Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Q & A 127 What the blog?


I wanted to ask your opinion about the uses a writer should have for his/her blog. Is a blog something useful for writers to have?

I'll tell you what my blog is good for: killing off eight or ten hours a day that I could be spending doing something useful. And that doesn't even include all the time I spend reading my minions' blogs to make sure they haven't said anything bad about me, and to make sure they've included Novel Deviations among their favorite books in their profiles.

Of course, I must admit that it's only due to the fame I've achieved through this blog that I was asked to be on next season's Dancing with the Stars. (I had to decline, as I took ballroom dance lessons for several years, only giving it up when my attempt to get more Cuban motion into my hips resulted in a tragic rumba injury.)

Good reasons to blog:

1. It's writing. The more you do it the better you get at it, just like bowling.

2. It's fun to go back and read it. To you, it's the most interesting reading there is. In fact, you find it astonishing that no one else seems to find your blog half as fascinating as you do.

3. If you ever become famous, people will visit your website once or twice, but since your blog has new material all the time, they'll visit that regularly, even if it's a boring blog, because people love to bask in your fame. This will give you the opportunity to suggest to them that they buy your latest book.

4. For instance: Get 'em before they're gone: Novel Deviations 3.

5. If you weren't blogging you'd be sitting in your underwear in front of the TV with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other, watching reruns of Desperate Housewives on the Lifetime Network and wondering what Britney will do next.


11 comments:

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Sub out the coffee for Diet Coke and you totally tagged me on #5.

ME said...

I think you you've actually got the good reasons, simple as 1. 2. 3.
1. It's writing. The more you do it the better you get at it, just like bowling.

But I think you need to make a chart and compare your ROI, i.e. 8 hours of blog writing reults in and generates at least 12 hours of creative writing for the writer.

2. It's fun to go back and read it. To you, it's the most interesting reading there is. In fact, you find it astonishing that no one else seems to find your blog half as fascinating as you do.

I find catching up on thread comments fascinating sometimes! Not only is the banter often ROFL, there are alot of really clever, crafty and accomplished writers among the Minions, IMHO.

3. If you ever become famous, people will visit your website once or twice, but since your blog has new material all the time, they'll visit that regularly, even if it's a boring blog, because people love to bask in your fame. This will give you the opportunity to suggest to them that they buy your latest book.

Well, at last posting Robin had you at #1 writer's resource and I can attest to that! When I bought my copy of Novel Deviations 2 at Amazon.com, it said it was the last copy. Hope you've resupplied them -- you never know when suddenly the words "Evil Editor" will be on everybody's lips at the exact same moment, thus creating a rare phenomenon book-rush at Amazon.com.

Sarah said...

To blog or not to blog - that is the question.

Whether 'tis better to waste, um, spend one's time in writing the daily journal online for no one, er, all to see...

Well, blogs do take time away from what could be productive writing time. And I have precious little writing time as it is.

On the flip side, I know people have gotten book deals because they blog and have built up a loyal readership. The Yarn Harlot is a good example of a writer who blogs and her books are basically her blog in to-go form.

There are people who have started making pod casts of their 'books' prior to publication. Once they have a loyal fan base, then they approach a publisher with X number of avid 'readers'.

There are lots of ways to break into this business of being a published wirter, but the standard 'write a damn good book and convince an editor it's the best there is (or ever was)' still remains the way for the overwhelming majority.

By the way - blogs are addictive - both reading and writing.

Phoenix said...

Ah, questioner, so much depends on what you mean by "writer," doesn't it?

Do you like to write simply for the sake of writing? Do you like to throw thoughts out or create personal journals or essays? If so, then a blog is a great vehicle to house and deliver your writings.

Do you want to be a published writer? This is a two-parter.

Non-fiction writers can certainly use a blog as a platform-starter, helping you to establish yourself as an expert in your field (assuming you ARE an expert). Blog stats for non-fiction are quite helpful, but it means doing promo work to get your stats up long before you use them to pitch your book idea.

