Blogs for Writers: The FAQ Post

Blogs for Writers: The FAQ Post

A great use of a blog is to answer an FAQ . . . a Frequently Asked Question.

Hey, this is one way a blog can actually save you time! (As opposed to sucking it away from you!)

Start by considering: what common questions do I get? (This works well for any profession, whether you’re a writer or running a plumbing business or a repairing computers or . . .)

Let’s face it. You get the same questions over and over. Not a bad thing, but think how a blog can make your response simpler. Someone asks you a question about a common problem or concern. Perhaps it’s a question about how to do something very basic . . . let’s say . . .

How do I find a literary agent for my novel?

In the old days, I’d dig around in my resources and write a brief response (often, copying and pasting from previous emails). So it was standardized, but wasn’t the most efficient way to respond. It might end up with this info:

I like to recommend AgentQuery as a starting point. A good database of agents, searchable by genre, name of agent, title of books represented, etc. Also has good online articles on how to write a query, how to submit your work to an agent, and so on.

I also recommend Jeff Herman’s Guide as a printed resource. I like his profiles of individual agents, with the standard contact info, genre interests and specialties, books represented.

Other tips: Ask published friends about their agents. Go to conferences to meet agents in person (one of the most effective strategies). Remember: the members of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) must have done deals for 10 literary properties during a 18-month period to become a member, so they have a track record of success. Don’t pay a reading fee. [Etc.]

Maybe I’d also include a link to further info: “For more, here’s a great article (or book). . . . ”

Anyhow . . . the point is . . . why not post that on your blog as a type of FAQ answer?

Be sure to highlight your personal experience, or points where you differ in your advice from others. Maybe you have a point-of-view: your advice advocates low-cost techniques, pros vs. cons, out-of-the box ideas, guerrilla tactics, or whatever.

Keep it short.

Then, when someone down the line asks the same question, just you can email them a link to that specific blog post (instead of taking the time to re-create that answer). Others will stumble upon that FAQ answer post on their own, by visiting your blog or doing a web search.

Eventually, if you create enough of these answers to standard questions, you might consider a page on your blog or site devoted to FAQs.

It’s an efficiency measure. It’s good marketing. It reinforces your image as an expert. Then, you can spend your time giving more specific (and valuable) answers to the unique portion of any customer’s query. And the customer knows you’re interested in serving them well: not making your living by answering routine questions, but by helping them in more substantial, personal ways.

And . . . generosity is good for business. What goes around comes around. So think about creating FAQ posts. Help people get answers to their common questions.

It can be the start of a great and mutually beneficial relationship.

1 Comment

  1. I made a You Tube video on my ideagirlconsulting channel with the Wall Street Journal’s Best-Selling Hardcover Fiction Titles for November 2009.

    I’ve been reading your book for a week now.(The New Writers Handbook 2007 – in bits and pieces while on my breaks from blogging)

    I tried the Agent Query Search Site (as mentioned in your book) and couldn’t find anyone who actually represents Stephen King’s – Under the Dome.

    There were several Literary Agents listed but I only wanted the one for that particular book. I ended up changing my criteria for the video of New York Times Best Selling Authors to featuring pictures of the authors, the book covers and the publishers that were on the list that I was working on.

    I had fun, the only thing was, that after I had spent 8 hours making it, a new list was published and all the names had changed. πŸ™‚

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