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Is Blogging Dead?

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You know how it goes…

  • You spend hours writing a thoughtful post and no one sees it
  • You’re giving away free books, gift cards, candy and your first born child, and there are only two comments
  • You’re guest blogging somewhere and you have to BEG your friends and family to go over and comment so you don’t look like a LOSER
  • You blog with a group of people and every week you find yourselves scrounging around and to fill empty slots

There was a time when blogging was supposed to be the thang. Everyone was doing it. Publishers were holding seminars on how to blog effectively. Unpublished authors were told it was important to blog and build a platform even before selling. But now, more and more of us are wondering, is it really worth it?

“Is blogging dead?”

Here’s the lightning round from various authors, agents, and book bloggers:

  • “You know. I’m not sure. If anything, I wonder if blogging is once again becoming more specialized. It’s no longer something that everyone is doing, but something that only an elite few are continuing and having success at.” – Jessica Faust, agent & president of BookEnds, LLC
  • “For me, I’d have to say yes, blogs are mostly dead. I do the bulk of my interaction with readers on my FB page, the rest on twitter. Social media has just changed the landscape of how authors are accessible.” - Kristen Painter, author of Out for Blood
  • “I think it’s changing–unless you have a platform for something other than your authorhood.” - Gwen Hayes, author of Falling Awake and Ours is Just a Little Sorrow
  • “It is definitely waning, but I still think there is a niche for it. It allows the blogger to go into more depth in a topic than Facebook or Twitter, which are short and quick.” – Diane Gaston, author of A Not So Respectable Gentleman?
  • “No.  I just…..no.  As long as there are “personalities” in Romance Novel Land, I think blogging is a viable option.  You can also very easily tailor blogging to fit your needs.” – Wendy the Super Librarian

The Effect of Social Media

The prevailing thought is that social media such as Facebook and Twitter have changed the face of social interaction on line. Wendy Crutcher aptly compared blog posts to magazine articles:  “You read some articles, skip others, and maybe write a letter to the editor over others.” Twitter and Facebook posts have been compared to the quick “water cooler” conversations one might have at work. Sometimes you can get into a prolonged back and forth, other times it’s quick and light. You’re able to reach out, make a connection, then move on to make another connection.

Wendy has found that blog traffic hasn’t necessarily suffered with the rise of social media. A plus side is that Twitter can be used to drive more traffic to a blog post where a more in depth topic can be discussed.

Author and Ruby Sister Tamara Hogan pointed out that the power of Facebook is in its format and that the “one thing it does brilliantly is centralize information, and create community via tooling. It’s one-stop shopping. I think one of our biggest challenges over the next decade – and I mean “our” in the species sense – will be finding ways to effectively manage the deluge of information coming our way. In a time where everyone wants a slice of my attention, I need to filter stuff out. Go fewer places, not more.”

Remaining Relevant

One of the challenges in the crowded blogosphere is remaining relevant and continually generating interesting and engaging content. Long time review sites like Dear Author and All About Romance continue to be popular, featuring reviews as well as industry information and active discussion about relevant current topics. Both have large and active communities with over 15,000 unique visitors on average per month. (figures are from Compete.com).

Agent Jessica Faust, who ran the very successful BookEnds blog for many years, commented that “There are so many things trying to capture our time that bloggers need to be extra special these days to build an audience.” It seems like it’s a combination of building enough of a following to foster conversation and community, but keeping content fresh and relevant as well. “It’s about how effective you are with the following you have,” according to Faust. “2 million followers is amazing, but isn’t doing you any good if you aren’t engaging and they don’t engage with you.” Those words are just as true for Twitter and Facebook followers as it is for bloggers.

Like many authors, Ruby Sister Autumn Jordan questions whether avid readers are truly blog followers. Sure blogging reaches some readers, but does it truly reach enough readers to be worthwhile? “Blogs are the equal of yesterday’s booksigning,” she points out. “I think every published author I’ve ever spoken to about scheduling book signings, said don’t waste your time. Your time is better used writing.”

Consolidation

The trend currently seems to be toward consolidation. In the crowded blogosphere, it’s more difficult for an individual to draw a following. Though group blogging between a small circle of authors with a common background (such as the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood) also seems to be on the decline, making way for larger juggernauts.

