What Makes a Successful Blog Post?

Writing a post that both grabs your reader and then keeps them interested can be tough.  A good title is a good place to start…but after that?  How do you know that people are even reading the 250+ words in between the title and the last sentence?

Several of my posts have been EXTREMELY successful.  Most popular would be To All New Bloggers Out There and The Reason Why People “Like” But They Don’t Comment.

After reflecting on the posts mentioned above, I started to wonder, what makes a successful blog post?

Relevance

Image result for this is important meme

This first point I cannot stress enough.  If you don’t write about anything that your readers care about, your article will be MAJORLY overlooked.  It doesn’t matter how perfectly you proofread, how perfectly you word each sentence; if your audience doesn’t care about the subject of your article, it’s just another post in their news-feed.

A big part of “Relevance” corresponds to having integrity…meaning that you consistently write about the same things, you target the same audience, etc.  For example, if you love blogging about anime, a review of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice MIGHT appeal to some people, and some of your followers MIGHT be interested…but if your audience comprises mostly of fellow anime-watchers and bloggers, your article may seem downright irrelevant.

Have integrity.  Blog about things you KNOW your followers will appreciate.  This is the first step to creating a post that gets the attention it deserves.

Simplicity

Image result for simplicity is bliss

This depends on your audience, if I’m being honest (and I prefer to be honest 😉 ).  However, when in doubt, try to keep your posts neat and simple; easy to read and friendly to the eye.  No one likes opening up a post only to see massive, 500-word paragraphs, with no pictures or subtitles.

Think about what YOU want to see or what keeps YOUR attention when you read an article.  Chances are, you aren’t reading something that looks like a science textbook (and even those might have pictures!).  Keep sentences uncomplicated and to the point, and speak in a voice that is inviting and human, not so sophisticated you sound like a Victorian robot.

Have A Point

just as planned

Seems like a no-brainer, right?  But it’s true.  Your article should ALWAYS have a point, instead of being a collection of ideas that don’t relate to one another.  If you’re trying to say something to your reader, make sure you say it.  Sure, if your blog is the type where you like to vent and let off some steam, maybe “having a point” isn’t necessary.  But, sooner or later, your readers will like to know that your thoughts (as wonderful as they are) are actually going somewhere!

It Doesn’t Stop There…

There are plenty more things, I’m sure, that go into a successful blog post.  Have you ever written an article that just NAILED it?  Any advice you’d like to share?  I love hearing your thoughts.

What do you think?

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How Do You Self Publish a Book?

A lot of people out there tell you that self-publishing is possible.  They give you the ups and the downs.  But has anyone ever told you what the process is like or how to do it?

As someone who has self-published over five books, and is determined to revise and continue re-self-publishing, here’s my step by step guide for how self-publishing works.

1. Make Sure You’re Ready

Image result for are you ready meme

This seems obvious, but it is DEFINITELY step number one.  Once you start down the road of self-publishing, it’s hard to go back.  Are you totally committed?  Do you have a plan for promoting your story?  Is your story as good as it can be?

If you self-publish and the answer to these questions is not “yes”, then you’re always going to be playing catch-up.   If you aren’t totally committed, you’ll be living in a world where you wish you spent more time writing and advertising…but you don’t.  If you don’t have a plan for promoting your story, you’ll get depressed because you’ll feel like a failure.  And if your story isn’t as good as it can be, reasonably speaking, you’ll constantly find errors and have to go back and change them.

I’m speaking from experience.

Make sure you’re ready.  Don’t get stuck playing catch-up.  It’ll save you a lot of time, effort, and even money in the long run.

2. Choose Your Venue

Image result for smashwords logo

Image result for kindle logo

There’s a LOT of venues out there.  A quick Google search can give you all the results you could want.  Overall, some of the top venues for self-publishing are:

  • Lulu
  • Smashwords
  • Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Kobo
  • Createspace

I personally have used Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing and been very satisfied.  Smashwords is wonderful because you can join for free AND they distribute your book to multiple retailers for free.  Your eBook is also converted into multiple formats, which enables your readers to download your book in whatever way is most accessible.  Of course, some of the money you make goes to fund Smashwords, but that’s always how it’s going to be.

The only downside to Smashwords is that it is PURELY for eBooks; no print copies are made.

Kindle Direct Publishing is nice because you now have your book on Amazon…and who doesn’t love Amazon?  It’s one of the most popular online venues out there; no better place to have your book!  Some of the (free) benefits of Kindle, however, is that they come with restrictions–meaning you aren’t allowed to publish on other self-publishing platforms (KDP select is an instance of this).

