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Is Blogging Worth It for Authors?

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Black Dragon, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Blogging — as many of us know — can be a tremendous amount of work. Many authors create blogs under the assumption that they will help the writer to build a following, which will lead to more book sales.

    But does it usually work out that way? Is blogging really worth all of the energy that writers put into it? What is your experience?
     
    Ned Marcus and Devor like this.
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    In my opinion, you need a base on the internet, a link that you can drop here and there that'll lead people to your work.

    But I wouldn't think of it as a blog.

    To me, a blog is a feed of regular content that looks to build up a base of regular readers. A blog posts "How-tos" and "Here's my thoughts on" and other articles that are supposed to be interesting and get people to keep coming back. To me, a good blog is full of content the way that your book should be full of content, and it can actually be profitable in about the same way. Building a good blog is a lot of work for one person. It takes marketing, and clever content, and you have to keep escalating your quality.

    Frankly, a book is one of the ways you monetize your blog, not the other way around.

    If you want to sell your book, then focus on sales. You don't need 1,000 people reading your blog and coming back every week. You need 1,000 new people coming to your web page every week, to think about buying your book, and it doesn't matter if they never come back again. They only need to buy it once.

    That's a very different endeavor.
     
    ALB2012 likes this.
  3. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    I’m not a believer in blogs for selling fiction, nor Twitter... much like I’m not a believer in piling up newsletter members or likes in order to sell your first book. Way I figure it, it takes a first book to build a healthy fan base. If the book is related to the blog, maybe. I mean I have a blog, but it’s not a regular thing. Too much time spent blogging is time not writing/editing the novel.

    I kind of compare blogging to an author I clicked over to check out on FB the other day... 20,000+ Likes... impressive! I flip over to their books on Amazon, the most reviews any have is 6. Most, 2. Granted, reviews don’t equate precisely to sales, but there is a correlation. That is a rather staggering lack of sales indication for 20,000 Likes. Either a lot of time or a lot of money was put into getting those likes, a lot of time goes into blogs that isn’t going to do much.

    Organic.

    If you have organic blog readers... meaning you are keeping your audience you built through a novel entertained, that’s fine. Expecting to build an audience for your book through a blog is much less likely. By my thinking anyhow.
     
    Chessie2 likes this.
  4. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    AMEN brother! I couldn't agree more.

    I've tried and tried to blog over the years but it just isn't for me. Finally, I decided to go back to Tumblr, which I had been on at the beginning of everything. I really enjoyed it then and I'm enjoying it now. I don't believe blogging sells books (could be wrong) but in my experience emotionally satisfying the reader does.
     
  5. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I've thought many times of doing a blog, but I just don't know what I would blog about. I think mostly it would say, fixed some computers today and studied for that next cert. Did not have time to write :(
     
  6. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    My biggest issue with blogging in general is that it takes precious time away from my writing.
     
    JGCully and Demesnedenoir like this.
  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I've got a blog, and sometimes I post things on it, but a lot of the time it just sits there. It feels like a chore to come up with something to post, and then write it. Sometimes inspiration comes on, and I'll do a piece on something, like share new cover art or such, but a lot of the time, the blog is just something that nags at me that I ought to do something about it.

    It doesn't come naturally to me, and I think that with social media-related things, it won't work if it feels forced. It'll shine through to whoever reads it, and they won't enjoy it.

    If you do enjoy it though, by all means, go for it.
     
    Chessie2 likes this.
  8. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    See, this is how I feel as well. I should just have stuck with Tumblr all these years. It's easier posting excerpts and bits of prose instead of writing whole articles several times a week. It's just...lame.
     
  9. nopoodles

    nopoodles New Member

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    Technically I have a blog but it's actually a collection of regularly updated short stories. It works for me because people who like my short stories are probably likely to want to buy my book (when I eventually publish it), and because I really enjoy writing and posting short stories weekly.

    Some people swear by blogs because it can grow a fan base, if you succeed in gaining loyal fans they're more likely to buy your book just because they like you, rather than because they actually want to read it, in the same way that people buy books written by celebrities or big name authors because they're written by celebrities or big name authors. However, the amount of effort you have to put in to get loyal fans who want to buy your book because they like you is tremendous, you have to have exactly the right niche, exactly the right tone, exactly the right SEO. For every person it works for, there are so many more that it doesn't work for.
     
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  10. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    Agreed. My blog mentions my books - but mostly it's full of reviews, articles and promo for other authors. The posts which get the most hits are the articles .
     
  11. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    And you have to do what works for you - if you don't have time to blog, or can't think of anything to write then don't. Although, that said it is a good way to share research - if you write fantasy which is the case here then you probably research. Share it - found something interesting about medieval coinage? Share it. Found some interesting anecdote about St Valentine (for example)? SHare it.
    Just cite your sources. I've found some really handy stuff researching blog posts. Of course I've been distracted too....
     
