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Archive for June, 2021

Let’s take a break this week to just bask in our creativity.

Photo by Yann Jacobsen on Unsplash

What gets your creative juices flowing, spurring on sudden onsets of new ideas?

Are you a visual-leaning creative, your muse awakened by things you see? Scenes, scenery, pictures, and the like?

Or perhaps you are inspired by auditory cues? Music, birds singing, the ugly sounds of traffic and the city, or the beatific auditory dance of nature?

Is it the things you experience that stimulate the writer in you with those ‘Aha!’ moments? A scene in a movie, a real world moment you witnessed, the news, or world or community events? Books, poetry, and other literary works? Submersing yourself in all the stimuli of visiting certain places, art galleries, museums, and parks?

Perhaps it’s your relationships with people and pets that you draw on for inspirations, or the opposite, sweet solitude.

There are a lot of schools of thought on what makes us creatives tick. What it is that makes us… us.

Some think creatives to fall into categories like being risk takers who are happier taking on that big project instead of sticking to the boring mundane. And people who are not afraid to face potential failure. For us, failure is a learning curve and mistakes are just the bumps we learn from. In fact, those setbacks may make you want even more to figure it out.

We are willing to be different. We have to be or we’d probably be hiding in some corner writing when no one is looking and never releasing our creations on the world. Status quo shmatus quo, something here isn’t like all the others and it’s you. What others think of you isn’t as important as writing our hearts out.

Have you seen the movie Divergent? That’s you. Instead of falling into step of being who everyone else thinks you should be, doing what they want you to or what they think is ‘normal’, you challenge the boundaries of what is considered normal thinking and perspectives by others.

Some people out there even think we’re weird. That’s okay, because difference is beautiful.

Take some time this week to explore your creative energy, your muses, and your inspirations. Try out new things, new ways to ignite that creative spark. Find inspirations in new places and different ways.

Challenge yourself to try a new medium; drawing, painting, crafts, sculpting, rearranging your room, experiment with cooking, flower arranging, anything goes if you put the creative spirit into it.

Visit a new genre and explore it through reading and writing it. Have fun with it. Are you typically true to a single genre? Then try a crossover that mixes genres together.

Play with shorts. Not the kind you wear, but the written shorts. Micro poems, micro fiction or nonfiction. A single scene or description. Whatever catches your interest. These also make excellent writing practices.

Just for fun, take the Creative Type personality test by Adobe Create:  https://mycreativetype.com/

Adobe Create lists these personality types:

  • The Artist: “The Seeing beauty, creating beauty.”
  • The Thinker: “The Deep thoughts, big questions.”
  • The Adventurer: “The So much inspiration, so little time.”
  • The Maker: “The Committed to your craft.”
  • The Producer: “The Process is power.”
  • The Dreamer: “The power of imagination unleashed.”
  • The Innovator: “Move, shake, disrupt, repeat.”
  • The Visionary: “Imagining the impossible.”

* I got “You are the Dreamer”

Looking for ideas?

Try going onto a page like Unsplash and using a random search word and pick any photo as a writing prompt. Write anything. An external or internal (their inner person) character description, world build the scene or moment, write the action of what is or is not happening. Get creative, poetic, anything that strikes your fancy.

Do you have a music app like Spotify? Do a random song shuffle and write whatever that song inspires.

Go outside. On your balcony, front steps, anywhere you can safely people watch. Just watch and pick a moment to write about.

Or seek nature. If your yard backs onto a river or bush, that’s perfect. Maybe talk a walk on a trail or to a park. Urban nature trails are filled with wildlife, particularly if they run along a river or stream.

If you have any other suggestions for finding inspirations and waking that muse when it’s sluggish, you are more than welcome to share them.

Keep writing my friends and enjoy this beautiful summer weather.

