In November 2017 I started the Mudworld Blog to hone my writing skills and explore ideas regarding gaming, world building, and writing. I read many “how-to” guides to blogging and watched many YouTube videos as I figured out how to do this.
I am not going to create my own “how-to” guide, as there already are plenty of good ones out there. Instead, I will go through some of my own experiences I did not pick up from others. I missed these points, so maybe you did as well.
The Free Version of Grammarly Does Not Report Passive Voice?
I tend to ramble, and I have a blind spot for passive voice. I relied on Google Docs and teh free version Grammarly as I drafted my first half-dozen of posts before going live. The WordPress plugin Yoast SEO gave me red dots on readability for passive voice, when I eventually installed the WordPress plug-in.
It turns out it may be a good idea to run the draft through Word before publishing. I should get an editor, or at least upgrade to the paid version of Grammarly.
The Eight Months Edit: I am less sure about my conclusions after easing into this blogging thing. Let me settle with it may be a good idea to run your text through several editors, as Yoast and Grammarly seem to disagree on how passive voice works. Use caution.
Facebook May Give You a Coupon
Facebook sent me a 30 USD coupon for free advertising roughly 12 hours after setting the Facebook page for the blog. Thanks, Mark!
I was not prepared, unfortunately. The Facebook ads are accurate, and there was a lot of options. Another problem was that the coupon was on my phone and I could not find it my computer, which made the menus harder to navigate.
I blew half my budget on a joke post until I discovered I could stop the marketing and make changes.
The lesson is to read up on Facebook advertising as you set up the Facebook page for your blog and make sure your first and second post actually is something worth advertising.
You should also make sure you have a Facebook-friendly image in the post. My Pinterest-friendly image did not look great on Facebook.
The Eight Months Edit: I’m determined to not spend any money on advertising unless I have a product to sell. This inactivity eventually made Facebook antsy, and the company gave me a new coupon. This was perhaps even more fruitless than my first campaign, but I did get some more experience with Facebook ads. That said, the user interface is super slow. Facebooks is feeling its own weight, that’s for sure.
The Amazon Associates Tax Interview
I plan to self-publish on Amazon and Smashwords, and I hope to actually make some money from my writing. As a European, I pay taxes here, so I do not want to pay taxes in the US.
The tax treaty with the US seem clear on this point, citizens of my country does not have to pay US taxes unless we live there. The problem is to sort out the details.
I read that both Amazon and Smashwords deduct taxes and report to the IRS (as they should), and both companies partially guide you to the IRS doorstep to make this as quick and painless as possible.
I got the impression that this could take some time, and possibly required sending copies of my passport to the IRS to get a TIN-number. I assumed Amazon being the more prominent company would have the best way to guide me through the process, so I wanted to establish a business relationship with Amazon as quickly as possible.
Although monetization of the blog is not my primary concern, paying for the costs would be nice, so affiliate marketing sounded like a good idea. I am going to rant about books I love anyway.
The Amazon tax interview turned out it was painless. The IRS now accept my national TIN number, so waiting for paper forms and copies of passports to arrive seems to be a thing of the past. That said, I eagerly await any emails from the IRS.
The Watch List
Who needs education when you got YouTube? I am not going to answer that, but I will just leave it hanging, you know.
I have seen dozens of YouTube clips as I have researched how to go about writing and publishing my stories.
The most useful ones have been:
- Blogger and YouTuber Susan Velez.
- YouTuber Tyler Moore.
- Author and YouTuber Tim Knox.
- Entrepreneur and YouTuber Carissa Hill.
I have learned everything I know about blogging and wordpress from those people. Sadly, they cannot do the writing for me.
The Eight Months Edit: Tim Knox no longer posts videos. It’s kind of a bummer, but it does not make the archive any less insightful.