Blogging – now that is a word we probably never heard of just a decade ago. A strange-sounding name for an even stranger form of communication. “Who woulda thunk it? “ My question to you on this “B” day is why. Why do we blog? Is there a purpose to your blogs, or do you just like the sound of your fingers hitting the keys (the equivalent of hearing yourself talk). Do you expect to get responses and are discouraged and disappointed if people only read your blog but don’t leave comments? Is it an ego thing? Are you contributing anything?
For me, I think I must confess to all the above. Why did I originally start to blog? Because I was told I had to have an online presence or platform to be a serious writer and to attract agents or publishers toward my book. But once I started, I delighted in discovering other people who like to do the same things as I, write, whether for pleasure or profit. I love reading other people’s blogs and went ballistic with joy when I discovered I had readers from four different countries. (Huge shout out to my Canadian, UK and Ireland friends, as well as my American followers) Take a moment and tell me why you blog. Before you go, read the article below by my new online friend, Holly Robinson. Thanks Holly, for letting me share.
Does Blogging Sell Books?
Not Exactly, but Here’s Why You Should Do It Anyway
by Holly Robinson, Author, ‘Sleeping Tigers’ and ‘The Wishing Hill’
Whether you’re a self-published writer or published by a traditional house, the word on the street is the same: Blog like your life depends on it if you want to sell any books. But does blogging really equal book selling?
Not exactly. Last month, for instance, I was fortunate to have one of my blog posts not only accepted by The Huffington Post, but also collected in an industry roundup by that lion of literary news, Publishers Weekly. Want to know how many books I sold as a result?
Two. As in 2. Dos, deux, due, twee: In any language, it’s the same. Thousands and thousands of readers had access to that blog post, yet my take after writing it was about $3.80.
I post blogs once a week, usually on Sundays because the other nights get sucked up by other tasks. “Do you ever feel like you’re wasting your time?” my husband not-so-tactfully asked when I missed our last Downton Abbey assignation to finish a blog post.
“Not at all,” I said, though I was thankful for the DVR. I don’t like to miss Maggie Smith’s entrances and exits.
I am a neophyte blogger. I started a blog when my first book came out four years ago, but didn’t really keep up with it. I got a little more serious about blogging last year, as I was dipping a toe into the churning waters of self-publishing, until I got into a regular habit. No, it’s not a daily Web log, as blogging was originally meant to be, but it’s a habit and, truthfully, I love doing it now. With self-publishing, it’s easy to see whether your blog posts produce any spike in sales, and it rapidly becomes obvious that those posts don’t usually have any effect on your profits.
Yet, whenever an aspiring author asks me if she should blog, I always say yes, whether she’s going indie or with a big publishing house. Here’s why:
Each Blog Post Is a Snowflake.
A book launch is no longer what it used to be: one day to celebrate and maybe three months of publicity rapidly eclipsed by a dark hole of nothing. Now, thanks to online sales and marketing channels, book publicity is more like making a snowball one snowflake at a time. Your blog post on Tuesday might not sell any books, but if you post blogs for a year and gather followers, eventually those readers will know your name and put it together with the name on that book they see in Goodreads or the NYT Book Review.
Blogging Keeps You Fresh.
Most writers carry journals. We keep them in our pockets or purses so we can capture fleeting ideas, whether that’s in the car or the shower. (I’m still searching for a waterproof journal.) Those scribbles become sentences in blogs as you work out ideas, whether you’re writing about how to use imagery in fiction, the latest political scandal, or an episode of American Idol. Think of blogging as warm up exercises for what you really love to write. It will certainly help you avoid writer’s block because blogging keeps your fingers nimble on the keys.
Some Blogs Become Books.
For many writers, blogging is a way of writing a book, or at least exploring a book idea. One famous example: Julie and Julia, which started as Julie Powell’s attempt to cook all of Julia Child’s recipes and ended up becoming both a book and a decent movie with Meryl Streep. One of my friends started a blog as a medical student and had her posts turned into a graphic novel after an editor read it. Another, whose blog is about caring for her aging mom with Alzheimer’s, is about to self- publish a caregiver’s inspirational guide.