Major review venues have added prolific bloggers to their roster — Barbara Vey was a pioneer in this arena with the  PW Beyond Her Book blog in 2007 under the umbrella of Publishers Weekly. Kirkus Reviews also picked up several book bloggers with established followings: Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for a romance column & Ana and Thea of The Book Smugglers for a Science Fiction & Fantasy column.

As publishers go, Harlequin has had a long established digital presence including a user forum and blog. Newcomers to  the publisher blogosphere include: Heroes & Heartbreakers (Macmillan) launched in 2011 and and Discover a New Love (Sourcebooks) launched in 2012 which features an online readers’ club. Is this an example of traditional publishers jumping onto a trend just as it’s dying out? Or does it show that the blogosphere has thinned out in Darwinian survival of the fittest fashion, leaving space for megaliths with big followings only?

To Blog or Not to Blog

Author Dalya Moon put it rather eloquently: “As a writer, putting a lot of time into blogging is like being a bakery and focusing all your effort on free cookie samples while never baking a wedding cake.”

Should an individual author, especially one just starting out, or even a small group of authors put their efforts into blogging to build their reach or platform? Or is it a waste of time?

And what about the pressure to do a blog tour? Some readers discover authors through blog tours, but do enough readers reach you to make it worthwhile?

Special thanks to the netizens who answered our survey and helped contribute to this post:

59 Responses to “Is Blogging Dead?”

  1. Chris says:

    Great post. I’m not really a big blogger myself and it doesn’t seem to do much for sales to be honest. Though it is nice to have some place to announce special bits of information to ones readers.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I agree! I think most authors realize that their own personal blog just serves as a place for updates and as their own journal. At the same time, I’m always surprised at who finds me through my blog. It’s nice to have content out there, but not worth time building a following individually for me — mainly because my goal is to write, not to blog. :)

  2. I’m glad I dragged my feet on blogging for so many years, because now I don’t have to bother!

    Well, I probably never had to bother, but I would have crumbled under the pressure to do so.

    My debut novel releases TODAY, and I’m appearing on a very small number of blogs, including the USA Today HEA blog, Romance University, and our very own Ruby blog. I just don’t have time to not only write original content but also comment as much as I’d need to.

    I still read blogs, but it’s like Tamara said — I’m all about sifting quickly through content. I like the weekly Goodreads email with recent posts by authors I’m following, and I’m just getting started with RSS feeds via a compiler like Feeddler.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Congrats on the release!!!

      I think appearing on several popular blogs is the way to go. At least for us little guys without much of a following on our own, you know?

      On the other hand, if you have another platform, some sort of specialty outside of your authorness, then it might be a good use for personal blog. My personal blog has become just a place to discuss Chinese history, culture, and Asians in media. I’ve wondered if it’s too much of a niche, but it may be better to stick to a narrower focus if your primary goal isn’t to build blog readership. (my primary goal is to write more stories!)

  3. Elise Hayes says:

    I love group blogs. It spreads the work around various writers and allows them to share a larger pool of expertise with readers. Blogs create a space for individuals (and groups) to have a public voice–and I think the need/desire for that will remain, even as other forms of social media wax and wane. Sure, blogging is no longer the cutting-edge, sexy “thang,” but it fills definite needs and demands…so I think it’s here to stay!

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I blog at the Ruby blog mainly because I loves you all. I also blog occasionally at Unusual Historicals. Still, I must admit even group blogs are a huge time commitment (as you all know) and something I do for personal enjoyment rather than gaining a following.

  4. Hope Ramsay says:

    I don’t do a lot of blogging on my own webpage. But I participate in two group blogs. Here at the RSS blog, where I blog about writing and at http://www.Blameitonthemuse.com (shameless plug), where I blog about life.

    I’m one of the admins for Blame it on the Muse and it takes a lot of time to do. We don’t have a huge audience, but we do get about 40 or 50 people reading the blog every day (fewer comment). And sometimes we get as many as 100 readers, when we have guest blogs by well-known authors.

    While I spend a lot of time administering this, most of the BIOTM bloggers don’t have to spend a lot of time blogging. They only have to blog once or twice a month.

    I use these external blogs to bump up the content of my own website. My site is linked to these blogs, as is my Facebook and Twitter presence. So these blogs serve to increase the quality content I post on my webpage and in social media.

