It’s very common for writers to have someone whisper-shriek in their ear, “OH! You should blog if you’re a writer!”
The question we all are obviously asking is…Well?? Is it true? Should you blog if you’re a writer? People say it all the time, BUT WHY, JOHN. What exactly does it do? Is it beneficial? Or is it another thing to make your hair spontaneously light up and explode into dozens of fiery flames?
Since I am, in fact, a blogger and an author, I feel like I’m 14% qualified to tackle this subject. So BUCKLE UP. You’re in for a mouthful of my opinions.
Now obviously I do love blogging because HELLO! I wouldn’t be here typing this and fighting with my broken keyboard * unless I really enjoyed it. But there are pros and cons. So let’s unpack them.
Also FYI: this post is from the point-of-view of a traditionally published author. I’m not speaking for indie authors as I am not one! And this is also from the point-of-view of me, which is dubious at best, and my book is not quite out yet. (73 DAYS TO GO.)
Now let’s get to it.
* Yes it’s broken AGAIN. I have had this new computer (back on warranty) for 3 months and the stupid keyboard types spaces on its own. This is not a sci-fi adventure, you frikkin’ space bar. Settle down and move oNLY WHEN I TELL YOU TO.
For me it absolutely did not influence whether my agent or my publisher signed with me. I don’t even think they were aware I was an established blogger until recently. So blogging has a heck of a lot of benefits but PLEASE don’t sit there thinking that if you can only scrounge up 12 followers after a hundred years blogging that you are worthless as a writer.
A publisher is not publishing your blog.
I’m also pretty sure if you said, “Should I work on my book or my blog?” that most people in the publishing world would be like: “uM YOur bOOK OBVIOUSLY.”
No no come back here you little fishling. I’m not finished yet.
Publishing isn’t solely about your book either: it’s about you. Having an online presence is important! Most publishers are here to sell your career, not a single book. Being successful online isn’t a make-or-break thing (I mean did you see how famous The Hunger Games got?! Suzanne Collins isn’t online at all), but it’s definitely somewhere you can:
- give updates on what’s happening with your books
- generate excitement for your books
- lure new readers in sneakily by being a stunningly fantastic person so they go “oh! I must read that author’s book then!”
- sell your books
- create hype for your books
- give teasers
- give recipes for disaster
- conjure leagues of darkness etc. etc.
One of my biggest reasons I blogged pre-being-anywhere-near-to-being-published was so that I could build an army to buy my book when it came out. I wouldn’t be UNKNOWN.
I have no idea if this will hugely affect my sales, but I HOPE! I’ve cobbled together at least 60,000 followers before I signed my book deal, so C’MON ON. If at least 10% of you buy my book, that would be amazing?! I have raised you from the darkness, work with me now, fiends.
For me, blogging = definitely has been beneficial for raising an audience. And now you’re all really curious to see what damage I can do in 300 pages. Trust me: it’s a LOT. Be excited.
Also as an author with autism and social anxiety, I knew waaaay back that I personally wasn’t going to be able to attend book signings or conferences (at least right now). So I’ve put a heck of a lot of work into my blog to try and balance that out.
I have heard people mention that blogging is a good way to practise writing. And my entire opinion on that is: HAHAHAHA no. I do not blog like I write novels. You’ll see bits of me in A Thousand Perfect Notes (examples include cake scenes and a 5 year old who would rather have a pink knife for her pretend-kitchen than a whisk).
But writing for a blog is sooo different to writing for a book?! For me, blogging is about visuals and writing engaging/short/witting posts and using terrible puns at every opPUNtunity. Whereas writing is about creating worlds and engaging characters and putting stories inside stories inside stories. And also using terrible puns at every opPUNtunity. They have that in common thank goodness.
Sometimes I think blogging has made my grammar worse… But that’s not for me to worry about. That’s for my copy-editors to cry over when 70% of my book is typos.
QUESTION #4: “I MEAN, I DON’T EVEN HAVE A LOT OF TIME, CAIT. HOW DO I BALANCE BLOGGING VS WRITING?!”