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The first time I heard the term “story bible” my thoughts went immediately to the most commonly used meaning of the word ‘bible’. But it’s the second, informal, meaning of the word that applies here – “a book regarded as authoritative in a particular sphere.” – Oxford Languages

It felt weird calling something a ‘bible’ which was, in my more limited knowledge at that time, reserved only for a book that holds huge religious significance.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

To better define just what a story bible is, consider the synonyms for ‘bible’:  ABC, authoritative book, companion, enchiridion (“a book containing essential information on a subject”), essential book, guide, handbook, manual, primer, vade mecum (“a handbook or guide that is kept constantly at hand for consultation.”).

I had to look two of these up, so I included their definitions, also from Oxford Languages.

You can call it whatever you want, really, but ‘story bible’ is the commonly used industry term.

What actually is a story bible?

Your story bible is the document you use to keep track of the details and worldbuilding in your novel. If you are doing a series, you might have a series bible that spans the larger story in addition to, or instead of, individual story bibles for each book. You may also have more broken down specific character bibles or world bibles if your story has more than one world.

Story bible vs. outline.

Story bibles go by many names—from series bible to novel bible, to the more specific character bible—but they all are the same thing: A document used to keep track of the worldbuilding and details in your novel.

It sounds pretty similar to an outline, and it is, but it’s not quite the same thing.

Both will duplicate certain details like your characters’ names and backgrounds, important worldbuilding points like technologies, languages, and locations, and the little details you need to remember about what you foreshadowed early in your novel.

The difference is in the scope.

The story bible is a quick and short reference guide for editing. Its focus will be narrow and restricted to the basic details. It might even be in point form. This guide makes a handy tool to quickly check when you’re making changes to your story. It’s also helpful for your cowriters if you have any, editors, and proofreaders.

An outline is like a story bible, but more detailed and more in-depth. It’s a guide with more meat for the purpose of plotting and fleshing out your story. It is a not-so-quick reference guide that fills in all the specifics and organizes your plot.

Purpose of the story bible.

Having to go back searching through a 300+ page manuscript to verify what color that car/dress/other item was is not something you or your editors want to have to do.

Your story bible is your reference guide for all your planning for the novel: story concept, setting, cultural references, bits of dialogue and phrases to keep language consistent, potential plot conflicts, character descriptions, and more.

This can be especially helpful if you participate in National Novel Writing Month. Quickly jotting down little details can save a lot of time spent wondering about or searching for the small things you need to be consistent on. Instead, you can move forward and spend that time trying to blast out 1667 words per day.

Maintaining continuity is perhaps the most important job of the story bible. You never know what small detail a reader might latch on and be put off by your lack of consistency with. Especially with the more complex science fiction and fantasy epics. Suddenly changing the name of a place because you didn’t remember correctly which name you went with can be confusing and off-putting for the reader. And, keeping things consistent can be hard when you are revising, rewriting, or, like me, have more stories than you can name on the go.

Creating a story bible.

If you’ve never created a story bible, don’t let that intimidate you. You can do an online search and come up with all kinds of ideas and suggestions of what to include. The lists are abundant and if you compile them yours will become ridiculously long. There are also templates you can download, but they might not seem relevant if they don’t match your genre.

The key is making it yours. Make your story bible what you need it to be. Don’t make up details that are irrelevant and wouldn’t be in your story otherwise just for the sake of filling in a form list.

Start early. If you’re a plotter, you might want to create your bible first and then expand on it to create your outline, or you might find it works better to create it simultaneously with your outline. It you are a pantser, quilter, spastic quilter (me!), the best advice I can give is to create and update your bible and outline as you go from the start. Going back to do them later in the game is time intensive and leaves you open to the mistakes having them would have avoided. Maybe I’ll write a post one day on how to convert that manuscript to an outline if you didn’t do one as you wrote.

Keep the details light. You don’t want to duplicate your outline here. This is meant to be a quick reference guide. If you want deeper darker dirt on the details, refer to the outline for more. In fact, this is where hyperlinks are a beautiful awesomely spectacular wonderful thing.

Using hyperlinks, you can be a click away from more details in your outline. Hyperlinks are not just to bring you to web pages. In fact, if you are formatting an eBook, they are absolutely essential to link your table of contents to jump to the chapters. To make it easier, you might even choose to have your story bible at the beginning of your outline document so the hyperlinks are contained in one document you can share, move, or rename as needed.

