One of the intentions I had with blogging was to keep track of what I was doing as I embark on this self-publishing journey so that others might learn or at least amuse themselves over my decisions and inevitable mistakes. So it is a tad ironic that in an effort to correct one of these mistakes, I’ll probably be writing less about self-publishing.

Since I’ve been playing to my IT dayjob strengths, I’ve always intended to be iterative with everything that I do. Defining my blog has been one of those struggles that I knew might take multiple attempts. The problem arises because most of my writing is fantasy, while the first novel I will publish will be YA historical fiction. Being both a cheap and lazy bastard, I had no intention of doing more than one author platform, so I tried to straddle both worlds. Mistake.

The struggle to define this blog has not only hampered finding a following, it’s also made it difficult to interact with other bloggers as I’m not sure how to present myself. Randomness and spreading myself thin might be how I operate in daily life, but I wouldn’t want to follow it. Seriously, I can’t think of worse torture than if I had to watch a reality show based on my life.

The advantage of being a largely unvisited blog is that I can make changes without causing disruption. I’m going to work on rebranding this “author platform” by following the advice of better bloggers. Here are some of the ideas I’ll try.

Desert Tumbleweed Blog Traffic

Traffic on my blog

Focus On A Niche

Like a writer who clung to every subplot despite an editor’s advice, I was trying to pitch a bit of everything about me, finding some tenuous link to all my writing. But really, to use the blog effectively it needs to:

  • line up with the focus of what I’m trying to sell (in this case, a historical novel, not fantasy, not writing advice… I figure I can always switch or expand to fantasy once I’m ready to publish novels in that genre);
  • stand on its own as a place of interest to draw people into the writing;
  • be easily defined for people to decide if they want to follow; and
  • fit a niche that is not already flooded (this works out well as the blogosphere for non-romance historical fiction doesn’t seem to be heavily populated.)

Write With Personality

(h/t The Write Life for this advice)

Writing with personality means showing:

  • Personal style. I’ve probably been too undefined as a personality, too straightforward. It’s a blog, not an academic paper. To better show my personality, expect to see more categorized features and less formal writing (i.e. sloppy.) I also might be George Lucas-ing some older posts to fit the new format.
  • Personal substance. I won’t just be blogging about historical fiction. My interest in history is equally strong to my interest in writing. So I’ll be blogging from that side of things as well while staying true to my focus, whether that’s non-fiction books or looking at the impact of books in history.

Timing Counts

(h/t Rimpy Reads for this advice)

I need to give enough time to put the blog out there when it’s rebranded. Yes, that includes time to market myself, but most of all, it means time to write lots of good posts to build early momentum. I’m on vacation in August, so while I’m going to start softly switching the content and tone of my posts, the big changes will come after I return.

Stay tuned!