In last weeks’ blog I mused on some of the things of the things that having an author blog has and hasn’t done for me. It has improved me as a writer, but it hasn’t sold heaps more books. As I said people go to your blog to read (hopefully) your blog not to look for books. After a while, if people enjoy/appreciate what you are writing then they will take you more seriously, return to your blog and hopefully at some point decide to give your books a go.
However, there’s more to it than that. If you write a blog the chances are you also read blogs. I follow a number on writing, science and science fiction. Not only are they a source of ideas for my own blog, they are an education in their own right – see my blog ‘7 things I’ve learnt from a year of blogging’. And if you do go to these blogs and appreciate the content then leave a comment. Most people will reply. Not only will you put a smile (generally) on their face you are building threads of contacts and there’s no knowing where some of those may lead. In my case it has resulted in me providing guest blogs (something I must do more of). These have been a very rewarding experience, with many people commenting on my blog and so it goes on. Also, these are a good way of using past blogs that are relevant, tweaked or reworked. I don’t consider this ‘cheating’, just a good way of reaching a wider audience.
A writer’s life is naturally a rather solitary existence, it’s not a group activity. Even talking about it to friends can be difficult. Some are wowed by the fact that you’re doing it, some see it as a bit of a waste of time (you know, ‘how many books have you sold?’). I am a member of a writing group (see ‘why you should join a writers group’), which is great, but for me blogging is a way of being in contact with a much wider group writers, and then what you realise is most are in the same position as yourself, enjoying what they do, but struggling to sell more books etc., etc. Making those contacts with other writers provides encouragement and at times much needed solace as well as tips, ideas and advice. And as above if you comment on another writer’s blog, they will nearly always get back to you – see, building those connections.
What I would say is that if you are blogging or thinking about blogging you have to commit. Sometimes, I admit in the early days it felt like I was talking to myself, but then after 6 months more people were picking up on them and after twelve months I realised I was getting somewhere. More recently I’ve had blogs picked up by several on-line publications, which is pleasing in its own right. However, it’s also increasing my on-line presence as a writer and a blogger, all good news when it comes to the vagaries of the digital world, SEO and google searches etc.
So if you are a writer/blogger and its working well, please share your experiences. If you’re a blogger and wondering if it’s worth it – keep going, it will bring its rewards, it just takes time. If you’re thinking about starting an author blog, go ahead. What will you write about? Your experiences (ups and downs), what interests/amuses/annoys you, just share it.
As always views are welcome.