It’s trickier if you decide to also use them in your working notes in your WIP to bring you to the relevant places in your outline. Warning: changing file locations and names will break your hyperlinks if they are not linked to a place in the same document.

Your bible, outline, and story are fluid like the writing process. They are likely to change until the finished product.

There is no one size fits all story bible. Each will be a little unique to the writer and the needs of the story.

Let’s start with those most central key points. Title your story bible and list your story bible header information.

  • Story Bible Title
  • Series title and book titles
  • Genre/timeframe
  • Elements/rules of the world
  • Setting notes, ie) time, place, mood, context (create a section for each setting)
  • Story Drive (everyone wants to say their story is “character driven” because that’s the popular story driver. But what drives the character who is driving the story?)

Example:

Where the Bodies Are – Story Bible

Series: The McAllister Series, book 1

Central conflict/plotline: A serial killer must be stopped.

Torn, reality fractured, the killer is desperate to be stopped.

Genre/timeframe:   Crime fiction, antagonist lead, contemporary urban/rural, current period

Main features/rules of the world:   Real world / real life rules

Setting notes:

  • Time:    current day/year not specified
  • Place:    small city formerly a rural town grown in size, rural and urban locations
  • Mood:  dark, urgent, suspense
  • Context:  all real world assumed/not detailed: demographics, political systems, social views, cultural practices
  • Story Driver:  character/antagonist, drive to stop the killer, driven to stop himself killing; underlying story driver: killer’s dead sister, Cassie

For the body of your story bible you will want to categorize your sections to cover pertinent things like:

Characters’ Overview:

  • List of characters/characters’ names:
    • Most important/focal character(s) – what character the story cannot exist without
    • Lead character(s)
    • Secondary character(s)
    • Other character(s)
  • Characters’ relationships to one another – this could be one peoples relationship to another or individual characters’.
  • Key features of characters – again, this could be specific to groups or individuals.
  • Character portraits – key details only.

Worldbuilding:

  • Maps.
  • Locations and settings.
  • Races, cultures, and social norms.
  • Technologies, spells, and magical systems.
  • Conlang words (the language you invented for your fictional world) and their proper usage.

Plot timelines.

Example:

Characters’ Overview:

  • Key features/character portraits of characters:
    • The killer
      • Male, not described, identity secret, torn in a fractured world where reality and insanity blurs, obsessed with finding his dead sister; kidnaps women resembling what she would look like if the grew up, murders them in a fit of blackout rage when they are not his sister.
    • The Killer’s Dead Sister: Cassie
      • Female, died as a child, The Killer blames himself.
    • Beth (Detectives’ office)
      • Female, 30ish, competent, “perfectly painted nails and matching lips”
    • Detective Jim McNelly
      • Male, older/middle-aged, obese, slovenly, gruff, ugly ancient brown rusting Oldsmobile, driven to stop the killer, takes each victim personally, unrevealed mystery behind dead wife.
    • Detective Michael Underwood (McNelly’s partner)
      • Male, younger/not too young, generally considered attractive, likeable guy, seems just as home drinking with the boys or at Aunt Bee’s quilting group, driven to stop the killer for his own (spoiler redacted) reason.
      • Goes undercover as orderly at hospital to watch prime victim 1 “Jane Doe”.
    • Molly, nurse (hospital)
      • Mousy, nervous, thinks she’s a bit clairvoyant, protective ‘mother hen’ to prime victim 1 “Jane Doe” in hospital.
    • Prime Victim 1: “Jane Doe”
      • Female, young woman, left for dead, no memory, killer obsessed with taking her back.
    • Prime Victim 2: “Kathy”, Katherine Kingslow
      • Female, young woman, abusive boyfriend, comes to see kidnapping as rescue from Ronnie (boyfriend), develops Stockholm syndrome relationship with kidnapper/The Killer.
    • Prime Victim 3: Connie Wilson
      • Female, young woman, held prisoner at the farm with prime victims 1 & 2, killed when the Jane Doe and Connie try to escape.
    • Reporter Lawrence Hawkworth
      • Male, tall/skinny, buzzard-like features and mannerisms, reporter with ‘less than moral morals’, colorblind, secret dream of being a cop, is clairvoyant, confidant/friend/associate of Detective Jim McNelly, helps McNelly search for The Killer.

