Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nail It Down, with Guest Blogger Patty Wysong

Agents and editors look for it, pubbed authors cultivate it, and pre-pubbed writers need to build it. In today's publishing world, platform isn't really an option, it's a necessity.

Platform—that name recognition and access to people who might be interested in buying a book with your name on it. Thankfully, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to building your platform. What works for one won't work for another unless it's tweaked and tailored to fit better. Blogging is definitely one of those things.

Blogging isn't for everyone! But for others of us, it's a great way to build a platform. Here's a few key things to remember:

  • Your blog is an online representation of you. Do your best to make the site reflect you—visually and verbally. Some people are naturally bubbly or snarky or soothing. And others of us are just plain ordinary. Let who you are shine through everything about your blog.

  • At the same time, your blog needs to be inviting and comfortable for your visitors. Even if your favorite color is high-viz green (for those of you not in coal country, that's neon greenish-yellow), it's probably not the best choice for a background color.

  • Consistent posting is a key to growth—kinda like consistent feeding helps kids grow. I've never nailed down posting on certain days—I'm too free-spirited for that, but aim for 3 posts a week, spaced throughout the week. And hey, just like candy sweetens you up, fun posts sweeten your blog. (Memes can be like dessert—light, fluffy, and oh-so fun! But you don't want to o.d on them.)

  • Use pictures in your posts. They add personality and appeal, in addition to squeezing in those extra 1000 words they say a good picture is worth.

  • Ask what your blog can do for others. Remember, blogging is about adding value to others, not free advertising—that's what mothers are for. Even smiles are commodities, at wallyworld and online.

  • Post length. This is a biggie unless you have groupies dedicated followers, and even then, you don't want to wax eloquent or your readers will... Keeping your posts less than 800 words keeps your readers happier. Brief is beautiful. (And bikinis are s... oh wait. Sorry. Mixed metaphors.)
Your blog can be the hub of your platform activities.

By using tabs, buttons, links, pages and a good dose of organization, your blog can double as your website. That's a two-for-one deal for you multi-tasking bargain hunters. Many authors are doing it now, with great results. Just like fresh cookies keep kids coming back, fresh content keeps your readers coming back. With thought and organization, you can become a resource. Did you catch that repeated word? It's important. And no, I'm talking about fresh.

Blogging is not a just-add-water solution. (Neither is baby powder.) Like everything of value, it takes time to build your blog. If you view it as an investment of your time and effort, you have greater chances of seeing a higher return on investment. That's why you need to start working now. Don't wait. Sure, it only takes a few moments to pop up a tent, but you won't like what happens when you try putting book shelves up in your tent. Build now so you have time to build strong.

Even if blogging isn't for you, there are ways blogging can work for you and help build your platform. Now there's a thought everyone likes: something that works for you! Are you interested?

Join a group blog. There's all kinds of group blogs out there—everything from regional sites (like The Barn Door, about life in the Midwest), to devotional sites (like Jewels of Encouragement), to writing craft sites (like my personal fave, Seekerville), and so many others. Together, the writers create a stronger, more attractive site that's able to draw a wider audience. Each team member has their own circle of influence and they bring that with them as they write. Joining together, the math often changes from addition to multiplication. Now that's a smart investment.

Most team blogs have a few days when they welcome guest bloggers. Look around, follow some you're interested in and then ask. The worst that can happen is they email back and say their schedule is full—and even if they do, they'll probably think of you when a spot opens. Remember, blogs are often like southern Illinois, not Chicago. Sometimes you've got to set a spell and visit before you can even ask Harold to fix your weed eater—even if the sign says Harold's Fixit Joint and there's a well used, antique cash register in the corner, surrounded by generations of mower and weed eater parts. It just don't work to barge in, drop and go, and they'll tell ya so. Ahem. Where was I before Harold bellowed? Oh yeah...

Parajumpers, just for Cheryl & her Wings of Refuge series.

Watch for spots to guest post on people's blogs. If you're part of ACFW and on the main email loop, you've seen guest opportunities circulate. Step forward and offer to guest. When you do, put your best foot forward. Always. Keep your periscope up for guest blogging opportunities.

See, you don't have to be a blogger to use blogging to help build your platform, and blogging is a great way to build a platform.

Because I love designing blogs and helping Christian bloggers, especially Christian writers, leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a blog premade design. You can see the premade options here. (These designs work on Blogger sites.)

Thanks so much for having me, Seekers!

So tell me, what are some sites you love for what they offer you? What do they offer their readers?

Patty Wysong, a home executive with over 20 years of experience, homeschools three of her five children, but don't let that fool you. She spends much of her time working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You'll also find her drinking Kool-Aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church.

Patty learned about blogs and blogging the hard way and now delights in teaching and helping others, sparing them that frustration so they can focus on what God has called them to do. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life.

You can find her online at her blog Ordinary Lives and on Facebook.


  1. Hi Patty:

    I think you are spot on with the need to develop a platform. I have about 900 new books that I got free on Amazon for my Kindle. Many of these are very good. So I don’t lack anything to read.

    Why would I buy a book with so many free books available to read at the push of a botton? Probably not just for the reading enjoyment. It has to be something more. Something a platform can provide.

