“Every author should have a blog.”
I see that statement on forums, articles, how-to-be-a-millionaire-author-overnight ebooks and even blogs by internet marketing gurus (who are usually authors themselves). The logic goes that if you have a website to promote your work, then you should start a blog to attract people to that website. Search engines love blogs because it’s fresh, updated content.
In theory, this all works great. Heck, in practice it works great for a lot of authors. The problem is (like with most things), it’s easier said than done.
Here’s the dilemma (and one I’m facing). Most people blog about a subject that interests them. For writers, that subject is usually writing. But if an author blogs about writing then the blog will attract other writers – not necessarily people who will buy the author’s books. Your blog will become an echo chamber for writers. But this will do very little to attract readers, those who will actually buy your book.
A simple Google search of “what should authors blog about” will bring up a plethora of blog posts (ironically) trying to answer this exact question (just like I am).
Blog As A Member Of The Literary Community
This is what I blogged about when I started my first very successful (but now defunct) blog, Brad’s Reader, back in December 2006. I wrote book reviews, news within the literary community and general publishing stuff. Then I made a shift to writing about the ebook revolution a few years later.
As an author, writing book reviews and other literary-related posts will help connect you with people who also like to read. And it’s those readers you are targeting.
The downside to this blogging strategy is that the world of books isn’t a huge space on the internet compared to many other subjects. So don’t expect a little blog to get millions of views unless you’re a famous author. But for an author with a growing readership, this can be a great way to nurture a relationship with your fans.
Blog About Personal Stuff
This strategy comes with a lot of risks, but can also reap some pretty hefty rewards if done right. When I say personal stuff, I’m talking about things going on in your life. What have you been up to? What cool stuff are you doing? Things like that.
Writing blog posts about yourself can easily come off as egotistical, vain, tacky and so forth. Honestly, and this is a hard truth for many people to swallow, most people simply don’t care about you. Unless you’re a celebrity or something, you’ll never be quite as interesting as you think you are.
Of course, there are exceptions. If you’ve climbed Mt. Everest, then yeah, that’s interesting and something worth blogging about. But it doesn’t even have to be that extreme. Some people like to try a lot of cool new things and then write about their experience. Youtube is heavily populated with people and families documenting their lives, usually with a bent towards younger kids. My son watches these types of Youtube channels, and I’ll admit, it’s far more interesting and entertaining than one would expect.
My point is that to make your blog about personal stuff, it needs to be interesting and have some sort of unique twist. Otherwise, it’ll read like a personal diary published online.
Blog About Your Own Work
If you’re a fiction writer, then why not write about your fiction? This means your posts can be:
- Serialized novels (one post = one chapter)
- Behind-the-scenes stuff about your current work
- Teasers about upcoming novels
There are probably a lot more things you can post about regarding your own work, but you get the idea.
Get Creative With Your Blog Posts
The sky really is the limit when it comes to what you can blog about. Get creative and experiment with different topics. See what grabs readers’ attention. Also, keep in mind that what works for you, might not work for someone else.
So What Will I Blog About?
The honest answer is, I really don’t know. I learned a lot from my Brad’s Reader blog and will incorporate those lessons into this blog. But I can assure you I’ll be staying far away from religion and politics. My ultimate goal is to keep it interesting and engage readers.
Thanks for reading!