Worldbuilding:

  • Contemporary urban / rural. Real world.
  • Unnamed small city formerly a rural town grown in size, rural and urban locations.
  • **Locations not named because this could be your city/town/rural area. This could be your community.
  • Old hardware store: inspired by a real hardware store in a real small town in Manitoba
  • The farm (Killer’s hideout): long abandoned, rundown.
  • Police precinct: a small-town precinct that never grew up with the growing town turned into a small city. Police on the 2nd floor, municipal offices on the 1st floor.

Plot timelines:

Part One: Jane Doe: Learning about Victim 1 Jane Doe and the people connected to her.

  • Introduce Jane Doe victim left for dead.
  • Introduce characters: Nurse Molly, orderly (det. M. Underwood), Detective McNelly, Beth (civ. Missing Persons), reporter Lawrence Hawkworth.
  • Mystery man (Jason McAllister) tries to see Jane Doe at hospital after visiting hours.
  • Reporter Lawrence Hawkworth starts investigating the story of vic. 1 Jane Doe.

Part Two: Losing Grip: Killer has break from reality, almost kidnaps a little girl.

  • The Killer watches a woman’s house. She resembles his sister, but grown up. He slips into the blackout void of his madness and therein attempts to kidnap the little girl who drew his attention.
  • The Killer is sickened and in shock over almost taking an innocent child, not his intended target.

Part Three: Suffer the Righteous & Pamela Makes Three: The third woman kidnapping victim.

  • Deceased victim (2, 2nd Jane Doe) is found in parking garage, The Killer murders ex-priest/witness.
  • The Killer takes Pamela, victim # 3 / lesser victim character, not prime vic. 3.

This example is shortened for brevity here. Listing every bit character and event is not relevant to the blog post.

You see from my example that I only included the very basic details. If I described something (Jim McNelly’s car) in more specific terms that cannot be changed, I included that information. Otherwise the story bible becomes too long and cumbersome or becomes a detailed outline.

In some cases, particularly for a lengthy list of characters or locations, a checkbox form might be better suited.

This is a very basic example, but if you have your pertinent details filled in with this form repeated down the page for as many characters as you need, you can just click/check-box down with the minimum time spent filling in details and it keeps everything consistently organized:

Characters:

Name:                                         ☐ Female          ☐ Male              ☐ Other                 

                                                          ☐ Infant            ☐ Child               ☐ Teen

                                                        ☐ Y Adult          ☐ Middle aged ☐ Elder

                                                              ☐ Tall                 ☐ Short              ☐ Average

                                                              ☐ Thin               ☐ Obese            ☐ Average

                                                              Species/People:

                                                              ☐ People A        ☐ People B        ☐ People C

                                                              ☐ Town A           ☐Town B           ☐ Town C

If you need more in-depth lengthy details that’s where you want to turn to your character sheets or outline because you are no longer looking to reference a quick list guide.

Keep writing my friends and start journaling your storytelling adventure by plotting your bible and outline.

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We discussed how essential self-promotion is, whether you love doing it or hate it. And how self-promotion is the face you put out there to your followers.

Now we are getting into what you can do to self-promote, like blogging.

Having a website is as important as blogging. It’s another tool in your promotion toolbox. Think of your website as the center of everything you. It gives you a homepage to send people to for various purposes.

As with everything, there’s no one right way to do a website, but some things are better than others.

Don’t be bloggy.

It’s an easy mistake, but avoid making your website look like a blog. I made this gaffe when I started trying to do this stuff years ago. I’ve also seen it on a lot of websites. You can incorporate your blog and website together in a one-stop package, import your blog with an RRS feed, or just have a running list of links to your most recent blog articles, depending on what your website platform is capable of.

