This is the article the Huffington Post refused to publish

Some of you might be aware that I have a column at The Huffington Post.  On 28th March 2014, I wrote an article, which I have reproduced in its entirety below, in which I attacked certain sections of the media (mainly social media) for declaring people guilty before trial. The Huffington Post refused to publish the article.

The reason given was that they didn’t want to focus on any articles which discuss ongoing legal matters. This is the same Huffington Post which carried the following stories today:

And they’re just three that I found within the first two minutes of casually browsing the front page. Double standards much? Or are they perhaps worried about something else? Could it be the fact that it’s their website and their articles which is often guilty of condemning potentially innocent people?

Here’s the article in full, of which they halted the publication. You can decide for yourself.

With all of the news about missing planes and trigger-happy South Africans recently, it would be easy to miss the story that a male nurse has been re-arrested in connection with the deaths of three patients at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport. You also might have missed the news that Jimmy Tarbuck has had all charges dropped against him in relation to allegations of sex offences. These two stories both went largely ignored, yet remain intrinsically linked.

 

The link is innocence. Back in 2011, Rebecca Leighton was questioned by police in connection with the Stepping Hill murders. The internet, as it does, went apoplectic. People were calling for the death sentence. In a moment of level-headedness, I posted a tweet appealing for calm, stating that she hadn’t even been charged, let alone found guilty in a court of law, and that she should not even have been named in the media. In response, I received a barrage of tweets from people saying I was defending her and should be ashamed of myself. I even received a series of tweets from the granddaughter of one of the murdered Stepping Hill patients, stating that she hoped members of my family were murdered too.

 

All charges against Rebecca Leighton were dropped. A similar pre-Twitter event occurred with the arrest of Christopher Jefferies, who was arrested for the murder of Joanna Yeates. He, too, was cleared and Vincent Tabak was sentences for her murder. At the time I publicly stated that I wasn’t entirely convinced Jefferies was guilty. Something didn’t seem quite right. Perhaps it’s my background as a crime writer which gives me some sort of developed intuition into guilt. Who knows? Either way, this isn’t me saying ‘I was right all along’. Well, it is, but not about that. It’s me saying I was right all along that we should not be so quick to judge people just because they’ve been arrested for something.

 

Anyone can be arrested for anything. I could leave my house and walk to the shop now and find out that a bald bloke wearing a terrible shirt committed a horrible murder around the corner twenty minutes ago. I’d then be arrested and questioned by the police. To be honest, I’d be pretty pissed off if that was then reported in the newspaper. I’d be even more pissed off if the general public took to social media to declare me guilty. Wouldn’t you? Consider it. You could be next.

 

The justice system goes like this: You get suspected, then arrested, then charged, then sentenced in court. Until that very last part has been completed, you’re innocent. That’s the law. Let’s all have some humility and do our best to remember that.

9 tips for promoting your writing blog

Having a writing blog is something that can benefit all authors, whether you are self-publishers, traditionally published or just starting out on your writing career. Promoting your blog is important – after all, there’s not much point in writing it if people can’t find it to read it. Here are some tips for promoting your writing blog.

  • Firstly, write a good blog that is filled with interesting content and is well-written. It’s much easier to promote something that people might actually want to read.
  • Be consistent, both in the quality of your blog posts and with the frequency of your updates. Think about what’s realistic for you and work around that.
  • Stick with it. Promoting your blog can help to attract more readers, but it does take time, so you might not necessarily see fantastic results straight away.
  • Think about SEO keywords. If you want people to be able to find your blog by searching online, make sure it’s listed under relevant keywords. Keyword tools such as Google Adwords can help you decide which words and phrases you want to focus on.
  • Include social media links to and from your blog. Make sure it’s easy for people to share content that has been posted to your blog, and promote your new posts on social media.
  • Promote your blog through your other marketing activities. For instance, if you’ve got a newsletter that you send out regularly to subscribers, include a link to your blog in there and perhaps include your most recent blog post too.
  • Get involved with guest blogging. There are plenty of bloggers out there who look for quality content from other writers, and taking part in guest blogging can be a good way of getting your work to a new audience.
  • Make sure your focus is always on quality. It’s better to do a few things well than many things badly, so it might be an idea to pick a few marketing activities that you want to focus on and take the time to get them just right.
  • Don’t neglect marketing other aspects of your work. Don’t forget it’s not just about your blog – you need to promote your books and your brand as well. Promoting these other aspects can in turn be good for your blog, as a pre-existing platform is always useful when you’re looking to make a mark with something new.

What are your tips for promoting your writing blog?

6 ways to re-inject life into your writing blog

A writing blog can be a great way of promoting your work, connecting with fellow writers, and improving your skills as a writer. But what can you do if you find your writing blog becoming a little bit lifeless or a something of a chore to update? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to re-inject life into your writing blog. Here are some of the best.

