Blogging Your Way to More Bucks
My initial attempts at blogging were via Tumblr in 2013. Although it never really “took off” by attracting a regular audience, it did serve as a training ground for getting myself into the habit of writing daily as well as learning the very basics of promoting my writing on a digital platform. I posted primarily because the real-life challenges before me as a newly single mom oscillated between being laugh-out-loud moments I wanted to share with the masses and bouts of isolated panic that I wanted to feel less alone while navigating. But for many writers with book publishing aspirations, blogging flourishes into a mechanism for building a readership base, plus a lucrative side endeavor.
Just ask award-winning author Rochelle Melander who is also a writing and ADHD coach. Through her individual and group coaching, Melander helps writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs with ADHD overcome distractions and procrastination; turn their ideas into books; and navigate the publishing world. Much of what she does now, her blogging skills helped to manifest. She reveals how in this Q&A:
What initially motivated you to start a blog?
When I started attending coaching school, I began an e-newsletter to attract and nurture my clients. When I launched my website, I added the blog. In 2007, I founded Write Now! Coach and transitioned my blog into a writing coaching blog—hoping to support writers through their writing and publishing journey. Each week, I publish an article, interview, or tip both as a newsletter and a blog post.
Why did you decide to add a component to your blog that features interviews with other authors?
I think it’s important to learn from each other. I learned so much about being a freelance writer from listening to and reading writers I admire. Because of that, I started a podcast called Always Write, and interviewed writers about their writing process.
Then I began interviewing writers on the blog. The written format allows readers to easily return to and review content. Most of the writers I interview don’t usually write about writing, so they love coming to the blog to talk about their writing process. Getting their book in more places online helps them reach more people. The interviews provide my readers with wisdom and practical tools about writing niches, publishing, and the writing process. And of course, the interviews bring new readers to my blog and my work—usually the fans and followers of the writers I interview. I’ve been delighted that so many writers from different genres have been willing to write for me.
How have your blog and professional author website helped you scale up other aspects of your writing career?
The Write Now! Coach website and blog helped me establish credibility. I’ve published 12 books; worked as an editor for 20 years; and am a trained and certified professional coach. But people need more than credits to find you credible: they need to experience your work. My weekly blog posts give readers an insight into what I know plus how I work with people. When people come to me, they tell me that after reading my posts for years, they feel like they know me and can trust my coaching. Because I’ve blogged regularly and for so long (every Tuesday and some Wednesdays since 2007), I’m also seen as dependable by editors who might hire me to write.”
The blog has also helped me reach more people—and enlarged my social media following. This has led to a bigger platform. I’ve started a second blog (for my kidlit writing career). I think that these blogs have helped me sell stories and books to publishers.
Finally, and this is a big one, the blog has let me experiment. I get to write about pretty much anything I want in my blog, which has given me a lot of freedom to explore ideas. Later on, many of those blog posts end up being pitched as part of books or articles. My book “Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination, and Increase Productivity” was based on several blog posts.
What strategies would you would to any writer not currently published or is just attempting to launch a freelance career?
- Spend time every week brainstorming ideas you can pitch. And then pitch. Get used to being told ‘no’ because it’s going to happen a lot. But good things come to those who ask—and pitching is just one form of asking.
- Get connected to other writers. Join or form an accountability group. I’m a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors as well as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Through both groups, I’ve learned a lot about the publishing business and met people who have held me accountable.
- Choose one social media platform and build your presence there. Find the influencers in your niche and follow them as well as their followers. Then, watch and learn. Think about how you can be a resource to your readers—and do that through your posts and reposts. (Readers will often care more about how you can help them.)
Connect with Rochelle Melander on Twitter and Facebook for more pro blogging advice, in addition to book-related announcement like about her debut middle grade book “Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing.”