    I would offer one caution about using Facebook exclusively for your author platform. You can put a lot of effort into building an audience of “friends” or people who “like” you on Facebook. But Facebook controls that list. Facebook has started to charge authors in order to insure that their news feeds actually reach their fans and friends. So when you post on Facebook, it’s a real crap shoot these days as to who is actually seeing what you post. Facebook wants you to buy advertising in order to ensure that your messages reach your audience. And buying Facebook advertising is really expensive.

    So, when you’re thinking about building an author platform (and you have no choice in this day and age), you should put your effort into building your own website, making sure you have a mailing list that you control, and making sure that you provide good content on your webpage. A blog, whether you blog on your own site, or connect your external blogs to your site, is a great way to provide good content. And readers want good content.

    Blogging with a group is a good way for an author to balance writing and marketing. And to that end — another shameless plug — if anyone is interested in becoming a blogger at Blame it on the Muse, please visit my webpage: http://www.HopeRamsay.com and use my contact form to get in touch with me. We are actively looking for new bloggers.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I always appreciate your in-depth insight into building an author platform Hope!

      I think you make a very good point of knowing the strengths and limits of whatever platform/tool/outlet you choose.

  5. Liz Talley says:

    I suppose for me, it is an opportunity to put a footprint out there. using tags, etc, often times if someone is looking for Liz Talley…or maybe they’re looking for Modern Family (cause I did a post on that show) then they can stumble on me. And not just me, but the intimate me. Not sure if that makes sense, but I do feel like it leaves a footprint of Liz Talley out there somewhere besides on FB or Twitter. Not that there are a ton of folks looking for me, but still, it’s another way to be accessible.

    I like FB, but I don’t use it as an author all that well. Twitter is hit or miss with me. I don’t have many followers and I don’t have an enormous amount of time to stay on twitter.

    So basically, I do what I can do which is less than some and more than others. I do hope blogs stay around because I like having more info that a 50 word blip about a book. It’s an opportunity to learn more :)

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I like the idea of leaving a footprint. The blogs you write stay out there for anyone to find. I think in some cases, like with Jessica Faust’s blog, there’s a wealth of information there and it did what she set out for it to do during the life of the blog. As times change, so do the ways of interacting with people online, but good info is still good info.

      I think many people have discovered me through archived content on my blog. It hasn’t been about building a following or readers for me, but it has been about hooking up with people who have similar interests.

    • Kim Law says:

      Very good point about the footprint thing, Liz. It makes a lot of sense!

  6. Megan Kelly says:

    I blog once a month with Harl American Romance Authors. With a holiday release this month, along with prepping for Thanksgiving and Christmas, just the idea of a blog hop is exhausting. Like Jeannie said, I want time to write books, not blogs. Hopefully, that’s what my readers are waiting for rather than a bit of “how” I do it or what I eat while writing.
    An interesting line above struck me about how many readers a blog reaches. If one new person reading this goes to check out my website, then likes my books and buys one, then loans it to a friend, who recommends it to a friend, who then buys another… One never knows what reach one gets from blogging. That’s the power of blogging.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Your readers are definitely looking for more books rather than blogs! *goes to check out Megan Kelly’s holiday release*

      At the same time, there is a very active blogosphere. It’s a separate crowd in and of itself. I think if you’re trying to use blogging to get noticed, the hope is to create interesting content that will hopefully get picked up by a pundit who will spread the word.

      As others have noted, if the goal is just interaction, people seem to prefer social media for interaction now.

      • Megan Kelly says:

        For me, the goal of blogging is getting *my books* noticed, not myself. Love interaction when commenters show up. Holiday book (Holly & Ivey) will be out right before Thanksgiving, but thanks for looking, Jeannie. lol

  7. Holley Trent says:

    I’m blogging less and less. I’m just not seeing the return on time investment I used to get even two years ago.

    I feel a lot less stressed out now that I give myself permission to only update a couple times/week or to post really short blogs.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I know what you mean Holley. I never had a hugely active blog, but maintaining it always took a lot of work. I blogged usually twice a week. Now I save my blog for long rambling essays and everyone that I used to interact with on my blog is still in touch via Twitter, facebook, or a private Yahoo loop.