    I buy books that I actually want to have read. I may know the author. I may want to write a review of the book. I may want to read it for a group discussion. The book might also be a great example of the first person POV in the present tense. It might be part of a series that I want to read in sequence and that I am committed to completing. I might have read that the book is one of the best of its kind in a genre I’m not familiar with. Someone I know may be reading the book and I want to get an idea why they think the author is special.

    A well developed platform can do many, if not all, of the above. With many established authors publishing their backlists as eBooks, the flood of available books has never been greater. Competition for the reader’s available reading time has never been fiercer.

    I’d love to know all you can tell us about building platforms. Thanks.


  2. Hi Vince!
    When the power goes off and you get out the candles, where do you set them? Under the coffee table? Not a chance. You put them on the mantle--somewhere up high so the light can shine further. And if you're smart (and fortunate) and have a mirror or reflective surface handy, you'll use it to magnify that light. THAT's one of the things your platform is for--to get your light up high enough that it can shine more than 3.2 inches beyond you. ;-)

    Since my clock just chimed midnight, I'll leave some chocolate chip cookies and milk out for a midnight snack and see you guys in the morning.

  3. I'm unpubbed and venturing into blogging. My trouble now is frequency. I don't blog often enough.

    The blog I return to often is Donna Alward's. I usually sneak a read at work and so I don't take the time to leave a comment. She has a variety of topics that interest readers and writers. A little about her family life, reviews of books she's read recently, writers' tips, up dates on her WIP, and announcement of new releases.

    I don't need to be in the drawing since I'm a graphic artist by day.

  4. Coffee pot's all set up.

    You said it so well, Patty. Thank you. Now if I can establish what my platform is.

    The designs are gorgeous, but I think I like the SSS one best.

    I've chewed on the idea of blogging for some time, but it scares me because I know I would have trouble keeping at it regularly. Not enough original ideas for posts.


  5. Wow. There is a LOT of great advice and things to think about here. Some I knew and some I hadn't thought of, but it's all great input. Thanks, Patty!

  6. I read 'platform' and audibly groaned. But I always give the Seekerville posts a read because thise site truly rocks... and I wasn't disappointed! I started a little blog a month or so ago, got my Google log in up and running. But this breaks it all down further, what more is out there and the very best ways to use the tools available!
    And Vince, where have you been?? I needed my Vince fix. :D You must have been working through those 900 titles.

  7. Vince was in the sunshine hiding.

    Welcome Patty. You rock as a guest blogger. And so does this post!!

  8. Great advise, Patty! And I owe the start of developing my platform to you. Thank you for your guidance and support that you provide to those around you!

  9. My blog isn't heading quit the way I want it to yet. A blog I read almost every day is My Heart His Words by Tammy Nischan. Mary

  10. Ahhh, length is my biggest problem. You've solved my hardly ever posts problem for now with the A 2 Z meme, but I've got to work harder on shortening my posts.

  11. Thanks for this great advice, Patty. I follow your regular blog, where I feel like I am learning from a pro. Like Vince, I have a small bazillion free books on my Kindle, but I still enjoy reading blogs for quick reading. Enjoyment and education go hand in hand in my book.

    I'm glad to find Seekerville this week. Guest blogging is a great tool for sharing other good blogs. Maybe I'll share this with my student bloggers at the private school where I teach.

    Thanks again!

  12. Good morning, Seekerville! Helen, thank you for the coffee! Lovely, as usual, and I'm leaving white chocolate caramel latte' creamer...

    Vince, yes, let's pick her brain. I love Patty and her attitude shines through everything she does. And you can see it in Esther, too. Great gals.

    Christy, I read my first Donna Alward this summer. What a lovely writer she is. Great balance between romance and emotion and reality. And that's not easy in a short book. She's amazing.

    And I ducked under the table when you talked about length because I'm so stinkin' guilty of that.

    Will work to be more concise. Or at least bring more food. ;)

  13. Good morning!
    Thank you for having me here at Seekerville! Platform building and the need for it tends to one of my soapboxes. LoL. And I brought blueberry coffee cake made with berries from our own bushes. =] yumz.

    Christy, frequency is something that can be tough. What helped me was seeing that my blog was writing practice and that the posts didn't have to be long or masterpieces. =] Little snippets go a long way. But if you aren't posting, people tend to forget to stop by.

    Morning, Helen! The scent of the coffee is just what I need this morning. Thank you. Glad you like the layouts--I have fun making them. =]

    One thing about blogging--once you start you'll find there's inspiration for post ideas all over the place. The notebook in my purse is full of bits and pieces of post ideas from when I'm on the run. It's kinda like a mind set you get into--or a pair of glasses you slip on that helps you see all the post possibilities around you. LoL. Even the dead possum in the road...

  14. SUCH great stuff here, Patty - and you had me laughing in several places!

    And you've AGAIN reminded me that I need to guest blog. I really should listen to you.

    And BY THE WAY, I just posted (this morning - before I read this!), a list of my ten favorite blogs on MY blog (www.joannesher.com)- and why.

    Don't enter me for the premade layout - already getting a custom one from Patty :)

  15. Shelley, Rita, Sparrow, THANK YOU for stopping by. You guys are some of the bestest! And Jamie Jo, you follow me?! Sweet. Say hi sometimes! I don't (usually) bite. hehe. If you have cookies I might accidentally get your hand in my hurry to get to the cookie though. Really. ;-)

    Virginia, I'm so pumped you joined the a2z meme today! Welcome! I'll be by your site to say hi in awhile.

