blogging tips

Blogging Tip: When to Follow/(Un)follow?

Hello Bloggers!

A little while ago, one of my blogging friends reached out to me and asked about the rules of following. Should we follow every blogger we come into contact with? Should we follow any blogger who follows us? Do we unfollow bloggers after a time?

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First off, let me just state: there are no official rules. For the most part, this is based on your individual preference as a blogger.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me get down to what I believe about following.

If Someone Follows My Blog:

  • I will click on theirs and look around. I’ll probably even read a post or two.
  • Now, just because they followed my blog does not mean that I will follow theirs back. I will only follow a blog back if I like the content (for instance, I probably will not follow back a traveling blog while I will follow back fellow authors). So, I already have a limited amount of people who I follow.
    • There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. For instance, I follow a couple of travel blogs and make-up blogs, not necessarily for the content, but because I enjoy the blogger’s writing style.
  • In my opinion, you should not follow someone just so heighten your follower count or theirs. I prefer bloggers to follow my blog only if they are genuinely interested in what I have to say.

When to Unfollow a Blog:

  • I never unfollow anyone (even if I haven’t commented on their posts for awhile) unless they post something that I find repulsive or antagonistic.
  • For instance, if a blogger I choose to follow is a fellow author and all the sudden their whole blog turns aggressively political, I will probably unfollow because I don’t want that on my feed. Otherwise, I don’t really unfollow anyone.

What do you think? Are your “rules” different from mine?

Let me know in the comments!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Engaging in Reciprocation One Reply at a Time

Hello Bloggers!

I keep talking and talking (and talking) about this word “reciprocation.” According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, reciprocation means:

reciprocate (v.)

“to return, requite,” 1610s, back-formation from reciprocation, or else from Latin reciprocatus, past participle of reciprocare “rise and fall, move back and forth; reverse the motion of,” from reciprocus (see reciprocal). Related: Reciprocatedreciprocating.

 

Let’s focus on this idea of “to return.” Reciprocation means to give back what has been given, or to reflect in equal measures. Now sometimes, we can reciprocate above and beyond what we have been given, but for now, let’s just look at the prospect of equal reciprocation.

What does this look like in blogging? In some ways, it is extremely simple:

If someone visits your blog, visit theirs.

Of course, we can take this even further with a like for a like or a comment for a comment. 99% of the time, I do my very best to engage in this method of reciprocation. For instance, if someone visits my blog and leaves a comment, I open their blog in a new tab before I respond to them and so on and so forth. If you examine the photo below, you’ll notice that I have 17+ tabs open.

Reciprocation

The first tab is my site, this is where I open my notifications and check my likes, read comments, and respond. As I am going through my notifications, every time I come across a comment on my blog, I do my best to open a new tab with that bloggers blog. After I have finished my responses to comments, I then spend about an hour or so going through the blogs and reciprocate!

When I go to their blogs, I often read the latest post or find a post (if they have many) that stands out to me. Sometimes, if I have nothing to say (which happens rarely), I’ll simply “like” their post because I hate leaving empty, meaningless comments. For the most part however, I usually leave at least one comment on one blog post before moving on to the next blog.

“Now Kayla Ann,” you might be asking, “Does that mean I have to follow everyone who follows me?”

Goodness no! Following should be a response of genuine interest, but I’ll discuss this further in an upcoming blog post!

So what do you think of my rules of reciprocation? Do you have a similar system? How do you engage in reciprocation?

Happy Blogging!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Plan Ahead

I posted this blog before and I’ll continue to do so because it is truly the only way that I know how to blog consistently without feeling like I am losing my mind.

One of the biggest obstacles to blogging (I think) is consistently pushing through posts on a regular basis that contain great content. What I mean by this is it is hard to post every day, or even every other day, and on top of that, it is harder to post great blogs every time.

Let’s be honest, some days we just don’t feel very creative. We’re tired either physically or mentally or both and we just don’t have anything to contribute. We sit down at this blank screen and think, “wow I literally have nothing to say.”

Or worse, you sit down and write something up but then that evil villain known as Self-Doubt crawls into your ear and commands that you erase the entire post because he doesn’t think its good.

First off, tell Self-Doubt to take a hike. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life! And so what if you post one blog that isn’t up to your regular standards? Be honest about it at the end of your post and maybe ask for feedback. Ask your followers to help you out, there’s nothing wrong with being human!

Yet, there will be days when you simply cannot write, you can’t think, and you definitely can’t create a blog post. That will happen, so prepare for it and plan ahead!

Part of blogging is spontaneous creativity, the other part is being prepared with planned posts.

You heard me, Planned Posts.

