With readers and writers ever more pressed for time, can indie authors justify spending valuable writing time blogging?
Personally, I love blogging on my author website, and I started blogging in order to launch my writing career. Not only did it provide discipline and practice, it helped me find my voice as a writer and gave me the instant gratification of reaching readers during the long run-up to completing and self-publishing my first book.
However, now that I'm established as a writer and embarking on an ambitious schedule to write and self-publish novels, I've been questioning whether I should still blog. I was therefore heartened when I put the question to the ALLi hive via our private Facebook group (one of 21 great reasons to join ALLi, if you haven't already done so), and got a pretty resounding “yes”.
Read on to find out why so many self-published authors favour blogging habits, and to gain inspiration to help you make your author blog the best it can be.
Why Blog Anyway?
Orna Ross: “It completely depends on how your blog fits into your plan to reach readers. i.e. if you don't have a plan for it, don't start to blog. Blogging is still very effective, I believe, if used well, but too many writers start to blog because they've been told they should, or stop because they've been told that shouldn't any more, instead of considering their individual situation. For non-fiction authors, especially, it can be key to success.”
Amy Shojai: “Blogs are effective if used correctly. Most authors don't know how to blog, and end up blogging to other authors. The trick is to blog for your readers. Also, I find most writers blog as though writing a column (preach it, sister!) rather than opening up a conversation (asking questions, welcoming feedback). There is a big difference. It's probably easier to blog as a nonfiction author (I'm now paid to blog), but fiction authors also can do so effectively as long as they keep the audience in mind.”
Pauline Baird Jones: “Blogging, the need to “show up” for my faithful few, has carried me across some tough times and kept the words flowing. At least I'm writing *something*. And I don't specifically target readers, but *people,* I try to write about things regular people experience and oh, by the way, I write books, too.”
An Apprenticeship to Authordom
Robin Lyons: “I started a WordPress blog in 2014. Since I hadn't published yet, I knew I couldn't blog about ‘how to' be a better writer or ‘how to' publish, etc. I went with blogging about my research, targeting my ideal reader. No doubt about it, blogging does take time from my fiction writing, but I'll continue to blog because I feel blogging helps me be a better writer.”
Helena Halme: “Blogging for me has been life-changing, so I shall never stop writing and sharing my stories online. I don't think I could have become a published author without my blog.
“Before I began a blog I'd already written two novels, and had taken an MA in Creative Writing, but neither of those facts gave me the confidence to put my work out there.
“Quite soon after I began blogging about life as a Finnish woman in England, my readers asked me why I'd come over to the UK. I began telling my story how I met my Navy husband in Helsinki, a story which eventually became a series of novels, called The Englishman.
“Getting comments from readers online was so delightful, that it spurred me on to write more and to eventually publish the first book in the series (with lots of help from ALLi too!)
“Just to show how powerful that connection is with those early readers of my blog, I met one of my them at weekend's Triskele Books Lit Fest. This lady has been an avid follower of my blog since I started it in 2007 (!), but we'd never met. She came to the Lit Fest after seeing my Tweet about it, because she herself has recently moved to London. It was so lovely to meet her and she felt so overwhelmed about meeting my husband (The Englishman) that she asked if she could hug him! The Englishman took it well… I think he quite enjoyed it!”
The Reader's Perspective
Thomas Shepherd: “From a reader's perspective, I don't want a blog of an author to be just about the books but more about my favourite author, so if it provides that I'll read. If it reads like its put out by the author's marketing department (even if it isn't), then I won't.”
Lorna Sixsmith: “I'm often surprised when selling my books by the number of buyers who tell me they read my blog.”
Jay Artale: “I'm disappointed if I visit a website and there's no blog.”
Karl Drinkwater: “Is it worth authors blogging any more, now that the blogosphere is so saturated? No-one ever stopped talking just because there are lots of things being said in the world. You could say the same about writing books…
OVER TO YOU What are your views about blogging as an indie author? We'd love to hear your views!To blog or not to blog? #Selfpub authors share their views - with @DebbieYoungbN Click To Tweet
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