Tuesday, September 06, 2016

To Blog or Not To Blog, That Is The Question.

I've taken the month of August off from blogging, and early in that month I read this excellent post by my agent, Rachelle Gardner, about whether or not authors should expend the time and energy to blog. I've had a while to think about this, and pondering what to do next.

Conventional wisdom has always been that authors should have an online "presence" or "platform," whatever those terms actually mean. But at the recent meeting of the American Christian Fiction Writers, I heard a publisher--mind you, a publisher (actually, my publisher)--say that blogging might be a good idea for a writer of non-fiction, but makes little sense for a novelist. Needless to say, I was cheered by that (and by other things I heard from this publisher, who is experienced in the field).

During my blogging hiatus, I posted several times a day on Facebook. I maintain two FB pages--a "fan page" where I post literary material, and a "personal page," where my posts more often deal with our everyday life. You can "like" the fan page to follow the former, and can become my FB "friend" if you'd like to read my posts on the latter one.  (A word of warning--if your timeline and "about" links are blank, I don't accept your request--too many scammers out there).

I've also continued blogging periodically on the Suspense Sisters Blog, where I am the token "Mister." This gives me a chance to post periodically, and sometimes you'll find that I have something especially pertinent to pass on. And I send out tweets from time to time. You can follow these here.

I send my newsletter about four or five times a year, and usually include some sort of giveaway. You can sign up for the newsletter using the tab on the right hand side of this blog. I hope that, if you don't get it already, you'll sign up now. My publisher has some nice giveaways planned for the release of my next novel, Cardiac Event, in February.

I have a Goodreads account which I visit from time to time. I also have a Pinterest board, which I visit even less often. Why? Because I'd rather spend my time writing, to be brutally honest.

So here's my question for you. Of the regular readers of this blog (and that number is low, folks--very low), do you read my FB posts (either site), my tweets, other sites? Or is this blog your only way to connect with me? I won't get my feelings hurt, no matter how you answer. But I might pout a bit if there are no comments--although I suppose that's an answer, too.

Tweet with a single click. "Do authors still need to blog regularly, or have other social media sites taken their place?" Click here to tweet.

24 comments:

Claudia Davis said...

I don't tweet, but I do read your Facebook posts. I will not be offended if you stop the blog posts, though I read them. You need to do what is best for you and the time you spend on your books is well worth it to all of us! Your stories are fantastic!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Claudia. I've tried to tweet, keep two FB accounts going, and blog a couple of times a day. There will come a time when I have to cut down--haven't made the decision yet. But thanks so much for the nice words about my books. I appreciate your being a reader.

Gail H. said...

I read your blog thru emails and your Facebook posts when I catch them. I am not on Twitter, and don't plan to be. You said you would rather be writing and I would rather be reading. A good combo if you ask me!

Richard Mabry said...

Gail, I'm getting the impression that Twitter may be the next thing to go. Actually, it's hard to convey anything worthwhile in 140 characters. I've been following the suggestion of my literary agency's blog and including "tweet with a single click" at the end of my blog posts, but I rarely see results. Thanks for adding your opinion.

Jackie Smith said...

I am older and don't do FB, Twitter, etc. I do enjoy your blogs! I am an avid reader and have read all of your books (except Medical Judgment) and loved them! I hope you can find time to continue your blog ...if just once a week!
Blessings~~~

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Jackie. I appreciate the comment. It seems that the relatively small audience that reads my blog likes what I'm doing, and that may be the way I go. I'm glad your a fan of my books.

shirley said...

I've pretty much stopped twitter. And even though I may not always comment, I do read your posts AND I do read your newsletter AND have been a recipient of one of your giveaways. I enjoy reading them! That said, I think writing as a profession would take up a lot of your time and in awe that you, all authors, find time to "socialize" online the way you do. Maybe keep the fan page and incorporate the more personal into the newsletter. I do enjoy reading what you write!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Shirley. I appreciate your loyalty. When I first started getting into social media, one of my friends told me about this new thing called Twitter. It's interesting that she's essentially dropped it now, and maybe that's where I'm going next. Meanwhile, be assured I'll be putting out a newsletter a few times a year, will keep Facebook going, and I'm considering blogging on a limited basis. Of course, most of my efforts will continue to be directed to writing--next novel, Cardiac Event, comes out in February.

Barb Wrought said...

I also do not tweet. I do read your blog - and your 2 FB posts. The one thing I think I like best is reading your books! :) I am a retired medical transcriptionist and really enjoy the medical field. Your books are great because of the fiction with suspense, romance, the medical situations, and especially the Christian side of it all. I will continue to read your blog, as well as your books. Thank you for asking our opinion. You are appreciated!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Barb. I'm getting a distinct impression that Twitter will be the first to go if I need to cut back. And thanks for the nice words about my writing. Since my publisher needs about a 9 month lead time, guess I'd better get back to editing my third draft of the book due out next fall, Guarded Prognosis.

