Writers blogging

From the comments on the last post I get the feeling some of you think that I’m saying writers shouldn’t blog.

Au contraire.

Many of my favourite blogs are by writers. I love writers’ blogs! I love reading about their struggles with their writing, about their thoughts on craft, their battles with their psychotic neighbours, the zeppelins they build. I love learning how different most writers approach to writing a novel is from mine. In fact, later this week I’ll be posting a bit more about outlining versus winging it. Cause who gets tired of that topic? Not me!

I frequently encourage writer friends to start blogging. In fact, I feel a little swell of pride about certain writers’ blogs because I’m convinced my nudging them is part of why they started blogging. Go me!

There are a gazillion positive effects of blogging: direct communication with other writers and readers you wouldn’t otherwise meet, becoming part of communities,1 having fun, talking craft, encouraging everyone to try fresh mangosteens2 etc etc.

And, yes, if your blog entertains people there’s a chance that some of them will wind up buying your books. All I’m saying is that if that’s your sole motivation for starting a blog then odds are you will be disappointed.

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. Because a blog full of exhortations to BUY MY BOOK is pretty much the most boring blog in the universe.

Which does not mean that I don’t want you to buy my books. I do! But only if you want to and if you can afford it. But I’m just as happy with you borrowing them from the library. Support your local library!

Or not reading them at all
. Life’s short and there are many wonderful books. I totally get reading Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond chronicles or King Hereafter or anything by Jean Rhys or Angela Carter or Jane Austen before you’d read my books. I’d certainly rather read them or Alice in Wonderland or way too many books to name than anything I’ve written.

Quite frankly I’m just as thrilled by the people who enjoy this blog as I am by the people who enjoy my books. The fact that there’s often no overlap between those two groups is awesome. It means I can amuse people who have zero interest in YA or fantasy but have a fascination for cricket or mangosteens or quokkas or any of the myriad other topics I crap on about.

Which is yet another reason I love blogs so much. They’re places where we can share and discuss our obsessions. There are few things more fun than that.

  1. Especially important if you live in a small town far from other writers. []
  2. Dried, juiced, tinned mangosteens are all abominations. The one true mangosteen is the fresh fruit. Which can now even be purchased (for a fortune) in the US of A. []


  1. Jude on #

    While selling books can’t be the basis for a blog, blogs can be effective ways to sell books. I’ve never purchased any of Scalzi’s books (I read the first page of his last one and rejected it), but I’ve purchased every one of Scott’s and your books for my sons and for my high school library, and your blogs were the main ways I found out about them. I read Gaiman’s blog, which led me to watch Stardust (which was horribly promoted). I watch Vlogbrothers, so I ordered two copies of Paper Towns. In other words, much as they affect all other aspects of my life, blogs affect my purchases.

  2. E. Kristin Anderson on #

    I totally get what you’re saying here. I used to try and post a little heads up every time I was published in a new mag. But no one really cares about that – they want recipes and anecdotes from me.

    On another note, I started reading Rampant last night and I am so excited about it. There is already a very long line behind me for the ARC, too. All thanks to you!

  3. Malcolm Tredinnick on #

    You could nudge that Westerfeld guy a bit more, though. He could afford to post more frequently without overwhelming us.

  4. emily on #

    mangosteen can be purchased cheaply at walmart- where they sell it bottled with carrots, brocolli, grapes, and apples as part of the 5 fruits and veggies energy boost energy drink.

  5. Bri Maresh on #

    I bought How to Ditch Your Fairy just because of the awesome blog, but this blog is magic, and some just aren’t. All the way a case-by-case thing, yeah?

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