To Blog or Not To? That is the Question.
You’re a Genre Writer. Should You Blog?
So much to do. So little time. Prioritization of effort is critical.
As an author in any genre, you should definitely have a website with landing pages for your novels, a mailing list signup form and a call to action as part of your marketing strategy. These are simple projects and likely you can do them yourself.
But what about blogging on your site? Depends who you are and your objectives.
If you are an indie fiction writer with a small or nonexistent backlog on Amazon, everything I’ve recently read and listened to in Podcasts by marketing experts suggest a very strong ‘no’ if your intent in blogging is to build a readership. There’s little or no marketing payback in 2017. The blogging instruction industry would have you believe differently, but that’s the honest truth.
On the other hand, if you are a non-fiction writer, the answer can definitely be 'yes'. This is a great way to build a mailing list if you regularly provide new value added material associated with building your platform. But it needs to fit your marketing strategy. And you need to keep your reader’s interest. There are so many blogs that readers have to have a compelling reason to read yours.
So back to genre fiction since I’m a thriller writer. If you’re serious about becoming an fiction authorpreneur and you’re not well established, the time spent blogging as a marketing tool takes you away from what you should be doing which is putting out a continuous stream of high quality fiction product. You need substantial inventory to make money writing fiction. Blogging on your author page doesn't create saleable inventory.
The reality is that for 99% of us, we aren’t going to attract enough visitors to our blog to make the blogging time cost effective because the blogosphere is already packed to the gills with blogs no one reads. And even if you are established, the people who are attracted to your site are more interested in your books than your blog. The exception being other writers who want to see how you got to your lofty position.
When you have the creative juice for writing, you should direct that energy into your product line – your books. At first you should put 100% of your available time in creating the best fiction you can. Once you have some substantive product - like two or three books in a series - to sell, then you can switch to 80% writing with straight forward marketing for the remaining 20% of your time. For fiction writers, blogging still doesn’t really fit in the 20% since it’s time intensive.
So given all that, why do I blog? It obviously isn’t for commercial reasons.
I blog because it is an interesting way of thinking about issues.
I blog as a creative exploration. Writing about a subject is a time tested way of learning about it.
I blog because it's fun.
But I ensure that I blog when I wouldn’t otherwise be working on my novel. My rule number one: I don’t even think about blogging until I’m convinced I’ve created my fiction quota for the day and that continuing is not productive. I work on the blog sporadically on topics that I find interesting. Rule number two is that I only do short form blogging so that I'm not using up valuable time.
Bottom line: as genre fiction writers, our time is better spent creating the best work we can. Get it professionally edited. And only then working a marketing strategy which includes the best cover we can afford, creating compelling back cover sales copy, and finally using the best Amazon strategies currently available.
I think the best current source about indie publishing and marketing is Joanna Penn's https://www.thecreativepenn.com. She's had notable success in both indie fiction and non-fiction and much of her marketing content on her site is free.
If you want to blog, fine. But don’t think that you’ll gain marketing traction as a result. Blog because it's something you want to do. Not because you think you have to do it.