This post, by Misti Wolanski, originally appeared on her Another Author’s 2 Pence blog on 5/3/12.
Should the modern-day author blog or not?
Though that seems like a straightforward question, it really isn’t. Some say authors should be on every social media site possible, pimping their book out for sales—and, to be fair, trade-published authors often do have a limited amount of time to make the majority of their sales. Some say authors should just spend their time writing the next book, not worrying about marketing.
And some of us just shrug, pick a few social media techniques we enjoy, and work on our next stories. *twiddles thumbs*
That said, I’ve kept an eye on online media and publishing information and all that jazz for… well, at least 7 years. I’ve seen very few folks (other than John Locke in his much-debated How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in 5 Months) say that blogging nets them a worthwhile number of sales for the time spent.
Even if I speak as a blog reader or commenter, I haven’t actually bought many books by folks whose blogs I’ve read. I could count on my fingers the folks for whom appreciation for their blog (or helpful online presence) led to me buying books I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’d need more than one hand, granted, but we’re talking over 7 years’ time, here.
So, since I know it’s usually ineffective marketing, why do I blog?
Short answer: I enjoy it.
Long answer: I have a big mouth and like having a place where I can share what I know (or think) and folks can listen (or not) as they prefer. I’m the type of person who will be shopping for a cupcake, hear the person behind me cough, and offer them a horehound candy, after checking if they’re allergic to corn, fish, or mint.
(Horehound candies make fantastic cough drops, by the way, and they don’t close your throat up like menthol. And genetically modified corn has a fish gene in it, so corn and corn syrup can trigger some folks’ fish allergies.)
Back on topic…
Should an author blog?
Before I answer this question, I have a definition to share, as well as a small confession.
copy: writing that seeks to trigger a particular action in the target reader
(That’s why ad text is called ad copy.)
Blurbs are copy. Queries are copy. Blog posts meant to trigger a comment or a sale are copy.
And that is the difference between a blog that successfully leads to sales and one that… doesn’t. Its copy.
Some blogs are all information, no copy. Some have little (or downright bad) copy. In fact, my guess is that most blogs neglect to actually encourage their readership to take the action that the blog owner wants them to take.