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BLOGGING: How To Get Started

Welcome Lee Lopez, fellow chapter mate of mine at RWA-Black Diamonds in the East Bay, California. Lee not only has been a great friend, but she was one of those people who had to look at one of my early (oh! this is sooooo painful) first drafts. You know that one that we all have? When the critique partner starts the crit with, “Um.” But she couldn’t have been more helpful, and her kind and gentle approach to all things has inspired me in so many ways. A very public and well-deserved thank you, Lee.I’ve been impressed and watched the success of their blogs: Naked Hero and Writer’s Guide to ePublishing. Links are below. This week, we’re going to be touching base with all the writers who contribute. Welcome to you all.

First I’d like to thank Sharon for inviting, myself and my blogging partners from the Writers Guide to E-Publishing, to be a guest on her site. Sharon had asked me how do you create a successful blog, with four other individuals, with four different styles of writing, and four different backgrounds. There is only one answer, not very easily. This is where you start: 1. Know your partners. Make sure everyone is on the same page, and understands this is a commitment. No slackers! 2. All the parties involved, must come to an agreement on the format of the blog. Is it about writing, heroes, dogs, kids, etc. 3. Discuss responsibilities of maintaining the site. Who is the techie, who is PR. 4. Choose your days for blogging and stick with it. One of the biggest reasons blogs go under is one person isn’t holding up their end of the bargain. It can ruin friendships, when the group as a whole has to carry dead weight. 5. Talk to your partners. Keep open communication. If you can’t blog on an assigned day, let them know. Bring in a guest, or switch with someone. Remember it’s a commitment. 6. Be consistent. Readers return because of reliability. They become fans and expect a certain degree of quality. If you don’t post for a few weeks, you’ll lose readers. 7. Be careful what is written. Do research, and quote experts, don’t ever bad mouth anyone. 8. Remember what you write will remain in cyberspace F-O-R-E-V-E-R. 9. Know copyright law. Don’t enroll in law school, but research copyrights, especially on pictures copied to your site. No what you can copy directly and can’t. Getting a nasty gram from someone claiming you’ve copied them, is embarrassing. 10. You must answer every comment on the blog. It makes the commenter feel like they are saying is important, and it gives them a connection. They feel like they know you. 11. Have fun. Enjoy what you’re doing. Have contest, give away, make it fun. I know it sounds like a lot, but it is what makes a successful blog. Is it work? It can be, but once the rhythm of writing for the blog takes hold, its fun. My mind is always swirling around things to write about. And I find ideas in the oddest places. When blogging first started, I heard many writers say, they weren’t going to bother, it was only another fad. Well, that was five years ago, and here were are with, probably millions of blogs in the bloggessphere. There is even a bloggers convention, with awards. It is a personal choice to make this commitment. It is easier to go with partners, it keeps the blog up dated daily, and it brings fresh new ideas. Some prefer going it alone, and do a great job. Right now I’m apart of three blogs: The Naked Hero, The writers guide to e-publishing, Voices from the Heart, (I blog once a month there.)

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. We're having a little trouble with Blogger **sigh** today. Getting pretty darned tired of this. Checked my settings. Here's what DD was trying to post:
    Great way to kick-off the week, Sharon and Lee/L.A.!!!
    I would add too…do NOT be afraid of controversy and differing views amongst your grog team members.
    Take the superfab Misa Ramirez and I's wayyy, wayyy huge disagreements on Ebook Price Points…LOL!
    But this is a vital issue in today's pub world, and one in which there are large audiences of potential blog readers waiting to chime-into your conversation!
    That's what you want…topics that get people reading and commenting!!!
    See y'all tomorrow when I fill you in on how Grogging helps you find readers and maintain your sanity…'course, at times, it can 'cause you to lose your sanity too…but anyhoo…LOL!

    Smiles — D. D.

  2. Sharon and Lee, this was a fantastic post. I can't wait to see what's in store for tomorrow and the rest of the week. I'm reading these with extra special attention and taking notes! So far it looks like I'm doing things right with RRR, except that I didn't delegate rolls such as tech or PR. I figured I would do most of that myself, lol.

    I do have a question for Lee: What do you do when a member's slacking becomes a habit? Do you kick them out? I wouldn't want to "burn bridges" with anyone, but I know from experience how much this issue happens and it really does take a toll on the blog – so what's a member to do?

    J.D. Brown aka Danielle Ravencraft

  3. Great question, JD. I'm sure Lee will have an answer she's thinking carefully about! And Margaret, so happy to see you here today. These guys are totally awesome!! Glad to be able to share them with you all.

  4. I've been trying to comment ,but also had problems with blogger today!! It is part of blogging the techie, which our Misa is a our girl. I'm clueless.
    As blogging parteners we don't always agree, but at the end of the day we agree to disagree, and call it a day, and move on. It's what makes our blogs work. We're friends, and do respect each other's opinions.

  5. Thanks Margret. Blogging is a total commitment, to keep it fresh and keep readers coming back. There is days I sit and stare at the computer and wonder, "What am I going to write about?" Then something will come. I read other blogs or stare out the window, listen to a song or watch t.v. It happens. And I'm there when I"m suppose to be.

  6. J.D good question. We had that happen with another blog, and it destroyed the blog and friendships. At first we talked to her. And for a little while it worked. Then we had to talk again, and we were always understanding. It worked for a little while. Than it became a habit, we talked, and from there we got mad…That didn't work at all, and the whole situation emploded on itself.
    I think if it starts, you need to talk once, with a second chance, and make it clear that the party will have to quit if she can't keep up. Only two chances. Emergencies happen, life gets in the way, but the blogger has to understand this is important, they should take a break if they can't keep up or quit. It has to be made clear immediately, what the rules of the game are. If they can't keep up, they're out. We tried to be nice, and understanding, in the end it ruined friendships, and ended the blog. Being nice doesn't always work. Be professional is the best route, and don't wait to long.

  7. Thanks Sharon for filling for me. I had a lot of trouble with blogger this morning, and then had to run out. Ran back in to be here. I love this site and the dude on the motorcycle!!! Way adorable.

  8. Thanks, Lee! Since I just blog on my own with occasional guest bloggers, I hadn't throught about the "team" approach to a shared blog. Very inspiring. (And Sharon is a gem in our Tuesday critique group!)

  9. anyone having trouble with Blogger? make sure when you sign in that you DON'T click stay signed on. It seems to be working for other loops I'm on.

  10. Robin there are perks to going alone. One, you call 'all' the shots, and have to do rely on only on yourself. But then everything does fall only on you.
    With a group, its fun. I'm with a great group of gals, who are cimmitted. We have each other's backs. Life does get in the way at times, and we'll cover for each other. Where this works is, we give each other notice. We have show each other a lot consideration and respect, which I think is the key to things running smoothly.
    Good luck on your blog..Have fun with it!!! I've made some amazing cyber buddies along the way.

  11. Thanks Jill for the advice. I to go out of blogger go back in, and then I wouldn't take my password, had to change that. Now it's working fine. Crazy, but it's part of blogging, dealing with all the technical stuff. SHee…

  12. Lee, Sharon, great info, especially since I've taken the plunge with Sharon and few other awesome authors on a joint blog. It's in its fledgling stage where everyone is settling in on their post day, but it seems to be going pretty smooth.
    It's an honor to be included and at the same time a challenge at this point to post something worthy of bringing in followers. (smile)
    I have a deep appreciation for the group though – I'm in with a great team of authors for sure.
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom – I'm taking notes.

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