Blogging Forms a Community.
Sometimes — not very often, because most people are lurkers — you will get comments on your blog posts. When you respond, you’re starting a dialogue, and through those conversations, you form a community. You may not sell more books by blogging, but you will build a community of supportive readers and writers, and that’s really what writing is all about: engaging an audience.
Blogging Takes You Unexpected Places.
Your blog posts may never be picked up anywhere, but then again, they might. I’ve had posts picked up by various online magazines and even by print magazines that ended up paying to use the reprints. My posts have made it to audiences as far away as Denmark and Australia. No, I probably won’t sell books to those audiences, but I love the idea of my brave little words traveling around the world. By blogging, you become part of the world’s cultural history, charting the events of our time for generations to come. Sounds lofty and stupid, right? But think about it. What kind of record would we have of human existence of nobody had ever written it down?
Books from Holly Robinson
The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter: A Memoir
Follow Holly Robinson on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hollyrob1
10 thoughts on “B is for Blogging”
I truly believe blogging has made me a better writer. Not only am I discovering new avenues of creativity, but I am connecting with so many wonderful writers.
Great post for the A to Z Challenge! 🙂
I originally started blogging as an outlet for some things happening in my life at the time. Then I, too, was told that, as a writer, I needed a platform. I don’t necessarily agree with that today, but I do enjoy sharing my interests with others.
Jessica @ Visions of Other Worlds
Twitter: @jmarcarelli, #atozchallenge
Thanks for your comments. Interesting that you do not feel it is necessary for your platform. Why do you say that?
I’m so pleased, to read that blogging, even these days brings worldly rewards. For mostly to it is very much self absorption and indulgent. My main satisfaction out of self is having my son enjoying reading about himself … and I found that this is reason enough to write. The rest are indeed bonuses.
If not for blogging, I would never have found your great blog 🙂
I’m from the AtoZ Challenge and its a pleasure to read your blog.
Bhavya from Just Another Blog
I am glad you did. I tried to get to your blog but my iphone is not cooperating. When I get to my pc, I will follow along your A-Z challenge.
Great posts! I began blogging following a trip to Europe. Before the trip I’d searched online for information and photos on the places I planned to visit, and when I returned I wanted to share what I’d seen and learned with other travellers. That first blog got me interested in trying my hand at fiction (for armchair travellers) and I’ve now folded it into a new blog to establish my online presence as an aspiring writer. The travel experience is at the heart of both my blog and fiction writing.
This was a great post for the letter B. Sorry it took me a couple of days to get to it but I’m glad I did.
You asked why we started our own blogs. Well, mine came out of a great tragedy in my life. My husband and I have infertility issues. God however blessed us with one child. A little girl. We found out by the time she was age two there was something different about her and by age three she was diagnosed with severe classic autism. When she was eight and half years old she contracted a bacteria infection, only this wasn’t any infection. She ended up having E. coli 0157:H7, the worst form of E. coli you can get. Over the course of a sixteen day period we watched our precious little gril deteriorate in front of us to where we finally had to make the hardest decision of our lives when we took her off life support and she passed away on July 16, 2008. It was through this tragedy that I started my daughter’s dedication website called Mommy’s Angel In Heaven as a way to help me through my grief journey. Just like you, I have people from all over the world who have found her stie through a web search. The comments I have recieved have been a blessing for me. My hope is that through my words that somehow they will encourage and bless those who read them.
So this is why I started to blog. It’s for the love of one little girl that I’m able to touch the lives of so many.
I started blogging last year in an attempt to write a book. The blogging experience helps me with motivation. My book started turning into more of a blog and now I have a second blog where I can do challenges, including the A to z one. Sue
I blog for me, because it helps me focus on what is important. But I admit to getting the giggles when I see that other people are reading along. 😉