogging is Key to Reader Engagement

Blogging is great for many reasons, but the most important is engagement.

Email Marketing, when done right, is a great way to build engagement. But with emails you’re only interacting with subscribers. With a blog, you can invite other people to join your email list.

Sure, you can create a Twitter handle or an author page on Facebook. But social media is noisy. You’re competing for attention on your fans’ newsfeeds.

But on your blog, your content is there, ready to be consumed by your readers. And you’ll be sure they saw it, instead of it getting lost in a social media mewsfeed. Blogging also encourages your readers to interact with each other, which is ultimately beneficial for you. You’re building a tribe!

Blogging is Great for Promotion

One of the other great benefits of blogging is free promotion. Whenever a new person visits your blog, you can entice them to become one of your subscribers. And that’s not even the best part. You can also submit guest posts to other blogs and invite their readers to visit your blog. When they do, offer your visitor a reward.

If they like they reward, which they probably will because your guest post was clearly targeted to them, boom! You have a new reader. Read this article for more on effective guest posting.

What Should a Creative Writer Blog About?

So now that we’re clear how blogging can be promote your marketing goals, let’s dive into most fiction authors’ dilemma. What should you blog about?

“Behind the Scenes”

Notice how Hollywood promotes movies? They make a lot of movie trailers and teasers. You can do that through your blog. Here are a few ideas.

1. Where do you write your novels?

Readers love to find out how their favorite authors write. Do you go to a special place to write? Or do you have a special corner in the house? How do you manage writing despite running a business and have kids?

2. What inspired you of the characters’ names? Places?

How did you come up with your character’s names and places? Or better yet, why not run a blog contest where readers can suggest names for your characters or places?

3. Updates about your novel

When you invite your readers into the creation process of your works, they’ll bond not only with you but with your works. Share with them updates about your novel or a particular character arc.

4. Excerpts

The purpose of creating posts like this is to intrigue your audience and make them want to grab a copy of your story. But be careful not to give away spoilers.

Share Something About Yourself

You can also share your personal ideas and opinions. Hugh Howey does this very well on his blog.

Blog about your experiences as an author and your journey in writing. This gives your readers the opportunity to know you as a person. This connects you more to them, rather than a celebrity that they can’t reach. By blogging about your writing life, you invite your readers into your life.

Just be careful in dishing out details about your life. You might want to set some boundaries on what you share. πŸ™‚

Share the Work of Others By Writing a Book Review

Share the limelight by writing a book review from another author. It doesn’t have to be 50 Shades of Grey or other well-known works. It can be from another indie author that you enjoyed reading.

Let Your Readers Into Your Story

People are protective of what they have helped build. Through blogging, you let your readers share your work. They have not only witnessed how you created it, but they’ll also feel as they are a part of it, because you invited them in.

Ready to Start Blogging?

Once you sit down and gather your ideas, figuring out what to blog about shouldn’t be difficult. The suggestions I made here can get you started. Use these suggestions as a jumping-off point for your own blog topic ideas.

Over To You

By reading the ideas I gave above, did an idea spark in you? Do you finally see yourself blogging your thoughts away and starting to build a community of readers? Share your ideas with me in the comments below!

About Joy Collado

Joy Collado is a freelance writer specializing in blog posts, web content, and press releases for Internet companies. She also helps aspiring freelance writers build their portfolio and find clients. Download her free ebook 25 Types of Writing Gigs that Pay Well (and How to Find Them) to get started. Follow her on TwitterΒ and add her on Google+.

36 comments

  1. I came upon this post belatedly. What a really insightful post, Joy. I love writing fiction but with all the work that I have, I’m afraid I’m losing time for it. I want to create my own fiction blog just to push me to work on my fiction, but I’m afraid that I might run out of viable topics. This post was spot on. Thanks a lot.

  2. Great ideas Joy!

    One of suggestions I usually give fiction authors is to consider publishing fiction directly on their blogs. Excerpts, like you mentioned, are a great option. Flash fiction and short stories (especially if they tie to the fiction you’re selling) offer other opportunities. As long as authors remember that the blog should appeal to their target readers rather than solely other writers (unless the entire point is professional networking with other authors), they should be fine.

    I love your idea of publishing book reviews. It covers both fronts — connecting an author to other authors in their focus area while offering something of value to their own target readers.

  3. Thank so much for this post!

    I’ve been struggling to develop my author site for a couple of reasons. First, I write in different genres. Second, I’m not sure what to blog about. I think I may create a separate website for my children’s picture book and series. Then again, I wonder if I should create different websites for all genres. That seems extreme. What do you think? πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Amandah, I wish I can write in different genres!

      IMHO, as long as you have the same age group in your audience it’s fine to keep and maintain a single site as your official author website. But try to keep them separate if it’s the contrary. I say that because, if you write children’s books and romance fiction, it wouldn’t be a good idea to mix the two groups. πŸ™‚

  4. I love reading about the research that an author did into historical issues – I read a lot of historical novels, and really enjoy it when they are well researched. I also enjoy reading about the writing practices of my favourite authors. Both of these would make great blogging topics.

