Friday, July 10, 2020

Writing: Is A Blog Helpful?

About a year ago, I wrote this. In looking at it now, I wonder how accurate it is in light of the changes that have taken place. Is a blog necessary? Has social media changed? See what you think.

"Writers are told we "need to have a social media presence"--perhaps even more before we're published than afterwards. But rarely does anyone ask why. As a multi-published author, both via conventional publishers and self-published, let me give my frank opinions. (And you realize, if you've followed my Random Jottings for very long, that rather than a love/hate, I have a tolerate/hate relationship with social media).

"While we're still looking for that agent who says "I'll represent you" or that editor who offers a contract, we're blogging because we want to be able to say, "Yes," when asked if we have a social media presence.It's even better if we pick up some potential readers along the way, people who will say, "Yeah, I've seen his/her blogs. Maybe I should read this book." But honestly, before we're represented, before we're published, we want to see our name in print and know that we've taken that big step forward.

"After the big day, whether we've gained representation by an agent, signed a book contract with a publisher, or even are celebrating the launching of our first book, we want to be able to share the news. And what better venue for that than our blog, where the readers will be able to see the culmination of our struggle. (And, in case you're just now thinking of writing a book, it is a struggle--but hang in there).

"As each book comes out, we can mention it on our blog. If there's a pre-order or other special, who better to tell about it than our blog readers. Doing an interview, especially if there's a giveaway of your book? Let it be known by posting it on your blog. And occasionally you may even be able to work in the title of your book or something about it on one of your posts. But please don't make every offering sound like, "Please buy my book." That gets tiresome after a while, and will cause people to turn away from your blog.

"Finally, and I think this is very important, your blog, your Facebook and Twitter posts, your participation in Goodreads or other social media sites, will allow readers to get to know you. And ultimately, that's the best things about a blog from an author."

So, is this still true? I just saw a post by an agent who says "Yes, an author needs a website"--and her writing academy will design one (for a fee), as well as teaching you how to write. What do you think of that? Is it still true that an author needs a website? I'd like to hear from you.


Priscilla Bettis said...

I think an author needs some kind of online presence, but I'm not sure it needs to be everything. When I think of my favorite authors, I don't follow any of their Twitter feeds or Goodreads page or Instagram or anything like that. I just read their blog posts or follow their YT channel (not both, because the content is redundant). I like to see what's up with the authors I like, but I don't need to be immersed in their lives.

I suspect I'm in the minority not following any author's Twitter feeds, but it's healthier for me that way to limit everything to just a blog or YT because I can so easily get addicted to online stuff! (Seriously, I have to keep tabs on myself.)

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla, I appreciate your following my blog. I "tweet" to "advertise" my blog, but not much on Twitter or Facebook after that. Go to YT when my step-son sends me something, but don't have a presence there since I started writing (but you can see my appearance on Harvest with my non-fiction book).

Patricia Bradley said...

I think a blog is a great way to interact with readers. As is FB. Twitter--I still don't understand it or Instagram, but I do have a presence there. And I really agree with your tolerate/hate statement. lol

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I like the blog because I control what gets posted (and I can delete an answer if it gets out of hand--haven't had to do that, thank goodness). I maintain a presence on FB and Twitter, even on Goodreads (but I don't spend much time there). I'm wondering if blogs will still be necessary in the future.

Patricia Bradley said...

I hope so because of all the ways I interact with my readers, my blog is the most fun. :-) And I always look forward to reading yours.

Richard Mabry said...