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Why blogging is hurting authors–at least this one!

Blogging doesn’t sell many books. More books and word of mouth sell books, which is why I have really scaled back on my blogging. I simply don’t have time to write at the pace and quality I need to in order to be successful and put up a blog post every week. 

And I urge new, serious writers to do the same. Yes, the network I’ve built is wonderful. Yes, social media sells books–to an extent–but it is more about building an audience and engaging those people. And in this over saturated environment, blogging is becoming less and less effective. 

I know some will disagree, and that’s fine. We are all entitle to our opinions. I’ve been blogging over two years, and I am getting ready to publish my third book. I am certainly a work in progress, but I know what is working for me now and what isn’t.

I do think blogs work better for some genres than others. I think they are more effective for young adult readers simply because of lifestyle. But my target audience is a bit older and many don’t have time to keep up with blogs, FB, etc. 

For me, Facebook has been the best way for interaction with my readers, and even that is limited because of their parameters and, let’s face it, people are busy, busy, bust. So, unless you are a lucky duck with a bestselling book right out of the gate (and yay! if you are), your best bet is to spend as much time writing and working on your craft. More books, better quality books = more reviews and more readers.

I don’t believe indie authors will rise to compete with the quality (or sometimes, perceived quality) of traditional publishing unless we continue to hone our crafts and treat our writing as a business. That means in investing in editing, craft books if necessary, and great cover artists. 

And my goal as a writer is for each book to be better than the last, and to continue to earn great word of mouth by good reviews. 

Which means I will continue to keep the blog on the back burner. This summer I am editing the second Delta Crossroads book, SKELETON’S KEY, and I am also plotting two new ideas I am really excited about. 

I will continue to post the occasional Thriller Thursday, and you can absolutely stay updated with me on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll also be posting every few weeks on the misterio press blog, which is the amazing publishing co-op I belong to. 

So to wrap this up, I’d urge new authors who are being bombarded with the call to social media (and more experienced who may have fallen into the habit) to make sure they are spending the vast majority of their time and energy on their writing, period. 

That’s our best chance at success. Good luck!

19 comments on… “Why blogging is hurting authors–at least this one!”

  1. I whole-heartedly agree, Stacy, as much as I love all the friends iIve made on Twitter and by blogging, writing and posting blogs posts does take time away from writing novels and shorts, which is where our energies need to be focused. Especially, as you point out, for new writers who are honing their skills – self published, or not.
    Good points, all.

  2. You’ve said it all. And I could not agree more.

    I’m in the same boat. My blog posting has gone down to once a week. Even that one blog post is nowhere near as detailed and researched as I’d have posted a year ago. And the reason is exactly what you say. It doesn’t sell books. It just eats time.

    I love all the wonderful friends I’ve met through my blog. I started out thinking nobody would be interested in anything I had to say. But, over the two years I’ve been blogging, all kinds of people have reached out to me.

    Unfortunately, most of them are more interested in the true crime and paranormal articles I wrote for the blog than in my fiction. Which is okay. But it certainly doesn’t give me much incentive for continuing to write the those heavily researched and time consuming articles.

    The few blog readers who did take an interest in my fiction were the silver lining of the whole experiment. I could give each and every one of them sloppy hugs.

    But I echo your advice to new writers. Focus on writing. Pay for quality editing. This is a business…not a virtual tea party or quilting bee. Your time will be better spent honing your craft than spending hours futzing around on social media.

    Oh, and one other thing. Use your time on social media to forge relationships. Don’t worry about creating an endless link fest. People tune you out after a while if you do that. 🙂

    • Ilil Arbel

      I don’t pretend to know what really works for sales these days, and while I respect your opinion, I am not sure if you are correct, because what you say goes against current thought. However, one thing I need to understand. You say: “Use your time on social media to forge relationships. Don’t worry about creating an endless link fest” What does “endless link fest” mean?

      • It was Catie who said that, and what she means is don’t spend all your social media time tweeting links, whether they are yours or others. You need to engage and talk to people. But I just caution on how much time and energy you spend. Current thought may be one thing, but I’ve made my decision based on my own personal experience. Thanks!

      • I don’t need current thought (or you) to agree with me. I know what I did, and I know the results I got from it. That said, you have every right to do what works for you. Different tactics work for different authors.

        What I mean by endless link fest is the posting of endless links to blogs, book sales, and book reviews. You can post that stuff, but make sure you try to make conversation in between. If you want to see what NOT to do, go look at my twitter feed. It’s @catie_rhodes. I’ve let it turn into a complete link-fest. I’ve thought about taking it back and making actual conversation there, but I can’t decide if it’s worth the effort.

  3. I agree that blogging is not a way to gain an audience and to make sales. However, I don’t think that means that it hurts authors, anymore than trade shows are useless because you can’t sell hardware to other hardware reps.

