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Ctairo
10-17-2009, 09:46 PM
I've spent a fair amount of time poking around cyberspace, and I can't seem to find a clear answer for why an unpublished writer should have a blog. I understand the value of marketing, but, how does one market a product that: 1.) doesn't exist; 2.) may never exist? Blogging as a published writer makes sense, but as a wanna-be? How much traffic can someone who isn't published generate? Are blogs--much like queries--meant to root out the difficult and/or crazy? Reveal how well you write consistently? Intended to build an audience that's meant to hold on through agent search, publisher search and--if you're talented/lucky enough--publication? I'm really curious re: the goal of blogging for the unrepresented.

Any thoughts?

James81
10-17-2009, 09:51 PM
The main reason for an unpublished writer to blog: practice. Or rather, practice with feedback.

I'm someone who isn't published and I am garnering more traffic to my blog (in my sig) every month it seems. I started from scrath and I am now up to about 30-40 visitors per day. That's after about two months of light marketing.

But I do it because it's great practice. My writing has improved so much through blogging. Plus, it's great therapy too.

ChaosTitan
10-17-2009, 09:53 PM
I started my blog several years ago, mostly as a place to vent about a few things. I honestly never expected to have much of an audience, but I kept posting. I posted updates on this I was writing, critique of movies or TV shows I'd watched, links to funny sites, humorous pieces--just about anything that I found interesting. I gained a few readers simply by being a member here, but you ask a good question -- why?

Most, if not all, published authors are expected to maintain a web presence, and that includes a website and blog. Going into representation/a book deal with at least a blog established shows some amount of foresight--it also shows you have an established audience, even if it's small. Maintaining and posting on a blog on a regular basis shows an agent/editor that you are responsible and timely.

I don't suggest anyone start a blog solely about their current WIP. That's just silly. Few people care about an unpublished novel. But if you have interesting content, and use your blog as more than a "look at me!" tool, it will only help you in the future.

maestrowork
10-17-2009, 09:58 PM
It's called a platform, and also self-expression. Not everything is done for marketing, self-promotion purposes.

I started my blog about five years ago before I was published. I also had another blog that chronicled the publication process (from queries to release) of my first novel. I got some traffic, but that's not really my purpose.

My blogs and my website are part of my platform, and online identity as a writer. As I gain more experiences and the number of my readers grow, I will always have something to look back on, and look forward to. It's my digital footprint.

virtue_summer
10-17-2009, 10:01 PM
I blog because I enjoy it. I blog mostly about writing and it helps me stay focused on that. Also, while I'm trying to come up with a blog post about some issue related to writing, I'm spending a lot of time thinking through it, which means that I end up learning a lot myself. I also like the interaction with readers. I may not have a published novel but at least I can have something out there via the blog that has an audience. It's not about marketing future works. It's about writing and connecting to people now.

Tracey Bentley
10-17-2009, 10:10 PM
I've also wondered about the same thing - although I did set up a blog. For me, the main reason was to keep myself accountable. By putting my goal of writing a publishable book out there, it makes it more concrete. It's no longer about talking-the-talk - I have to walk-the-walk and give it an honest try.

Emily Winslow
10-17-2009, 10:21 PM
I think there are lots of good reasons to blog--self-expression and practice and others having been mentioned above. But I don't think you at all *need* one. Unless you have the urge, don't do it. Your reluctance will show. And it will suck away your writing time.

While an agent will google you before offering representation, and may be turned off by obnoxious or shocking or careless content, I don't think an agent will care at all if you *don't* have a blog.

Misa Buckley
10-17-2009, 10:28 PM
As I gain more experiences and the number of my readers grow, I will always have something to look back on, and look forward to. It's my digital footprint.

This is close to why I blog.

Although I know it's about exposure and building a platform etc, the reason I blog is to chart my progress. I tell you what, when you've had a really bad day writing-wise, the ability to look back and see the good days is very heartening.

Shadow_Ferret
10-17-2009, 10:31 PM
I do it because on occasion I find it cathartic. Have never had any intention of it being for marketing. I like voicing my opinion.

BigWords
10-17-2009, 11:01 PM
My blog is a 'why the hell not' experiment in annoying as many people as possible. I can also put up any artwork I've done, complain endlessly, highlight cool (and sometimes disturbing) places around the net I find interesting, mock the cultural elitists, advocate cool stuff and rant to my hearts content.

Wayne K
10-17-2009, 11:18 PM
I blog because I like it. It's like wriiting for a small audience.

I'm also an attention whore :D
http://www.gorillasushi.com/images/imce/Image/Jason/attentionwhore.jpg

Topaz044
10-17-2009, 11:54 PM
If you are an aspiring author, then writing a blog can certainly establish your name even before any of your books are out. Personally, I like to blog to review other movies and books.

