To Blog or Not to Blog

shakespeareblog

In this day and age, if you are a writer, one particular tool you definitely should make use of is a blog. In my case I have been regularly contributing to this blog since February 2010. A few days ago the number of my posts finally exceeded one thousand, something I never envisioned happening way back then.

Your readers want to know what makes you tick; maintaining a blog helps to ensure that. Despite what some may think we don’t spend every waking hour at our keyboards writing several thousand words each day. We’re not automatons. Like you we also lead normal lives.

A lot of writers still don’t make use of the humble blog claiming it is a waste of their valuable writing time. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a far better medium to advertise your work as well as engaging with your potential readers than social media sites in general. Some writers merely make use of sites like Facebook, Twitter and the many others out there, believing that that is all they need to do. Wrong! While they are good as they go, they leave a lot to be desired.

Twitter is OK up to a point for links to your books, providing the length of the link doesn’t exceed the rigid limit of characters allowed. But you cannot fully engage with your readers, owing to that same character limit.

Facebook is useful merely because of its ‘Chat’ facility, allowing you to have a conversation with others. But as for advertising your books, the way it is set up means that whatever you post there doesn’t remain in view for more than a day, sometimes far less than that.

Yes you can go to the trouble of setting up an author page where you can place covers, reviews and links for your books. But unless someone is actually looking for you, because the page is not right in front of the potential reader, in other words like the regular ‘home’ page where Facebook users you have made your FB friends see all posts, which is like publishing something in a tabloid newspaper (here today, gone tomorrow), they will hardly, if ever, visit it.

Plus, don’t forget that if someone inhabiting Facebook decides that your advertising posts are spam, they can, and do, have them removed! Endlessly advertising your books on Facebook will soon gain you a reputation for spamming. Not a good idea!

I was forced to have one specific post removed this morning after one fledgling young writer decided to add my name to thousands of others in the vain hope of raising money to have her book published. I believe the practice is called cloud advertising. Had she had the decency to ask me personally, I may have obliged her. Equally I may not have. Either way, like most people in our game, I steer clear of that kind of blatant act! Most midlist writers like myself simply don’t use those kinds of tactics. We don’t need to. Either your talent as a writer ensures that your book sells or it doesn’t!

Some writers make use of the blog feature on book sites like AuthorsDen, but because the sites aren’t as popular as Facebook etc, most people simply don’t bother to go there. IΒ  also have a page there – click on the link above. But all I do is use it as another specific advertising outlet for links to my books on Amazon.

New writers please take note – when setting up an account on Facebook or Twitter, using the word author as part of your name on any social media site is highly undesireable, unless your parents decided to be cruel and christen you ‘Author’ that is, in which case you have my condolences. Employing the word in this particular instance is offputting to a lot of people. Serious writers like myself refrain from doing it. You’re impressing no one; merely showing yourselves up as wannabe posers!

Merely advertising your books is not enough! In my case I have placed all of the Amazon links worldwide for my books here on my blog in the ‘About’ page. Yes its true, I do sometimes advertise my books on my blog, or even reproduce reviews pertinent to a specific title. But that’s it! If that was all I used this blog for, potential readers and others would soon stop visiting it. From time to time I have been known to add extracts from some of my books here as well as the odd short story.

Finally, don’t forget that as you become known, your blog will become widely read, plus you will gather followers eager to read what you have to say. Who knows, they may even feel inclined to read your books…

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33 thoughts on “To Blog or Not to Blog

  1. Totally agree with you! I am represented on a lot of social media sites, because potential readers like to use them, and I want them to be able to find me there, if they want to. I initially set up my blog to support my books, but have found that I love blogging, and the blogging community is a great one to be part of. My blog has taken on a life of its own, and I suffer withdrawal symptoms if I am away from it too long!

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  2. I enjoyed this article, Jack, and appreciate the time you took to write and post it. I’ve known for a while now that I need to spend more time developing my blog and acquiring followers. You’ve inspired me! I do use the word β€œAuthor” before my name on Facebook for two reasons: 1. it distinguishes my personal page from my author page, and 2. it helps authors (like me) who have 100s/1000s of friends recognize each other easily when inviting to author events – when going through the list of names, I can’t remember all of whom are authors as opposed to followers, animal lovers, activists, etc. For this reason, I’m loath to change it. If you have a suggestion regarding this matter, I’d appreciate hearing it. Again, thank you, and I wish you all the best.

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      • True, but how do I handle the 2 reasons I’ve opted to use it? I can’t have 2 FB pages with the same name, and combining them would drastically decrease my reach since FB has cut back on what they show per page in our news feeds.

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  3. If you set up the pages to sell your work, it sounds like you must to take a long hard look at which of your two pages is visited most Tina, plus ask yourself whether or not they aid your book sales.
    Like most writers I know, I just stick with one, my personal page. You already know my personal view of ‘author’ pages. Remember, you dug yourself this hole. Therefore its up to you to get yourself out of it.
    Sorry but only you can fix the problem. There is no magic formula I’m afraid…

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  4. I do have a blog; two, in fact. Plus a website. Sadly, however, my posting is more on the erratic side. I notice others who post every day, even multiple times a day, as well as reblogging what others post. ‘Where do they find the time?’ I have to ask. I find it a bit overwhelming to imagine doing the same. I have tried over the years to improve the frequency of posting on my sites, and always fall short of the grade. Some day, maybe. Someday.

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      • I set up one for my Fantasy/Adventure character “The Barbarian” and one for my Sci-Fi “Challenge Of The Velah.” My website is due for another payment, which I cannot afford, so will probably have to merge my Barbarian and website. I don’t know how to cancel a blog.

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