    And speaking of the a2z meme--It's a GREAT and EASY way to get a post up. Each week we post on a letter. (This week is the letter R.) ANYthing that ties in with the letter.

    Why memes? They build your platform. Seriously, they do help. When you join in the meme and visit others participating, they visit you and your circle expands. Join on a fairly regular basis and there's another layer to your platform. There's some SUPER memes out there. And some are quick and easy posts!! Almost feels like cheating--and I LOVE it!! hehe.

  16. Thanks, Tina. You ladies here at Seekerville have been a huge help and encouragement to me. You've made a difference in many ways in my life and writing. THANK YOU!!


    I love Seekerville.
    Really. ;-)

  17. LoL Ruthy, there's a bunch of fuzz in my brain. Embarrassing. And dust bunnies galore. Just warning you...

    Hey, you DID notice I put an exception clause in there for length, right?? I made SURE I put it in just for you guys. When you have groupies, they'll read. And read. And read. And if it's a short post, they feel jipped. So doN'T go getting all short on us or they might come after me and steal the keys off my keyboard.

  18. Joanne, I have a secret to tell you. When I saw you posted that 10 blogs list I was scared to check it out. Scared I wouldn't make the cut. Did you notice I hadn't asked you if my blog was on there? LoL. Cuz I'm a chicken. Truly.

    Loved your list--some of my faves too. And yes, Seekerville is on the list. In fact, it's FIRST on the list! =] =]

  19. PATTY!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend, and WHOA, BABY, what a great (and timely, with ACFW shining the spotlight on pre-pubbed and pubbed) blog!!

    Three years ago at an ACFW Conference in September, I remember my jaw dropping when Randy Ingermanson said that writers who hoped to be published needed to establish a website/presence/platform at least THREE years prior to publication to get the ol' reputation up and running. I sat there stunned, knowing my debut book A Passion Most Pure was scheduled for release the following January and I didn't even have a website yet. Talk about cold chills!!!

    The good news is that you CAN get it up and running WITH a blog in way less than that because I did, and I am a computer/Internet illiterate!!

    GREAT info, Patty and PLEASE tell me you will be at ACFW ... :)


  20. Morning Patty, Thanks for joining us in Seekerville.

    Where were you when we started blogging here in Seekerville??????

    I would have loved your services. LOL Then I wouldn't have embarrassed myself so much in front of my Seeker sisters. And wouldn't have pestered Tina so much.
    What a wonderful service to help writers set up their blogs.

    And we at Seekerville have found out what a blessing they can be.

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day.

  21. Patty,

    What a gret post! And timely for me. I've been pondering my blog lately. It's almost a year old,and I'm planning a birthday party with giveaways.

    It's a little overwhelming to me. I'm in awe of people who have it all figured out.

    I'd love to be in for one of those layouts.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  22. Morning, Julie! Yes, it really does take time to build your blog and site--oh, not physically. Some of us can have a sharp looking, personalized site up for you in short order, but the populating your blog with posts and people DOES take time. (Which is why people need to start NOW, in the pre-pub stage of life. LoL) It's an investment cuz like Vince pointed out, a platform gets your name out there and can put you a head above the others.

    Conference? Nope. Can't make it this year. I'm bummed, but trusting and resting that God knows when I need to be there. =]

  23. Welcome Patty!
    What a great post. (although I kind of hung my head at the '800 words or less' statement. I have a tendency to go long. Working on being a bit more concise in writing though)

    And I LOVE being part of a Group Blog at The Writers Alley. It's been a great opportunity - not just to help with 'platform' development, but to share with a group of other writers.

    I know that you wrote how each person needs to create a platform that fits them individually - but do you feel that writers who also have other full-time jobs/families, etc - can build an affective platform in their spare time?

  24. Patty, I got so much out of this post! I haven't begun blogging yet, mostly because I'm scared. :) Your post (and these comments) are encouraging and practical. I'm going to have to re-visit this whole idea. I know I'll begin in the not-too-distant future. Thanks for sharing your passion and expertise today!
    P.S. You don't have to enter me in the drawing. :)

  25. LOL- Ruthy, You, me, and Julie....

    Trouble! ;-)

  26. LoL, Sandra, three years ago I was in the same boat with you guys--learning and head banging. But it helped me find some of the things I LOVE doing--teaching blog basics and designing. It's relaxing for me. Go figure. LOL

    But that doesn't mean I've got it all figured out, Andrea!! Not by a long shot! A birthday giveaway is a GREAT idea!!

    Remember, I baby step at a time when building your platform... slow and steady wins the race. =]

  27. Morning, Pepper!
    Great question about the career/job and family. First, you guys are the super moms who astound me. How on earth do you do it all?!? Amazing.

    Can you effectively build a platform in addition to everything else you're doing? Girl, you're doing it. LoL. Personal blogs don't work for everyone, but they CAN be adapted to you, if you want them to. Maybe FB and twitter work better for you.

    Where you're a part of a group blog, you DO have something in the blogging realm. If you do a personal blog--remember pictures go a long way--and they don't have to be pix of your kids. I have 5 kids and rarely do they appear on my site. You're more likely to see my dumb dogs then my kids. *eye roll* (Like today's post on my blog.) Or did a verse reach out and grab you in your Bible reading? Post it. See something funny in class? Post it (without names? LOL).

