Often when writers seek ways to gain that extra edge in the market, they look to the Internet to reach out to their target audience. One popular option is to create a blog. ThinkingtoInking is the group blog that fellow writer/bloggers Lauren Monahan, Triona Murphy, Stacy Stokes and I created to share our journey and discoveries as we navigate this scary (but exciting!) road to completing our manuscripts.
Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking you want to start a group blog too. Maybe you already know how to blog. Maybe you’ve never written a single post. Where do you start? What steps do you take? I’ve listed steps that helped us make our decision. Hopefully it’ll help you too!
1) Ask Why
Before you dive headlong into creating your blogger account, it’s important to answer this question. Why are you starting a blog? Is it to build your presence on the web or seek out fellow writers or potential readers? How will the blog help you achieve your end goals?
At ThinkingtoInking, we wanted to do something that would help others with similar writing experiences, so we made a conscious decision to focus our blog on providing information that would be beneficial to writers and authors of MG and YA novels.
2) Find the Right People
It may be that you decide to create an individual blog versus a team blog. For us, the benefits of the team blog far outweighed anything we could have done separately. A blog is a big commitment and we felt that as individuals, churning out one post (let alone more) per week would be too daunting.
I have to give a lot of the credit to Lauren for seeing our potential as a team. We all met at the spring 2012 Big Sur Writing Workshop and it was Lauren who rallied the troops and pushed us to figure out a way to continue to work together.
It also helped that we had complimentary skill sets. Lauren was key to bringing the group together while Triona provided much needed web skills and Stacy is a marketing guru (I like to think I brought some Canadiana to the team).
3) Keep the Engine Going
Keep things simple. As a team, we post twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) and set a schedule three months in advance. We also set specific topics for certain days (i.e. YA Picks and Writer’s Resource) and our posts must always be helpful to our readers and positive (i.e no book bashing).
But more important than rules and schedules is team motivation. Even though we all live in different cities, we support each other with constant words of encouragement. We also don’t sweat the small stuff. If a teammate can’t post on the day she’s scheduled, there’s never a fuss about someone else taking over. This needs to be useful for others but it also has to be fun for us.
Finally, the key when deciding to start a blog is to remember that this is something you’re doing to compliment your writing. It should never take away or replace the time that you should be spending on what’s most important – your manuscript.
Jennifer Pun spent the last two years as a snowbird calling both Toronto and Los Angeles home. When she’s not writing YA fiction, she’s producing television shows including the international tween series HOW TO BE INDIE and CONNOR UNDERCOVER. As you can tell, she’s a big fan of the young and the young at heart. You can read more of her writing at www.thinkingtoinking.com