I’ve been blogging now for close to two years. I publish my author blog every week on a Wednesday without fail (he says, fingers crossed) and have published over 100 posts. Even when I go on holiday I set up blogs in advance. I started because, when I knew that I would be self-publishing my books, all the advice I read suggested it was a good idea.
Looking back to when I began to write that first book I realise just how naive I was about, well, everything. I just wrote. The same was true for blogging. I knew about blogs, I looked at a whole host of them before starting one. Did I appreciate anything that regular blogging entailed, no! Also despite reading the advice I had little idea about what it might or might not do for me as a writer or any clear idea as to what I was hoping it would achieve. So this is a little of what I’ve learnt along the way.
What blogging won’t do for you in the short term at least (I still regard nearly two years as short term) is sell you shed loads of books. I don’t go to individual author blogs when I’m looking for my next read, so why would I expect people to come to my blog looking for books? And, if I’m honest, I should say ‘especially my books’, because I admit I am a little known self-published author.
So, although it sounds obvious, I think it is important to remember that the majority of people are visiting your blog to read your blog. Or, to be more correct, to see if your blog is worth reading from their point of view. If you capture their interest they will read on and may read other things while they’re there, hence why I try to include resources and inspiration, short stories etc. The key here is capturing people’s interest. I know from my own experience of flicking through blogs that I will often read that first paragraph and move on if it’s not what I’m looking for/not piqued my interest. So as I’m sure you’ll have read elsewhere ‘content is king’.
What I am hoping to do is interest/entertain/inform (as much as I can) in the hope that people read what I have to say, which means they take me seriously, or at least seriously enough to return to my blog, recommend me to others, re-publish my blog and anything else that helps promote me and what I have to offer. I also hope some will take a few minutes out to comment, which is conformation for me that I’ve said something worthwhile, whether people agree or not. Then I hope eventually that those people will give my work a go. Perhaps they’ll read a short story and then risk a pound or two on a book. For me that’s how it works.
What I have learnt that I didn’t appreciate at the beginning is how it would improve me as a writer and self-publishing author. The sheer discipline of blogging weekly, coming up with topics and ideas and then working them through is a lesson that I think any writer will benefit from. You are committing words to (forgive me) paper that others are going to read within a few days. This is not something going out there in a few months’ time, that you will have endless opportunities to edit and revise, that early readers will see, that a proof reader will scour for those grammatical and typological faux pars. It’s just you and the reader.
So is an author blog worth it for the self-publishing writer? Most definitely, although not in the way I perhaps imagined when I published that first blog. Oh, and there are other benefits and positives that I hadn’t appreciated – see part 2 .
As always comments are welcome.
5 thoughts on “An author blog – what it can and can’t do for you, part 1.”
You’re doing better than me if you’re still posting every week. I’m on my third year, and having a tough time making time for blogging and still have time for writing stories (also spending more time on Twitter in recent months). I have no shortage ideas, just a shortage of time.
Thanks for the comment. I must admit some weeks I find it a struggle. I do try to keep a few ideas and notes ‘in stock’. I also trawl a few science/discussion web sites for inspiration and some times old blog ideas have more mileage in them.
Thanks for the post. I have been thinking about the value of blogs myself and I think it can help the creative process. It’s like thinking out loud with an audience and sometimes…just sometimes, what we blog can, in a roundabout way, can make it into our fiction. The subconscious is very weird and if you don’t throw it out there, it won’t come back.
Thanks for the comment, and I agree. With my science fiction blogs it gives me the chance to think through and play with ideas which then influence my stories.