-Natasha

katiemac
10-18-2009, 03:09 AM
I've spent a fair amount of time poking around cyberspace, and I can't seem to find a clear answer for why an unpublished writer should have a blog. I understand the value of marketing, but, how does one market a product that: 1.) doesn't exist; 2.) may never exist? Blogging as a published writer makes sense, but as a wanna-be? How much traffic can someone who isn't published generate? Are blogs--much like queries--meant to root out the difficult and/or crazy? Reveal how well you write consistently? Intended to build an audience that's meant to hold on through agent search, publisher search and--if you're talented/lucky enough--publication? I'm really curious re: the goal of blogging for the unrepresented.

Any thoughts?

Blog because you want to blog. Then, if you do publish, you'll have that blog as part of your marketing platform. Just like your friends and family are part of your platform. (You'll be reaching out to people you know/who know you to buy your book.)

Blogs do not help you get an agent or a publisher, unless you're working on something like Frank did with PostSecret or Julia Powell with Julie and Julia, where the publishing deal actually came from the blog content.

But blogging with the sole intent to market, without a real product, is not helpful in getting your book on the shelf.

C.M.C.
10-18-2009, 04:55 AM
I have a couple of them, all for different purposes. It mostly comes down to the fact that they give me an outlet when no one else feels like listening to me.

Matera the Mad
10-18-2009, 05:16 AM
A blog with interesting and/or useful content will get known around the Internet. Then when you need publicity, you have a good foundation already built. Some people have made books out of their blogs. I just babble in several places; wottever.

Ctairo
10-20-2009, 06:06 AM
The main reason for an unpublished writer to blog: practice. Or rather, practice with feedback.

I'm someone who isn't published and I am garnering more traffic to my blog (in my sig) every month it seems. I started from scrath and I am now up to about 30-40 visitors per day. That's after about two months of light marketing.

But I do it because it's great practice. My writing has improved so much through blogging. Plus, it's great therapy too.
Hi James,

Thanks for weighing in. Writing practice and feedback practice. Hmm. Feedback on your writing? Or am I misunderstanding?

Ctairo
10-20-2009, 06:24 AM
I started my blog several years ago, mostly as a place to vent about a few things. I honestly never expected to have much of an audience, but I kept posting. I posted updates on this I was writing, critique of movies or TV shows I'd watched, links to funny sites, humorous pieces--just about anything that I found interesting. I gained a few readers simply by being a member here, but you ask a good question -- why?

Most, if not all, published authors are expected to maintain a web presence, and that includes a website and blog. Going into representation/a book deal with at least a blog established shows some amount of foresight--it also shows you have an established audience, even if it's small. Maintaining and posting on a blog on a regular basis shows an agent/editor that you are responsible and timely.

I don't suggest anyone start a blog solely about their current WIP. That's just silly. Few people care about an unpublished novel. But if you have interesting content, and use your blog as more than a "look at me!" tool, it will only help you in the future.

Does Twitter come into play at all? Or does the 140 character limit negate efficacy? (Can you tell I'm willing to tweet until the cows come home? ;))

The idea of starting a blog for a WIP or because I have grand plans to become An Author seemed mighty dumb to me. I'll have to think about whether I can bring anything worthwhile to the 'Net for other reasons.

Thanks, ChaosTitan!


It's called a platform, and also self-expression. Not everything is done for marketing, self-promotion purposes.

I started my blog about five years ago before I was published. I also had another blog that chronicled the publication process (from queries to release) of my first novel. I got some traffic, but that's not really my purpose.

My blogs and my website are part of my platform, and online identity as a writer. As I gain more experiences and the number of my readers grow, I will always have something to look back on, and look forward to. It's my digital footprint.

Isn't a platform self-promotion? Or I am confused (as usual)?

The digital footprint is a good thought though. A way to be remembered since a GoogleSearch never forgets (and if you can figure out the reference, you get a cookie).

Appreciate you weighing in, Maestrowork. :)


I blog because I enjoy it. I blog mostly about writing and it helps me stay focused on that. Also, while I'm trying to come up with a blog post about some issue related to writing, I'm spending a lot of time thinking through it, which means that I end up learning a lot myself. I also like the interaction with readers. I may not have a published novel but at least I can have something out there via the blog that has an audience. It's not about marketing future works. It's about writing and connecting to people now.

Writing is so solitary, it makes sense to reach out, and a blog is certainly a way to do that. :)

Do you find you're connecting with people who aren't writers? Does it matter who your audience is?

Appreciate your thoughts, virtue_summer.