    When time is tight and you're flying like a tornado... or something... think little snippets when it comes to personal blog posts. And remember, blogging isn't for everyone, but if you try it you just might find you like it. It's a great outlet once you get rolling.

    See, I teach about brevity, but um... I'm still learning that one. =]

  28. Hey, Patty!!!

    This is a great post, but unfortunately, I pretty much break all these rules, which is probably why my blog is not growing in readership--at all. I just cannot blog anymore. After I got published, I just can't FORCE myself to do it. I can write one or two blogs a year, and that seems to be my limit. (I know, I am completely pathetic.) I used to use my blog to post reviews and do giveaways, but now I just use it to make announcements about my books and book signings, etc. So lame, I know.

    Blogging doesn't seem to be my thing, but I totally love coming to the Seekerville blog. There's a lot of great information here, but mostly I come for the camaraderie.

    See you tomorrow, Patty!!! ;-) How cool is that???

  29. But you're right. Blogging is definitely a good way to get your name out there and introduce yourself, cyberly speaking. I did it for a couple of years at least before the first book came out. Great post!

  30. Patty,

    Thanks for coming by today! LOVED this: "Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life."

    As if you have an ordinary life, but I digress.

    Uh oh, May has something to say, stand by...

  31. Miss Patty,

    You're more likely to see my dumb dogs then my kids. *eye roll* (Like today's post on my blog.)

    So - who you callin' dumb? I'm just sayin'...


    May the K9 Spy

  32. Patty you are so creative. Where did all this creativity begin? Seriously, you are a business woman and an artist. I am so impressed and a wee bit envious. :) in a good way of course.

  33. Oh Jeanne, I so get the fear. 200% get it. The first post I put up on my baby blog was enough to make me about throw up. The first few months I did anything online I used a pseudonym cuz I was so scared. And Melissa, I bet you're lurking out there somewhere too. =]

    Just remember, blogging is a little like parenting--you start small (usually). The whole world will not find you, just a friend or two at the beginning, then as time goes on your baby grows--not over night (though it may feel like it in real life) and you grow with it. And that's key to remember--you'll grow with it. Your experience, your comfort level, your circle of blogging friends (which is part of your platform).

    So go ahead and start a blog. Small investments add up over time. =]

  34. We all stand up and admit it in Seekerville-we write lengthy posts.

    YES, it's true. We love to talk. Occasionally we discuss trying to writer shorter posts. But then we realize it just ain't us.


  35. Hey Patty, Do you teach facebook? That is what I really need to get busy and learn. I have a page, but have no clue how to use it.

  36. Melanie!! Tomorrow! WOOT! I'm so excited! (and cleaning furiously, ROFL) I'm a layover for a couple ACFW friends on their way to conference. =] It's the next best thing to actually going. =]

    See, you're a great example. Blogging really is NOT for everyone.

    Looking forward to seeing you and Ginger tomorrow! =]

  37. Wonderful nuggets, Patty! You're right - it is a mindset you get into. Sometimes when a phrase sparks a post or a column or a piece begins to write itself in my head from the most ordinary of encounters, I think, "I just might be a writer."

    Grinning and waving,


  38. Thanks for the great advice, Patty. Unfortunately, I have a fear of blogging. Yes, I know I need professional help.

    Last year I set up this great blog following similar advice to yours. Then I thought what if I post a horrific grammatical error? What if an editor or agent visits my sight site, decides my writing is mediocre and doesn’t offer a contract? I haven’t posting anything new in months.

    Yes, I am somewhat of a perfectionist. Even as I write this in Word, so I can spell check twice, I’m wandering wondering if I’ve misused any words.

    My favorite blog, besides Seekerville would be my own. Lonely though it may be.

  39. KC, trust me, I have a very ordinary life. Laundry is a good friend of mine, so are dust bunnies. LoL.

    And May, 'dumb' was used endearingly. Ask my kids--I'm a fool for my dogs. And cats. hehe. even my fish. Embarrassing. They help keep my sanity.

    Tina--this creativity... LoL, God is amazing. For some reason He connected the dots for me in the world of blogging and blog layout and it floors me. I've had soooo much fun discovering this joy in my life. And I wouldn't have found it if I hadn't obeyed God's leading and started blogging--which meant I had to overcome the fear. Fear can be so debilitating.

    And please, please, PLEASE do NOT start writing shorter posts here!! Your groupies (like me!!) will revolt. When you have a solid readership, you can do longer posts.

    This is one of the beauties of a group blog--the dynamic you guys have going is fantastic. =]

    So just remember--the length thing is mainly for us on our personal blogs--but not necessarily everyone. Some CAN pull off consistently long posts and keep their readers. But not everyone. *shrug*

  40. Sandra, I don't teach FB--just blogging. I've resisted FB and I think I must've passed out when I was invited to join a FB community team. Needless to say, I'm now learning to do better on FB.

    One thing I've found (thanks to the wonderful Bonnie Calhoun) is to take the open-ended questions I try to always ask at the end of my posts and do something similar on FB. People looooove chiming in, you just gotta give 'em an opportunity and questions help do that.

