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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

But If I Blog, I Won't Have Time To Write!



Here's a bargain! Lands of Ash will be free August 12th through 15th. You can click the link below to purchase.


I'll start this off by saying: there are a lot of different sorts of blogs. Each of them has its own purpose, and if you want to make blogging a full time job, it can be. There are bloggers who do this. I'm not trying to say blogging is "so easy a caveman can do it" or whatever. I'm saying there are degrees of blogging and if you are just blogging as part of your author platform, you can treat it a lot more casually than you would if you were a big name blogger who was selling advertising space on their blog and doing it as a career. Hobby blogging is perfectly acceptable. You having a hobby blog does not take away from the hard work that career bloggers or part time bloggers do. Comparing the two is apples to oranges.

A lot of times marketing can be really overwhelming for writers. The most common worry I hear is, "If I put so much time into marketing my books, I won't have time to write them anymore!" (well, second most common. The first is probably just, "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING!!!")




Blogging doesn't have to be a big time sink, though. I know writing time can be precious and sacrificing it for the various sorts of marketing isn't ideal. I always say, the best marketing is to write another book.

However, in this case, I don't think it's an "either/or" proposition. Promoting a blog can be a full time job, don't get me wrong. I know bloggers for whom the blog IS their job and they treat it as such. But I've been blogging for ages. I manage 2 to 3 posts a week and it only takes about an hour a week.
If you can post on Facebook, you can blog.

Do my blog posts sell books? No idea. I keep doing them because I like to share stories and not all those stories fit into books. Sometimes a story is about something funny my kid or pet did. 

Sometimes it is my personal rant about something or other, and the blog becomes a therapeutic way to "blow off steam."

Sometimes I have some advice/ideas to share, and the blog provides a place I can put that for later in a space I own that doesn't get views based on the whims of Facebook or Twitter.

There are ways to generate blog posts without a ton of work.


Do you leave book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads? Take a moment to copy and paste the same review into your blog (along with an Amazon affiliate link and the cover art). Five minute blog post, helps a fellow author, helps you if your readers may be interested in both books.

Offer to host guest posts for other writers. Again, five minutes of work (just to read over the content to make sure it is appropriate for your blog and copy paste).

A funny thing happen on the way to work today? Well, if you can post it on Facebook, you can put it on your blog. Easy peasy.

You take a pretty picture? Share it! Blog readers love pretty pictures.

I actually pulled the majority of this post from a Facebook ramble I went off on when someone in a group mentioned they didn't have time to blog. Do you ever rant on Facebook? Do you make good points on forum posts? Write it down, polish it up, VOILA! Blog post.

It's not a huge time sink.

Do I think you have to do that?

No, if all of the things I listed above sound awful to you (You are a very private person who would never share their funny stories about their real life on Facebook, let alone a blog. You don't take pictures. You don't leave reviews. . .) I wouldn't say to force yourself to do it.

But "I don't do it because I want to spend that time writing" is a false dichotomy unless you also apply it to things like posting on social media, reading and reviewing books, or chatting online with friends.


Calming a few protests:

As mentioned some of this post came from a Facebook debate I got into, and I thought I'd address some specific points people said as to why they didn't have time to or want to blog:

