A Blog is a Writer's Mixtape
*Note: Although I wrote this for the one year anniversary of my website: http://janachantel.com/ I definitely think that the advice and the message still applies to all. I hope you all find this helpful.*
As some of you may know the one year anniversary of my blog is this week (Wed. June 13th). Starting off with only 0 hits, I’ve managed to end with a little over 15,000 hits (as of June 12th)—with some views coming from people in other countries. I have to say that I am pretty proud of how I went about setting up, promoting and maintaining my blog. So I would like to share some of my techniques with my fellow writers and all who is interested in starting up a blog.
As some of you may know through my Twitter, my Facebook page, and even my Authors Info profile, I am a complete music junkie. And my favorite genre of music is Hip-Hop. For me writing and music are synonymous. And I study what is going on in the music world—particularly the Hip-Hop world—and then apply it to my writing.
A very common strategy that upcoming Hip-Hop artist do is release a mixtape. A mixtape is usually a CD or a music file (mainly MP3 format) that compiles several of songs that shows off an artist’s skill and is usually free. The releasing of a mixtape helps an artist do three things: 1.) get their name out there, 2.) build up a fan base, 3.) and ultimately get them a record deal (if they don’t have one already).
Artists like Drake (say what you want, but he is a mixtape legend), J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are just a few who’ve had success off of their mixtapes.
When I first started my blog I wanted to document my journey on becoming a successful, published author. I also wanted to promote my book while trying to build up a fan base. I first started off giving my readers just a preview of some of the essays that would be featured in my book. By doing this I hoped that my readers would enjoy what was written that they would go out and buy my book when it was published.
After this, I began to realize that this would not be enough to build a steady fan base. My favorite artists didn’t just give me a preview of their songs; they gave me the whole thing. When J. Cole’s album Cole World: The Sideline Story came out I went and bought two copies (iTunes version and the CD copy). Because he gave away a lot of great quality music for free, I wanted to show my appreciation by buying his album twice.
Once I’ve realized that a preview of my writing wouldn’t be enough I started to write stories, essays and more just for my blog. By doing this I was able to show off my writing skills by providing different genres of my writing. Although most writers would prefer their work to be featured in prestige literary journals (and let’s face it I would prefer that too)—following the strategy of Hip-Hop artists—I’ve decided to give my stories away for free (the first drafts at least). I even went as far as to making a new post every Tuesday—the day that new music is usually released on.
For writers, writing a new post every week (at least) helps you build a healthy writing pattern. A steady, immediate deadline will help you keep a healthy writing habit.
So by giving away stories for free I am hoping that many of my readers will show their appreciation by purchasing a copy of my book (maybe two?). I’ve had some sales from my blog so far and I’m hoping to have more.
To my fellow writers and to all who are trying to start a blog, I hope my approach is helpful to you.
To my avid readers who have been sticking with since the beginning or who are just joining the journey, I thank you. Your views and your support are much appreciated. Every week I try to give you all the best kind of stories that will draw you in. I’m now curious to see how far we will get in the journey this year.
Stay blessed everyone.