Start a new series of blog posts

A great way of re-injecting interest into your blog – for both you and your readers – is to start a new series of blog posts. The topic could be related to what you already write about on your blog, or it could be significantly different, but the important thing is that it’s a topic you find interested and engaging, and that you want to write about. A series like this can be a good way of getting a regular post up on your blog, even if it’s just once a week or once a fortnight, helping you keep the new content coming while adding a new angle to proceedings.

Re-launch alongside your new book

If you are an author with a new book out soon, it could be a great opportunity for you to refresh your blog. For instance, you could consider changing the design of your blog to reflect the design of your new book, as well as using your blog as a prime marketing tool for the book.

Do something completely different

Sometimes, the best way to improve something is to do it completely differently. If you feel like you’ve got to the stage with your writing blog where more of the same or only small changes aren’t going to make any difference, it might be time to try something entirely new. If the things you used to write about on your blog aren’t as compelling anymore, think about what you do find compelling at the moment, and work out how it could be built into your writing blog.

Get a regular guest spot

If your writing blog is well-established with a good number of regular readers, you could consider adding an extra draw with a regular guest spot. For example, once a week, you could give your blog over to a writer you admire to write about a topic of their choosing. You could consider having just one regular guest writer, or if you have loads of contacts who are willing to write a guest post, you could use different writers. Just remember that the people who write the guest posts need to be getting something out of it too – think about how the exposure will help them, as well as how it could help your blog.

Start a new marketing campaign

Starting a new series of promotions for your blog can be a good way of looking at it through fresh eyes. Think about how you’d market it if you had just come across it for the first time. What marketing tactics haven’t you used before? Not only can this be a good way of boosting your blog, but it can also be a useful way of learning about new marketing techniques that could come in handy the next time you publish a book.

Create a calendar of actions

Coming up with a plan for what you want to do with your blog can help you to focus; it will make you think about what you want to achieve through the blog, and can be a good opportunity to think of different themes and topics you want to explore.

 

Getting the most out of your writing blog

A writing blog can be a valuable part of an author’s brand and marketing, but if you want it to be as useful as possible, you need to invest in it. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending money on it, but it does mean making an investment in time and attention so you can get the most out of it. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Define what ‘regular’ writing means to you

We’re always told that if we want our writing blogs to be successful, we need to make sure we update them regularly. I definitely subscribe to this view: it’s pretty hard to make your blog successful if there isn’t anything on it. But ‘regular’ writing could mean different things for different writers. Work out how many posts per week you have the time to write, and take into account issues such as how many ideas for blog posts you can think of in that time.

Take your time to build your presence

It’s said a lot, but it’s said a lot because it’s true: it takes time to create a successful, well-visited writing blog. It can take a while for your work to pay off, but it’s definitely worth building up a good back catalogue of blog posts (see another reason why below).

Consider your keywords and SEO

This one relates to the point above – a good back catalogue of blog posts can be useful for your SEO. Think carefully about the keywords and phrases you want to use on your blog and don’t forget to work them into your blog posts (but don’t force them to fit if they won’t go in – a well-written post is better than a keyword stuffed illogical ramble any day). Another tactic here is to make sure your blog is part of your main website so readers can easily find out more after reading.

Use it to develop your writing discipline

We all know that writing requires discipline, and your writing blog can be a good way to help you develop this. Writing blog posts regularly can help to get you into the mind-set you need when you’re writing your novel. When you’ve finished your blog post for the day, don’t let go of that discipline – stay with it and carry on writing something else straight after.

5 reasons for independent publishers to have their own writing blog

If you’re into independent publishing in any meaningful, it is more than likely to be worth you having your own writing blog. That blog could be on almost anything related to your writing, from the process of publishing to the projects you’re currently working on. Whatever you decide, it can be a hugely useful tool to have. Here are five reasons why.

Build readership

Probably one of the most obvious reasons for having your own writing blog is that it can be a good way to build your readership. Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight; it can take a long time and serious commitment to your blog (and independent publishing), but the rewards are more than worth it.

Develop writing skill

A blog is also a good place for you to develop your writing skills and techniques. This is particularly true if you find yourself in a stretch between projects where most of your time is spent on the publishing side of things rather than the writing side. Your blog gives you an opportunity to carry on writing no matter what and it can be a great place to explore new ideas.

Hone expertise and goals

You can also use your blog to develop your writing goals and your expertise. Even if you don’t know much about independent publishing when you start your blog, as you go along, you’ll undoubtedly learn much more – and your own insights will add a touch of personal style to proceedings.

Build author platform

As well as building readership, a writing blog can also help you build your author platform more generally. It can be a good place to promote your work and also to link to other platforms that you have, such as your social media presence.

Network with others

Finally, a good blog can be a brilliant networking tool. It can lead to guest blogging opportunities, as well as connections with people with influence and impact. Again, this is something that takes time to build up, but it is definitely worth putting the time and effort in to make sure you make your writing blog as good as it can possibly be.