Photo credit: Javier Domínguez Ferreiro via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
I never thought too much about the blogosphere. I’d read some of my favorite author’s blogs now and again; I had a mom blog called, Amalah, that I adored reading, but I just never thought I would had enough to talk about.
When I began researching what it would take to become a professional author, the words, “Have a social media following” and “Have a platform” kept coming up.
What did that mean? A platform?
I dug deeper. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were a few of the popular social media sites to be on. I was already on a few, but not as a writer. I went back to Facebook and created a Facebook Fan Page. I went to Twitter and started a new account there as well. I had already created an email meant to be used for all of my writing endeavors, so that is what I used when creating the social media accounts. My Instagram account, I switched over from being under my personal name to my author name, because I posted the same sorts of things before the switch that I planned to post after. I would just be adding more about literary things: books I’m reading, projects I’m writing, etc.
All of my social media sites were settled prior to participating in National Novel Writing Month 2015 (NanoWriMo). I posted each day throughout the month making sure to hashtag #nanowrimo, and acquired a great start to my follower base during that month alone. It was difficult to keep up with writing, social media, and a two-year-old, but I managed (see post on Finding Time to Write).
The next suggested step, was to start a blog.
Where would I begin? What would I have to write about that others would want to read?
A suggestion was made in one of the many hours I spent researching blogs, that I should write about something that was in my book. What I mean is, if my book included a lot about cooking because the protagonist was a chef, then I could start a cooking blog. No doubt, if I were writing about a chef, I would have had some knowledge or love of cooking myself. That was the reasoning behind such a statement. My character wasn’t a chef so a cooking blog was definitely out.
My character, Adeline, is creative. She has an imagination that allows her to mend her hand-me-down dresses into beautiful albeit quirky creations, she can crochet with the best of them, sew, and knit, and always has a piece of parchment handy for the times when she needs to draw something. In a sense, she is an artist and creator, just like me.
I had been making up my own amigurumi patterns for years (see my Portfolio to take a look at my geeky creations), but I wanted to steer away from making other people’s dreamed up characters (from movies, anime, and video games), and begin making up my own. I wanted to write how to crochet amigurumi books and teach others how to crochet as well.
For non-fiction books, such as craft books, you must be able to prove that you are an expert of whatever it is you’re writing about. One of the best ways to do this, again, is to have an author platform.
A platform is a group of followers who love to read what you write, and follow you because of it. They will be your advocates when you get your book published. They will buy your books and tell their friends.
In February of this year (2016), I started writing my posts for my blog, Ink & Stitches – The Writerly and Creative Life of J.H. Winter. “Ink” was to represent the fact that I am a writer of books and an illustrator as well. “Stitches” stands for all of my creative endeavors: crocheting amigurumi, knitting, sewing, and crafting.
This “Artistic Variety” as I like to call it, became the theme for my blog. With all of my interests in mind, I felt I had enough to write about that I could really warrant having a place online to share my work. Other people might even want to listen and check back to see what I’m up to.
Since starting my blog, I’ve created an Ink & Stitches YouTube Channel where I have begun teaching lessons on how to crochet amigurumi; a logo to help with branding everything Ink & Stitches; an Etsy shop which I hope to have open for business soon (InkandStitchesArt); I’ve participated in the A to Z Challenge for bloggers during the month of April which was exhausting (26 posts in a month) but a lot of fun; I’ve begun creating patterns for characters from my story about Adeline; and now that things are quieting down a bit, I am getting back to editing my first two books.
Why do I blog?
In a nutshell, I’m creating an author platform. I’m proving that I’m an expert of amigurumi. I’m talking in the hopes that people will listen and get something out of my words.
Aside from all that, I’m blogging because I love to make connections with people. I have had so much fun getting and answering comments (and I always answer them); being able to strike up Twitter and Instagram conversations back and forth about fun topics with some amazing people; and feeling the camaraderie when sharing experiences with like-minded individuals.
I treat keeping up with social media as part of my workday, but I’ve never felt it to be work. Posting and conversing on social media is often the most fun part of my day! That is why I blog, and will continue to do so. To share ideas and thoughts and making virtual friendships because of it, is something you won’t get anywhere else.
Now I’m curious, why did you start blogging?
J.H. Winter http://www.jhwinter.com
Thank you for another terrific guest post, J. H.!
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These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity. They’re a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.
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