WordPress Blogging for authors of novels, novellas and other fiction.
So you want to build a league of followers through your online fiction but only see factual-driven content being promoted there?
It’s true, there are more bloggers writing attractive non-fiction than fiction. They, like all of us, write stories to lure a wide range of readers into their sites using a one-stop title and an eye-catching picture.
A glooey sub-phrase backed by some validated research data frequently carries the curious another fifty words beyond, landing them right into the guts of whatever the writer is trying to sell. It could be a product or a service… or a subscription to a site whereby a product or service is advertised at a later stage.
Some of the content is true while others use bits of it to stretch fact – to generate an outrageous posting which can’t be overlooked by the majority of readers. It’s not fiction but factually-stretched stories might as well be.
Nevertheless, what about the genre of fiction within the blogosphere? Is there blog-room for an author dealing with narratives that aren’t real from the get-go?
WordPress Blogging for Authors: Getting Started
Open-source software like WordPress is a popular way for authors of fiction to get their message onto the web in the form of an easy DIY blog. It’s free, simple and there’s little more to do except think up stuff to write. There’s no coding or HTML to figure out, whatsoever. The secret is in the template used to deliver your message. It becomes the perfect wrapping for your perfect gift!
Site templates are available off-the-shelf. You can even test what your content will look like inside a template before launching the site. It’s possible to load every bit of text, menu, pic, movie, sound file… and then try on a template or two to before handing it over to search engines and readers to discover.
WordPress Blogging For Authors: Option ‘A’ or ‘B’
A blog or a web-site needs a server in which to reside. Wordpress blogging lives in one of two primary web-zones:
WordPress.com is where WordPress starts. Yes, it can host your site too – for free. If you choose to go this way, WordPress.com will manage everything in the site’s back-end. There are some limitations but you don’t have to lift a finger. When there are WP upgrades, it’s all done automatically.
Another huge benefit using Wordpress.com as a host is it’s Global Tagging System and the way it links all other users of W/Press through it. When an author of another WordPress.com hosted site posts new content (and provides suitable tags with it), it will go directly into the WordPress catalogue, appearing in the WP reader application. Currently over sixty million readers and bloggers tap into this tagging resource. It’s fast… and better at getting a blog to a large audience – no search engine needed!
Okay, what’s those limitations?
All the pretty plug-ins you see on many sites: Pop-ups, counters, subscription forms and call-to-action buttons aren’t available. You need a self-hosted site to have them.
The WordPress Reader is great but it converts all sites into a simple text theme. The template you chose won’t apply in the reader. It’ll be pretty ordinary to look at but it’s highly functional for those who forego frames, menu bars and the like in favour of text-rich content.
Self-Hosted Site. (DIY)
You don’t need to be a programmer to manage your own site but knowing how to engage a host (and then transferring files into its server) helps. Ten years ago it was harder to do but these days many hosts provide front-end management software that uses nothing more than your browser to access a well-designed dashboard. You log-on, access it, transfer the WordPress files into an appropriate folder and then activate the software. (Instructions come with the software)
Yes, it’s a little more complicated but, once it’s done, the rest is easy. Everything else is handled in the Wordpress framework. Add your new plug-ins through the plug-in menu, change your theme in the theme menu. You can add counters, floating sharing buttons and change your fonts in one place. (And much more)
Other plug-ins bloggers may find useful:
- Subscription forms
- Custom Backgrounds / Colours
- Photo Galleries
- Shortcode converters
- Search Engine Optimization
- Caching optimizers
- Ad inserters
- Spam / hacker blocks
Each plug-in has a purpose and there are thousands of them on offer. Some work better with photographers and their image-based sites while others are designed for writers and text-based sites. It’s all free (the extra inclusions are sometimes monetized) to download and use.
The Self Hosted Cons
‘Managing’ does take a writer away from writing. WordPress upgrades aren’t automatic, they’re managed by the owner of the site (or its manager). It’s no big deal, a message pops up to let you know that an update is available and then you click on it. The process takes but a minute of two. It’s the plug-ins you have to watch, especially if one no longer runs on WP and its author has moved on. The only way to know that a plug-in isn’t working is to test it, periodically.
Self-hosting means no WP global tagging system. As far as Reader goes, it’s irrelevant. The community who contribute to and/or read content from it aren’t accessible this way. Anything written to your self-hosted site won’t appear in Reader.
WordPress Blogging for Authors of Fiction: Establishing First Contact
Two of the greatest traffic-building posts I experienced as an author came from the pages of my novel.
I re-wrote two new narratives from the content within – dressing them up to read like news events… and then released them when a real-life event of a similar type took place. They looked very authentic. Readers were sucked in and visitor numbers went through the roof. It was easy to hide my character’s real identities too… and then reveal my devious deception in the final paragraph of each blog. It worked and was fun to do. I even provided audio extracts by doing the voice-overs myself!
Not every story can be done this way. Some writers choose to post excerpts of their work instead.
I’ve found excerpts work better on the WordPress.com hosted blogs when the tagging is pointed at the genre that best describes the excerpt. Dedicated readers of that genre tend to lurk about, waiting for certain tags to appear in Reader. Reader is time-sensitive so the greatest amount of visitors will happen in the seconds that follow a posting.
Back-links to your main site (or the place readers can get hold of your fiction) should be provided somewhere in every post (like the ones below) then you’re certain to bring your readers much closer to where you want them to be. Too many authors forget to do this and waste a vital opportunity.