Maybe you’re thinking about starting a blog. Or is it that book you’ve been dreaming about nudging you to finally get started? That was me in 2006. And in truth, I wasn’t even thinking about blogging until a friend explained what the heck a blog even was!
Initially I thought blogging was kind of silly. This thing that exists only on the internet didn’t have the solid feel of a real live book to me. You can’t hold a blog in your hands — apart from the device that lets you get to it.
When it came to dreams, books made more sense to me. A couple years before that I had worked with an agent on a career book idea that even got publisher attention, but shelved it when I learned you needed to have a “platform.” One more thing I didn’t know about at the time.
But I was going through a tough time (my mom had just died), and the idea of helping others felt good. So I figured I could stick one toe in and see how it feels. About 6 blogs later, here I am talking to you. And still loving it. And maybe giving you the germ of an idea that will get you started on a blog you love.
ABOUT PLATFORMS: One more thing I learned is that blogging and the related social media you create can become a wonderful platform. The very thing I didn’t have when i was looking to publish my book.
What blogging can do for YOU
If you’re considering starting a blog, you probably have some initial ideas in mind. Are they good enough? Will you gain a following? Will you lose interest? And you may also have heard that “blogging is dead” or at least not what it once was. Maybe you even read that on a blog!
Well, it’s true that things have changed. Certainly social media sites like Instagram or TikTok offer a different way to tell a story. But they can’t do what blogs can, and so blogging might still be right for you. Depending on what you want from it. And how much you’re willing to just see where the experiment leads you without knowing the end yet.
My personal starting a blog story
As mentioned, before I ever heard of blogging or even knew such things as blogs existed, I had an idea for a book. And it was about work and careers. Sound familiar? I also had a friend who worked for a literary agent, and so, with a little luck, I began my publishing adventure. And it continued when one of the agents not only liked my book idea based on the title and sample chapters, but offered to be my agent.
Well, the luck continued. My agent soon found a publisher who liked my book idea — and thought it might even make a good series based on the title. I was ecstatic. But also really nervous. I knew nothing about all this. Still, I figured my agent could help me figure things out. And she did. But not as I’d first hoped.
KEY LESSONS LEARNED
- Publishers don’t have the marketing budgets they once did.
- Unless you’re a superstar, you’ll need to help market your book and yourself.
- And if it’s non-fiction you’ll need a “platform.” (Probably helps with fiction too, nowadays. )
Eager to get started, my brain froze when my agent explained the word “platform” to me. You see I had done coaching as part of my consulting work. And helped hire a lot of people. But I had no legitimate credentials. No psychology degree. No masters in psychology. Not even the Career Counseling certificate I have now. My MBA didn’t count.
And I definitely did not have that all-important platform. Meaning no public awareness of me and my skills / expertise. No fame. No glory. And no online presence at the time. I was an unknown. So the publisher left me with the advice “Create a platform for yourself. Then come back to me with the book.”
But I didn’t ever publish a book. Instead, I wound up creating three different career websites, plus a few other sites for the fu of it. Two of the career sites I sold … and one of them you’re reading this on now.
What’s so great about starting a blog?
As a serial blogger, I have had more than 12 million visitors over my blogging career — more eyeballs than ever would have seen my book. Also I probably made more money blogging, although that’s not why I blog. Especially now with this smaller site.
I just really love it — the writing part, the helping part, and the connecting to people part. And for me it offers the opportunity to write what I want, when I want, without any middleman or middlewoman. No publisher who holds my fate in their hands. No editor telling me what to say or changing everything around until it’s a totally different article.
And no need for an agent. Just me. And the freedom to write and publish. Not a bad thing. But, of course, not a book. And for many of you, the book is the dream. And that dream might not ever be found in blogging. I get that.
Some things starting a blog can do for you
- Blogs can be a wonderful, easy entry into exploring things you care about in your spare time.
- They can help you create a platform for other ventures, like writing or causes you care about.
- Blogs can provide a foundation for your business and brand.
- And they can be a great way to gain a foothold on a new career or budding business.
Feel free to let me know what you decide. And what happens!
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