  8. I’ve finally figured out that I don’t enjoy blogging very much. :) I’ll do it when I have to, but trying to figure out something *interesting* to blog about is difficult for me. I like Twitter because I’m not forced to write a long post that has a point. LOL. And I do like Facebook, but there again, I struggle to find something relevant to say. Maybe I just struggle to be relevant in general. Ha!

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I think it takes a certain skill to blog effectively…just as it takes a certain skill to write novels!

      I would think that the knowledge that blogging is not the end all be all is quite freeing.

  9. Interesting post. I blog at two group blogs (here at the Ruby Sisterhood, and at Not Your Usual Suspects – a group of Carina Press suspense/mystery authors). I find it saps a lot of my time and energy even to produce about one blog a month. But I also believe that the more ways you can get your name out there, the more likely someone is to recognize you down the road and (perhaps) buy your book, or support you in some way.

    But is blogging, in particular, worth it? To me, it’s a time versus payback issue (or cost versus gain, I suppose). I can probably keep up with the two group blogs, but I don’t think I’d ever have a personal blog. Facebook is enough for me. :)

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I’m in the same boat in terms of commitment as you Anne Marie and I’m going to go out on a limb here…despite this lengthy post and how much effort I put into blogging, my answer is blogging isn’t worth it for getting your name out there and getting recognized.

      Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s valuable, especially if you have something to say. I get a lot of insight from reading blogs too and I like being part of the conversation. And of course there are authors who have spun their blogging platforms into huge $$$$ book deals. But overall, if you’re trying to “get your name out there” as an author, a blog is not the best way to go, IMHO. Guest blogging at other big venues once in a while is probably a better way to do it, but not blogging from a “home” blog like a personal blog or even a group blog. You want to hitch onto other people’s followings, the people who really invest their time in promoting and maintaining a blog. (see Consolidation section)

      Please don’t kick me out Ruby Sisters!! At least you know I’m here blogging out of love and not to get recognition. :)

      • Oh yes – I totally agree. If I wasn’t already committed to those two blogs, and hadn’t heard over and over again that we had to get our names out there, I wouldn’t be blogging at all. :) I’ve lost faith in the latter – I cut down my blog promo for my latest book release by about half, and the first blog tour wasn’t all that big…about 10 stops. So now I blog out of love of the groups I’m part of. :)

        As for reaching readers…I’m hoping other methods like attending reader-oriented conferences will help, as well as getting several books out there. That’s what I intend to focus on in 2013.

        Great discussion, Jeannie!

        • Jeannie Lin says:

          Now this is going to throw a wrench in our blog-reticence.

          My first book had a massive blog tour, 40+ stops. I burnt out. My next two books, I just couldn’t do much promotion and blogging.

          Digital sales of my first book are higher than book 2 + book 3 combined. Course there are a lot of other factors. Book 1 has been out longer and enjoyed a boost every time a new book comes out. Book 1 also had a lot of interest online which *sniff* seems to have waned.

          Could I have kept it alive with a bigger internet presence? I don’t think so. The internet moves on…

  10. Kay Hudson says:

    I started blogging when I finalled in the Golden Heart in 2011, because that seemed like the best way for an unpublished author to established a “web presence.” I discovered that I enjoy blogging a couple of times a week, and people do find me there. I’m still unpublished, so I’m not promoting a book (well, other people’s books that I like, yes), but it does keep my name out there. And I suppose I’ll keep it up as long as I enjoy it. But in the meantime I’ve finally hopped on the Twitter and Facebook wagons–where I find myself following links to other people’s blogs (and visits to my own blog have increased).

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I always wondered about this – I hear it again and again from agents that unpublished authors should build a platform. I had a blog before publishing, but it was recreational. I just wonder how valid it is to spend a lot of effort build a following prior to being published — if your purpose is to get those followers to then turn around and become your readers.

      Now spending time blogging and on social media to learn the landscape and get industry knowledge…that totally makes sense to me.

  11. Sela Carsen says:

    But…but…I just started blogging again!

    Back in the dark ages when I started this gig, if you didn’t have a blog, you just weren’t on top of things. And back then, I was a good blogger. Had a nice following, wrote regularly, all that good stuff. Then I fell off the wagon and it’s been a struggle to get back on ever since.

    I don’t understand FB at all, so I don’t use it effectively and I only Tweet when I feel like it, so it’s not a good marketing tool for me. At least, it isn’t based on my usage.