Just be sure your website looks like a website and not a blog. The first page of your website should look like a homepage. Keep the blog feed on another page they can easily find and click on, or in a lesser profile side stream.

Don’t backburner your website. Prioritize it.

I’m guilty of this and working to put more focus on updating it. In being so busy with life, family, the job that pays the bills, volunteering, blogging, trying to self-promote, and trying to get writing and editing done, I tend to forget my web page even exists. Bad bad me.

If this is your one-stop spot for people to find everything, it needs to be up to date. It should also be very easy for them to find and click links for your books and other products.

Keep it current and relevant.

If your blog feels abandoned, like an old house, it will not invite visitors in.

Your website is your homepage for all things you.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

As I said above, your website is your homepage. It’s where you can feature your newest release or product, sales, events, promotions, anything you want to focus on. You want links to follow you on social media, and to any store pages you’re selling your books or products on.

It’s your central hub pointing to and organizing the maze of media all your self-promotion is on. This also makes it easy for it to turn into a confusing web of links and plugs.

Try to do all this and keep that homepage simple and uncluttered. Easier said than done.

Your branding starts here.

As your focal point for self-promotion, your branding starts with your website. All points lead both to it and away from it.

Branding, in short, is how you shape the you your followers see. It’s something recognizable that immediately identifies you. Once you establish a branding that works for you, you want to express it consistently across all of your media from your website to your blog to your Facebook and Twitter.

Landing page vs. homepage.

You might see a website homepage referenced as a landing page. I’ve seen website homepages that were a landing page. Here is the key difference between the two:

A landing page is singularly focused. It is a standalone web page for a specific marketing or advertising campaign. It will typically have a single call-to-action link button.

For example, this newsletter signup button on the sidebar of my blog brings you to a landing page.

This landing page’s singular call to action is to signup for the newsletter. It asks the visitor to enter their email address and click “Subscribe”:

A homepage page is the first page visitors to your website see and it sets the stage for your website. It’s opening the door and stepping into your front entrance with just a glimpse of the home within behind the doors, aka pages and links.

This is my L. V. Gaudet website at the moment, and my other alias (Vivian Munnoch) website. They are both a work in process. As with all things writing, I’m forever working to improve my websites too.

Give your website personality. Make it stand out as yours.

Whether you are using a template or building your website from scratch, you want to give it your own personality. Make it yours. Make it stand out as a piece of you. You want your website to be memorable. To scream, “THIS IS MY WEBSITE AND IT’S BETTER THAN THE REST!”

Multiple pen names means having multiple websites.

If you are published under multiple pen names, you ideally want to have a website for each pen name. You can have a quick link for visitors to jump to your other nom de plume website. It means double the work. I have a visit button on both of mine linking to the other. With Wix, because I didn’t pay for a special domain name, this means both sites’ addresses start with ‘lvgaudet’.

Alternatively, you could go the route of treating it like a dual-author shared website. But having separate sites means you can focus each more on the target audience for that pen name. This is especially ideal if they are different genres. In my case they are different age groups.

Choosing the right website platform is important.

Finding the right website platform can take some trial and error. The first one you try isn’t always the best and that’s okay. There is a range of them out there from free to pricey, many with for both free and paid services, with different options and ways they work. Finding the right one for you makes the difference between a struggle or making updating your website a breeze.

Creating your website is like writing your story. You plot and draft it out, outline, change, and rearrange it. You might even scrap the whole thing and start fresh with a new page on a new website platform. It’s all part of the creative and learning process.

My webpage is on Wix.com. It is free and, once you figure it out, not too hard to use. It has limitations, but they all do. You can only link one blog to it. It is designed to be more friendly to Blogger than other blogsites like WordPress.

I chose Wix because after reading through multiple website platform reviews, it was in the top of the list with a majority of the reviewers, and because it’s free.

One of the things I don’t like is having to choose between adding new material at the bottom of your pages or the long slow process of moving all those boxes down a few at a time to organize it from the newest to oldest going down the pages.

