I started blogging because (in part) I was told authors must blog. That’s not the universal advice anymore, but at this point, I’ve been blogging for a while (across three different blogs – oh, gads), and I’ve developed an addiction to the feedback. (Did this post do well? How many shares did it get? What are people interested in? How can this feedback help the writing of my work-in-progress?)
Blogging, frankly, is very time consuming. Some authors and writing coaches now recommend you skip the blog and focus on social media, like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. (LOL. Like those are any less time consuming!) Yet others have skipped both blogging and social media all together and found success simply through book ads, such as BookBub and ENT.
Ultimately, the decision to blog – or not to blog – is a personal choice. If you enjoy it, blog. If it doesn’t steal all your time, blog. If it’s working, blog.
If not … don’t blog.
It’s that simple.
When I think about having to pump out another blog post (usually due in a few hours – sigh), I tend to ask myself, “REMIND me why I’m I doing this, again?” But I have my reasons. And for now, they’re good enough to keep on blogging! For those of you trying to decide whether to start a blog – or whether to continue a blog – here are my favorite reasons for blogging.
It takes a heck of a long time to write a novel. Okay, some people are churning out a book a month. Most of us are lucky to get between one and four per year. And a whole host of others have been building their book since before the kids were born …
While that novel slowly bubbles toward a thickening plot on the back burner, it’s nice to know you’re still a writer – and that other people like your writing. Posting to a blog once a day, once a week, or once a month is a great way to do that. Post, promote, and watch the view counts, shares, and comments roll in. See? You’re a good writer.
Carrie and I were talking about this a couple weeks ago: We decided it doesn’t matter so much how you build your author platform, so long as you’re doing something. There are tons of activities available, of which blogging is just one.
An author blog is a very personal kind of platform building. The audience who follows your blog will probably get to know you pretty darn good. If someone subscribes to your blog, you’ve scored a devoted fan. Way more than someone who simply follows you on Twitter. The people who read your every new post are the same people who are going to be the most interested in knowing when your book comes out.
Testing Your Material
I recently wanted to come up with a new subtitle for my book, Journaling to Become a Better Writer. I came up with a list of options, but wanted to know which subtitle was the most likely to actually stir people’s interest.
Good thing I had a blog! All I had to do was post my list of subtitles and ask for input. I got enough comments in return to make it clear which subtitle was actually a winner – and, in fact, how to tweak it to make it better. Tada! Problem solved.
Not to mention, I created a little extra interest in the book. A handful of people can now say they had a hand in the writing of the book. (Polish shiny badge.)
Feeling Out Your Audience
It’s amazing which blog posts take off and which ones barely scrape along. There are times when I’m sure I’ve penned a winner … and nobody wants to read it. Other times, I’m not even sure I should hit publish … and it goes like gangbusters. (The current top post on my author blog is a prime example. Totally thought about scrapping that one.)
What a great way to vet your audience! I tend to blog about the topics that are going into my novel. If my post is getting a decent number of shares, I can feel pretty confident that this same audience will welcome my novel just as enthusiastically. I’m learning to write to my audience … while at the same time writing about what I’m passionate about.
For instance? You may recall that we recently hosted true crime author Bradley Nickell here at Indie Plot Twist. While searching for fellow crime writers, I initially met him on Google+ and Twitter, followed through to his blog, loved it, subscribed, got to know him better … and before you know it, I’m devotedly sharing his stuff, hosting him here, and buying his book.
That’s called “networking” – making mutually beneficial connections. But if Bradley hadn’t been running a blog, none of that would have happened.
Resources for You
So those are the big reasons why I still blog – despite the weekly headache of making time to blog. Like I said, blogging is a personal decision – and not one to be made lightly. If you’re trying to decide whether to start a blog – or whether to continue a blog – here are some other articles I found helpful.
Should All Authors Blog? by Rachelle Gardner. Rachelle is a literary agent, editor, and publishing coach. In this article, she breaks everything down into two really simple lists: “Have a blog if …” and “Don’t have a blog if …” See where you fit and decide from there.
Should a Writer Have a Blog? by Carol Wyer. Author Carol Wyer weighs in on the debate with some awesome advice – and how to make a blog effective if you do decide to go for it. One of her most interesting suggestions is blogging for others, instead of yourself. The benefits of blogging without having to run your own!
Why You Need an Author Blog by Joel Friedlander. Joel is firmly in the camp of “authors need blogs.” He starts out with a list of benefits, then jumps right in with advice for how to get started.
To Blog or Not to Blog by Carrie Lynn Lewis. Our very own Carrie tackles the topic in this first installment in a series about how to start an author blog.