    And my recent return to blogging isn’t about marketing, either. As someone mentioned earlier, it’s just a touchstone for me to launch my writing day, keep a journal of sorts, write out an occasional article or deep thought on some craft or business issue. It’s not the promotional or marketing tool that it started out as, but it’s still something I enjoy doing.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I think that’s the key Sela – knowing what and why you’re doing it.

      I think if there’s anything I want new authors to take away from this post, it’s that they shouldn’t let anyone (including their publishers) make them think they have to blog. It really isn’t the marketing tool it used to be.

  12. Willa Blair says:

    I just moved from a static website to WordPress so that I could have more flexibility and even blog occasionally when the muse strikes. But I really don’t expect great things from it.

    I’ve seen plenty of well-established authors whose blogs suffer for lack of attention. They have huge fan bases and sell tons of books (or gigabits of books) but don’t get the equivalent in traffic at their blog. Nor can they tell if their posts have any impact on driving book sales.

    If anyone ever figures out what the magic ingredient is (in addition to hard work and lots of writing) that makes a blog popular, a lot of us would love to know. Even better, if anyone ever figures out how to accurately and reliably measure return on investment, well, wouldn’t you just love to know that?

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I too love the wordpress platform for updating the website and maintaining a blog!

      I think you’ve hit on the fact that your blogging presence can have zero correlation to your book’s success.

      I think authors with big fan bases subsequently garner big blog/social media followings. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it go the other way around — you have a loyal readership that spawned first from a media following. The exception being, of course, the authors who have spun a successful blog following into a book deal.

  13. Vivi Andrews says:

    Great post, Jeannie.

    I think of my blogging less as a sales or getting-my-name-out technique and more as just another form of communication (another interaction to keep from becoming a total writing shut-in).

  14. JL Mealer says:

    From the outside looking in and totally against twitter waste of time nonsense… We can drop the ebonics “thang”, call it blog (weblog) “thing” and consider it worthwhile.

    After-all… I am reading this BLOG “thing”!

    I’d much rather read about your latest books and interesting stories than complaints about blogging.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I tried to keep this from being a blog rant (since there’s plenty) and discuss how book blogging has evolved. Certainly there was a time (as Sela mentioned) when blogs were considered a crucial marketing tool for individual authors. I think there’s a different landscape out there now.

      • JL Mealer says:

        Yes Jeannie, you’re so very right.
        Every writer here is so far above me and accomplished I really have no say in the matter… By comparison, this group is in the current era (which I have no clue as to the term) while I am in the Stone Age. Hence… Me poking fun at the usage of the ebonic “thang” talk – assuming it was not a typo.
        I’ll just stand back in the corner and remain quiet.

        • Jeannie Lin says:

          Sorry, not sure what happened here, but was just trying to say I was very much trying not to rant or complain about blogging here–though surely I do complain about blogging in many circles. Usually about how much time it takes.

          On the other hand, it has definitely been valuable to me to consider how blogging is evolving and I felt other people might find the discussion worthwhile as well. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new or experienced author — it’s all new here.

          And feel free to make fun of my usage of “thang”. It didn’t even occur to me that this might seem to be poking fun at ebonics and could be insensitive. So totally mea culpa there.

  15. Interesting, thought-provoking post, Jeannie.

    I admit I hate to blog. I will do it only when pushed to bring a book out, because I became a writer to WRITE BOOKS. My stories are the only place where I feel I have anything worthwhile to say.

    But I do like to visit about five different blogs a day as a reward/break from writing. Two of those blogs are on writing, but the others are on personal interests that are just plain fun for me. A little niche, as you called it, that probably only appeals to very few people like me.

    So I do hope the small blogs, full of unapologetic interest in hats, or Chinese history, or antique shoes will continue. The world will be a much less interesting place if they don’t.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I like using Twitter as sort of my new feed reader for that. I scan what people are highlighting out there and pick and choose my reading from among them. I have a weakness for ancient history and archeological discoveries, it seems. Especially if they somehow involve ancient books!

      • Amanda Brice says:

        I still reazd blogs, but I admit that I don’t go to every blog every day. I use my Facebook feed to scan and see what things I want to read about that day, then click on the link to visit the blog. So I think it’s crucial for blogs to have a FB and Twitter presence.