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When you have great days where creativity is flowing, don’t stop after one post and don’t post multiple times a day. Instead keep creating and scheduling them in advance. For instance, this is the third tip I have planned ahead today on September 9th. 

Write in advance on your good days so that you don’t need to worry on your bad days.

Happy Writing & Blogging Everyone!

What about you? Do you plan ahead with your blog posts? Do you find it helpful?

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Don’t Feel Like Writing? Visit Your Reader

Do you ever open WordPress, look at that blank screen and think, “This is it. This is the moment when I run out of topics to blog about.”

And in that moment, you begin to panic. Will you ever blog again? Will you be reduced to merely someone who used to blog instead of someone who blogs? What will your followers think? Will they even notice? Should you just shut down your blog?

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Seriously, calm down and stop freaking out.

Yes, you have run out of topics to write about and things to blog about (for now). Just because you are currently stumped does not mean that you will continue to be. However, you cannot stare at a blank screen and force yourself to write (most likely nothing will happen and if you do produce anything, it probably won’t be any good.) So calm down, and allow yourself to accept that you won’t be writing today.

However, do NOT sign off!

Do you want to grow a successful blog? Writing blog posts is only a part of blogging. Another large part of blogging is building your community and engaging with fellow bloggers. Go visit those other blog sites (that you should be following) and maybe even find new blog sites to follow. Click on your “Reader” and type in something that you are interested in. When you can’t write or blog, you should be reading! Reading other blogs:

  • Encourages community.
  • Helps you get to know other bloggers
  • Helps other bloggers get to know you
  • Creates a society of reciprocation

So, get out there and start reading!

Happy Blogging Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: 4 Ways to Attract More Followers

Hello fellow bloggers! Today we’re going to talk about followers, because as much as we all enjoy writing, sometimes blogging can feel like shouting into the void when we receive no response to our latest post. The best part of blogging is the community that comes with gaining and becoming a follower(s).

QUICK HINT: It is just as important to be a good follower as it is to find followers.

Here’s the thing. I do not have an astounding number of followers. I am still a relatively small blog compared to the people who do this for a living. I began this blog on October 8th, 2017 and since then I have gained 2,000+ followers (and some really great friends among those numbers). What I have going for me is consistency (at least most of the time because blogs, like life, have their valleys and hills).

In the past, I was asked, “How did you gain so many followers so quickly?”

Even now as I garner followers at a slower pace, I stick by my four ways to attract followers:

  • Hard work. No seriously, if you really want followers you are going to have to work hard. You cannot just come at it from one angle. Which leads to the next three points.

 

  • Post often. I do not think it is necessary to post every single day, although I applaud those of you who can. However, you should be blogging at least 3 times per week and not only should you be posting something, but it should be something of importance. Your content needs to be clear, interesting, helpful, engaging, etc. When creating a post consider what your intent is. Are you trying to entertain? Be encouraging? Give advice? Call for action? What will your reader gain from reading your post?

 

  • Engage OTHER blogs. This does not mean visiting random blogs and leaving a link to your blog. Do NOT go and spam someone’s blog with “support” and then comment “support back” or “follow back.” It becomes very clear that you are not actually interested in their site at all, you just want followers. Seriously, it’s frustrating and really, just rude. Instead, find blogs that are like yours or that interest you. I search for other blogs that relate to authors, books, writing, etc. Then I engage on the post and comment directly about what the other blogger has posted. I even ask questions. I engage in dialogue about THEIR blog, not mine. Now of course you can eventually bring up your blog if you think the other party would be interested, but don’t go into the conversation solely for your benefit. Go in to learn more about other blogs. Seriously, being a good follower is a key part to gaining followers yourself.

 

  • Engage with your FOLLOWERS. You’ve got followers! Great! Now, if their blogs interest you in the slightest, follow them back! You don’t need to subscribe to instant emails, but maybe just weekly emails or even just follow, but you should be engaging with them still. Just because you reached your goal and achieved your follower doesn’t mean that you move on from them. Be RECIPROCAL. When their posts come up in your “Reader” take some time to go through and like/comment on at least a few. When someone takes the time to comment on your latest post, click their name and check out what they have been up to.

 

  • HARD WORK. Are you understanding the hard part now? Maintaining a blog is hard enough, posting often is difficult, and engaging with new/old blogs is time-consuming. However, in my experience, this is a successful strategy that not only results in more followers, but also helps me to gain new insights from other blogs!

 

What about you? What are your blogging strategies?

Happy Writing & Blogging Everyone! 

Get out there and start engaging!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Market Yourself (The First Step)

Hey Everyone!

Today’s post is specifically geared for YOU: the blogger, author, creative person that you are.

