Often, when a new writer finds out that I blog, I’m asked one or more of the following questions:
Should I blog?
Blogging has different definitions depending on whom you ask. I liken blogging to the old newspaper and magazine columns that we used to read: humor essays, advice columns, recipes, parental or marriage advice, and so forth. For me, blogs should entertain or provide information.
It’s one thing to have a blog that only promotes your work, and it’s another to have a website that features your books, your presentations, your book signings, and where you have a blog, too.
What should I blog about?
1) Your blog should be entertaining or provide information. Entertain by telling a story or provide helpful information about what you do. Share what you know or how you do it. Share stories that involve other writers or your travels. Read other blogs to see what they do. Which ones hold your interest and why?
2) Write each blog so that includes a beginning, a middle, and an end, whether in telling a story or providing information.
3) If your goal is to have readers return to your blog, do you have a place where they can subscribe?
Can I talk about my book at all?
Most certainly! But in a blog, do it in a way that entertains or provides information about its creation. Anecdotes help sell books but only if you can make that information entertaining. Readers and writers are interested in how you spend your time, what you do every day.
Do I have to blog?
Blogging isn’t for everyone, and not all writers blog. In fact, have you noticed that big-name writers have promotional websites but no blogs. How come? They’re busy writing!!!
I used to write a weekly newspaper column and I remember the time it took to produce those columns. I swore when I began blogging that I would not become a slave to the blog, but guess what? I’ve done just that.
My goal at the beginning of the year was to post in each blog each month. Well, duh! In doing the math, I’m writing a blog a week! And it’s starting to take away from my story-writing time! So, I’m changing my schedule. I’m going to return to writing the blogs as a fun downtime activity when I need to get away from a story. When I still want to be writing and sharing but when I don’t want to be working on a piece of fiction.
While I admire those writers who can write and blog every week, I’m not one of those people.
My advice that comes from my own lesson learned here is that writing time for my books shouldn’t be sacrificed to the blogs. For me, blogging will be a reward for meeting my writing goals.
What do you think? Do you have a blog schedule you struggle to maintain? Are you a long-time blogger with tricks you’d like to share? Are you a beginning blogger who’s still trying to find a good fit?