  16. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Great post, Jeannie. I use my blog to make announcements to my readers and to post an article when and IF I have something interesting to say. I think when a blog has focus and a mission, like our Ruby blog, it tends to do better.

    I don’t have any platform aside from my books, and my life just isn’t THAT interesting. I spend my most of my time at my computer. And I really don’t think readers would enjoy hearing about what I’m having for lunch or the pros and cons of whipping my mashed potatoes with a beater versus mashing them by hand. Yeah, that’s REALLY how boring my life is.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I prefer using a potato ricer myself, but when lazy, just mash by hand.

      I love cooking kibitz via Facebook or Twitter and actually have collected a few recipes off of blogs as well.

  17. Kim Law says:

    Very thought provoking post, Jeannie. I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said, but I do enjoy reading everyone’s opinion.

    Thanks for putting the effort in to write this one!

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Thanks Kim! I probably spent more time on this post than necessary — mostly making zombie graphics. Speak about time suck.

      But I did get some great insights hearing from other bloggers.

  18. Great post, Jeannie! I only blog in two places…here (much less often than I should) and the Harlequin medical authors’ blog.

    In all honesty, it’s much harder for me to come up with a topic and write a post than it does to put that time into my latest manuscript. Saying that, once I’ve finished writing the blog post, I really enjoy interacting with the people who stop by. It’s just coming up with a relevant topic that throws me.

    Enjoying everyone’s thoughts!

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I think with as varied and interesting as your settings are plus all the medical knowledge that goes into it, I would think there’s a wealth of information to blog about. However, I love trivia and just love behind the scenes stuff about books.

  19. Tamara Hogan says:

    Great post, Jeannie – and I love that “The Blogging Dead” graphic! I picture those of us who are reluctant bloggers walking forward, mindlessly, like zombies. “Commentssssss, commentssssss…I must get comments…”

    I blog at the Sourcebooks Casablanca Author’s blog about once a month, and try to blog here about once a month as well. My personal blog, if you can call it that, is occasionally updated with links to the places I’m REALLY blogging at, or reflects pictures or videos I find interesting or amusing. If one of my books is nominated for an award, I (reluctantly) post that, too.

    Part of my issue with blogging, especially at the Casa blog, which is promotion-focused, is that I release one book per year. During my release month, I feel I actually have something to say. But the other eleven months of the year? (shrug) It’s really a stretch to find things to write about. And the time it takes to write those blog posts cuts into manuscript time.

    Time, time, time. I’m sure there are a lot of great blogs I’m not reading, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. ;-)

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Yes, I’m quite proud of The Blogging Dead. :)

      And I loved your comment about Facebook being an aggregator. It made me think of how we probably spend a lot more time online than the average reader and so if we’re pressed for time…

  20. Marie says:

    I blog because I love it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother. It really doesn’t add to sales. Having a blog is my way of reaching out to the audience I know buys my books and letting them know, ‘hey, I’m a real person, and here’s how my day went today’. I can also easily tell readers about new books, release dates for the next book… etc.

    My blog also serves a dual purpose, poor writer, means I don’t have much time for a snazzy website. Ergo, my blog. It serves as both website and diary… but again, I’m the odd bird that enjoys writing blogs. *shrug* To each their own I suppose.

    Good article.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Marie – I think you’ve hit upon what my current blogging goals are on my personal blog. It’s to reach out and create content for your readers — people already interested in your stories — rather than a way to hook new readers. Sure, it may attract new readers as a happenstance, which is frosting!

      I enjoy blogging for the main reason that — as you can see from this blog post — I like to go deeper into a topic. I call them “essays” they get so wordy!

  21. Rita Henuber says:

    Wonderful blog!
    The comments say it all. There are blogs that I visit to seek information. Don’t much care for the blogs that trash nooks and aspiring authors. Sorry guys but I just don’t have the time to visit individual blogs that talk about where they went for dinner, their favorite wine, or how to make your own kitty litter.
    Bottom line for me is if I enjoy doing it I’ll do it.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I used to follow personal blogs like that and also used to put a lot more personal info on my blog — about my Little Sis and my nephew and her cat. I felt that I sort of had a small group of people where we all followed each other’s blogs and it was like being pen pals, you know?

