Saturday, 27 June 2015

Why Blog?

A Blog is a Vital Extension to your Business Card

This weekend the Leicester Writes - Festival of New Writing is taking place. Most of the talks are at the Phoenix Arts Centre with some at the LCB Depot. I will be on a panel tomorrow afternoon talking about the use of social media. It is at the LCB Depot if you're thinking of coming along. In case you can't get there, the following is some of what I will be talking about:

I first began blogging in November 2009. I had attended a session at the Leicester Adult Education College and the advice was that every new writer should start a blog and get a Twitter account. The blog must be kept up to date with regular posts that are lively and interesting and you should tweet with other like-minded people promoting your blog posts as you go. So that is what I did.

When you first start blogging it's hard to know what to write and what style to adopt. (These days I never have to think. I just write!) The month after I set up my blog I saw an online challenge. It offered to advertise my site in return for me blogging about a local independent bookshop. I took up the challenge. I blogged about The Reading Shop, our very own independent children's bookshop in Oadby, and that's how I first got talking with the owner and now also my publisher, Lynn Moore. You can read that blog post here.

Not long after this, Lynn was approached by a publisher asking if she knew any local writers who could write history for children. Thanks to the blog post that I'd written and the discussion that we had, she knew that this was the job for me and put my name forward. I received the commission to write The Children's History of Leicester.

By this time I had built up a group of online friends who visit my blog regularly and I also had quite a following on Twitter. I blogged about the book. I tweeted about the book and they retweeted.

My friendship with Lynn developed and when Richard III's body was discovered under the car park in Leicester she asked me if I would be writing about it. I said I would but when my publisher said they couldn't commit to such a book Lynn stepped in with the awesome line, "If they won't pay to get it published, then I will!" And she did.

Part of Alice Povey's illustration of the Battle of Bosworth
This was new territory for both of us but I didn't have to worry because there's every kind of advice any writer can ever ask for in the blogging world. Bloggers are amazingly generous, supportive and knowledgeable.

We needed an illustrator and, if it had not been for Twitter, I would never have heard about Alice Povey. Alice's mother tweets under the name @Richard1483. She is even more obsessed with Richard III than I am and that was how we got to follow each other on Twitter. I admired the art work on her blog and she told me about her daughter, Alice, who went on to illustrate my Children's Book of Richard III.

None of this would have happened without my blog and Twitter. I am now researching for my Children's Book of the Crystal Palace and, although the contact was made when I was doing a book signing and wasn't directly due to my Internet presence, people from the Friends of the Crystal Palace were able to check me out and look at my work by visiting my blog. This is why my blog has become a vital extension to my business card.

Do share your story in the comments below if your blog or Twitter account has directly created a publishing opportunity for you.

11 comments:

  1. The blog hasn't opened doors in the direct way yours has (and how exciting it has been for you!).

    I began when I first went on the long trip, as a way of keeping in touch with friends and family back home. I've just carried on, because it was fun and a great way to generate ideas - can't see me stopping any time soon! But I've no idea if it sells books, or if passing publishers ever take a look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I love reading about all your amazing trips, Jo.

      Delete
  2. Your blog success is a testament to your hard work and great writing. I did start my blog as a window to my work, but have not promoted it. I just enjoy writing random stuff and I've met so many neat people through the blog world. Yours is a great story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Joanne. I've met lots of lovely folk too.

      Delete
  3. Great post Ros, and I remember that session on social media for writers, I sat next to you as I recall and we had a good natter, and you seemed a little hesitant. Well look at you now! I think you get out what you put in and you have worked incredibly hard.

    Blogging and Twitter have been great fun for me. I've made lots of friends, have learnt lots, and have even met some of my blog buddies. I've found that if you want to interact, you'll find like minded friends, who will offer help and advice if needed, but also you have a chance to pass on your own experience to help someone else.

    I'd be very much lost without my blog, and the friends I've made on the journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes! So we did. I'd forgotten that and yes, I was hesitant, but I'm so glad I persevered.

      Delete
  4. Hi Ros - your journey is such a well-worth one ... and you've made the most of all the opportunities around - those you've found, and those directed towards you ... you're an excellent example of a blogger with purpose.

    I started blogging as a method of finding my way round the internet and what it offers, and then as a way to keep stimulated once my mother had her strokes and would never return to the outside world .. thankfully she could talk and we could connect ... but all else needed others' help.

    The blog and its connections have really opened up my eyes to so many things ... I've learnt loads ... and now I have a future with it ... cheers for now - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember when you were still finding your blogging feet but, my goodness, your blog has taken off big time. I also remember you saying that your mother was aware of the links you'd made with so many people through your blog.

      Delete
  5. I think my blog & Twitter has generated a lot of book sales..which is good...and through both it 've met a lot of lovely people, many of whom I'd now call friends. It does take time and commitment to keep both sites running... but as you say, once you start writing a post, it just happens. Thanks for your lovely blogs - always fascinating and informative, and for being my friend as well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your blog has served you well Ros. I have no idea why I started blogging. I came to blogging as someone who will never write a book but I love writing my blogs it gets that writing genie out my system and the added pleasure is at least I know a few people read it. I have progressed to my book review blog and I love that I may be of some help to new authors. I enjoy being in touch with authors and publishers and it's a,ways lovely when a new book drops through my letterboxes. There must be something else....oh I would never have met you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great blog this one is. You have surpassed yourself with this one Rosalind. Your enthusiasm for writing, communicating and life comes shining though. Looking forward to the next one and of course the "Children`s Book of the Crystal Palace"

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting. I do love receiving comments. Your comment will be sent to me for moderation before appearing here.

If you do not have a Google account, click on the Google account box and select Anonymous. Spam comments are not accepted on this blog.