  12. JGCully

    JGCully Scribe

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    My thoughts exactly. I have a blog that is updated on a very sporadic basis, purely because I'd rather be writing than blogging. There just isn't the time.
     
    Chessie2 likes this.
  13. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    I like that approach to blogging. Has it helped much in growing your own fanbase?
     
  14. nopoodles

    nopoodles New Member

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    I don't have much of a base yet (though I wonder how much of that is because I'm pretty awful at putting myself out there), but I have a steady, if small, group of followers who like what I post every week. I just got mentioned on one mutual's blog (she has a lot more followers than I do). I'm pretty confident that when I do get around to publishing, at least that mutual will buy my book (if I don't ask her to ARC review it for me)

    Even though I've not yet gained a huge fan base (I live in hope) I get to learn what does and doesn't work to gain attention for pieces of fiction week by week too, which is helpful.
     
    Black Dragon likes this.
  15. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    I have joined a link up. Basically the hoster shares the links on her blog - you are expected to participate and to like/comment and share other people's posts but that's fair enough.
     
  16. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

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    I blog mostly because I have stuff to say that isn't going to go into my fiction. Not right away, at any rate. How good is it as a promotion tool? No idea. But I share opinions on this and that anyway, and don't worry about it. I must say, my long-running general blog at Blogger has taken a big hit on reads with the demise of Google Plus. People were finding their way to my posts from there.
     
  17. Seira

    Seira Minstrel

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    Sometimes it may be a useful stepping stone.

    But so many try to dress their blogs up as 'education and help'. So you think on it to learn about say internal conflict only to get an entire page of this author history, several plugs about their latest book before they get to the topic. And when they do it's very basic. That actually puts me off the author.

    Others do it the right way, They get to the point, discuss the topic like they know what they are talking about, I learn something, then at the bottom them off an 'about me' page. I feel like they are really out to help others and not just themselves.

    Sometimes the blogs are amazing and the books just average. it all depends.
     
  18. Runa Phaino

    Runa Phaino Acolyte

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    I am a blogger and an author. I love doing both, that´s what counts for me. :)
     
  19. J.W. Golan

    J.W. Golan Dreamer

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    I have a slightly different take on this. In this day and age, particularly as an indie author, you should have a website: someplace that's a landing site for your book, and one that hopefully contains content that helps you to connect with your readers. It's not just about selling your book, it's about selling yourself as an author. You have a series of books? Put them all up! Write about why you wrote the book, what inspired you. Talk about yourself so that a reader who read one book feels more connected and willing to try another, maybe from a different series.

    It doesn't have to be a blog. It could be, but it doesn't have to be. The notion that you have to write every day or twice a week or whatever to call it a "blog" is nonsensical. Write however often you feel like adding content.

    I have two different "blogs" myself: one for my nonfiction work and another for fantasy fiction. The nonfiction one has been around a lot longer and has a regular following (via the email list), but they're both organized in a similar fashion: a menu tab for my books; another for my book reviews of other books; another for movie or television reviews; one for my short stories. Interspersed with them are links to my YouTube videos (another avenue to attract readership) - and my YouTube videos link back to my website or blog page.

    In my experience, it was easier to add content and build a regular readership for non-fiction than it has been for fantasy. People were already looking for the non-fiction materials that I posted mini-articles on. That made it a lot easier to be "discovered", and to leverage the blog or website to promote sales. For fantasy, the blog or website is really more of a landing site right now: a way to connect with readers and hopefully encourage them to buy subsequent books.

    So is it worth the effort that you put in? Let's just say that when I take a look at the successful indie authors out there (and there are successful indie authors in the fantasy genre), they all have a website or blog. All of them - without exception. Most of them update their "blog" or website on a weekly basis - which is about the pace that I try to aim for. Now most of us are not writing for a living (I'm certainly not). But we'd all like to sell at least a few of our books. It would be nice to have our books read, not just "published". So if we want to be one of "them", the blog or website is part of the price of admission. We want readers who not only buy a book with our name on it - but who come back for more, maybe even recommend it too a friend.

    Do we need a "blog" to do that? No. But we should all at least have a website. And we should be promoting ourselves as an author (why we write, why readers should care about what we write), not just slapping a cover image and a price on the internet.

    Best luck to everyone. Remember to enjoy the writing process while we're at it. We're writing - not slapping parts on in an assembly line. Remember to enjoy the process while we do it. :)
     
    Ned Marcus likes this.
  20. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Minstrel

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    I doubt that blogging has a big impact on sales (unless you write nonfiction), but it might help people discover you, or just make you more visible.

    A website is necessary, of course.

    I write a longer article once every three weeks and do short weekly updates of a few hundred words on the weeks in-between. I usually write articles based on the themes of my stories (metaphysical, and sometimes environmental topics) and updates about my about books, of course. It took me a long time to work out what to say, but it's slowly getting easier. I'd like to blog more, but I have to write novels, too—which is more important. And I have a job.
     
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