Writers are everywhere, and with the advantages of the Internet and blogging, it’s never been easier for us all to connect with one another. Blogging is a great way for writers to put themselves out there and gain some kind of footing for their work, but it can seem rather daunting to find ways of reaching potential readers in the vast ocean that is the blogosphere. In fact, this is an art I’m still trying to master myself, and for that I can’t say much on this subject from the perspective of a writer. I can, however, speak as a reader and share how I found over 200 writers’ blogs to follow.
So for those of you constantly seeking inspiration and new friends in the blogosphere, here are the top seven ways that I find writers online. I hope you’ll find these useful too! Enjoy!
1) “Creative Writing” tag in WordPress Reader
WordPress is the ultimate blogging platform, no contest. With high design flexibility and an integrated blogging network, it’s an excellent choice for writers to start building an online presence, whether it’s free on WordPress.com or self-hosted with WordPress.org. Because my site is connected to WordPress.com through Jetpack, I found it easiest to start searching for other writers through the WordPress Reader. There are several tags through which to find writers’ posts, of course, but already a general search for “creative writing” tends to return plenty of interesting results. There’s always something new to find in the Reader, so checking back regularly definitely helps to expand a followed blogs list!
After setting up a blog, the next step for a writer is to create social media profiles. An online network is indispensable for an artist hoping to get their work noticed, and of all the networks I use regularly, Twitter has proven to be a goldmine of writers’ profiles. Author posts and retweets, book promotions, contest invitations, anything writing-related can be found on Twitter, and many of the connections I’ve made on WordPress actually started there. Using hashtags and regularly retweeting other writers have proven to greatly increase one’s following; I’ve found many writers on this network thanks to their mastery of these practices, so if you’re new to Twitter, you’d be wise to try taking them up too!
3) Writing communities
While I’m not nearly as active in writing communities as I should be, I added this item to my list because some of the few writers I have met through communities are among the writers I’ve connected with the most. The contests and events on Writer’s Carnival (which I found through Twitter) have been a great way to meet and befriend other writers, especially since the community strongly encourages its members to review each other’s work. Among so many other artists sharing the same interests, goals, and fears as you, a writing community is a great place to find new friends!
Want to make sure your blog is connected to the rest of the blogosphere? Use links! WordPress.com blogs come with blogroll widgets that display Gravatars of followers and followed blogs, and I’ve found many new blogs through these links. Self-hosted WordPress bloggers can find alternative widgets in the plugin directory for sharing blogs they like, and other blogging platforms also offer easy ways to showcase links to favorite sites in the sidebar. Blogrolls are handy tools for writers: not only does sharing links throughout your site drastically increase your connection to the blogosphere, but it encourages other bloggers to return the favor, earning you plenty of exposure for a simple kind gesture!
5) Blogging events/writer link-ups
If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you may remember that I used to participate in a monthly blogging event called Writers Reveal. This was a blog-swap event where we would send each other topics by email and all share our posts around the same time. It was a good way to connect with and promote other writers, since we always shared links to each other’s blogs at the end of our posts. I’ve met quite a few interesting writers through this event, and even more just by following links in posts for other blogging circles. Participating in blogging events is a great way to make new friends, plus it’s loads of fun!
6) Guest posts
Speaking of connecting with other writers, guest posts are another useful method of forming links between blogs. I’ve found plenty of new writer blogs to follow through links in guest posts, blogs that I might not have found any other way. Similar to blogging events, guest post exchanges strengthen connections between bloggers via links to one another’s sites, helping each writer expand their reach to the other’s audience and introducing all readers to new and interesting content. Win-win-win!
7) Chris the Story Reading Ape (i.e. Reblogs)
I single out Chris the Story Reading Ape here because he’s pretty much the king of this practice in the creative writing domain, but there are several writers I follow on WordPress who make a habit of reblogging each other’s posts. Chris‘s blog is a goldmine of writing articles and resources, all in the form of reblogs from other writers’ sites. WordPress reblogs always include a link to the original post, so I’ve come across tons of new blogs to follow just by browsing through his archive. WordPress writers, take note: reblogs are a valuable tool for sharing your favorite content and helping writers you like expand their network. The blogosphere grows on a you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours principle; reblogging each other’s posts helps all us writers better connect with one another and expand our voices in the world!
How do you find other writers online? What are the best ways you’ve found to attract followers to your blog?