In which I repeat myself

Taking up blogging is one of the least effective things you can do to promote your book.

There, I’ve said it.

Don’t take up blogging cause your publisher says you should. Or because of John Scalzi. Yes, he’s sold tonnes of books and gotten heaps of fans because of his blog. He is the exception. Very few writers who blog have thirty thousand plus hits a day.

Scalzi’s been blogging for more than a decade. Ten years ago he had maybe a few hundred people a day reading Whatever. It took him years of consistently good and frequent blogging to build that audience.1

Much like building your writing career, really. Most novelists don’t have a huge audience after just one or two or three novels. It takes time. Blogging’s exactly the same. Would you rather put your hard work into your next book or building a blog that may or may not pay off for you in five or ten years time? If you enjoy blogging then, sure, go ahead.

Blogging can help promote your book when it’s other people’s blogs talking about it. A mention on boingboing or Whatever or [insert name of popular blog here] can definitely help. Even a whole bunch of smaller blogs all talking about your book can have a cumulative effect. But basically that’s just good old word of mouth. The elusive and incredibly desirable thing that sells so many things.

I have no idea how you get that going other than to write the best book you can and hope your publisher gets behind it.

If you don’t want to blog please don’t! And please don’t blog solely to promote your books. Do it if you enjoy it. Do it cause you have something to say.

Thus endeth this oft repeated rant.

  1. And all those other authors with insanely popular blogs? Most of them were already popular—like, say, Meg Cabot—before they started blogging. Not because of their blogging. []


  1. El on #

    When I check out a writer’s blog and see that the posts are entirely promos, I head away REAL fast. Why on earth would anyone want to read such a thing?

  2. The Scarlet Tree on #

    Perhaps, but I discovered your book on this blog. Is there any real way of determining a blogs effect on sales??

  3. Annalee Flower Horne on #

    I’ve never gotten the “start a blog to promote your book” kind of thing. To me, that’s just like starting up a viral marketing campaign for your product because that’s what the kids think is cool these days–everyone’s going to smell your intentions from miles away. And even if you’re really good at hiding them, it’s not worth the payoff. You’re not going to be the next John Scalzi or the next I Love Bees. So you better be in it for the fun, because otherwise, it’s just not worth it.

  4. Abby on #

    I just wanted to let you know that I read your book because I found your blog (I think another auothor linked to it). I started reading your blog and decided that I ought to read one of your books. So I read How to Ditch your Fairy and I absolutely loved it.

  5. Melinda Szymanik on #

    Its hard to reach across to the other side of the world with your books when you live in New Zealand. At least with my blog, now me and my books get a chance to say hi to folks in other countries. If i hadn’t stumbled across your blog I wouldn’t have known about you or Maureen Johnson or a whole host of writers I previously was unaware of.

  6. Justine on #

    I get the feeling some of you are hearing me say that writers shouldn’t blog. Au contraire. Many of my favourite blogs are by writers. I love writers’ blogs! There are all sorts of positive effects of blogging: direct communication with other writers and readers you wouldn’t otherwise meet, becoming part of communities, having fun, talking craft etc etc.

    All I’m saying is that it’s rubbish that starting a blog is an excellent way to flog books. The majority of brand new blogs have teeny tiny audiences. It takes ages to build one. And if all you’re doing is flogging your books you will never build an audience.

    The Scarlett Tree: Is there any real way of determining a blogs effect on sales??

    I don’t know. It’s pretty hard to figure out what effects most sales unless something really obvious happened like going on Oprah etc.

    I do know that every time one of my books is mentioned on boingboing I get a jump in my Amazon sales. But how that jump translate into sales figures I don’t know.

  7. Jennifer on #

    I’ve been completely enjoying your thoughts on blogging. (And other stuff, too!) 🙂

  8. Steve Buchheit on #

    “Do it if you enjoy it.”

    And isn’t the same true about any writing? The blogging helps the fiction writing because I can vent and whine and write about all those things that shouldn’t be in the story. It’s also a good place to just try and be goofy.

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