    I use my blog to stay connected to other authors, to keep up on news, for encouragement, for ideas. Right now I am also using wordpress blogs to put together short story collections, which I intend to use to promote my own work and the work of other writers.

  4. Cynthia – glad to see you, and thanks for the comment. I do love all the friends and am grateful for the connections I’ve made but it has become a matter of priority.

    Catie – I know you and I are absolutely in the same page. Blogging can be fun and is good for honing writing, but there nothing matches a quality content editor, practice and discipline.

    Misha – perhaps it doesn’t hurt authors, but I’m not sure it helps us any more. What I have learned over the past two years is that for me, my time is better spent writing.

    Christine – lol. So glad to have made you so happy. You as well!

  5. Well said, Stacy! Writing is our career, and the only way to sell books is to spend time developing our craft so that we produce books worth reading.

  6. Can I just let out a big ‘ol hallelujah!! As a new writer, I was told that I HAD to blog, but I’ve found it difficult to devote the time necessary to make a quality blog. Some people say it doesn’t matter what you blog about, just get out there….but do I really want potential readers reading blog crud??? And after attempting it for 6 months, I had ONE…count them…ONE…follower, so it wasn’t accomplishing what I set out to do. Thanks for the post…you have liberated me! 🙂

  7. annerallen

    Most authors try to blog like professional bloggers, instead of like book authors. I believe in slow blogging. Blog once a week or less. Even once a month. Blog on a schedule, but it can be a “slow” one. I’ve become a bestselling author because of my blog. Your blog is the only place on the Web where you have total control. FB can kick you off if some troll thinks it’s fun to report you for spam. Twitter requires skill in writing pithy epigrams in 140 characters. A blog allows you to be you. But do it your way, not following some marketer’s ideas of time-wasting nonsense. Your most important blogging time is spent on other people’s blogs. But then have a link to your own where you are “at home” and welcoming. Try a real, heartfelt post once a month. I’ll bet you’ll get great results.

  8. I understand Stacy. And this is why I have cut way back on my blogging. I still don’t know if I’ll ever publish anything. But, it will never happen if all I do is write blog posts. I don’t think this blogging gig is a one shoe fits all kind of thing. I wish you all the best girl! 🙂

  9. That is the primary reason why I don’t have a blog currently. BTW, even though I’m reading it at a snails pace due to a deadline, I am really enjoying Tin God. Keep up the great work!

  10. Elizabeth and LeAnne, thanks for your comments. I’m glad the post resonated with you, and I think that as long as you put fiction writing and craft first, you’re doing great.

    Anne, thank you for your thoughtful comment. That’s one of the best perspectives on blogging I’ve read in a long time. I’m definitely going to try your approach:)

    Karen, good to hear from you. I think if you keep working and writing something you love, the publishing will come. Thanks, and you as well!

    Brooke, glad to hear you are putting your writing first, and thanks for the comments on Tin God. Hope you continue to enjoy!

  11. I think it was Robert Heinlein who made an allusion to two people living on a rock and making a living by taking in each others’ washing. That’s what blogging can get to be sometimes; I visit your blog, you visit my blog, and I visit yours… Mind you, that’s still better than the selfish people who join various groups and post every single blog link every single time to ALL of the groups and rarely if ever comment on or share somebody else’s stuff…

    Still, even when you enjoy it, blogging can be a huge time suck. I have cut back to blogging things I enjoy writing, or that I feel passionately about which don’t quite fit in with my current novel. And my blog visiting to those things I enjoy, too.

  12. A part of me really, really agrees with you. Then there’s a part of me that uses blogging as an escape from the everyday. It’s more like my hobby. I’ve already done the work (watch TV and movies) so it doesn’t really take that much time away from my writing to throw together a blog post. It’s just like when I was working in Corporate America. I took on a new position, but I held onto some of my older duties to give me that much needed break every once in a while. That, and it keeps me very scheduled. I like scheduled.

  13. Lots of good points here, Stacy. I’ve actually found a correlation between blogging and book sales in my case, but I think that different strokes work for different folks – particularly when it comes to marketing. (I’m planning to discuss this a bit more in an upcoming post.) I also think it’s important to experiment and know ourselves – change what isn’t working, etc. Sounds like you’re doing that. Hope you get all the benefits you’re desiring!

  14. This is a very interesting post to me, Stacy. I don’t think my blog is going to necessarily translate to book sales, but it has helped me to develop professional relationships and to learn how to write leaner and cleaner. However, I’m planning to go down to once a week soon.

    It’s intriguing that you say, “I think they are more effective for young adult readers simply because of lifestyle.” Because one of the reasons I don’t think blogging is going to help a ton is that teens are not on author blogs. If I want to reach that teen audience, I’ll get on YouTube or Instagram. Or whatever trend comes next.

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