For print editions of your book, I’d recommend Createspace, which is essentially Amazon’s platform for print books.  It takes a bit of time to figure out how to properly size everything in your manuscript to meet the specifications, but once you do, the results are OH so satisfying.  Nothing feels better than holding your own book in your hands.  Trust me!

Obviously, there are many more venues than those listed here, although these are my favorites.  Check out each venue, and pick the one that works best for you!

Actually Follow the Instructions Specified By Your Venue

Seems like a no-brainer, right?  But it’s true.  You’re going to waste SO much time, maybe even MONEY (and who has that anymore?), trying to get your book to match all of the stupid, annoying, frustrating guidelines that will actually help your book look professional.

tired squidward

Trying to self publish without following the guidelines…

JUST.  FOLLOW. THE. GUIDELINES.

Smashwords makes you read an entire “How To” book, making sure you know how to format your book properly.  Is it a pain?  Yes.  But it’s worth it.  Don’t just rush into your venue, guns blazing, hoping to be the world’s next J.K. Rowling….

…only to have all of your excitement killed by a few guidelines.  Be patient.  I would also recommend not promoting your book or publicly announcing a release date until your book is formatted appropriately.  Otherwise, you might miss your release date, and THAT would be embarrassing.

Get a REAL Book Cover

My first book

Even if you don’t hear this from me, I’m sure you’ll hear it from plenty of other sources.  Get a GOOD book cover.  I know this seems obvious, but it can be very tempting to cheap-out and settle for a cover that looks like a 5-year-old drew it on Paint.  Don’t be like that.  Your cover is the first thing that readers will see.  The first sentence of your book isn’t the hook for readers; it’s actually your cover.

Yes, EVERYONE judges a book by its cover.  I do it.  You do it.  You can’t expect readers to treat your book otherwise.

Put some effort into it.  Yes, you might even have to spend a little money.  But do you want to be a successful writer?  If you really are committed, you’ll go through the trouble of ensuring that your book looks as riveting and enticing as possible.

Push the Button

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready for this commitment, you’ve formatted your book properly, your book is the best it can be, you’ve chosen your venue(s), and you’ve got a swanky cover, upload that manuscript!

It can be scary going to push that “publish” button.  Lots of doubts can and will most likely run through your head.  “Is my book ready?  Will anyone actually like my book?  Am I ready for this step?”

In the end, you can only ever be as ready as you can be.  Push the button.  Go for it.  Become an author.

Image result for angry mike wazowski

PUSH THE BUTTON!

If you follow these steps, you can become a self-published author.  Be ambitious.  Go for it.

To show you how possible it is, here’s the cover for one of my books 🙂

The Darkness Within Paperback

Happy writing! 🙂

 

 

 

“You published a book? I could never do that”

Image result for self publishing

It’s really not that hard.  With self-publishing on the rise nowadays, it’s easier than ever to publish a book.  Oftentimes, that’s the only reassurance that people need.  After ages of wondering if we “have what it takes” to go “big time”, we no longer have to worry.  We can, more or less, decide for ourselves whether or not we establish ourselves in the writing universe.

Don’t be one of these people that thinks that publishing, even self-publishing, is impossible.  No doubt, it requires hard work and perseverance.  But there’s plenty of people doing it, so why not you?

Make note, however: if you choose to go down the road of self-publishing, be prepared to work REALLY hard.  Nothing will be handed to you.  The road is fully of bumps and curves, and sometimes, you even have to go uphill.  I’m not telling you this to scare you; I’m telling you this because it’s true!

Self-publishing has been one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.  Do you know what it’s like to see your book come up in a search bar?  To hold your own book in your hands?

i-am-a-writer

It’s awesome, and it’s available to everyone.

If something is holding you back from publishing, shake it off and move forward.  Opportunity is knocking in today’s day and age.  Don’t miss out!

 

Interested In Being A Vendor or Panelist?

pay attention

Is anyone interested in a self-promotion opportunity?  If you live near the Philadelphia area, or you’re willing to fly in (we can pay for bus or taxis, but not plane tickets), I’d like to cordially invite you to be a vendor or a panelist at Nova Con.  Nova Con is a convention held at Villanova University for all things anime, comics, authors, voice actors, artists, etc.  Basically, if you specialize in anything nerdy, this is an opportunity for you! 🙂

Last year, Nova Con was pretty well attended!  We had a number of voice actors show up, some comic artists, authors….we’re expecting the turnout to be even bigger this year!

