Blogging for Authors: Yes or No?
How many blogs do you read? What topics interest you? Do you only read blogs on writing craft? Book marketing? Self-publishing? Or do you enjoy reading about the writing process, or what an author is working on? Have you ever read an author’s blog that is meant for their fiction readers?
These are all questions that have been roaming around in my head as I’ve read discussions on blogging that have been happening around Facebook recently.
Authors were wondering if they should blog. Would readers read a blog written by their favorite author? What should the author write about?
We spend our lives writing our stories, but we don’t necessarily want to blog about them weekly or monthly—that’s what our newsletters are for, that’s what special reader groups are for—sharing our secret character stories and deleted scenes, right? That’s all “privileged information”.
So, I did a search of the most popular Regency romance authors, since that’s my genre, just to see if any of them blogged and, if so, on what topics. I searched for about fifteen names and came up with three blogs.
Most authors have a “News” tab on their website where they list their latest books and any signings or talks they’re going to be doing—places where a reader can meet the author in person. Other than that, though, there’s nothing. A few authors had FAQs about their books or the time period. Others had nothing but a list of their books, their bio and how to sign up for their newsletter.
Very few authors blog!
When they do, it might be once a month rather than weekly. They’ll blog on what they’re reading, or what’s new and exciting in their personal life as it relates to their writing (Cathy Maxwell had a cute post on buying new pans and how it opened up her creative mind because now she had to cook something fantastic), or on being a writer (how it affects your health, travel, life, and the creative process). Some authors just blog sporadically when they’ve got something to say—a new book coming out, a talk they’ll be giving, whatever.
It’s contrary to what one might think, but actually being a writer doesn’t lend itself to blogging topics that the reader of one’s books would be interested in. No, I take that back. The problem with today’s publishing world is that there are too many places for writers to share their work and subsets thereof (deleted scenes and what-not mentioned above) so blogs get pushed down the pile.
Which means that we need to revisit that question, should you, an author, blog?
Of course, the obvious answer is yes, if you’ve got something you want to talk about, if you’ve got something to say.
The most successful way to blog is to do it on a regular basis so that your readers know when to come back. Generally, having a theme is important. If you’re rather haphazard about what you blog about you very well may lose readers—or you may gain some because they’ll never know what you may be blogging about this time and they’ll be curious to see what topic you tackle (sorry, it could go either way). But it’s mostly understood that having a general topic is best.
Also, as with all posting on the interwebs, the 80/20 rule still holds: only ask people to buy your work 20% of the time, the other 80% is for topics of interest other than what you sell.
So, what do you think? Is blogging for you? If so, what would you, or what do you blog about?