Marketing your work is more than just posting a fancy photo of your book cover or your latest blog post. Marketing is more than just shouting out into the void “look at me!” Good marketing involves hard work and (you guessed it) authentic relationships with your target audience.

Look at it this way: why should anyone want to read what you have to say? Why should anyone pick up your book off the shelf instead of someone else’s? What do you have to offer?

The work that we do is so much different than a regular nine-to-five job because our work is dependent on our audience. That’s why learning how to market our work can be so important and also so scary. A lot of beginning writers and bloggers feel daunted by marketing their work because really, marketing begins with YOU.

If you do not believe in the worth of your blog posts or writing, than why should anyone else? The first step to marketing your work is to learn that you are marketing yourself, your product, your ideas, your thoughts, your experiences, your realities, and your fantasies. So my first bit of advice is this:

Own Your Own Identity

This might be the hardest thing to do, but first you must develop your own online identity, particularly as bloggers and even as authors in today’s technologically-savvy society. This is because most of your promoting will be done online (surprise, surprise). In order for anyone to know you exist, you must first create your presence. When you begin blogging, or creating a website, or even creating facebook/instagram author pages, you need to think about: personality, consistency, frequency, and authenticity.

  1. Personality: Your blog, website, facebook/instagram page should be individualized. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to start with a template provided to you, but eventually, you should begin tweaking and editing your sites to reflect who you are.
  2. Consistency: If you use a specific theme, or profile picture, or cover photo, etc., it should be similar across all of your social media sites. This helps your audience know that your separate sites all belong to you and form harmony instead of dissonance.
  3. Frequency: You cannot create social media sites and then dip out. This is where that hard work comes in. Have confidence in your abilities and blog more regularly as time allows. Your pages will not magically attract a following, you have to get out there and go get it!
  4. Authenticity: In the getting-out-and-go-getting-it, don’t forget to be yourself. Don’t put forward a fake front and don’t lie to get followers. You can only pretend for so long. Be yourself and garner a genuine audience who is actually interested in what you have to give.

That’s a lot for today so I’m going to stop here. In the future, I’ll work to expand on the next steps in your marketing campaign.

Meanwhile, I would love to hear from you on your own experiences. How have YOU promoted your work in the past? Do you find that my four (Personality, Consistency, Frequency, & Authenticity) work in your own promotion avenues?

Happy Writing Everyone! I’ll see you in the comments!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: The 3-Draft Rule

Today, I’m going to offer you some advice about how many drafts you should have before you consider sending out your full manuscript to a publishing company.

I consider the magic number to be 3: Three full-length drafts and let me tell you why.

Draft One: Getting it Down

Your very first draft should be focused on just getting your writing out of your head and down on paper. In this draft, I encourage you to just write. Do not focus on getting it perfect, or saying everything you need to say.

Create the bones of your manuscript.

Or, in other words, consider it the road map for the rest of your drafts. This first draft is all about getting your words on paper and it will be messy, it will be disorganized, it will not be perfect. And guess what, it shouldn’t be. However, this is very important: this is NOT an outline. This first draft should be a whole and complete draft with plot lines and developed characters. When I say this is the bones of your manuscript, you should still include the entire skeleton.

Draft Two: Buffing it Out

After “completing” your first draft (meaning that the bones of your manuscript are present and arranged), it is time to start adding the “meat” (the muscles, sinews, and veins, etc.). Draft Two can be accomplished on your own or with a friend or writing colleague. I personally believe that it is beneficial to have outside opinion for this draft. What I do, is I send my Draft One to friends and receive BETA reader comments. What needs flushing out? What drags? What doesn’t make sense, etc.? Once I have their comments, I comb back through my first draft and begin addressing both their comments and add in my own.

As I am going through, thinking about their comments and my own, I REWRITE (yes you heard me), REWRITE the entire manuscript. I open up a new blank screen next to my first draft and I RETYPE everything. (Next week I’ll be sharing a blog post as to why I REWRITE instead of Editing). After this, you should have a completed, flushed out draft, but you’re not done yet.

Draft Three: Cleaning it Up

Once you have completed crafting your narrative (it has bones, and muscle, and skin), it’s time to make it pretty! If hardcore editing is not your thing, ask for outside help whether that means the family member who is an English major or paying for grammar edits. Trust me, nothing lowers the quality of a good book faster than bad grammar. This is your one chance to impress a publishing company, so spend some time (and maybe *some* money) improving your manuscript until it shines.

 

Well, there you have it: my three-draft rule!

What do you think? Is three drafts too many or too little? Be sure to comment below!

***Extra Tip: It is okay to have some time take place between Draft One and Draft Two, distance can be a good thing for your own writing! It can give you perspective.

