13 Blog Post Ideas for Novelists

In case you are new here, I am a big advocate of blogging. I don’t know of a better way to build a platform than starting with a blog as your “homebase” and building from there. This is especially true for authors.

Row of Matches About to Catch Fire - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/JamesBrey, Image #8023692

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/JamesBrey

Occasionally, when I speak on the topic of social media, I get push-back from novelists. “Yes, a blog maybe great for non-fiction authors, but what about novelists? What can we write about?”

Good question. Here are thirteen post ideas to get you started—a baker’s dozen:

  1. Excerpts from Your Novel. This is probably the easiest. It has the added advantage of allowing us, your potential readers, to “sample the brew.” Just write a paragraph to set up the excerpt. Oh, and be sure to link to your book, so we can buy it (duh).
  2. Backstory of Your Novel. Tell us why you wrote your novel. How did you settle on this story? How did you come up with the main characters? Why did you chose the setting you did? What research did you have to do before you could start writing?
  3. A Behind-the-Scenes Look. Give us a sense of what it is like to be a novelist. How did you feel when you finally landed an agent? What does a typical writing day look like for you? What’s it like to see your book in print and hold a copy in your hand for the first time?
  4. “Directors” Notes. This is the kind of thing you occasionally see with extended versions of movies. Explain why you chose to start with a particular scene. Talk about the scenes you had to delete—or those you had to add to improve the story. Don’t underestimate the curiosity of your readers.
  5. Interview with Yourself. Authors often complain that professional reviewers haven’t read their book or don’t “get it.” Fine. Who knows your novel better than you? No one. So interview yourself. Have fun with it. What questions do you wish you would be asked?
  6. Interviews with Your Characters. Imagine your novel was a movie and you could interview the actors who played the main characters. What would you ask them? What would they say? Another idea: if your novel was made into a movie and you could select the cast, what famous actors would you have play the main roles?
  7. Interview with Other Novelists. Find other novelists in your genre and interview them. In fact, build a circle of novelists who are similar to you and grow your tribe together. Interview one another. Perhaps even do book giveaways.
  8. Interview with Your Editor. Publishing still has a mystique about it and people want a peek behind the curtain. I find that my readers love this. Ask your editor what it’s like to work with novelists. (If you’re brave, ask what it was like to work with you.) Get him or her to tell stories about working with the best and the worst!
  9. Interview with Marketers. This is another variation on the last idea. Talk to the marketing people. What’s it like to market fiction? How is it different than non-fiction? How is it like marketing a movie? What makes it fun? What makes it challenging?
  10. Advice for Other Writers. What tips and hacks do you have to offer other aspiring novelists? What advice do you have on coming up with the right story, securing an agent, meeting a deadline, or reviewing a marketing plan? Just answer the question, “What do I wish I had known then that I know now.”
  11. Common Obstacles. What are the challenges you face as a writer? What was it like to be rejected (as you undoubtedly were)? What kept you going when you wanted to quit? How do you deal with “writer’s block” or getting a negative review? Being honest and transparent humanizes you and strengthens the bond with your readers.
  12. Emotional Challenges. These could be an extension of the last idea, but focus on emotions. Certainly the writing experience brings out the best and the worst in us. Do you ever feel inadequate? Stuck? Overwhelmed? Disappointed? How do you deal with these emotions as a writer? How do you keep them from derailing you?
  13. Lessons Learned. If you have written a novel, you have done what millions aspire to but few ever accomplish. What have you learned along the way—about writing, about publishing, about marketing—about yourself. Tell us so we don’t have to learn the hard way.

I’m sure I am just scratching the surface. The key is to make it creative and fun.

If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear from you. In fact, I’d love to collect fifty solid ideas, as a way of helping out novelists who are working hard to build their platform.

Question: What blog post ideas do you have for novelists? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Anonymous

    I particularly liked  2.  I would love to hear the back story from some of my favorite novels. 

    I’ve wondered why more novelists don’t blog.  Can you imagine how many hits John Grisham or Suzanne Collins would get per day?  I would love to hear these and other novelist talk about their art.

  • http://www.vannettachapman.com Vannettachapman

    Great ideas, Michael … and the comments are good as well. I think we need to ask ourselves, “Why are readers purchasing our books?” then provide more of that. I write Amish fiction. Readers want to know how to apply the plain life to their techno-driven, pressure-filled lives. My Saturday blog focuses on the plain life and what we can take away from it. I think that would work with any book/genre.

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  • http://twitter.com/jamespinnick7 James Pinnick

    Michael,

    Perfect. Thank you, thank you. I have implemented the first two already.

    James
    Author-The Last Seven Pages
    http://www.jamespinnick.com

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  • http://SignificantEncounters.com Deborah

    Greetings. 

    I enjoy your blog, so I have nominated you over at Versatile
    Blog Award. I will be   mentioning your
    blog on mine tomorrow.  If you choose to
    accept this award, you can click here to see the requirements.    http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/about/

    Thanks again for your continued great content!

  • MW

    Great ideas.  Thank you, Michael

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  • John Condliffe

    Thanks for ideas Michael…It would be good to throw ideas out about what you are writing at the moment, try to get some reaction.

  • http://brianbbaker.com/about/ Brian B Baker

    These are some awesome suggestions. I’m sure to use a few of these. Great post Michael. Especially like 2,12 and 13.

  • Melinda V Inman

    I’m blogging about the process (A Novel Journey), from seeking a publisher or agent, to signing the contract, and currently to the pre-pub ordering. With each update I reveal the surprises and lessons learned about publishing and the newly gained insights into my work, my calling, and my faith. I blog bi-weekly. Once a week I write about this novel journey. My other post for the week is inspirational, as I am also a bible teacher and speaker.

  • Heather Harris

    Thanks for this post, Michael! I’m in the planning stages of a novel (my first) and I’ve struggled with how to begin building my platform – these ideas help tremendously!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Heather—good luck with the platform and the novel! Very exciting!

  • Christina Garner

    These are great ideas. I’m wary of making my blog be a how-to… There are plenty of others who are already doing that, and quite well. But I do think bringing my audience further into the world of my characters and glimpsing behind the curtain is a great idea.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Yeah—people always love a behind the curtain look at how the novelist (in your case) works, thinks, motivates, creates… etc. I think it’s a great idea, Christina!

  • Lauren H Brandenburg

    I so needed this! As a middle grade writer I am super excited about 1 and 6! I’m always like, “Do junior high kiddos even read blogs?” They might now! Thanks!

  • http://www.cathrynhasek.com/ Cathryn Hasek

    Okay, so I’m finally starting my first nonfiction book. My first book, period! I have told everyone I know that I will be sequestering myself in my study so I can focus, but perhaps documenting my struggle (which I know will befall me) would be “blog worthy”? Talk about your accountability factor! No better way to keep my behind in the chair…unless it starts to take priority…nah…hmmm…

  • Jodie Llewellyn

    Nice ideas