Alex J. Cavanaugh has been amazing blog-friend since April this year, when I met him as one of the hosts of the A To Z Challenge. Since then, I’ve admired his blog, and have stood in awe of his Ninja army–his loyal and ever-expanding band of followers (I’m one of them!), and his warm, friendly presence on the internet. So, today’s guest post is from him, telling us all writer-bloggers how he works his magic!
Thank you for inviting me to do a guest spot here, Damyanti!
I’m not sure I’m the most qualified to offer tips to writers who blog. Anne R. Allen recently did a series for writers that’s even more in depth. I guess Damyanti figured that after two years and a thousand followers, I’ve learned something along the way. (Fooled you!) With her vote of confidence, here are some tips from blogging Ninja Captain Alex:
Find your angle and blogging groove. Not all writers need to give writing advice, so find what fits with your personality. What are your passions? (Can you blog about them without making readers blush?) If you write about the things that excite you, it will come through to your readers. Select your topic(s) and style and go for it.
Establish a blogging schedule. Set a pattern that you and your readers can follow.
Short posts work best, especially for those who post more than once a week. People are busy – if the post is long, many will simple skip or skim. Basically your post should resemble a pamphlet on famous Bulgarian NFL stars.
Controversy gets attention, but… you don’t want to scare off potential readers and fans. Or potential publishers. Unless your book is really controversial, go easy here. Or go whacky! Nothing like a good dumpster fire.
Don’t talk about your books all the time. You’re here to make friends, network, and learn, not advertise. That doesn’t mean you can’t promote your work when it’s released. Just don’t beat everyone over the head!
Follow and comment on other blogs. If you don’t follow and comment on other blogs, don’t expect anyone to follow or comment on yours. Find blogs and people who share some of your interests. (Such as famous Bulgarian NFL stars.)
Don’t just follow writers or those of your genre, though. Follow a variety.
Participate in blogfests. They are a great way to get to know other bloggers and direct new people to your blog.
Be generous. Celebrate the success of others. Support others and never give expecting to receive.
Invite others to do a guest post on your blog. Ask to contribute guest posts on other blogs. (Or beg – begging is good!)
Be yourself. Don’t imitate another blogger’s style. You’ll sound fake. You can apply all of these tips while remaining true to your nature.
You will get out of it what you put into it.
This Ninja does pour time into blogging and I visit a hundred sites or more a day. I’ve made so many great friends online, and with one book already published, it has translated into sales. But just as valuable is the friendship and support. And that’s worth a million bucks!
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently the author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.
CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science fiction – space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9816210-6-7 $15.95
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-3-8 $2.99
Available February 28, 2012:
CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science fiction – space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5 $15.95
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9 $4.99
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Hi Damyanti, thank you for visiting my blog and for all of the excellent advice available on yours; I’ll certainly be giving it a good read through with a cuppa later today!
As an aspiring writer who’s a little further back in her journey than you (no competition wins and hardly any blog followers yet!), your blog is both inspiring and useful!
We all are on our individual journeys, and if mine contributes in any way to yours, I’ll be the richer and happier for it. Thanks so much for visiting back, Emily.
Nice tips for a newbie like me……..Thank you for these
Alex, thank you. After reading through your advice, I realize I am doing it right, and I was beginning to worry. You have eased my mind. Thanks for that, and I hope your book flies of the shelves (in the real world and the virtual) and all your dreams come true!
Thanks for sharing many great tips with us.
I clicked on this one because it featured the word “ninja” in the title. Good grief, I’m shallow. But, if it works…
Good tips, thank you. I have been blogging (as a different user/site) for a few years but I haven’t really got my short story/fiction site off the ground yet. It’s always good to get tips and I shall be putting some of the above to good use on Recycled Words. Plus, I’ll be adding “ninja” to every post from hereon in.
Straight and to the point. Nice!
Hey thanks for the tips. I have been blogging for almost 2 years now and boy do I LOVE my ‘blogbaby’. Check mine out and I’ll keep enjoying yours.
Thank you this is great! I’m testing a lot now long copy vs short etc.. How much can you change a blog?
What an impressive book trailer!
Thank you, Damyanti.
I think it is a case of realising my limitations and making the most of what I can do. Plus sorting out what is really important at this stage of my life (I am now in my eightieth year). I devoted ten years to writing and getting published, plus activities necessary for the latter. Thanks to Dare Empire, my novels are all now available worldwide as eBooks, and printed versions too. Plus, I still get asked occasionally for copies of my own Magpies Nest Publishing versions. A small USA publishing company is also picking up my illustrated memoirs, and that is something I really am happy about. I have accepted that I will never make it ‘big time’ and am unlikely to write another novel. A few readers are getting to know and enjoy my writing and I find that really pleasing.
I spend far less time on the computer, partly so as not to strain my eyes but I guess mostly because I feel no great urge to do so. There are activities associated with previous pastoral work that I am picking up and gain much pleasure from the appreciation shown. I guess we all want to be ‘wanted’!
Thanks to medical intervention my Dry Eye condition has improved but, evidently, nothing can be done about the more serious ones. Hence time to be realistic.
I am in really good condition for my age — my friends, the ones I have left, are seriously disabled. More reason to be jolly thankful for everything I enjoy. I recall so vividly my early writing activities — the urge to write, even in the early hours of the morning. The pleasure of holding my first book, and even greater pleasure at having my writing appreciated. But now I feel empty of words! Two days ago, someone was very much admiring my pen and ink drawings which I have framed around the house, along with pictures I have done in various mediums. I have tried restarting art work a few times but maybe now I will be able to make a better effort. I will try to keep my blogs going but have no great urgency. I also want to visit a few blogs occasionally and see what you are all up to.
My hubby still reads to me every day.