Ctairo
10-20-2009, 06:32 AM
Blog because you want to blog. Then, if you do publish, you'll have that blog as part of your marketing platform. Just like your friends and family are part of your platform. (You'll be reaching out to people you know/who know you to buy your book.)

Blogs do not help you get an agent or a publisher, unless you're working on something like Frank did with PostSecret or Julia Powell with Julie and Julia, where the publishing deal actually came from the blog content.

But blogging with the sole intent to market, without a real product, is not helpful in getting your book on the shelf.
Oh, Katiemac, can you tell blogging and I aren't exactly MENT4EACHOTHER? Others have made good points though about visibility and digital footprints. *ponders*

Ctairo
10-20-2009, 06:49 AM
I've also wondered about the same thing - although I did set up a blog. For me, the main reason was to keep myself accountable. By putting my goal of writing a publishable book out there, it makes it more concrete. It's no longer about talking-the-talk - I have to walk-the-walk and give it an honest try.

Mama Bear, I'm glad you've found a strategy that works for you. I wish a blog would do the same for me, but alas, it would not. I have people who ask about my progress. They keep me accountable (and vaguely sorry I mentioned I was working on projects :tongue).

Thanks for weighing in! :)


I think there are lots of good reasons to blog--self-expression and practice and others having been mentioned above. But I don't think you at all *need* one. Unless you have the urge, don't do it. Your reluctance will show. And it will suck away your writing time.

While an agent will google you before offering representation, and may be turned off by obnoxious or shocking or careless content, I don't think an agent will care at all if you *don't* have a blog.

My time is severely limited--which makes me hesitant to add another "have to do" to the list. Your point is a good one, Emily.

Appreciate you weighing in. :)


This is close to why I blog.

Although I know it's about exposure and building a platform etc, the reason I blog is to chart my progress. I tell you what, when you've had a really bad day writing-wise, the ability to look back and see the good days is very heartening.

I use word counters. Uh, introvert much? In my defense, I've gotten better though. Look! I'm posting! :D

Thanks, misaditas. :)


I do it because on occasion I find it cathartic. Have never had any intention of it being for marketing. I like voicing my opinion.

Do you find your opinion's heard though? That's one of the biggest fears I have about blogging. Who wants to be ignored? Especially when you're flashing the 'Net?

Appreciate you taking the time to comment, Shadow Ferret. :)


My blog is a 'why the hell not' experiment in annoying as many people as possible. I can also put up any artwork I've done, complain endlessly, highlight cool (and sometimes disturbing) places around the net I find interesting, mock the cultural elitists, advocate cool stuff and rant to my hearts content.

Art? Awesome! Are you being annoying because you can--or because being annoying is a means to an end?

Thanks for weighing in, BigWords. :)


I blog because I like it. It's like wriiting for a small audience.

I'm also an attention whore :D
http://www.gorillasushi.com/images/imce/Image/Jason/attentionwhore.jpg

And, that thing I just posted about flashing... Oh Wayne! You do have a way with photo. :D


If you are an aspiring author, then writing a blog can certainly establish your name even before any of your books are out. Personally, I like to blog to review other movies and books.

-Natasha

Really? I keep hearing this? Are there examples beyond fanfiction writers who were BNF (big name fans) who've gone on to publish? Or writers like Julia or Frank (PostSecret)?

Thanks for weighing in, Natasha. :)


I have a couple of them, all for different purposes. It mostly comes down to the fact that they give me an outlet when no one else feels like listening to me.

When no one else feels like listening to me, I talk to myself. But I've said too much. :P

Appreciate you taking the time to comment, CMC. :)


A blog with interesting and/or useful content will get known around the Internet. Then when you need publicity, you have a good foundation already built. Some people have made books out of their blogs. I just babble in several places; wottever.

Ah, but I'm really not that interesting and I know nothing of that which is useful. Sigh. I could babble though. Really.

Thanks for weighing in, Matera. :)

katiemac
10-20-2009, 06:50 AM
Oh, Katiemac, can you tell blogging and I aren't exactly MENT4EACHOTHER? Others have made good points though about visibility and digital footprints. *ponders*

If you want visibility, stick with Twitter. Use the hash tags and follow writers and make sure writers (and potential readers) are following you. Tons of writers are talking about their WIPs and word count goals on Twitter. And once you sign the publishing contract, it's not like your book will hit the shelves the next day. You'll have plenty of time to launch a blog before a release date. And then you can use your Twitter platform to drive traffic to your blog.

RG570
10-20-2009, 08:04 AM
I don't see why an unpublished writer, or any writer, would bother with this stuff, to be honest.

Especially twitter. I just don't get it.

Nothing of any value is discussed on blogs and twitter.

virtue_summer
10-20-2009, 08:15 AM
I don't see why an unpublished writer, or any writer, would bother with this stuff, to be honest.