  41. Thanks Patty, Good to know I'm not alone with FB fear. LOL

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Our library offers classes. As soon as I settle back home I'm going to go take them.

  42. Rhonda! Thanks for stopping by. I LOVE your a2z posts every week. They're a fave of mine. =]

    Bridgett, I get what you're saying, and you DO want to be sure your site is good. But it doesn't have to be perfect. It's a BLOG, not a thesis that your doctorate is hanging on. Am I saying you can be sloppy? NO way! You want it to look sharp and be sharp. If it's ridled with tpyos wil it b pased over? YUE!! er, YES. But typos are fixable, and should be fixed--unless you're doingthem to make a piont. ;-)

    Your blog is to serve you, not you serve it. If you're blogging, get something up. It's far better to be present, active and have readers than to have a perfect site that sits in a corner by itself.

  43. Hi Patty:

    I went to Amazon first thing this morning to buy your book, “Platform! Points of Contact” and it’s not there. Is that a real book or is it something Tina cooked up?

    If it is not your book, it should be. I have a friend who writes nonfiction self help and business books and he says that a platform is the norm in nonfiction. Publishers what to see proof of a platform of at least 5,000 people who are likely to buy your book. The platform for these authors is usually the seminars they give.

    The people who come to the seminars are part of the platform. The people on his newsletter list are part of the platform. The hits on his YouTube videos are part of the platform.

    “Platform” is a very big and very important element in writing success.

    Please put me on the list to buy your book!


    P.S. Thanks all. We’ve been in Orange Beach checking out the condo Missy posted about. My wife says we can go every year she liked it so much. This is just another benefit of Seekerville. : )

  44. Seekerville REAL ESTATE!!! I love it.

    I did not cook anything up but virtual food! :)

  45. I like that Patty. Your blog is your home. And like us, not perfect. But heck, perfect is really hard to maintain. You should have seen us on the island...some folks are real slobs with their left over coconuts.

    How many posts ahead do you preschedule and write your blogs?

    When I was doing it professionally (getting paid) I did a week's worth) but writing blogs are more fun so I just let the ideas percolate and usually wait til the muse hits.

  46. Hi Patty!

    Wonderful post and a lot of food for thought. Yes, I blog, but not regularly enough. I'll have to check out the memes - that may give me the oomph I need.

    I do most of my writing on my blog dedicated to homeschooling and homemaking. I tend to write on whatever I'm thinking about and share a bit of our homeschooling journey.

    I have another blog for writing and reading stuff. That's where I post book reviews and quotes, and that's the one that needs work. I'll apply some of your suggestions there and see what happens.

    I have discovered a wonderful secret about shorter blog posts: I tend to be long winded, so I just divide my long subjects up into several posts. Voila! Five posts out of one idea!

    BUT - Seekerville absolutely must not change the length of their posts! Shorter posts only work for those blogs you want to skim during a few extra minutes, not the ones that you go to for daily sustenance!

    So, my favorite blogs? I love Seekerville, first of all. I also visit The Writers Alley, Novel Rocket, Aspiring Romance Writers, and of course the Seekers' blogs. I also visit a couple others that are homeschooling related. (Now I'm beginning to wonder when I get any work done...)

    I'd love to win a design!

  47. BTW Patty is not just creative, she writes. And well. She was a finalist in the Seekerville Read Me Contest for Unpubbed Writers. Finalist entries went to Editorial Assistant Rachel Burkot at Harlequin Love Inspired.

    So Patty, what's going on in your writing world?

  48. hehe. Oops. Sorry about that, Vince. That picture (Platform! Points of contact) is from a class I taught at the Faithwriters writing conference last month. It's not a book I have out. Unfortunately. But I am blogging about platform and persona and blog helps occasionally on my blog. Does that count?

    Sorry. I often put text on pictures, it boosts the word to picture value. LoL (hehe. helps in the brevity department. sometimes.)


  49. Hi Patty,

    I've been trying to build my blog for a few years now...and it's been a slow process. You mentioned using pictures - I often see them on Seekerville and other sites too - my question is, where do you find them? When do you offer online courses on blogging? I'd love to learn how to make the individual tabs - books, about me, etc. Guess there is a lot about blogging I still don't know. :)

    Enjoyed your post.

    Jodie Wolfe

  50. YES!! Cyber real estate and you do want it to reflect you and be a comfortable fit. Thank goodness, a blog is easier to keep clean than my house is--which isn't saying much at the moment cuz my house is verging on trashed and I have COMPANY COMING tomorrow. Terrifying.

    Once you get your blog organized (think grouping like things together) it's fairly easy to keep it that way. But then again, that's what people say about homes...but I'm convinced THOSE people don't have kids and probably live alone. *eye roll*

    Prescheduling posts is a lifesaver for me and I have a blog tips post ready for this Thursday about that and how I manage my posting. (How's that for a shameless plug? *eye roll*)

    Ideally, I work about a week ahead of time. Realistically, I get an idea and pop it up, hot off the press. Combining the two is the best. =] Currently, I have nine posts on my personal dashboard either completely ready to go and scheduled or in the works.