Fiction writers who aren't yet pubbed can...well, um, they can... oh! they can spend way too much time blogging for a not-so-great return on their time investment. Unless they have a really unique hook to drive people to their blog. Then they have to continually deliver the content their readers want to see. Some blogs will take off for reasons unknown and become runaway blockbusters; others will struggle in midlist Web hell, never quite breaking out, but not doing so badly that you'll want to give up blogging for good; while others will languish in the Internet archives, forever backlisted. Much like books.

I don't have a public blog. Yet. I have too much fun annoying other people by commenting on their blogs instead. And in its way, that's a form of promotion, too, you know.

Robin S. said...

I'm a participant on a few blogs- and I really, really enjoy these.

I do think, as phoenix mentioned, if you're a writer trying to, you know, write, participation is a wonderful alternative to blogging too much. By that I mean, if you find yourself blogging rather than writing and working on that writing - you know, the reason you may have begun your blog in the first place, then, maybe, stepping back just a little is a good thing.

EE and some other publishing/agenting bloggers already HAVE their careers (or EE, are you even now being fed bon-bons by yet another woman, maybe on some yacht anchored somewhere, like Charlie in Charlie's Angels, because you don't freakin' have to work anymore, as you've already, as they say, MADE your mark?)...

Where was I? Oh yeah.

So I think it depends on where you are in your writing pursuit, or your pursuit of writing as a career, as to how much you choose to blog.

On the other hand, if the feeling of outreach and community is fulfilling its own need, a need you may not have known you even had before beginning, then keep it up - but pay attention to how much writing you're consistently doing - if the end game was, from the outset, to become a published author.

I have to say, at the end of all of this, that I would miss the living hell out of the blogs I visit if they went away. I HAVE had, however, to watch my own writing time, and make sure it occurs.

(And EE, I'm sorry, but too many of us depend on you here for you to go away. Not in this lifetime, please. And, by the way, don't let that bimbo feeding you those bon-bons take any time away from us, I mean, your blog, OK? Many of us consider it home here. And we already don't like her...I'm just saying...)

December/Stacia said...

5. If you weren't blogging you'd be sitting in your underwear in front of the TV with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other, watching reruns of Desperate Housewives on the Lifetime Network and wondering what Britney will do next.


Ha! I can do that while I blog. I'm a multitasker.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if you're sitting on the sofa in your underwear watching reruns of Desparate Housewives, I'm going to bet that's not a cigarette in your hand.

Xenith said...

2. It's fun to go back and read it. To you, it's the most interesting reading there is. In fact, you find it astonishing that no one else seems to find your blog half as fascinating as you do.

I find it astonishing that other people do find mine half as fascinating as I do. The LJ anyway, the blog/s tend to be a bit dusty. Possibly I should update them more but then no one reads them so I don't bother ;)

To echo Robin though, there is the trap of spending too much time on the blog writing about writing rather an writing. It's easy to spend a couple of hours sorting & editing photos to put in an entry, just for the entertainment of a handful of people. Whereas if I'd spent all those hours on the WIP it'd be much futher in progress.

OTOH it does help provide a sense of community for writers. No longer such a solitary pastime, is it?

Anonymous said...

Of course, Britney's, ah, openings are rather more famous than ours...

ChristineEldin said...

This is my first post as me.
*please let me think of something witty. pleaseplease*

Okay. Here's a joke.

A woman walked up to a little old man rocking in a chair on his porch. “I couldn’t help noticing how happy you look,” she said. “What’s your secret for a long happy life?”

“I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day,” he said. “I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fatty foods, and never exercise.”

“That’s amazing,” the woman said. “How old are you?’

“Twenty-six!” he said.

Bwwahhhhaahahaha!!!

back to topic---this is an interesting discussion. Thanks for posting the question. Phoenix and Robin, I agree.
*heads back to blogging*

Robin S. said...

Hey Chris!

I love your profile now. EE sure as hell can't complain about your favorite book choice, or any other things.