Recently there has been a lot of buzz in writer-blog land about whether or not a writer blog is the best way to build a fiction platform. On the one hand, we’re writers, so we’re blogging about what we know. On the other hand, that means we attract other writers to our blogs, not readers. Then again, other writers feel our pain and will do things like spread the word to non-writer friends and family, but if they don’t…

You see the back and forth of it all? There are pros and cons. But I’ve been pondering this entire topic because it runs deeper that that. I know someone who’s spent the last few months trying to move his website up in the search engines. SEO – search engine optimization. In other words, if someone goes to google and types in his product name, he wants his website to show up on the front page. Ideally in the top three listings, without paying for a sponsored spot.

The basic concept is, establish yourself as an expert in a field, then people will want to read about you, and link to you, and talk about you. Links back to your site = more attention from search engines (it’s not quite that straightforward, but that’s the real basic concept).

I’ve been listening and learning as he goes through this process, and in the back of my head I’ve been thinking “swell, but how do you apply that to a writing blog where the only thing I’m selling is myself and if I’m lucky, my books?”

And in the round-about way my mind works, the thought starts to tie back to the writer-blog conversation. Here’s the thing about any website, writer blog or otherwise: you have to stand out from your peers to get noticed. We’re all talking about our writing process, the rules, submissions, book deals, etc. A lot of it is the same content, just shared from different perspectives. And the blogs that get the most repeat traffic are those that present it in a manner that the most people can relate to.

I am not that blog. That’s not a tinge of self-doubt or self-effacing or anything like that. It’s the truth. I know some of you read every day and I absolutely <3 you. I have a good idea who you are and you're brilliant people ^_^. But that's more of a cult following than wide-spread readership.

Say I wanted to draw more people in. But all I know is writing, right? Not quite. I have a day job. I don’t talk about it much because to writerly types it’s kind of dull. I’m a database programmer. In other words, I’m a tech geek, and I get paid for it.

This morning all the pieces clicked in my head. I know things that a lot of other writers might like to know, but that aren’t directly about writing. I know how to make word processing software sing you pretty songs as you format your documents for either submission or self-publication. I know how to make the process straight-forward and simple and easily repeatable.

I’m going to share. Partly because then I have a unique ‘thing’ to draw in more readers (SEO), but mostly because it took me a while to figure this stuff out and I know it’s a pain for all of us and I don’t think anyone should have to suffer through formatting woes if there’s an easier way to make your manuscript look pretty.

It won’t take over the blog. I’ll still ramble about my story-telling process because I like doing that. But I’ll be posting how-to’s that I’m hoping will help other people. Also, if you’d ever like any off-the record help, you’re more than welcome to email me. I have a ‘About me/Contact me’ link in the right side-bar that will send you to a page with my email address.

If I posted things like how to easily format your novel, how to set up auto-numbering for chapters, things like that, would that be helpful to anyone or is it already wide-spread knowledge?