    LoL--my writing world? ummm. Edits, character creation and synops for the next two books, a million blog posts (only a slight exaggeration) and gearing up for a fast write through the next first draft. =] Can't wait!!! =]

  51. Thanks for the great advice on blogging and getting your platform out there, Patty:) I needed that reminder. I want to revamp my blog...spice it up and change the theme a bit:) Thanks for the ideas!


    lornafaith at gmail dot com

  52. Jan, memes are a GREAT tool for post starters. That's how the a2z meme was started--I was in a dry spell on my blog and needed help getting out of it and found I wasn't alone.

    For those who are wondering, a meme (rhymes with cream) is when everyone posts on the same thing then meets at someone's site and they link together. From there people visit each other and leave comments. It's a great way to meet people and build friendships. To see a meme in action, stop by today's post on my site. At the bottom of the post is a linky tool where others have joined this week. It's fun!

    A looooong post makes a GREAT mini-series on your blog. ;-) AND it helps with the frequency issue.

  53. Good question, Jodie!
    The pictures I use that aren't my own, are usually from http://www.sxc.hu/ It's a great site for free pix. Some photographers DO request to be notified when you use their pictures, but it's easy to do. I have an upcoming blog tips post on using pictures too. ;-)

    Since you asked (eye roll) I have a blogging class coming up in October and I'm running a celebration special on it. I also have blog lessons (pdf format) available. That stuff is in the Blogging Stuff tab under blog workshops.

  54. I'm nervous about starting a blog.

    I'm afraid I'll start out good, but then get busy and let it slide. I hate it when I click on someone's website or blog and it hasn't been updated in a year or more.

    But because of you, Patty, I'm going to look into it.

  55. Patty, thanks for joining us! And for your fun post on platforms. I'm feeling so convicted to spend some time on my personal blog and try to make it half decent! I do so many group blogs that my personal blog really suffers. Gotta get my act together!

    I love your pre-made blogs! You do a great job.

  56. This looks like some great info Patty. I'll have to set aside some time later to read and digest.

    The twins had cavities filled this morning and one had two teeth pulled. Poor baby needs extra hugs today. And now mean mommy is making them do school. I don't know maybe a ten year old having two teeth pulled should warrant a day off.

    Anyhoo,thanks for sharing! I've been working on my blog and even had my first giveaway this week.

  57. Thanks for stopping by, Lorna Faith. I LOVE your name. =]

    Connie, I know what you mean about clicking on a blog and seeing it sit idle, but I know life can go totally off-the-crazy-charts sometimes.

    One way to combat that is to not write yourself into a corner with it. Don't make it a niche blog but rather find your purpose for the blog and write to that purpose. That gives you room to write about many things all under the umbrella of that one blog.

    I'm so glad to hear you're encouraged to look into blogging! =] WOOT!! Mission accomplished. =]

  58. Cavities and pulled teeth, Jamie? *shiver* No fun! (but maybe doing school will take their mind off it. hehe. I'm a sympathetic homeschool mom, can you tell? ROFL)

    Missy, if you're doing a lot of other blogging--team blogs and guest posting, it IS VERY hard to keep fresh content on your own site (she says from experience). Sometimes enough is enough.

    And that reminds me, Pepper... (I've been thinking over what you said and your question as I got stuff done around here.)

    For those who are already maxed out, do NOT let the thought of blogging be the back-breaker. We can only do so many things with our time and blogging is just one more thing. Study the options--what's involved, the time, everything, and then choose based on what fits for the time of life you're in right now.

    This writing journey is a marathon and if you try to sprint a marathon you'll kill yourself and your family.

  59. I just think you're the sweetest thing to have us spend the night, Patty. I am so looking forward to meeting you!!!

    Now, I did do a lot of blogging for a while. But it wasn't the sort of spill your guts and tell exactly what God is doing in your life kind of blogging. It was mostly just reviews, and I even did a short little series on writing, kind of a workshop sort of thing. And I have done a few blogs for NovelTeen.com, for which I had promised to do two a month as a member of that group blog, but no amount of self-inflicted guilt could force me to remember to write those things. So I just had to apologize to them and admit I was just not going to be able to keep up my end of the deal. So far they still seem to like me. Christians are very forgiving sometimes.

    But I do have some archived blogs on NovelTeen. And a few I've done for Seekerville. Which reminds me ...

    Tina, what topic did I say I would write a blog on in October????? Yikes.

  60. Very useful advice Patty!
    Gotta get to work :)

  61. I swear if I told you about my day today you would all weep and gnash your teeth.
    I'm so sorry not to have stopped in before...unless...I might have and forgotten...I did stop in and read Patty's post earlier. Can't get my act together today.

    It's a great blog post, Patty. This 'building a platform' thing is so confusing. But we need to be out there in the world. Hopefully so a Google search will turn up US if some editor is hunting for you.

    Great advice Patty.

  62. Miss Patty,

    May the K9 Spy here...

    And May, 'dumb' was used endearingly. Ask my kids--I'm a fool for my dogs. And cats. hehe. even my fish. Embarrassing. They help keep my sanity.

    I'm sorry. I understood that. It was tongue in cheek.

    You posted photographic evidence of your poor mistreated souls, lounging around saving energy so when called upon they can help keep you sane. You on the other paw are working hard at all sorts of things.

    This could be a case of photoshop, but I doubt it. No need. Everyone knows we're good at it. BOL!