For example, my “News & Events” page. It doesn’t make sense to list it from the oldest a the top down to the most current at the bottom. Who wants to scroll down that far for the most recent news? Maybe there is an easier way to do it on Wix, but I haven’t found it yet.

It only takes a moment to search ‘best free website platforms’ and you will have a screenful of articles to sift through and pick out which sites have what is best for your needs.


Keep writing my friends, and don’t let the challenge overwhelm you. Building a website can be time consuming, but it’s worth it in the end.

Posts: SELF-PROMOTION IS A FOUR LETTER WORD:

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How can you kill two birds with one stone? Simple. Follow that cliché! Blog.

Since most of us writers don’t make a whole lot from our writing, if you are among those that do sell any books, it doesn’t take much to put you in the red. Yes, there are ways to publish without spending a penny on it, but effective publishing, and promoting, costs money.

Blogging is one way to promote yourself and your work on any budget from, “Budget? What budget? I’m dead broke.” to “Budget? Haha, yeah, I don’t even think about what I spend. I don’t worry about money. I’ve got lots.”, and you don’t even have to blog about your work. You can make your blog about anything.

Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

Just because you write a particular genre or subject, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to focus your blog on. Maybe you’d rather discuss the plight of the Pacu Fish. If you don’t know, they have weirdly human-like teeth. Personally, I suspect this is the result of some hapless person who really angered someone big time, and was cursed that they and their generations to follow will forever live as fish.

Whatever your passion is, you can make that the subject of your blog. Write it enthusiastically. Write it well. And, the most important point, try to write it on schedule.

Consistency is magical. Stay reasonably on topic. If your passion is painting burned out skyscrapers and you grow a following blogging about those post-apocalyptic symbols, your readers likely won’t be interested in your post on tapioca pudding, unless it’s pudding found in a burnt skyscraper.

Posting occasionally and sporadically won’t grow much of a following. If you are going to do a monthly blog post, try to schedule it for the same day each month. People like consistency. They want you to be reliable.

Frequent blog posts can be a big challenge, especially with daily life and other things getting in the way. If you are going to commit, make it a schedule you can likely keep. Too frequently posting could set you up to fail, and if too frequent, is also spammy.

Don’t be spammy. Nobody likes having their email clogged with spam. If I’m getting multiple notifications a day every day on the same blogger posting, I’d stop following them pretty quickly. I find one a day every day from the same blogger too much. I don’t have the time to read that and would be just deleting the email notifications and probably killing that blog subscription.

Speaking of execution, how are you committing that murder of the second ‘bird’? Blogging serves a second purpose.

Blogging is writing practice. So, not only are you working to build a following that will hopefully result in some book sales, but you are also working at practicing and improving your writing skills.

Don’t wait. Start blogging before you publish.

While the writing practice and working to develop your writing voice is a bonus, the main purpose of your blogging is to put yourself out there and build a following. Your blog is a checkmark on your writing platform to do list.

Building a following is key to building your author platform. Any potential agent or publisher is going to be a whole lot more interested in the author with an extensive following than the one with a few dozen co-workers, family, friends, neighbors, and the odd random person they don’t know in real life.

Whether you are going traditional, with an Indie or small press, or self-publishing, that following is a pool of potential buyers of your book. The bigger that pool is when your book comes out, the better your odds are at generating sales through your blog.

You want to get your followers excited about your upcoming book if you can. Get them interested enough that they are sharing and spreading the news about your book. Only a small percentage of your followers will typically buy it, so the more reach you can get them to spread for you, the more potential buyers see it, and your list of followers can grow.

How do you start a blog?

Find yourself a blogging platform and start writing articles.

Simply put, a blog platform is a service or software for managing and publishing content on the internet in the form of a blog.

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms. It has both free and paid for themes that have a range of customization ability. There are plugins that let you do even more. You have to buy a subscription to use the plugins, but you can still do a pretty decent blog for absolutely free.

There are two variations of wordpress.

