Should All Authors Blog?
A few years ago, the standard wisdom was that authors, both fiction and non-fiction, should have blogs in order to gather an audience and build relationships with readers. Now, not so much. As social media and online marketing have evolved, my thoughts on blogging have changed. I think each author needs to carefully consider whether blogging is an appropriate vehicle for them based on:
1. If they can do it well;
2. If they enjoy it; and
3. If their writing career can benefit from it.
If blogging doesn’t suit you, don’t spend too much time trying to make it work.
Why aren’t blogs the appropriate vehicle for all authors?
- The proliferation of blogs in the last five years has made it increasingly difficult to stand out in the crowd.
- Many authors are blogging faithfully but it doesn’t seem to be increasing readership of their books.
- Many authors seem to be blogging to an audience that’s mainly other writers.
- Many authors have a hard time figuring out what their blogs should be about (mostly fiction authors).
So, how do you decide if you should have a blog? Here are my thoughts:
Have a blog if:
1. You have something important to say and it seems people want to hear it.
2. You understand that blogging is about offering something of value, NOT about promoting yourself and your books.
3. You enjoy blogging (for the most part, anyway).
4. You find blogging contributes to your creativity and enthusiasm for writing your books, rather than sucking all the energy out of you.
5. You can find the time for blogging without it completely stressing you out.
6. Your books have a highly defined target audience, making it easy to target your blog.
7. Your books are topical (especially non-fiction), so that you have a clear and obvious theme for your blog.
Don’t have a blog if:
1. You keep asking yourself and others, “But what should I blog about?”
2. You only want to blog to promote your books and/or because you think you “have to.”
3. The whole idea stresses you out.
4. You honestly don’t have the time in your schedule to blog regularly.
5. You’ve been blogging for a year or more, and haven’t built up to a traffic level that seems worth it.
Nowadays there are numerous alternatives to blogging when it comes to online networking and promotion.
- email newsletters
- using Facebook effectively
- leveraging all the various ways Goodreads offers for promoting books
- learning how to attract a readership through Pinterest
- having an effective LinkedIn profile page
- connecting with readers on Google+
(See author Jody Hedlund’s post last week on this same topic.)
Do you think authors need blogs nowadays? Do YOU blog? If so, how’s it going? If not, why not?