Is literature dead? Does the rise of blogs and eBooks spell doom for traditional forms of writing?
A lot of people seem to think so. But whatever dark future awaits the written word, it’s not quite here yet. In the meantime, aspiring novelists have much to gain by setting up a blog and displaying their work online.
A web portfolio can help you carve out a name for yourself and catch the eye of publishers, and blogging gives you an interactive medium where you can sharpen your skills and get instant feedback from your readers.
So you’ve got a WordPress site and you want to showcase your literary brilliance for all the world to see? Nice one!
These are four pieces of advice for creating a blog that does justice to your writing.
#1: Find a clean, minimalist WordPress theme
If you’re using your WordPress site as a kind of portfolio for your writing, clutter is the enemy. A writer’s blog should deliver the text, and as little else as possible.
Strong colors, flashing graphics and lots of bells and whistles will divert a reader’s eyes away from where they should be: on your words.
Look at any element of your site that draws attention away from your writing and ask yourself – Do I need this? The answer is probably no.
The solution? A minimalist WordPress theme.
Minimalism is an increasingly popular trend in web design. Many bloggers and designers have embraced the notion that less is more – that empty white space and quiet color schemes can help to focus attention on the elements of the site that really matter.
For some examples, check out this showcase of 20 minimalist WordPress themes.
If you’re not in the mood for shelling out your hard-earned cash, the WordPress Theme Directory is always the best place to look for free blog designs. It’s worth investing some time in this. Search far and wide and find a theme that really complements the tone and style of your writing.
#2: Choose your typography carefully
This is a natural extension of the first design tip. Once you’ve found a nice clean layout for your WordPress blog, you need to get your hands on a great set of fonts.
The wrong typography can really take the shine off quality writing, so make sure you’re using a font that captures the essence of your storytelling.
The Google Web Fonts Directory is a great place to start. There are several hundred fonts available to use free of charge, all of which are optimized to work properly on your blog.
For further info, check out this article on how to use Google Web Fonts with WordPress.
Note: I don’t advise browsing through the fonts directory if you’ve still got any work to do today. It’s a lot of fun and an incredibly easy way to blow a couple of hours.
If you’re keen to explore as many different typography options as possible, we’ve got another great article here on finding good fonts for your WordPress blog.
#3: Follow the rules of writing (not the rules of blogging)
If the purpose of your blog is to sharpen and demonstrate your skill as a writer, think carefully about how you present your work. A lot of the strategies and techniques used by other bloggers aren’t necessarily going to enhance the literary value of your writing.
If you’re trying to create a serious piece of literature – a short story, perhaps – stuffing your content with hyperlinks, images and embedded videos isn’t going to look very professional.
Even though you’re publishing online, for an aspiring author it’s generally best to do it old school and stick with plain text. Like the design of your site, keep your content clean and focused wherever possible.
While this piece of advice goes against the grain of our work here at WPMU, it’s important to distinguish between creating multimedia content and writing in a pure literary sense.
#4: Create an informative ‘About the Author’ page
This is especially important if you’re using your blog as a networking tool. If you want the right people to notice your work, you had better make sure that they know who you are.
Create a good ‘About’ page with a short biography, links to your previously published work, and anything that’s going to make you look better to a prospective editor or publisher.
Make sure you give people an easy way to get in touch with you. It’s preferable to include a contact form on your website, rather than simply listing your email address. Contact Form 7 is a free plugin for WordPress that’s easy to set up and highly customizable.
Over to you.
We’d love to hear from any writers out there who use WordPress as a platform to promote their work. Drop us a line in the comments section.
Thanks to Colin K, Olivander, Doesitexplode, Stephen Wolfe and Jan Willemsen for the photos.
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