This is the big question. If you’re in school or work full time…you’re cramming every spare second into your manuscript. I get that! And if you have to choose: CHOOSE YOUR BOOK. In 10 years time, my readers won’t remember I wrote this post, but you’ll still have my book on your shelf.
Unless…you…ya know…let your dog eat it. Or you used it as a plate for your toast. I will try not to be mortally offended. I still love you.
What I do is:
- I do not do everything at once!!! !!! !!!
- I’ll schedule posts or go on hiatus while I focus on writing for an intense session.
- Or I’ll take time off writing to solely blog/read in my free time.
- Or I write a blog post one day —> write novels the next day.
Balance is key. Keys are like key lime pies. Pies are good. Life is a circle. Eat it.
I do personally treat blogging like a job, because I’m trying to mind-control you all into buying my book eventually. It’s a priority for me, same as writing is a priority. But I still pick: writing. If I have to choose.
SAME THO. I obviously don’t run a writing-centric blog because (a) I actually have no idea what I’m doing, (b) half the time my writing is genuinely just feeling my way around until I trip and faceplant into something successful, (c) I find it reeeeally hard to articulate what I’m thinking about my writing process, and (d) I had a much much better idea:
But if I blog about books = bookworms will read it.
And who am I trying to sell my book to?! BOOKWORMS. Boom. SOMEONE CROWN ME A GENIUS. So yes I have been infiltrating the ranks, disguising myself as a bookworm, and frolicking about with my audience. Little did they KNOW! Ha!
Okay fine you all knew. Shh, let me try to do an evil villain cape flip once in a while.
I also just really really love books. I mean OBVIOUSLY. But that is why my blog is 90% books and 10% blogging and 500% cake.
Also the benefits of book blogging as a writer?! They are HUGE. Hanging around my future audience has taught me:
- what bookworms are hungry for
- what we’re absolutely sICK OF
- I’ve learned so so so much about marginalised voices/identities from people who have experienced them
- which has saved me making a lot of DUMB writing mistakes
- I also know my competition!! AKA what other books are out there.
- I know what happens 784 times in every YA contemporary, so I know to write it differently
- I see the gaps, what kind of books we don’t get a lot of
- I’ve also learned a looot about promotion and hype
- my friends are bloggers and BLOGGERS ARE AWESOME <— this is good
- everything you write is better with cake in it
Well, now that you mention it yes.
For me (personally) I’ve had a few negatives already of being a book blogger x my book coming out soon.
- Authors harassing bloggers is REALLY a problem and happens a lot. So I’m cautious about overstepping…but it’s also hard to know when to engage and when not to when it comes to my book?!
- Like I’m one of you, but I have to be aware that I need to not hover around my own book. When it’s out, it belongs to you.
- But yet the need to creep on reviews of my book is REAL.
- Someone restrain me.
- And seriously…if you read reviews of your own book either (A) the compliments are nice but now IT’S PRESSURE, or (B) the negatives are devastating and you want to go lie in on the carpet and cry your own salty dead sea.
- Reviews aren’t for authors. #Fact
- I am scared of expectations! If you love my blog, it doesn’t mean you’ll love my book. I want you to! But this is reality.
- It is overwhelming hearing opinions opinions opinions all the frikkin’ time. Who is allowed to write what. Which authors deserve to be writing and which don’t. Is your story as important as so-and-so’s. Can you talk about identities that aren’t your own. What’s good writing. What’s bad. Who gets to read it.
- EVERYONE has an opinion and SO MANY OPINIONS are terrible for an anxious heap like me. Sometimes I do have to step way waaaay back and not listen. I want to listen. But, for mental health and sanity, I can’t listen all the time.
I think you should blog if you can! But remember, you don’t have blog about writing if you don’t want. And your success online doesn’t translate to your success in landing a book-deal. If you’re busy?! Pick. your. writing. And LISTEN to the blogosphere if you’re hanging out here —> but not all the time because you’ll overwhelm yourself. You can’t ever write the “perfect” book to please everyone.
Write for you. Write for a career. Write for the people (not everyone) who NEED your work.
And it really is super fun to blog. I have met the BEST people here. (That means you.)