Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writer's Block Wednesday: To Blog or Not To Blog

Writers often ask me, "Should I blog?" Many editors and publicists are telling their writers to start blogging before they even ask. Blogging is a great marketing tool and an effective way to expand your name recognition. I love reading writers' blogs because I can see who they are and how they write before I buy their book. However, if a writer has nothing informative to say, blogs infrequently, or only blogs to say, "Buy my book!" then it's a turn off.

My rule of thumb is don't blog unless you have something to say. JA Konrath blogs about the world of publishing on a regular basis. Sarah Weinman reviews books and blogs about industry news. The Outfit Collective is a team of Chicago authors (since a daily blog was too much of a commitment for any one writer). All of these blogs are clear, focused, and updated regularly. Therefore, they are effective marketing tools.

When I started this blog three years ago, I did it because I had something to say. I had just started reviewing books, recently graduated from college, and had lots of thoughts and musings about writing. Now, I have become more focused, using this blog as a way to promote talented writers, especially those in Chicago, and to help aspiring authors write better books and get published. Full disclosure, this blog is also a great place to promote my clients and my business. But promotion isn't the only reason I blog, which is why, I think, The Chicago Contingent works.

For the authors still unsure whether or not they should start a blog, ask yourself the following:
  • Do I have something to say?
  • What would my focus or angle be?
  • Do I have time to blog? (Depending on length and speed, posts can take up to an hour)
  • Would people be interested in reading it?
And don't forget all the benefits. Blogging:
  • Gives readers a preview into your writing style
  • Expands your name recognition and Google-ability
  • Helps you hone your craft. The more you write, the better writer you become.
  • Is an outlet to market your books and interact with your readers.
Bloggers? Non-bloggers? Care to weigh in?

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