If you’re up for it and you feel like you have something to contribute, please contact me here: aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com

Always looking out for my fellow writers 😉  Self-published authors are included!

 

 

Awarded Feedspot’s Top 100 Self Publishing Blog

thank you gif

WELCOME!!!

Isn’t that crazy?  Big shout-out to Anuj Agarwal for giving me this award.  I’ve worked very hard to make a name for myself among the self-publishing world.  Feedspot is a website where all of your favorite blogs and websites can be found in one place in one stream of newsfeed.  It’s an honor to be counted among their Top 100 Self Publishing Blogs.

You can see the badge I was awarded, proudly displayed in the sidebar of my blog 🙂

As always, I couldn’t have done this without your continued help and support.  Give yourselves a firm pat on the back 🙂

I know I’ve been kind of distant, writing my songs.  Sometimes, songs are all I can write!  I’d like to keep up with my blog though, and come back strong.

My life is on the move in many ways…so are my stories.  Stay tuned.

 

Angst

stressed-out-writer

Keep the fan going cause it’s quiet

Wear my hoodie even though it’s hot

I was told to write songs so I’ve tried it

Anxiety’s ruthless so I’ll give it a shot

I’m punching at the keys and scratching with a pen

So fast so furious, trying to defend

Myself, and the world from my emotions

Sick of playing the game and going through the motions

Don’t know if I can conquer my depression

It’s hard to conquer when it’s really my obsession

Now I know a thing or two about repression

Don’t try to force this on me though, believe me I’ve learned my lesson

Now I’m trying to make sense and come back strong

That’s why I’m sitting here and writing this song

Supposed to be studying, yeah but I wouldn’t call this slacking

If I don’t do this, some part of me’s gonna be lacking

Forget focus, forget good use of my time

I’m sitting here trying to think of how to rhyme

Yeah I’m rhyming away my problems just to get something out

This writing is internal screaming, external would be a shout

Run my hands through my hair so much I’m looking kinda crazy

Shaking my head, drumming my legs, my thoughts are kinda hazy

I’m trying to do what I should, don’t write me off as lazy

But I didn’t ask for these thoughts to invade my mind and haze me

You see that’s really what it is, it’s a form of abuse

The kind that comes from within, the kind I can’t refute

Because I live with this abuse, and though I hate it, it’s the norm

You wouldn’t recognize it even though it takes different forms

And though this pain is really haunting I think I get by okay

I keep my cool and fold my hands and pray my thoughts away

And when I’m down you know that my baby is there

Baby I can’t tell you how much it means to know that you care

And so I’m fighting this all with all the strength I got

Heaven’s through the narrow gate but hell is awfully hot

And you know me and heat don’t mix well, you know I’m bound to blush

But I also got this inner fire, keep it secret so hush hush

But I can’t deny that it comes out every once and a while

That’s why I’m sitting here writing away, rap-style

And you better feel honored to be hearing my thoughts

Don’t come to close though, you know it’s gonna get hot

 

Just tell me, who do you think that I am?

I’m just trying to please y’all, trying to be a man

Now I know that you think that there’s something wrong inside

You’re always treating me as if I’m trying to hide

Some sorta evil, yeah, something ill-intentioned

You act like I’m a monster, and I’m just good at retention

Foaming at the mouth, lust running through my brain

You think I’m all about sex, and I only cause the world pain

Every time I look at women it’s only for the sake of use

My nature isn’t to love, yeah, it’s only to abuse

Now I didn’t decide all these things, you decided them for me

This is YOUR concept of manhood, the real one’ll be gone shortly

So tell me, how you think anyone can be a man

When all you do is sit around and mess with Divinity’s plans?

 

I got enough to deal with, my own flaws beating me down

Now you come along with your vision and kick me to the ground

Thanks for killing chivalry, thanks for killing what could be

The more you stomp on manhood’s throat, the less I can be me

It’s already hard enough to live with purpose,

I fight through life hoping that it’s worth it

I’m fighting for God, fighting for me,

Fighting for Elia, (my wonderful girl, my baby)

But the battle isn’t always easy with anxiety clawing at my face

Life is full of drama, here we go, now begins the race

Pick up your feet and run, yeah, and try to survive

I thought college was supposed to be fun; it feels like I came here to die

Maybe that’s what I should do, cause after all I’m a MAN

And men are worthless creatures, they don’t fit in God’s plan

Manhood isn’t allowed, it’s replaced with “equality”

And so on top of my depression, I’m forced with receptivity

Of all this trash that gets shoved down my throat

You keep pushing this stuff down, Imma keel over and choke

Gotta watch my mouth as if the media were watching

Everything I say will be used against me; quit stalking!