Lauri Harris said...

I read your FB posts when they show up in my feed. I have a Twitter account but I'm not fond of how Twitter works, so I don't use it much. I know blogging takes time and so does writing. I suggest you continue FB and the newsletter, and maybe still blog but less often. That way you can stay in touch but free up more of your time for writing. Maybe you could blog once or twice a month or whatever fits your schedule. Just a thought. But do keep the books coming :)

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Lauri. During this past month, when I took my blog "hiatus," I did more posting on FB than usual, while it was hard to find things to post on Twitter. That should tell me something. I appreciate your comment and suggestions.

Patricia Bradley said...

I will miss your blogs but totally understand. On my way now to friend you and make sure I've liked your FB page. I tweet but don't like it. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, the number and nature of comments has pretty much told me that 1) I can drop Twitter if I want to, 2) I should continue blogging (even just twice a week), 3) readers enjoy my Facebook posts, and 4) the newsletter remains valuable, even though I only send a few each year. Thanks for adding your comment.

Elise Griffith said...

Your writing schedule, family time, church commitments, etc. will help you decide how much to do. As others have commented, I don't Twitter or Tweet, but I do see your writing related posts on FB and read your blog here, enjoying both. Frankly, I'm amazed you can juggle it all! Other blogs I've followed for years add a new post only once a week... some even less frequently. Thing is, readers truly appreciate what you share even if they don't comment, but it's important you do what's best for you. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Elise. I appreciate your input, which is pretty much in line with other comments. I appreciate it, and will continue to expend the effort necessary to stay in touch with my fans.

Betti said...

I always read your blog and newsletter. I appreciate the giveaways as it gives the opportunity to win your new books, especially when I can't afford to buy them. I read your FB posts when I catch them on my feed. I have retweeted your tweets a number of times, but I find I only use Twitter when needed to retweet something for a contest or something like that. I love your books and enjoy what you're writing in your blogs and newsletter, however, I do understand it takes a great deal of time. I find that I can be so busy reading the blogs from all the different authors, that I have no time to read! You need to do what is best for you and your family - we will enjoy what you have written whenever we receive it.

Richard Mabry said...

Betti, thanks so much for chiming in, and for your kind words about what I do. I appreciate your input--it really helps.
By the way, if you read the Suspense Sisters blog tomorrow (where I've been called upon as a last-minute substitute), you'll have a chance to win one of my novellas.

Carol Garvin said...

You asked a similar question on Facebook about ten days ago, wondering if people on FB also read blogs. I said then that I do, and that I prefer blogging to FB's glib style of communication, although I'm pretty sure I connect with more people there than I do with my blog. Blogging is writing; posting on FB requires little planning.

Still, if your stats suggest that few people are visiting your blog, maybe it doesn't make sense to waste your precious writing time composing posts for it. Although I don't often comment, I enjoy your blog, but I also catch up with you on FB.

Building a following of readers is a slow process. Unless blog topics are fresh, frequent and of universal interest, they won't attract a large readership by themselves. Just producing blog posts doesn't attract visitors. We have to visit other bloggers' sites regularly and show a genuine interest in them, giving them an incentive to return the visit. Otherwise there isn't a lot of value in having a blog.

That's my two cents' worth, anyway. :)

Richard Mabry said...

Carol, as always, I appreciate your input. Thanks.

Sally Shupe said...

I love reading your blog posts. I have liked your fan page, but I don't know how many of your posts I actually see. I get an email letting me know you have a new blog post so I know to go look at it. I do share it on twitter, but that's the extent of my knowledge of twitter. Medical Judgment-I shared your book with my mom and she asked if I had other books like that. She loved it! Another reason to write more of your books-to share with her!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Sally--for being a reader, for your nice words about my latest book, and for your comment.

Elise Griffith said...

Here's a question--and it may be a silly one--but do you write your blog for readers of your books or for other writers? Perhaps both. It seems, though, like your blog is mainly about the writing life with tips for other writers/aspiring writers. While most writers are also voracious readers, the vast majority of book lovers aren't inclined to craft their own novels. I think that may be what's behind your editor's views about novelists as bloggers. However, a blog can be a way for readers to feel connected to you in a way not possible via FB, Pinterest and Twitter. Or even via newsletters. What if you wrote a monthly blog post aimed more towards your readers and fans? Would that be less stressful & time consuming for you?

Richard Mabry said...

Elise, as it currently stands, I blog twice a week--on Tuesdays about whatever strikes my fancy, on Friday about the writing life.
I have two FB accounts--the regular one, which started out as a family and friends one, but which now includes many of my readers as well; and my "fan page," which is aimed at writers and those interested in writing.
I've solicited input from those who read this blog about whether they feel it's a better venue than FB or Twitter. Thus far, most have supported continuing blogging, along with my other activities, and I appreciate all the comments, including yours. Many thanks.