    1. Great idea. As a writer of historical fiction there are always fascinating things I learn that don’t make it into a story or background into what I do put into the story. Sharing some of that research both on a blog and in my e-zine gives added value to my readers.

  5. Thanks for sharing these ideas. I’ve been participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and I’ve been writing about the world of my main series. It’s been a lot of fun to dig deeper into the world.

    It’s been a lot of fun interacting with people and reading their responses. Also, people who would have otherwise not heard of my series has become interested in it.

    I’m definitely going to write more about it in the future. Another idea I have is to blog about shows and movies that are similar to my books.

    1. That’s great Stacy! I’m glad your blog readers are converting into fiction readers. Such is the real purpose for blogging. πŸ™‚

  6. As I prepare to embark on my first novel writing adventure these words hit the spot. Thank you. I especially like the behind the scenes idea. Perhaps blogging about where I am located that day as my intention is to write ‘out on the road’

    1. Writing tips is a good topic to blog about Jevon, but you’ll gravitate fellow writers as audience of you rblog instead of readers for your fiction.

      Flash fiction is a good one, too! But I’d like to suggest to limit the number of flash fiction you post. You can compile them instead in an eBook, and give it as a freebie to your loyal fans or as an opt-in gift. Or you can sell it. πŸ™‚

  7. I write non-fiction, but have a story simmering on the back burner for someday, and when I get ready this is what I want to try:

    I want to write about my life, my day, my menu, etc., but disguise it as the voice of one of my characters. It would be perhaps a short daily blog, but backed up with something more substantial in a weekly letter.

    For instance, if we were grilling steak tonight, and I was writing Pride and Prejudice (ha) then I might encourage folks to read about how important Lizzy’s days are to the plot, in my newsletter, but in the blog I’d write:

    “Oh, my dear Aunt, today was so glorious with the marguerites blooming in full force. Jane and I picked absolute armloads of them! Now I must away, for my poor Jane is near tears, again! Ooh what I’d give for a chance to lock Mary’s piano shut! But Hill has been a dear and kept her busy with learning to make a pie!”

    ETC.

    Not a good example, I’m sure, but maybe you can get the idea? I think readers would love that sort of behind-the-scenes look, into the lives of the main characters, complete, perhaps, with contrived photos to back it up, but something not presented in detail, in the book. A sort of gripe/gossip outlet for the characters?

      1. πŸ™‚

        Katharine that’s a great idea. Readers would always want more of a story even if it’s already ended. That’s why many authors write a prequel or sequel. Your approach is definitely a great treat for die hard fans. πŸ™‚

        But I would suggest you do this by creating a separate blog for you book, other than your main author blog. So that when you write another book, you won’t have to blog on your main author page about a book or character you published previously.

  8. Some great ideas! I already do a few of these things, like sharing my research photos so that my readers can get an idea of specific settings in places like Rome and Buenos Aires. If possible I put quotes from my books on the photos, too.

  9. Thank you so much for your post, Joy. As a fiction writer I’ve delayed starting a blog because I didn’t know what to put on it. Like you said, it’s easy to come up with story ideas but I struggled with what to blog about that will interest fiction readers. I’ve even had agents say it didn’t matter, “Blog about cooking or organization, etc.” Which is more like a shotgun approach. You might have readers who enjoy cooking but don’t like fiction, especially the type you write. Your ideas are so practical and dah, right under our noses. Thank you also for the helpful links.

    1. You’re absolute right Ida, you’re fiction readers may not necessarily be your cooking audience. It’s a good thing you didn’t follow you agent’s advice. πŸ™‚

      Thank you,too! I’m glad this post was helpful.

  10. Thanks, Joy. I also write fiction. I’m about to launch my blog and could relate to sometimes the blogging juices running dry (before I’ve even STARTED). You have some great tip and I’m glad to meet another kindred spirit who has “little voices inside their head.” Thanks!

      1. Thanks, Joy. Focusing on the blog has been a great detour because I lost my literary agent this fall (she left the biz). It’s fun doing something creative, but a break from fiction. Best to you and your fiction blog!

  11. Great post Joy! Brilliant ideas for an author to connect with his/her audience. As a reader, and a HUGE fan of great fiction, I can honestly say that several of my favorite writers came to mind (Please, favorite authors, read this post!!!). And I totally agree, Hugh Howey is an excellent example, just like you said, he lets you inside; it’s an awesome feeling as fan.

  12. Thanks for all the great ideas Joy. I’ve struggled with this very same dilemma. You have given some cool ideas for bonding with readers. I really appreciate this post.

  13. Hi Joy! : )

    Thank you for some wonderful tips but I have to say, my favorite part is where you point out that sharing about your writing enables the reader to bond with you. It takes a certain amount of vulnerability to do this, however the tips contained here make it very smooth and easy.

    You’ve done a great job here. Thanks so much!

    1. It does take a certain amount of vulnerability. But when readers see that, it’s easier for them to connect. At least for me. πŸ™‚

      Thanks so much Lynn!

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