But I can’t even speak up for myself, cause apparently I don’t deserve to

You take a knife of bigotry and run me right through

So now I’m bleeding out, and depression makes it flow even stronger

You want me to think life isn’t worth living?  Well, try harder

 

Just tell me, who do you think that I am?

I’m just trying to please y’all, trying to be a man

Now I know that you think that there’s something wrong inside

You’re always treating me as if I’m trying to hide

Some sorta evil, yeah, something ill-intentioned

You act like I’m a monster, and I’m just good at retention

Foaming at the mouth, lust running through my brain

You think I’m all about sex, and I only cause the world pain

Every time I look at women it’s only for the sake of use

My nature isn’t to love, yeah, it’s only to abuse

Now I didn’t decide all these things, you decided them for me

This is YOUR concept of manhood, the real one’ll be gone shortly

So tell me, how you think anyone can be a man

When all you do is sit around and mess with Divinity’s plans?

 

I’ve got drive now you see, and I’m dropping bars so heavy

You’ve got me all mad now, better get ready

You see baby and anger make a unique passion

I’m a bad-boy lover, and I like the new fashion

Heaven burns in her eyes, filling me with fire and light

I take her hand and lift her chin, I’m ready to fight

The more you threaten my manhood, the more you threaten her

And that’s not okay with me, it’s something I won’t stand for

Because the more you destroy manhood, the more you destroy the world

And I won’t stand for that; not-aw, cause of her

And depression can take a walk, yeah, you’re getting in the way

I’m gonna love her so much, I’m always gonna stay

By her side, all right?  Not gonna play nice

She is the fire in my blood, her and grace will suffice

These are all that I need to focus and use this angst for good

Not gonna listen to you, world, you don’t know what I should

Do with my life, or who I should be

You talk pretty loud, it’s really discouraging

But I’ll cover my ears, yeah, I’ll rip my ears off

Rip out the voices of my mind and the world, gonna make em stop

I feel so judged, but I’ll take it and be proud

You haters can talk, I kinda like it loud

Imma stand up strong, now that I’ve found my drive

And I’ll look in Elia’s eyes, and remember why I’m alive

 

God, thank you for Elia, and for Your grace too

I can’t even wonder what I’d do without You

Keep me going, all right?  Don’t let me or them get me

Keep me alive, if only for my baby

Cause I need You, and I need her

Don’t ever let me forget what I’m living for

Yeah

 

Iris

Image result for pic of an iris

Yeah

I hope that you, yeah, feel me somehow

Sometimes what I wanna say, yeah, I just can’t figure out

Closest to heaven, yeah, that I’ll ever be

The only thing I want, yeah, is to give you all of me

Don’t wanna go home, yeah, right now, right now,

My heart and my mind, yeah, keep going “wow, just wow”

Cause this moment, yeah, is all that I taste

Every second I spend with you, yeah, is never a waste

Cause all I’m breathing, yeah, is your life

Everything about you, yeah, is too nice, too nice

But I know sooner or later, yeah, it ends

But I can’t help see life, yeah, through a different lens

Gonna see you, yeah, tonight, yeah tonight

No, everything, yeah, is gonna be alright

 

Chorus

Cause you know the world don’t see me

Don’t think they can

But I know you do, I know you understand

When every part of me is broken,

You always know who I am

You’re the most beautiful part of my life

Yeah, praying this is all God’s plan

 

Cause you can’t fight Truth, yeah, you know he’s coming

I love seeing you, yeah, becoming what you’re becoming

And you’re full of that Truth, yeah, no lies, no lies

So pure, yeah, so real, you don’t need no disguise

You’re so amazing, yeah, you’re better than the movies

I thank God every day, yeah, for the way that you choose me

And I’m bleeding, yeah, just to know I’m alive

Life’s so good, yeah, I thought I already died

 

Chorus

Cause you know the world don’t see me

Don’t think they can

But I know you do, I know you understand

When every part of me is broken,

You always know who I am

You’re the most beautiful part of my life

Yeah, praying this is all God’s plan


^ For Elia…