 

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Stop Working/Keep Writing

Many of you have probably read my blog post: Writing Tip: STOP Writing. I was ecstatic to see that it was so well-received and that so many of you either took encouragement from the post or replied with your own positive experiences in seeking distance from your writing.

One of my favorite things about blogging is the comment section because in the comments, I really get to have conversations with other like-minded, brilliant authors and bloggers. For instance, on that post, I engaged in a conversation with Michelle at Fantasyland on the power of stopping a project while continuing to work. That conversation sparked today’s blog post (so thank you Michelle!)

Michelle mentioned that when she needs to, she will sometimes stop the current project she is working on (giving herself that needed distance) and then pull up another project and work on that instead.

Now, I am not the type of writer who can work simultaneously on multiple large projects, it’s just too much for me. I prefer to work on one large project (like The Agency Games) and maybe some smaller projects such as my blogging posts. I cannot start another book until I have finished the old.

However, the idea to stop working on your major project but to keep writing is a fantastic idea! In doing so, you are giving your mind the break and distance it requires, but you are still writing and keeping your creativity flowing. If you are like me and you cannot work on several large projects at once, here are some practical ways where you can stop working, but keep writing:

  1. Blog Posts: If you are reading this post, odds are, you’re a blogger, author, or both. If you are a blogger, what better time to work on scheduling some blog posts than when you need distance from your book?
  2. Poetry: The wonderful thing about poetry is that it is the perfect outlet for spewing out writing. Now, I would suggest cleaning it up before you post it, but often times when we are frustrated by writer’s block or in need of distance, getting our emotions out through poetry can be a powerful thing.
  3. Free Writing/Journaling: Maybe you are so stuck/overwhelmed that both blog posts and poetry seem daunting, but you still want to write. That’s when I would suggest free writing or journaling. Write about literally anything, your day, your hopes, the color of the wall, your dream vacation, whatever, just keep those writing juices flowing.

What about you?

What do you do when you need distance from a larger project?

Happy Writing!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Re-Use Published Posts

Now, before you get all…

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Take a second to hear me out.

It is completely OKAY to re-use old content. You might have noticed lately that I have been re-sharing writing and blogging advice that I posted in the past.

Here’s why:

  • My Blog is Growing! (Which is awesome by the way) And that means that I have new followers.
  • New followers means that I have people currently following my blog and reading my posts who have not seen the old posts.
  • So, I share the old posts for two primary reasons:
    • So that my new followers will have access to writing and blogging tips previously published
    • And that my old followers will be reminded of writing and blogging tips they have previously read.

Not only is this beneficial for my followers, new or vintage, but it is helpful for me as well because it helps fill up my blogging schedule.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You should not, definitely not, spam your blog with old content. Do not repost the same blogs every week or every month in a never ending cycle. Your blog should consist primarily of new content with some old content thrown in.

Here is what I consider the golden ration when I post 10 times every two weeks:

8 new vs. 2 old

(In every two week span I normally re-share 1-2 posts per 10 blogs)

80% of my blogs are new, fresh, and exciting content while 20% is re-sharing previously published content for those who have not seen it or need the reminder.

Also, I hardly ever re-share movie reviews, contest results, etc. because no one needs to hear that twice. I only ever re-share writing tips, blogging tips, and maybe the occasional short story or poem.

What do you think about re-sharing previously posted content?

What is your golden ratio?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blogging tips, College Writing Tips, Writing Tips

Life Tip: Stop Limiting Yourself

Today’s tip really can apply to just about any of my normal categories. Whether you’re a writer or a blogger, listen, stop limiting yourself.

Do you realize that our own expectations and beliefs in ourselves can ultimately limit us more than the world can?

Let me put this into perspective for you. This past semester, I had a conference with a student who did not believe that he could get an A in any English class class and so his goal was to get a B.

During our conference I discussed his current standing, how I believed he could get an A, determined by his effort and his own expectations in himself. At the end of our meeting, this student decided that he was going to shoot for an A instead of a B. Guess what he got in my class?

The point is this: why do we set these restrictions on our own goals and dreams? The obvious reason is self-doubt or a lack of faith in ourselves, which ultimately travels back to the idea of fear. We are afraid of being wrong, we are afraid on disappointing ourselves and others. We are afraid that if we aim too high, we have no choice but to fall.

Well let me tell you, I’d rather aim high and fall lower every time rather than never reach my full potential.

When we put our own limits on our goals, we will never see just how far we can go or what we can actually accomplish. So please, stop limiting yourself in your writing, in your dreams, in your blogging, in your relationships.

Think kindly of yourself and shoot for the stars!

Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.