In a recent series of blogs I described my experience of taking the James Patterson master class on writing. This was triggered by the simple fact that I’m not selling many books, despite the fact that those who have read them have enjoyed them. And yes, taking that master class has changed the way I think about my writing and book construction. So having, I feel, made positive progress in that direction I am now looking at the other activities surrounding my writing. Top of the list is marketing and part of that is blogging i.e. this blog.
For three years now I have blogged every week on writing, science and science fiction and a few other things. Recently though I have read other blogs that are making me question what I’m doing and why. Firstly, one blog seemed to say that any blogging was a waste of time for a writer, on the grounds that it is simply taking up valuable writing time and it doesn’t sell books.
The latter, not selling books, is definitely true in my experience. At least it is from the way I have been blogging. I’ve told myself that I look at blogging more as a way to get my name out there, build some sort of on-line ‘brand’, ‘persona’ or whatever you want to call it. I may well have achieved some of that but that hasn’t resulted in book sales.
The other blogs that have really made me think are by Laurence O’Brian of BooksGoSocial.com which I am a member of. His philosophy is that you should blog on your writing, themes, research, locations whatever, but tie it into your books with a link to those books in the blog. i.e. remember why you are blogging in the first place.
Perhaps, I’ve fallen into the trap of blogging on topics that will bring people to my blog rather than promote my work. I admit it’s something that has nagged at me for some time. I’m a writer of science fiction and my blog is not focusing on that. I’m blogging more for other writers than readers of science fiction. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what I set out to do.
Equally I don’t want to just bang on and on ‘buy my books’. I’ve seen that on twitter and it is a complete turn off. So I need to strike a balance between what I think readers of my blog will be interested in and what I’m trying to achieve. Now that might mean fewer, more focused blogs. Still the occasional writing blog etc. which was sort of my promise in the beginning and science (linked to scifi). However, it does make sense that if I can interest people in topics explored in my books then they might be interested in the books themselves. Perhaps, blogging less often will also give me time to update other parts of the site, which I admit have been neglected recently.
Bottom line – I have to be more professional. I heard an interview on the radio recently with the author Rachel Abbot who is a successful self-published writer. She said to start with she was just selling the odd book here and there, then she realised she had to treat it as a business. It’s no good having a great product if you don’t get the message out there.
Now this blog is going out while I’m on holiday on a Greek island (tough gig I know). However, the one writing task I’ve set myself is to have a long hard think about this blog and how to make it work for me, as well as keep it interesting for those who are good enough to read it.
As always thoughts and comments (and help!) are welcome.