WordPress.org is a self-hosted open-source software. It’s free to use, but I’m sure there’s some catch in there for them to make money off you. Self-hosted = you need a domain name and web hosting. It lets you do more than the other WordPress, but a domain name and web hosting is not included in the “free” price tag of this software. You will need to find these and will have to pay for them. This also means that you or your web hosting service are responsible for doing all customizations, updates, and backups of your blog site.

WordPress.com is what I currently use. It is a hosting service created by Automattic, so it’s got the all-in-one on providing both the blog platform and hosting service. It has options ranging from free to crazy expensive. You are more limited in what you can do than with the .org, even more limited with the free version. You can get your own domain for a price. You have to have a paid subscription for that. They plug ads on your blog to make money off you, and you cannot plug your own ads to monetize. If you max out your storage space on the free plan, you have to upgrade to a paid subscription. When that happens, I’ll likely look into the costs of getting that domain name and web hosting to switch to the .org.

What I dislike about WordPress.com is that the new editor automatically removes all extra line breaks and color in text when you copy/paste your post into it, and doesn’t allow for font type changes within the post. I write in Word, all prettily formatted, and copy/paste it into WordPress. Then I have to go through the entire post adding back in the line breaks and re-convert sub-headers back into sub-headers and re-colorized any text that I didn’t want black. Line breaks – those empty spaces – help make your post easier to read and breaks up bits that don’t necessarily go together.

Blogger is another common one. You may have heard it called “Blogspot”. They aren’t one and the same, but they do work together to provide you a blogging platform. Blogger is the publishing platform and BlogSpot is a domain service provider. Both are available for free. You can also pay to get a custom domain name.

Warning: some authors have reported having issues with Facebook flagging Blogger blogsites as violating their anti-spam rules. Apparently Facebook lately equates Blogger with spam. Hopefully they will fix this.

There are others, and also website platforms like Wix that let you do a blog in addition to the website.

Do your research before you start. Find out what blogging platform best suits your needs.

You will find that you can auto-feed many blogging platforms to cross-pollinate your articles onto other social media sites with your blog. Where they are capable of feeding to depends largely on who owns what and who set up their sites to work together. I was able to set Blogger to feed into Wix (a website platform), but had no success trying to get WordPress to feed into Wix. Blogger also fed posts into Google+ before Google shut down that platform.

This article says you can import WordPress blog posts into Wix (you have to log into Wix to read the article). I’ll give this a try later when I get around to updating and spiffing up my Wix page.

My WordPress.com blog auto-feeds posts to my author pages on Facebook and Amazon, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. It also has a new create a podcast episode feature that lets you convert your text blog to audio. I tried it out. Cons = it sounds like a robot, tends to skip words, and will mispronounce words including names and anything that is a heteronym (same spelling, different pronunciation). There is no way to fix those errors at this time. It’s new, so hopefully they fix that, but they probably won’t be able to get it to sound human.

Vlogs are another option.

Like audiobooks, they are also increasing in popularity. Why read a blog when you can listen to a video blog while you are doing other things like ignoring the other people in the room? Right?

Vlogs have their own group of hosting platforms. You could probably get away with creating the posts on your phone, but if you want a professional feel, you’re going to have to invest in equipment, find some sound and video editing software, learn sound and video editing, and find a quiet place to record. I’m probably making it sound harder than it is.

What else are these posts on YouTube, Tik Tok, and other social media and video sites where people are essentially blogging by video if not a form of vlogging? No, not the barrage of so-called challenges and other bizarre and mindless shares. I’m talking the posters who actually use these media sites as vlogs. There are other platforms out there designed specifically for vlogging.

You also have to be capable of speaking coherently while recording yourself. I’m still working on developing that talent.

One of the benefits of the blog is the side bars and pages.

In the side bars, you can have click to follow buttons, signups for your newsletter, and photo button plugs linking your readers to buy your books and products.

Pages give you the option to set up a click away page featuring any or all of your books and products.

Readers can come for the article and see your books down the side, buy them, learn more about them, and click to follow your other social media accounts.

Keep writing my friends, and good luck on those blogs.

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