From blogging to book launch – how writing a blog gave me all the tools I need to be an author.
I’ve been blogging since 2013. I started with a free WordPress site after I’d attended a conference for travel bloggers, while working in hospitality. The conference was amazing – a gathering of the world’s top bloggers, all giving their tips and tricks for creating content and getting it out there.
I walked in as a marketing manager, I walked out as an aspiring blogger. I wrote my first post that evening.
I was due to get married two months later. Little did I know I would soon be dealing with another significant life event – and my blog would became a place to have a little vent about that and engage with others who were going through the same thing. I became a parenting blogger.
Over time, I learned how to write an engaging post and how to share it and promote it on a range of social media platforms. I decided to build my own website, to go self-hosted which meant I had full control over the site. I became familiar with a range of online tools and became fascinated by widgets, pixels and primate related websites. (Picmonkey, Surveymonkey, Mailchimp)
I met a ton of new online friends and from them I learned so much more. I had, in effect, found my blogging tribe.
As I progressed as a blogger, gained more followers and wrote more and more posts, a slow burn of an idea began to enter my thoughts and my writing.
I was drawn to writer events – first blogging and later author events, where real live writers spoke about how they got to where they were now. Many had started with blogging.
Like a tickle that wouldn’t go away, I realised I wanted to write something more significant, something longer that a blog post.
I wanted to write a book.
As I look back over my posts on www.LadyNicci.com it’s easy to see this progression. It is like a diary, an online journal of an aspiring author and you can see the highs, the lows and the learning along the way.
Firstly, I needed to find what I wanted to write about and here my blog came in useful too. On every holiday we took, I purposely visited a historical site or a visitor centre that showed how people lived in the past. I took photos and wrote up about my experiences.
I realised I was fascinated by historical fiction and 19th century social history and that it was something I could and wanted to write about.
It is quite amazing for me to see how something small in my research led to much bigger things. A post I wrote up on a small advert I saw in an old local newspaper led directly to me writing my second novel The Nanny at Number 43. A walking tour of my town inspired the opening chapter of that book.
As I worked on my book, I blogged about struggles with my manuscript, stops and starts, research trips and knock backs and when I finished it, I blogged about waiting for news, of an agent, of rejections, of a publishing deal. I am so glad it is all there on the screen to see.
I can see how many small steps led to rather giant leaps. Getting an agent, securing a publishing deal, booking the book launch were the end results of many other hours, writing, reading, researching, emailing, networking, attending events.
You never know what you see or hear now, can affect something you do years from now. As bloggers and writers, atmosphere, stories and senses can nestle down in our subconscious and began to live and breathe.
If you have an idea of a book dream, if you have a vague feeling that you could produce something and a writing itch that won’t go away, then follow it. Don’t ignore it.
Go and meet others. Read their books, reach out on social media. Join in on Twitter chats, treat yourself to a festival – one where you can stay over and have some drinks in the bar.
As I sat at my own book launch this week and watched a large pile of books with my name on the front cover disappear into paper Waterstone’s bags, I wasn’t thinking of everything that had led me here.
I was thinking – this is flipping fantastic. I am so happy right now.
I am so grateful to be in this position and I do feel lucky that it has happened to me.
But, like all good literary X Factor contestants before me, it’s been a journey. It didn’t happen overnight. And that journey is up there, in html, in images and blog posts under categories of writing and history for me, and you, if you are interested to see.
(c) Nicola Cassidy
Visit Nicola’s blog www.LadyNicci.com for more. Her new novel The Nanny at Number 43 is published by Poolbeg Press.
About The Nanny at Number 43:
Wanted, a respectable woman to care for a motherless child.
When William D. Thomas’s wife dies in childbirth, he places an advertisement in his local newspaper seeking a nanny for his newborn child.
He is thankful when an experienced nanny arrives at 43 Laurence Street and takes over from his frazzled housekeeper Mrs McHugh.
Mrs McHugh confides in her bedridden friend Betty, who has a bird’s-eye view of all the happenings on Laurence Street, that the Nanny is not all she seems. Betty begins her own investigation into the mysterious woman.
When the bodies of twin babies are discovered buried in a back garden, by a family who have moved from their tenement home into a country cottage, a police investigation begins.
But it is Betty who holds the key to discovering who the Nanny really is … and the reason she came to 43 Laurence Street.
Order your copy online here.