Should a writer blog? It’s very common to read recommendations that fiction writers, whether traditionally published or self-published, should blog in order to promote themselves and their books. This remains true even with the rise of social media. However, does it work?
Looking at my experience to date, I’m afraid I’m not sure.
I can’t relate my blogging efforts to any sales, so at that level, I just don’t know. Certainly, I’ve never been told by a reader of my blog that she went on to buy a book.
However, I can also measure the usefulness of blogging by the extent of my online presence. Traffic has gone up over time but it’s a slow go. I do get regular compliments about my blog content, though.
One of the main benefits of blogging, I find, is that I learn a lot about writing and publishing. That helps with other types of promotion such as library presentations.
So, overall, I would say that blogging continues to offer good opportunities for writer promotion. However, it’s a lot of work, and since there’s enormous competition for the attention of readers, it takes a long-term commitment to see results. Writers should think carefully whether blogging is the best and most enjoyable use of their limited time for promotion.
What should a writer blog about? Everything in blogging starts with the content. If a writer blogs regularly, it can be surprisingly difficult to think of topics. I think of topics as falling into one four categories:
- insights into the writer and/or his work
- insights into other writers and/or their works
- “how to” and “tips” posts about writing
- discussions of other interests the writer has.
My experience is that readers appreciate short content. They also like content containing personal experience or that answers a specific question. Blogging about the craft of writing is fun, but it tends to interest other writers and not readers.
What makes blogging more effective? Generally, blogging will have wider reach if the writer:
- posts regularly (I post every Sunday evening)
- adds images to posts
- links the blog to social media
- considers closely what the best search terms for the blog are
- reviews analytics to see which posts do best
- searches out opportunities to guest post on other blogs
- comments on other bloggers’ posts with the aim of getting comments on his content.
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