Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Only Reason to Keep a Blog

Writers harp on this so much that we’ve all heard it: You have to start a blog, every writer has a blog, you can’t sell enough copies of your book if you don’t have a blog. They’re sure putting on the pressure, aren’t they?

I never believed for a second that having a blog will help with book sales.

Look at it this way: I have 245 followers. Let’s assume when my book gets published that I sell one copy to each reader, making around $700, which most likely won’t happen. (Personally, I’m following one author’s blog and I have no intention of buying his book.)

Every little bit helps, of course, but 245 books isn’t very many.

It’s certainly not worth the amount of work it takes to keep a blog. I don’t know how long all of you spend on your posts, but I spend around 30 minutes on each one, and I used to post every day. This doesn’t include the time it takes to design the site, or to advertise it.

If you’re keeping a blog just to sell copies of your book – especially if you’re unpublished like me – I guarantee you’re wasting your time.

So why keep a blog?

Because it’s fun!

I get irritated by people who treat blogging as a responsibility and not an art form. I spoke to someone recently who said her New Year's Resolution was to post one article a week for the rest of the year. I thought to myself, “If you have to force yourself to post an article a week, you don’t love your blog enough to keep it.”

I look at my blog not as an extension of my book, but as a unique and separate project. I post articles because  I want to be a talented blogger, not because I want to be a rich author.

What if you don’t love your blog as much as I do? Should you quit?

My knee-jerk reaction is no, don’t quit. Since my blog matters to me, I’d never presume to encourage people to stop keeping theirs.

However, I do think some soul searching is in order. Maybe you need to reevaluate you reasons for keeping the blog. Maybe you need to write about something else, or at least shift your focus. Maybe you’re so stressed by the pressure and time it takes that you’re not enjoying it, and you need to relax.

There’s a chance you’ll realize you’re not doing this for yourself, but because you feel like you have to. You don’t have to. There are hundreds of successful authors who don’t have blogs. There are even bestsellers whose blogs are, frankly, pathetic. You are free! I hereby release you! Fly away, little bird!

Keep a blog because you love it. No other reason is good enough.

13 comments:

  1. Interesting ideas. I do agree with you in part. But I also think (hope) there are more reasons for writers to keep a blog than to sell books to their followers. Networking is exponential. You may have 250 followers, but they each probably have dozens of friends they chat with. Not to mention the friends you make online that teach you and give you opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. That and the love of it too!

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  2. I think blogging can open a few doors to people who might not have known you existed, but it's not exactly the best tool in selling books. Look at all the ones who've hit it big in the past. They started out with a slow burn that grew and grew over a couple of year's time. If your work is good and can appeal to a large audience, then one shouldn't worry about followers on a blog. You're right. A writer needs to know why he/she writes a blog and if they're doing if for all the wrong reasons, then what fun is it.

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  3. I blog because it's fun and a great way to let out my creative energy. I also enjoy entertaining and meeting people online.

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  4. Suze, I agree with you up to a point; networking is essential, and it's a huge benefit of blogging. However, pretty much all the opportunities I've had came from me reading other people's blogs, not from them reading mine. I've had to reach out to other people to make connections. I have made friends from my blog, though, which is a huge perk.

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  5. I blog because it allows me to write in different ways--not always in the voice of my book. I love reading other blogs, other POV, other skill levels. It is a creative shot in the arm.

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  6. I like blogging too. I like meeting new people and seeing how they work or what they read. But I doubt I've sold any books through my blog either. Actually, I wonder if my networking has at all (LOL). Mind you, that's not to say other people have been successful.

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  7. No offense, but I'm going to take a wild stab and guess you don't know what search engine optimisation is. Thats the SMART reason to have a blog and have it attached to EVERYTHING right on the front page. Google it? I just proved my own point.

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  8. Sound analysis, Teralyn. For me the blog is discipline and, if you wish, maintaining my voice, keeping the mind and fingers supple in expressing ideas, and, as you say -fun

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  9. Mike, I hadn't thought of that. I guess blogging should be enjoyable for everyone who does it, but the reason it's enjoyable is different for each blogger.

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  10. I love blogging too, and think it's an important reason to do it! I know other people who blog for different reasons and love it more or less than I do. I think as long as you have a compelling reason, go for it. If you dread it, why do it?

    I love writing posts because they help me probably more than anyone else. I love connecting with other writers through blogging. I love seeing what other people have to say on their own blogs. For me, it's...FUN!

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  11. I agree, blogging should be fun. :) I've had my blog for years and the only reason I've been able to keep it up for so long is, well, because I love doing it. It's really as much for me as for anyone else.

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  12. Absolutely right on! And I've read some blogs (I won't say who), that are absolutely tremendous and have lots of great writing advice and everyone reads them, etc. But when I finally read one of their books, I couldn't finish it was so bad.

    I also am a blogger that wants to be a writer but it probably won't happen for awhile for me either. Sometimes there are things in our lives that we have to be more committed to, and blogging and writing will happen when we can get to it.

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