Blogging 101: Say Your Name

Capture
I haven’t changed blog titles often but I change the byline frequently. It’s hard to settle on just one description of your site. If you take a minute you can always think of something completely new, smarter or shinier. Today the WordPress Blogging 101 challenge was to give your blog a fresh title (if you don’t already have one) and think of a byline. The byline should take into account the Introduction post I wrote yesterday. So… I’ve been doing that. It has taken most of the day, so far. There are too many options. I’ve already thought of something else for this site and I only just saved it up there and took the screen shot.

herebedragons

Turn Posts and Categories into Faux eBooks

Lorelle on WordPress has created images in her sidebar to link to favourite, popular posts and categories in her blog.

But, she has made the images look like more – I thought they were going to be ebooks she has written. Did you think the same (if you have seen them) too?

Could you do the same? Think about the posts which tend to get the most traffic from your older posts and rewrite the titles as an ebook title. Then create a little image file. Then pull up the posts you wrote and loved, the ones you thought would attract readers but just never took off. Dust off the dust bunnies and give them another chance. Do the same for your prime/ important category or categories.

Put a selection of the images in the sidebar, together. Keep them uniform in size and colour, etc. So they look like a set and will all seem to be something you did intentionally rather than random links to other sites or ads.

I bet you will get more clicks on them. I clicked on them in Lorelle’s blog sidebar because I thought they would be an interesting ebook to download and read.

Mysteries

This was originally part of the Suite101 University ecourses offered for free. I wanted to preserve the information for myself and others as Suite101 is taking all of the ecourse University content down.

Mysteries

By Janet Blaylock

Introduction

This course is a pre-requisite to “Writing Mysteries.”

What are your favorite genres? Romance perhaps? Maybe it’s Adventures or Comedies? How about the more intense genres of Mysteries, Detective Fiction, Suspense, Horror, or just good old Thrillers?

If you enjoy reading books by the earlier writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie; or the later writers such as Catherine Coulter, Nevada Barr, Sara Paretsky; or the famous authors of suspense or thrillers such as Mary Higgins Clark, Tess Gerritsen, Stephen King, or John Grisham; then you may find yourself investigating the cases right along with the detectives. This is the essence of a good thriller/suspense book because they have already captured you and will now hold you hostage until the plot is inevitably revealed.

Read more

Stop Wasting Your Time… on Titles that Don’t Say Enough

Are you losing potential readers because you don’t post enough information when you try to lure them into your posts?

We read so many leading titles that have promise and then don’t deliver. As writers, we need to give people enough information that they can connect to something we have written about and want to read more. Skipping details might bring curiosity but if the connection is lacking, or not there at all, it just won’t work.

Last night on Twitter I read a Twitter post promoting an article. It sparked my interest but, there wasn’t enough information to make me actually want to click it. In trying to catch my attention the writer was trying to be mysterious and (I guess) provoke my curiousity. It did, but not enough for me to open another window on my web browser.

So I posted back to her on Twitter for more detail. She replied back and said I’d have to click/ read the article to find out.

But, the fact is that I don’t have to. Not at all.


The fact is that her article is just one more in the pack. I didn’t click the link and read it. If she had said it was about surviving cancer, or surviving a plane crash, or surviving a two-year-old temper tantrum… one of those would have been that bit of extra information that would have given me enough reason to read her article. By choosing to keep the mystery she lost my interest.

Even more importantly, I didn’t connect to her article. I didn’t feel it applied to me enough that I needed to read it. That bit of missing information made all the difference.

eBooks Have No Feelings

It’s a shame they don’t still make books with hard covers, embossed titles, tissue thin pages between full colour illustrations, fore-edge painting. Those books had texture, they were touchable. New books don’t have that quality and ebooks have none at all.

It seems we always lose something sensual in a real, physical way when we move ahead with new technology. Will everything eventually be hands-off, untouchable in the future? The less people touch things the more it becomes something unusual, scary, even taboo eventually. Think not? What about all those people who won’t wash their hands any more because they’re afraid of germs? They don’t want to touch the taps, the soap, the towel to dry your hands…

I’m just waiting to see someone wearing latex gloves to the bookstore.

Entitle Your Autobiography

From Creativity Portal, the Imagination Prompt Generator:

Brainstorm 10 titles to your autobiography.

The funny thing is that I do think about titles for my autobiography. Usually while I am writing my personal journal or blog. I think about the people who may read it. More often (these days) I think about my nephew Zack who is also a writer. I think of him sorting through all the bits I have written which could go into a biography. I think of him being the one to find everything, sort it out and pull it all together. Then I think of the note I left him, somewhere, giving him the title I finally picked out for my autobiography, assuming it would ever be written.

What would your titles be, so far?

Here are some I am thinking of:

  • Not Quite the Girl You Once Knew
  • Lost in Her Own Mind
  • Leave the Last Rock for Me
  • A Forest Among the Trees
  • Coffee, Tea and Me
  • I Was Born a Dragon
  • Here Be Dragons…
  • That Canadian Grrl
  • Bewitching Vagabond
  • The Closet Exhibitionist

The 1A Post Title Here

A Book Inside has written about How to Write a Great and Effective Title:

Keep in mind; starting with the letter A is not mandatory for higher placements in listings online. For instance, starting with the letter D is good, C is better, B is great, but A is the best. Also, numbers generally precede letters in Web listings. 101 Ways to Learn the Game of Golf would be listed before An Easy Way to Learn the Game of Golf.

It may help you get ahead in a list of titles but choosing a title for your blog, your book or anything else is not really in your best interests. Think about it. What kind of quality information is going to be in a book where the marketing is more important than the book/ information itself.

Even in a blog or book about marketing I don’t think a title based on being first in a list or using keywords is a smart choice. To me it shows a lack of real integrity and gives the impression of insincerity and artificialness. I would not want to put my time into writing something I had put my heart into only to show it off as something that looks like a marketing campaign, fluff.

Unlofting Your Big Goals

It’s kind of easy to have a high and mighty, lofty goal in the future. It seems so far ahead of us, almost out of reach. Makes it easy to set the big goal on a pedestal, on the backburner, procrastinate and possibly lose sight of it completely.

Do something each week to acknowledge your big goals, even if they are too far ahead to do anything towards achieving them right now. Keep them active in your mind, where they don’t get lost in the clutter of everyday things, smaller goals and all the steps you are taking to the big goal.

Little things can mean a lot. Post a note about your big goal on your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, somewhere you will see it regulary and make sure you actually read it rather than becoming blind to it. Put your goal as a label on a penny jar and each time you add your pennies to the jar, see your goal posted there. (When the jar is ful spend the pennies!)  Reorganize the books on your shelf to spell out something related to your goal when you use the first letters of the titles. You get the idea, it doesn’t have to be something too crazy, just keep your big goals as something real versus something lofty and out of reach.