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Is Blogging Good Use Of Your Writing Time?

Is Blogging Good Use of Your Writing Time?

Debbie Young making notes

Debbie Young on writing (Photo by Clint Randall)

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 readerNo 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.”

Cover of The Englishman by Helena Halme

The Englishman – the blog that turned into a novel

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.”

Last Word

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 Share on X





This Post Has 17 Comments
  1. I’e had a blog since probably about 2008, but it took me years to find what exactly I should be blogging about. Most of the information out there talks about blogging as if you need to establish credibility as an expert (and is probably why so many writers write blogs on writing, even when you know very little). I still remember non-fiction writers lecturing me on their blogs, saying, “Just blog about the subject of your book.” Welll, yeah, that’s the same expert advice dressed up and shoved at fiction writers. In those early days, I worked with a cowriter. We were working on a novel set during the Civil War so that’s what we blogged on as an “expert.” We got lots of people asking us how much their CW firearm was worth. Cowriter was a collector of such and enjoyed those, but they took up time that should have been spent writing–especially since it was obvious that no one reading for CW was going to buy any novel from us.

  2. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and over the years have maintained 3 blogs on various subjects. I’ve often wondered if blogging was a valuable use of my time. The best thing that I’ve found is that blogging pushes me to write because of my readers. I also enjoy the process but always struggled with procrastination. Blogging provides flexibility and motivation to write consistently. I probably would not have been dedicated if I didn’t have a blog. It has also lead to new avenues as a web content writer specializing in small business and creative entrepreneurship. I’ve considered writing a book but haven’t dived into self-publishing as of yet. Somehow, I know I’m on my way….

  3. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and over the years have maintained 3 blogs on various subjects. I’ve often wondered if blogging was a valuable use of my time. The best thing that I’ve found that blogging pushes me to write because of my readers. I enjoy the process and it provides flexibility and motivation to write consistently. I probably would not have been dedicated if I didn’t have a blog. I’ve considered writing a book but haven’t dived into self-publishing as of yet. Somehow, I know I’m on my way….

  4. I’ve been blogging for 4 years. And I agree with the above mentioned that your blog has to reflect or fit in with your books. I write supernatural mystery novels and have 3 on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. For my blog I regularly feature a free short story (Reading Fiction) in the supernatural mystery category, including detective, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, etc. I have over 200 short stories by some 100 famous writers on my blog. So I’m attracting readers who like the supernatural and mysterious to visit my blog and read the free stories. And they get to read my style of blogging and can visit other pages on my blog about my novels. My blog gets around 60 hits a day now, which is considered low by blog standards but works for me quite well. One thing you MUST do with a blog is promote it on Twitter, Facebook Groups, Google+ Groups, etc.

    What’s key for me is that I wanted to read more supernatural mystery by the best writers, and short stories are fast reads and easy to do one a week. So, it serves me as a writer and reader as well as my followers.

  5. Debbie, thank you for starting this thread. I’ve been blogging for several years, and always share links to my posts via Facebook, Twitter and Linked In; but I struggle with getting any responses. I am in awe of your correspondents who mention all their readers who respond.
    I now have a very small email list, to which I share my posts too. I also post on Huffington Post.

    As you say, the blogosphere is getting very crowded. Thus I’m going to experiment with short videos instead, with short text summaries. Fingers crossed that this will be more productive. The first video went on FB today, though I haven’t yet worked out how to post it to my blog!

    I’ll probably continue to post text-only to Huffington, as that has a somewhat (“more than somewhat”, as Damon Runyon would have said) larger readership than my own blog.

  6. I am new at my website and want to blog but have No Clue how to start.
    Thank you for the encouragement .
    I am ready to renew my website and learn.
    Christy Tountas, Author Cricket Corners christian children’s book series, 6 stories in the one book.

    1. Christy, we’ll be having a series of posts on the blog here on Wednesdays over the next couple of months, so stay tuned and we’ll tell you more. Good luck and have fun with your blog!

  7. I’ve kept a personal diary since I was 13 and like the idea of regular writing. I’ve restarted a blog on my website and want to see where it takes me. It is good to start with very few readers so that you can write as a form of practice and hopefully find a voice. We’ll see what happens.

    1. It would be interesting to know how many authors are also longstanding diarists – I have written one for most of my life, till I switched to blogging instead in 2010. (Now hiding the teenage years’ diaries from my 13 year-old daughter!!) I think blogging makes you write in a different way – and definitely helps you find your voice – because you know it will be read by others. Both great fun in their way!

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