So I guess you will call it a ‘winding down’ but never-the-less a still active existence.
Thank you for all the encouragement along the way. And all the best for your own work…
Gladys, welcome back!!!
I myself have been overwhelmed and offline for a while, but am back now—-new year, new spirit!!
*smiles*….so this is Alex doing a guest post and this time, have really a lot of things to share others…:)
And again, I have learned a lesson or two…:)
Next time Alex, I wonder if you could make a guest post in my space as lengthy as this one :)))
Thanks so much Alex! You’re really a wonderful friend to almost all of your Ninja army!
I feel I am one…:P
I’m certain that anyone following these perfect tips will do well with their blogging and gain many followers.
Me? It seems I get thousands visiting a few posts, hundreds visiting some others and about ten or more at the bottom end. But I write as I am taken and I do have other blogs. Followers are few but that is no worry to me. I have no intention of spending hours every day trying to draw folk to my sites. It takes me ages to type and also to read. So what I do is purely for pleasure.
I truly admire you keen ones and I do enjoy visiting other sites occasionally but only out of interest. I have not been on the Internet much lately but enthusiasm is gradually picking up again.
Nice to be visiting your blog again Damyanti.
Kirsten, you can do it!
Tyrean, you are never long anyway.
Great tips Alex!
Keeping it short is my personal challenge next year – as well as keeping to themed posts.
Great advice. I really need to come up with a schedule and stick to it. Maybe that will be my New Year’s resolution.
Brinda, you just do what you can.
Melissa, I know you can!
Great advice< Alex. Something that I take to heart, but there some things there that I'm definitely looking into as I get a handle on my blogging and my writing for 2012. I'm late again like the rabbit in Alice In Wonderland.:(
All of your statements are very true. I only wish I had more hours in the day to do more with visiting other blogs. 🙂
And Tonja, without my readers, I’m nothing!
Great advice, you really are an inspiration!
I love it that your advice circles around being considerate to the readers.
These are all excellent tips. Thanks, Alex.
And thank you, Damyanti, for hosting Alex!
Thank you, Karen!
Great tips, Alex! This is why you have blogging (and writing) success. You practice all of this. Thanks, Damyanti, for hosting him!
Great site! Easy to navigate. I’m already following the tips.
Got to your site searching the web. I am thinking seriously about writing a blog. Your comments were very useful and when I get started, soon, I will contact you, Keep you the good work. Peggy Don;t have a site yet but will have one shortly.
Mark, he is!
And thanks again, Damy!
Great blogging tips! 🙂
Thanks for having Alex on here. Sure, he’s a Ninja Captain, but a little birdie told me he’s into supporting insecure writers, too 🙂
Denise and Alexia, thanks! And special thanks to PK. I’m just trying to do my best.
Well if anyone knows about blogging, it’s Alex! I’m always amazed at how loyal and dedicated he is. And his points are so spot on. It really is what you put into it that matters. Anyone who starts blogging expecting peeps to just show up and follow is never going to get anywhere.
Anyone who wants to know the secret of successful blogging should follow Alex and watch and learn. 😉
Great tips, Alex! I think you are definitely qualified to write on this subject!
I like the advice, very helpful to someone new to the game of blogging. Will try to take it all in and follow through!
Christopher, but a funny klutz!
Great blogging tips!
Mary Montague Sikes
Alex, all I can say is you’re a blogging ninja … I’m a blogging klutz.
Great advice! The schedule suggestion is something I’m going to make myself do in 2012. I’m completely erratic in that category…
Tina @ Life is Good
Susan, glad it did!
Lynn, just rub the magic Ninja…
great tips! I love your energy, Alex!
Excellent advice. I’ve met some wonderful folks through blogging and yes, reciprocation has been very important to the relationships I’ve built. Happy Holidays guys!
Great Tips. Thanks. I must follow and comment on other blogs and participate in blogfests too.
Just about to embark on blogging for the sake of my writing career! Thanks for the advice.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience as a blogger. I think some of it may rub off on me.
Great advice. I remember advice you gave me a few months ago and it really helped me be a better blogger.
The thing about keeping posts short is really true. I skim long posts or maybe skip them all together when I’m short on time.
Being genuine is important, and the supportive thing, too. Great tips, Alex.
Adrinana, hope it helped!
Marian, glad you are blogfest savvy now!
Char – exactly.
Marta, thank you!
Great Advice. I have to say Alex’s blog is one of the better ones I follow. Funny, informative, supportive. Always a pleasure to read.
Great advice, Alex. I’m trying to come up with a list of topics that I want to blog about and work on them a week or two ahead so I have a queue – no more than 1 or 2 posts a week. And thank you for suggesting that short posts are good! There are so many posts I want to read to get to know other writers but I just can’t keep up.
Alex, you’re an inspiration to us all! Thanks for introducing me to blogfests and to Damyanti. 🙂
Super advice! I totally agree with not blogging about writing all the time. There are so many different things out there people want to read about. Write about what topics your books touch–readers love that. 🙂 I’m a newbie myself, so this was enlightening. Thank you.
Great advice, Alex. Glad to be part of the Ninja army!
Thanks again, Damy!
And Stuart, I’m a blogging Ninja.
I truly enjoyed this post. Great tips that made me smile. 🙂
Hi Damyanti and Alex –
It’s great that you bring up the fact that individuality is important. I run across many blogs which just seem to be infinite copies of each other. The blogs I follow each have some sort of unique “voice” or angle which keeps me coming back.
I’ve found the writing community in general to be very supportive, and both of you stand out as good blogoverse citizens as well as talented writers. 🙂
Thanks for this insightful advice!
Don’t know where you get the time to follow and comment on so many blogs. Good for you…it’s one thing I haven’t mastered yet.