  1. I don't have time to edit. . . That's okay. I personally read over my blog posts before posting them, to catch obvious errors, but blog posts do not have to be as polished as a finished novel. People expect them to have a casual "just chatting" feel. If you are a writer (and this post is written addressing people blogging as part of a writing platform specifically), you should already have a basic grasp of the English language. A once over is fine.
  2. I write non-fiction. I have to sound authoritative. I can't just dash out a blog post willy-nilly. I don't write non-fiction. I wouldn't attempt to lecture someone on how to promote non-fiction. It's a completely different market. I'm not trying to convince people I know how to cure their heartburn or fix their computers or counsel their relationships. My blogging platform is to share my love of the fantastical and the fun. If you're a non-fiction writer, don't listen to me. I'm not talking to you because I have no knowledge base as far as non-fiction goes. It's a whole other beast.
  3. But I'm really shy. You don't have to blog. It's completely optional. I'm not even sure I get sales from my blog. I just like having one. However, if you are shy and have a hard time talking about yourself and your books, a blog is a great way to practice without a lot of pressure. Think of it as a chance to develop a super hero persona to go with your mild-mannered alter-ego. You can be anyone you want to be (I'm not saying lie, but you could blog as your main character. You could keep all the details of "real you" secret and be "writer-you." The you who is all about the written world even if in person you stutter, hide behind your glasses, and wish you were back home reading in your room.) I'm not laying down the law here and saying BLOG OR YOUR BOOK WILL NEVER SELL! RAWR! I'm saying take a chance. The blogging community is actually pretty welcoming.
  4. No one sees blogs anyway. They don't sell books. This is possibly true in a lot of cases. If you just start a blog and never talk about it or link it or promote it, there is a high chance the only people visiting will be creepy google spider bots (seriously webcrawlers are like scifi nightmare material). That's one of the main reasons blogging can be a full-time job. If you want consistent page hits and readership, you're going to have to work at it a little bit. However, big hits and sales numbers are not the only reason to have a blog. A blog tells your readers things about you they might not get to know otherwise. It's a way of interacting with them. If you think the only reason to do it is sales, than you're right, it's probably not worth it or will be incredibly time consuming to make it worth it. As I said, I don't blog for sales. I blog to have one more platform to share my voice. One more way to interact with my readers. It also means that if you google me and my books you find me and my books. One other thing you can do is tie your blog to social media. Share the links on your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. You can have share buttons beneath your posts that allow you (and others) to do this with a couple of clicks.
  5. I don't have anything to talk about/feel guilty self promoting. This ties into the last item: if your blog is all self-promotion, no one will have a reason to visit anyway. You need to find blogging topics that relate to your books but aren't just "look how great I am! Look what I wrote! Buy my stories!" I listed a few options above that in no way involve self-promoting but might all be conducive to ending with a link to your book. Some things to consider: do you like to talk about your books? Do you have research you did for your story? Character backstories and profiles? Scenes that didn't make the final cut? All of those would make awesome posts which people who read the book might actually be excited to read. Think of the "extras" on the last DVD set you bought. What sort of things were they about? How can that apply to your blog?
  6. We have to appear professional. When was the last time you picked up a novel because "oh gosh, this writer seems so professional?" Maybe you have a completely different mentality than me, but I'm looking for the writer who knows how to have a good time, who has a sense of humor, who shares funny cat pictures, because to me that spells "entertaining." I don't necessarily want to read books by well manicured ladies in pants suits or gentlemen in ties (not that these things are evil or anything. They just don't matter to me.). My people wear graphic tees and occasionally Star Trek uniforms. They talk about fictional characters as if they are real. They aren't really that worried about being taken seriously. You want to consider your audience when you build a platform. Are they going to be impressed by bullet points and power points? Or do they want you to share your collection of David Tennant in Places He Doesn't Belong gifs?
Honestly, doesn't David Tennant belong everywhere?
So in summary: To Blog or Not To Blog ... that still is the question, but don't let the answer be decided by "I don't have time" or "I don't have anything to say."
Nobody expects perfection. Perfection is boring and inauthentic.

Go ahead and blog!





Oh and one last reminder! FREE BOOK!


Lands of Ash (Elemental Realms Book 1)


2 comments:

  1. Great post! People definitely have a conception of blogging as hard work. And yes it can be, but equally if you're not in the mood that day you can just slap up a pretty quote or a link to a friends book.

    It's definitely easier being a writer doing a bit of blogging on the side than being a full time blogger. I had a food hobby blog once but to take it to the next level would have been an insane amount of work and my heart wasnt in it.

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    1. Yeah, the bloggers I know who do it successfully are incredibly busy with it, constantly making graphics, learning how to take photos, even doing some coding. It's a crazy lot of work, which I don't think people realize.
      On the other hand, there's what I do, which is more play than work. ;)

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