  63. I had a nightmare last night...it's been going on for two weeks...I'm so excited for conference but it's overhwelming, too.

    Anyway, last night, I got to conference and hadn't packed my 'formal dress' and ended up on stage with...I think it was plaid shorts. Maybe tennis shoes.

    I wake up shuddering with terror that I'll do it, forget something, then I remember that if I DO forget something I can just go and BUY it for heaven's sake. When I'm awake, I can handle it.

    It's in the night that terror reigns.

  64. I love when I'm organized and ahead on blogs and stories.

    But if I fall behind on blogs, that's okay, as long as I don't fall behind on stories.

    Books first. I really believe if you write, write, write those books...

    the rest will come. "If you write it, it will come..." (Field of Dreams. Kind of.)

    But I love having fun on Facebook. Touching base. And I love my Ruthy's Place blog but life got in the way of that the last two months.

    But I never let life get in the way of Seekerville because you guys rock. And I know you forgive my bossy, egotistical, know-it-all personna.

    Which is nice of you, btw. ;)

  65. Connie Queen, I don't blame you for being nervous HOWEVER, get the blog set up. Claim the name. Then if you do go good for a while then lose steam, well, it will make your numbers drop, but you can get back to it at a later date. A blog isn't a lifetime commitment it's only for now, and maybe forever and if not, then maybe later. Fear not.

  66. Mary is my hero. She fries up the bacon (aka writes six books at once) and forgets where she puts her car keys only to discover she locked them in the car with the windshield wipers going.

    Tina at work not anonymous

  67. Patty,
    Such a great blog! Thanks for sharing your special gift of interacting on the NET. God uses technology is such delightful ways!

    Wish I could enter the drawing for a blog makeover! :)

    And you bake cookies, too! And home school! You're amazing. Somewhat like our Tina...and Mary...and Ruthy...and Julie...

  68. Patty I went ahead and gave the girls their math test. If you're gonna suffer you might as well do it all at once.

  69. Vince, so glad you liked it! I'll have to decide what my travel agent fee will be!! LOL

  70. You know, about half the time when I post on my personal blog, I'm just pointing people to a post on one of my group blogs. I should probably just give it up. But it's so much easier than posting to my website...

    Hmmm. What's a girl supposed to do???

    I guess I'll stick with it for now. Maybe try setting more posts up ahead of time like y'all mentioned.

  71. Aw Mary, is that why you don't sleep much--cuz of plaid short nightmares? *shiver* So not fun!! I bet you don't forget your formal attire. ;-) Sending you cyber cookies to help improve your day, Mary. =]

    You're so right about a blog not being a forever thing. If you try it and decide blogging isn't for you, it's NOT the end of the world. And if you change direction mid-stream, don't worry about it!! Your blog will follow you (just don't try talking knitting on an auto-mechanic blog, 'kay?) and you don't need, or even really want, different blogs for different topics. It multiplies the work while dividing your outcome. Not good at all.

  72. Debby, my girls are making the cookies these days. I'm spoiled and I know it. The days are coming, though, when I'll have to start doing my own baking again. Until then, I'm enjoying and appreciating all the yummy cookies. LoL

    ALL you Seeker ladies are amazing!! =]

    LoL, Jamie. I would've given them the test too. Consolidate the misery that way. ;-)

  73. Missy I got so frustrated with posting on my blog when I was posting on another site that I quit for awhile. I felt like a vacuum salesman. *eye roll* Even now I only post/link about half the time I'm on another site. Bad, but true. It's a blog, not a book under contract. ;-)

    Posting ahead does help. If I can take a few hours and knock out several posts, or even get them just about ready to go, then it helps tremendously.

  74. Well said Patty. My rules are keep it clean, quiet (no music), and easy to read (no black backgrounds with white letters etc). I try to keep my readers in mind, where might they be while reading. Many of them are reading on their phones or in starbucks, or work, and they do not want my taste in music blasting away when they click a link. That will certainly have me leave a site faster than anything else.

    Getting a platform definitely takes some time but it is really worth it.

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  75. Mel! You have a lovely blog!


  76. Thanks for the tips, Patty. I also read your posts over at Reflections in Hindsight a while back, so it's good to get more advice.

    My blogging has definitely gone through cycles as I tried to figure things out. It seemed easier to build a bit of a following when I was writing for adults. Now that I'm focusing on kids/MG, my potential readers are tougher to reach. I just launched a blog that focuses on writing tips, book reviews and author spotlights for that age group. Once I build up content I plan to let some teacher/librarian friends know so they might visit and hopefully help spread the word. At some point I'd love to invite kids to submit their own book reviews to possibly post. We'll see ...

    I keep circling around to the idea of expanding my blog to serve as my website. Just have to see about getting ownership of my domain name since it's under the hosting package with my IP now.

    Patty, your sample designs are great! Don't enter me for the drawing, though, because I'm a WP girl instead of Blogger. Can I still hang out here after saying that out loud ...? :-)

    And, now that my comment has reached beyond-acceptable-blog-post-length, I'll stop. Anyone else want some popcorn for their late night snack?


