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Do Authors Really Need To Blog?


EBraten

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I don't wanna. So, I was thrilled to find this article that says that perhaps I don't haveta.

 

Steven Spatz, himself a writer, is president of Book Baby. In this article, although he says that non-fiction writers generally should blog, he adds this:
 

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It deserves to be mentioned here that blogs are no longer “musts” for authors.

 

In fact, a growing number of authors are coming to believe that blogging is neither a requirement nor the best marketing and promotion tool for their writing. Here are a few of their reasons:

 

  • Blogging takes time away from your REAL writing. Each day consists of 1440 minutes, or 86400 seconds. For many writers, time is precious. And any activity — including blogging — that takes away from writing time is a negative.
  • Blogging enables feedback — for less than your best work. Remember the point above about feedback? It can be a double-edged sword. As soon as you press “publish,” your article is live for the world to see, free for people to react and respond to. This is exciting — addictive even — especially when people affirm your writing. But because blogging allows you the potential of almost instant gratification, it’s tempting to hit publish prematurely, to jump the gun on the creative process, to not let it run its course. Good writing takes time. And the ease of blogging and sharing can subvert the process of getting to your best content.
  • It’s hard to build a quality audience through blogs. Authors complain about the number of books in the marketplace, but those numbers pale compared to the growth of blogs. Experts say there are over 700 million blogs in all forms in 2018. Blogs are still important to those invested in their specific subjects, but not to a more general audience, who are more likely to turn to Twitter or Facebook for a quick news fix.
  • Blogs aren’t money makers anymore. Many authors devote time to blogging for reasons beyond just perfecting their craft. While I admire how some use their site to build a platform, brand, and build an audience, many writers are lured into pursuing pure traffic numbers, affiliate marketing, and ad sales. Chasing those kinds of numbers can be a huge distraction towards your more purely literary goal. And with those numbers shared above, it’s a challenge to gain any kind of profitable traction.

 

 

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I understand his logic. Creating my blog has certainly been time consuming, and I'm nowhere near where I want it to be. On the other hand, it is creative writing, and I believe that it is and will be useful to others. Since I am and have been a teacher (I don't think one ever quits being one), then creating a "textbook" is almost as good as standing in the classroom.

 

For me, anyway. 

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Guest Steven Hutson
1 hour ago, EBraten said:

Blogging takes time away from your REAL writing.


Which is less than half your job as an author. Gotta build that platform, if you want to sell that "real" writing.

 

1 hour ago, EBraten said:

Blogs aren’t money makers anymore.


I've never expected my blogs to make money. They get me known, which makes me money.

Forget what anyone "requires" you to do. Do what works for you.

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Glad to see that someone is addressing the elephant in the room. It's always been common advice that writers need to blog. But is it really effective? I think long ago it was almost universally so, but these days it's a mixed bag. The web is over-saturated with blogs, so getting one off the ground these days is much harder.

 

Approaching it from a business standpoint, I think a writer needs to ask themselves where their time is best spent. If you have a blog that's well followed, and is a key part of your marketing plan (and/or platform), then it's obviously time well spent. If starting/maintaining a blog is taking too much time away from writing/producing new material, then I think you need to rethink where your time is needed.

 

Blogs can be effective, but they can also bleed time/energy away from your next book. I think the axiom that what sells your book is your next book is still true these days.  

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1 hour ago, carolinamtne said:

On the other hand, it is creative writing, and I believe that it is and will be useful to others. Since I am and have been a teacher (I don't think one ever quits being one), then creating a "textbook" is almost as good as standing in the classroom.

Yours is a great reason to have a blog. You've got useful material to share on a regular basis.

 

I completely agree that blogs are vital for non-fiction writers, since they help build credibility.

 

But as a fiction writer, there are other and better ways to build a platform and collect readers.

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11 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

However, fictionists do need a website. Readers are curious about the authors they read and want to find them online. And you need a newsletter to stay in touch with your readers.

Absolutely. No question about that. A blog, though, I'm relieved to see is not a must for platform-building for a fiction author. 

 

There are many fiction writers who blog about stuff. I love their blogs but don't buy their fiction because it's not what I enjoy. I think that a blog, even if popular,  may attract an entirely different audience than the ones you want to read your fiction.

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I think it really depends. I started my blog without worrying about a building my audience. There are other ways of promoting your story. If you have social media, it can help. Or sharing your stories with your friends. That is one way to get your story around. And such. 

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Guest Steven Hutson
39 minutes ago, Sunny said:

sharing your stories with your friends.

 

Well, my friends always see my work. Which at best might bring me a few dozen sales. I don't need marketing for that.

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2 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

How can a novelist build an audience in advance of a launch?

Two of the big ways I see authors doing this are via email lists (including newsletter swaps with other authors) and author web sites. A number have also used Facebook and Amazon ads, but the single most important thing seems to be email newsletters.

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Guest Steven Hutson
1 minute ago, EBraten said:

the single most important thing seems to be email newsletters.


With my blogs, is exactly how I've gathered thousands of names and emails.

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2 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

How can a novelist build an audience in advance of a launch?

 

How will anyone know about your book if you do not have a platform, a community of interested readers already in place? If you have not developed relationships with others, no one will know you or even see or care that you have a book out.

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Guest Steven Hutson
Just now, lynnmosher said:

How will anyone know about your book if you do not have a platform, a community of interested readers


My sentiment exactly.

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Guest Steven Hutson
2 minutes ago, EBraten said:

Mine too. Except, a blog isn't the only way to build a platform.


Of course. But this is someone that anyone can do, and there are tons of free services for it.

When I see someone's website, I've pretty much seen everything. Websites don't change much or often. Whereas, a blog can give your audience something new to read every week (or 2 weeks, or whatever).

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1 minute ago, Steven Hutson said:

That was for me? Yes, and I have both.

Yes, that was for you. A web site can serve the platform building purpose for a fiction writer.

 

For somebody who specialises in non-fiction or who has a need to establish and maintain credibility on a non-fiction subject, I agree that a blog is key.

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I should just add that I'm not saying fiction writers should not blog. My point is that if you don't have something to blog about and blogging is going to take up time that you don't have, there are other effective ways of achieving the same goals of platform-building and connection with readers. An empty or uninspiring blog is worse than no blog at all, in my opinion. The best blogs are ones which have a particular angle or theme, and this doesn't come automatically to everyone.

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Guest Steven Hutson
8 minutes ago, EBraten said:

For somebody who specialises in non-fiction or who has a need to establish and maintain credibility


No doubt, NF writers have a different (or added) motivation. But every writer needs to build name recognition. 

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