      But that’s changed so quickly. I now interact with those people in a very different format (e-mail, facebook, twitter) and my blog has become a bit more of a place for story info, journal entries, essays and cool finds.

  22. Awesome post and such thoughtful comments! Thank you. I group-blogged (it’s a verb now) for three years at Murder She Writes and loved so much about it…but also hated some aspects of blogging. I spent at least four hours putting together a post (every other week) that was invariably targeted to writers, not readers. I sweat over every word and lost most of the day replying to comments. It was not unusual to get 100 or 150 comments and I read/replied to all. Yes, I did increase my “online presence” but I also decreased my “writing.” LOL.

    After three years, I decided to stop blogging. It’s been about a year, and I miss it! There are things I want to say to readers, fellow writers, and anyone who cares. I don’t adore Facebook (hate it, really, I’m just not that “good” at managing the two pages I have to have) and while I love Twitter, it doesn’t give me all the room I need to say what I want to say.

    I’ve actually been playing around with starting a new blog that would be more or less that “writer’s journal” you mentioned — news, updates, thoughts on life, writing, books, kids, and stuff. I just don’t want to stress out about comments or giveaways or Klout scores or whatever.

    Great post!

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      It’s good to hear from someone who’s written for a very successful blog and also someone with a huge following! I’m happy to get 100 pairs of eyes let alone a hundred comments. But I think the fact that you spent hours on a post shows how much dedication it truly takes to create quality content.

      I think the writer journal you mention is a great way to provide something extra for the “already converted” and a way to speak to readers vs. writers.

      When I develop a writer crush, I often start checking in on the author’s blog here and there. It’s not an every day thing, but just once in a while. Guy Gavriel Kay posts behind the scenes sort of stuff to give insight into how his stories develop into books with cover art and all the accompanying bells and whistles. I always love seeing those posts so I figured my readers might feel the same.

  23. When Jeannie asked about this on Facebook, I observed that blogging matters if people know you exist. For example, I Google the names of Golden Heart finalists when they are announced by the RWA because I want to read a blurb or an excerpt, or see what else they have coming down the pipeline. Yet, before that list is posted online, I don’t know of their existence.

    Same thing for Twitter: when I see someone new has followed me, I click on their profile to see if there’s a link, yet, if they don’t follow me, I don’t follow them, or I don’t see someone I do follow tweeting them, their blogging to obtain a platform is probably for naught.

    I think successful blogging is about finding a niche and a personality/voice that encourages visits and comments. I’m trying to remember whether I saw this on Nathan Bransford’s blog or The Passive Voice, but the post was about a vlogger who crafted his actual voice to fit the vlogs he created. The post then compared the guy’s earliest vlog to those that are now receiving thousands of views and comments, and noted that Voice changes organically, but it can also be a deliberate tweak to fit the “personality” you wish to convey to your viewers/readers.

    I think that when Everybody said authors must blog, they neglected to say how one should blog, and how one can craft an enticing, exciting voice. Now, because the tools weren’t provided, Everyone says blogging is dead and that author blogs are deader because they’re just talking about writing. Yet, I see new blogs with new voices pop up quite often throughout the blogosphere (you would think that there would be enough food/food photography blogs in existence!), which means it’s all about engaging your target readership with an authentic, but well-crafted voice.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Wow, so many awesome points there!

      I’m definitely glad I had a blog when the Golden Heart announcements came out way back in 2009. A lot of people came by to take a look and I think some of that notice did carry over for when my first book came out.

      Also a very good point that there’s no one size fits all blogging. Some people are very good at it and others not so much.

      I do think that whereas in the past I would follow Nathan Bransford’s blog every day, now I just hop in once in a while when someone mentions an interesting article of Twitter or Facebook to bring me back there.

  24. Very interesting blog Jeannie!I don’t have time to write too many blogs (I blog with some friends) or read them–I only follow a few and I read others when the topic is very interesting–like your topic! I think blogs are diminishing because so many people are pressed for time; but blogs are not dead.

  25. Dicky Carter says:

    I blogged about this at my blog not so long ago (dickycarter.com). As a personal blogger I think that it could be on a downturn. Although you don’t seem to be having trouble with low traffic – 58 comments for this post! Great content always gets people talking and you seem to be doing a very good job at that. I shall be back. Merry Christmas to you.

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