  77. man what a crummy day..my dad missed his cancer dr appt because the other hospital was putting in a port something or other and swore they'd contacted md anderson and all was okey dokey - well it wasn't okey dokey and now he has to get rescheduled and if htey do it next week it won't work for me since I'm going out of town for that weekend and I selfishly don't want to change my plans..been looking forward to that weekend for over 2 months now...

    anyways, back to On topic! Ruthy has a great website - always pics of food and sometimes cowboys though last visit had kids and puppies..I can keep hoping though! At least the kiddies are cute

    I finally made my way to Ronie Kendig's Nightshade - she was here several months ago I think. I ventured out with military romantic suspense but I sure didn't know she'd off one of my fave characters. I mean there are plenty of bad guys she could've offed in great detail but not one I liked..needless to say when I got back home I looked up the next 3 to see who the heroes were just in case I get attached to another!

    one positive outcome from spending an evening and one entire day at hospitals - I finished 2 books! and started another that I'm about 1/4 through - I'd probably be finished with it if I hadn't tried dozing and wasn't busy munching on junk!


  78. Patty--Great thoughts on blogs! I haven't yet attempted to take on a solo one myself.

    I don't think any of we Seekers are capable of writing SHORT posts. :)

  79. Hi Patty! I enjoyed reading your post. I got into blogging a couple of years ago and I've really loved it! I would refer to my blog as a "Mommy" blog, though, and not so much focused on just writing. I have done a lot of book reviews and recommendations on there, though. I was wondering if one day I did decide to add a stronger writing aspect to it, would it be a good idea to change the home page to something less fun/mommy-ish? I have tabs right now and it wouldn't be hard to add a writing tab. Thanks! Stacey

  80. Hi Mel! I totally agree with you on those rules--keep it clean, quiet, and easy to read. LoL--I just put a music player on one of my group blog sites, something I said I'd never do. I should know better than to say that. LoL. The player was requested, so we'll see how it goes...

    LoL, Leigh--WP is a great blog platform, just not as user friendly as Blogger. The whole WP vs. Blogger debate reminds me of another endless debate in the the technology field. sheesh. Both are good, and I work on both (and still prefer Blogger, but that's okay).

    Yes, we do need to reach our target of potential readers, but sometimes our target is more or even a little different than we think--it's that whole blog niche vs. blog purpose thing.

  81. Oh Susana. Sounds like you and your dad have had a day of it. =[ Hope there's an appt. available that works for everyone. Glad you got to read though! =]

    Glynna, don't even bother with worrying about short posts here at Seekerville! It'd be BAD news if you did! Like, think revolt. Mutiny. You get the idea. ;-)

    Stacey, everyone is different, but before you go moving or opening up another site and starting from ground floor again, do a tab like you're thinking. Use those labels and start a writing series--an addition to your normal posting. If you make a banner or a button and put it at the top of your writing posts, it will let your mommy readers know with one look that it's part of your writing series so if it's something they aren't interested in reading, they can skip it without getting into and feeling like they've wasted time. That way you're building on the great base you have. You may lose a few readers but if your site is on an upward trend with the new series, losing a few will be outweighed by the new growth the series brings. Make sense? And if the series doesn't take over your site, it broadens your base. =]

  82. Thanks, Patty! That makes great sense. : ) Stacey

  83. Patty,

    I'm a believer in blogs, because I've been a community blogger in my pet topic (personal finance) on a newspaper Website (The Star Press in Muncie). I can't believe how many people recognize me because of that.

    The trouble is, I'm spoiled because I have somewhat of an automatic potential for audience. I hate to jump ship and have all the work of designing a blog of my own. There are many downsides to being tied to a newspaper, such as their changing the software very frequently and not really being able to promote myself and tag other blogs and all that.

    Please put my name in to win Patty's blog package. This would help me leave the "mother ship," so to speak. Pattty, in this case, would you recommend keeping the one on the newspaper and my own? I don't know if I have the energy, but wonder what you think.....
    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo.com

  84. Patty, since some of us are going to bed about now, I wanted to thank you for being with us in Seekerville today.

    ALL day long. You're a trooper!!

  85. Hi Cathy! LoL, you are spoiled having an automatic potential reader base like that. ENJOY IT!! =] And capitalize on it. LoL.

    I can see your point in the downside of being tied like that to a newspaper. Would they allow you to use, recycle your old posts at the newspaper? If they do, that would give you a leg up on starting your own blog. And like you said, a personal blog would give you the total flexibility to do with it as you wish--linking and promoting.

    If you do a personal blog, it wouldn't HAVE to be only about finance or business--but it could be. Do you think you'd post other things? It'd give you a wider scope to write about, but you may want to keep your professional voice--like Jeannie Campbell does. *shrug* It all depends on the image you want to portray and maintain online. But even professionals have a relaxed side...

    With a personal blog you open the door to so many possibilities. The energy and time are definite things to weigh, but if you post on a wider range than you do at the paper, it'll be easier to come up with posts.

    Yes, I'd say go for a personal blog--but you've got to remember who you're talking to. LoL. I can see the potential for it, but only you can weigh out the investment of your time and effort, budgeted with the rest of your life.

  86. P.S. I forgot to tell you sites I love. Will blame that on the excitement here (and lack of sleep.) I, too, love Seekerville. And I met the ACTUAL BODILY RLH in the elevator this a.m. Yes, in the flesh!!

    I have learned scads on Seekerville. Craft, marketing, networking, you name it. Thank you, one and all.

    Gail Kittleson