Especially twitter. I just don't get it.

Nothing of any value is discussed on blogs and twitter.

I'm guessing you either have an extremely narrow view of what's of value, or that you haven't visited many blogs.

Phaeal
10-20-2009, 04:31 PM
Given the way I get addicted to new undertakings, a blog would probably devour all my writing time. Nooooooooo!

However, if I get a contract, I'll be glad to set one up. Until then, I'll vent my opinions on you hapless people.

;)

katiemac
10-20-2009, 06:50 PM
Especially twitter. I just don't get it.

Twitter is an excellent marketing platform. Sure, you have to wade through the junk and all the people posting about what they had for lunch, but if you know how to cut through all that and get your message out, it's more way more low-maintenance than blogging and you can reach a lot more people.

The problem here, though, is the timeline. We'll have to see how long Twitter has to left live, and according to some folks it's already dead.

ChaosTitan
10-21-2009, 12:59 AM
Does Twitter come into play at all? Or does the 140 character limit negate efficacy? (Can you tell I'm willing to tweet until the cows come home? ;))


I didn't get a Twitter account until after I had a contract, so I can't say for sure. But it's difficult to build followers if you don't have something to say. Before I sold, I had no use for Twitter. But right now I find it a great way to interact with fans, other writers, and review bloggers.

Ctairo
10-21-2009, 06:43 AM
If you want visibility, stick with Twitter. Use the hash tags and follow writers and make sure writers (and potential readers) are following you. Tons of writers are talking about their WIPs and word count goals on Twitter. And once you sign the publishing contract, it's not like your book will hit the shelves the next day. You'll have plenty of time to launch a blog before a release date. And then you can use your Twitter platform to drive traffic to your blog.

Good thoughts, Katiemac. I like the idea of expanding from Twitter. Of course, once I stopped feeling like I had to blog, I banged out a couple of posts and came up with a handful of topics.

The posts are still in Word though. They'll keep.

Ctairo
10-21-2009, 06:53 AM
I don't see why an unpublished writer, or any writer, would bother with this stuff, to be honest.

Especially twitter. I just don't get it.

Nothing of any value is discussed on blogs and twitter.
That's a broad statement. Could you be more specific? Do you mean it's impossible to have discussions of value on a blog? Or discussions of value shouldn't be had on blogs?

Some people post to blogs without allowing comments, so I'm not sure discussion always comes into play. And given some use blogs for self-expression, I question you attaching zero value to them.

Twitter may give writers conniption fits because 140 characters? Golly, how do you say anything? Well, as a writer, you get it figured out.

Thanks for weighing in, RG570.

Ctairo
10-21-2009, 07:02 AM
I didn't get a Twitter account until after I had a contract, so I can't say for sure. But it's difficult to build followers if you don't have something to say. Before I sold, I had no use for Twitter. But right now I find it a great way to interact with fans, other writers, and review bloggers.
See, that's my sense of what happens with a blog too. If you don't have a product, a reason for people to seek you out, why would anyone read you? Twitter's freed me from the worry of who's reading. And since it's absolutely abbreviated language, I can update as thoughts occur. Blog writing strikes me as more structured.

So much to think about!

windupbird
10-21-2009, 09:35 AM
The main reason for an unpublished writer to blog: practice. Or rather, practice with feedback.

I'm someone who isn't published and I am garnering more traffic to my blog (in my sig) every month it seems. I started from scrath and I am now up to about 30-40 visitors per day. That's after about two months of light marketing.

But I do it because it's great practice. My writing has improved so much through blogging. Plus, it's great therapy too.



Thanks for weighing in. Writing practice and feedback practice. Hmm. Feedback on your writing? Or am I misunderstanding?

I have to agree wholeheartedly with James. My take on blogging is a bit different from most of the examples here, because my blog is wholly unrelated to my writing aspirations and I don't expect it to be a marketing tool to getting me published. It's a hobby blog that I started a while back, and to my surprise, readership has grown steadily to the point where I'm getting about 10,000 visitors a day. The readership has been a nice bonus but I never had grand ambitions. I'm anonymous on the blog and I don't share personal details.

I've found that in the time I've been blogging, my writing has improved tremendously, and it also keeps me writing regularly. That's probably the biggest benefit. Before I started blogging, I used to stare at the blank computer screen and feel self-loathing because I could never get started. Blogging gives me the topic so it cuts out that indecisive editor who stops me before I start. I've gone straight from indecisive and unproductive to downright prolific. I've also become a faster, consistent writer who's quicker at spotting areas to improve.

Will my blog help me become published? Not directly. But it has been a valuable experience that has made me better.