Today I'm participating in Indie Life, a feature run by Indelibles. I haven't done this before, but it sounds awesome, and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new indie authors! Basically, everyone posts about something related to indie publishing, and visits everyone else. To see who else is involved, check out the linky list.
Since it happens to coincide with my 100th post, I thought I'd talk about how writing this blog ties in with writing my novels.
There's a bit of debate over whether writing a blog is useful for fiction writers, who don't have a ready topic to build an audience as non-fiction writers might. Some say it's still useful, other's say it takes valuable time away from writing.
I can see both points of view. Sometimes, I'm torn over whether to write a blog post, or my novel. Since I've made a commitment to write a blog post on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, writing a blog post often seems more urgent. But that doesn't mean it's more important.
So is it worth the effort? What does blogging do for my writing?
Tying it all together
Although I'm active on many other forms of social media (twitter, facebook, pinterest, goodreads, google+), blogging is what draws it all together for me. It's only here that I can link all the places I'm available together. (Check out the links on the left hand side of the page if you want to follow me.) I announce free promotions here, have pages for all my novels, and most of my social media pages link back here regularly for longer content.
Connecting with other Writers
The majority of my blog posts are for other writers, discussing writing, editing and self-publishing tips. I love reading these sorts of articles myself, so it makes sense to me to give something back to the writing community by sharing what I'm learning with others.
Widening my Circle
Having a blog means I can participate in blog hops, competitions, and other linking activities (such as Indie Life, SFR Brigade Presents, and the A to Z Blogging Challenge). These bring more readers to my blog, and hopefully eventually to my book/s. It also allows me to swap author interviews and guest post with other writers.
Of course, this page isn't just my blog, it's also the webpage for my books and writing. You can read my Author Bio, check out the blurb and covers for my books, read the ‘Extras' after you've read the book, and even read the first two chapters of Reckless Rescue for FREE.
If you've read my blog before, you'll know I have to mention the stats! Every page view that comes through my blog is recorded (by Jetpack), so I can see what promotions bring in new views, where people go, and what links they click on. This not only tells me what sort of things work to bring people to my blog, but what they do when they get here.
It's also been great for evaluating how effective my two free promotions have been. Everyone talks about how few people read books they've downloaded for free, but when I see multiple hits on the Reckless Rescue Extras I've mentioned in the back of the book (deleted scenes, character bios etc), then I know at least some people are reading the book, and wanting to find out about the sequel!
Home to my Mailing List
I've also recently added a mailing list specifically for announcements of book releases and promotions. I hesitated over this for quite a while, but I'm glad I did! It's so easy for people to miss posts in the fast moving stream of Twitter, or never to see them at all depending on Facebooks edge rank, but I know that if I send out an email on my mailing list, people will see it. That's going to come in very useful when my next book is announced.
Possibly one of the most useful things about my blog, is the accountability it brings. I began it when I first set a release date for Reckless Rescue, in the hopes of pushing myself to finally get it published. Although I didn't actually make that date, I know I wouldn't have even made it close if I hadn't picked a date and announced it to the world! I still like to make announcements here, and set deadlines for myself. Even if no one comes back and hassles me, having made the deadlines public helps me to stick to them!
So even if my blog doesn't directly contributed to sales, and even if it does sometimes distract me from writing, I do feel it is important for my writing to keep working on it. How about you? Do you blog? Do you feel it helps or hinders your writing?
Wow, your blog does and covers so much. I agree that blogging helps in so many ways. It teaches us to ‘ship’ (get stuff out there) even when we’re busy and perhaps not 100% happy with what we’ve done. I follow Kirsten Lamb’s blog, teaching writers social media, and she is big on the importance of blogging.
I am jealous of all the stuff your website does, though. Did you build it yourself? I have a website, separate from my WordPress blog, but I don’t do anything with it because changing it is so hard. I’ve tried several providers but, not being techy minded, they have to be providers that offer templates and then you’re stuck trying to tailor them to what you want. I love WordPress for the extras and ease of use but I do feel the limitations on stats and hate the fact that there are adverts to non-wordpress visitors.
Maybe investing in my website and bringing it all together should be the next challenge!
My website is all done through wordpress, but the self-installed one (.org rather than .com I think?). My hosting company installs it for you, so that made it even easier. Then I just had to customise the theme, add pages etc.
Hmm, maybe I should do a post on setting up a wordpress blog/page some time?
Ooh, yes please! 🙂
I keep two blogs and usually blog once a week on each one. As for other social media, I try to visit at least for a half hour to an hour everyday. What I’ve found is that I really have to schedule everything and stick to it.
Great post! Nice to meet you.
Hugs and chocolate,
Yes, I’m finding having a blog schedule has really helped me keep up with posting. And I also have a list of what I’m going to write about for the month too. Sometimes I change my plan, if something better comes up, but having the schedule in the first place really helps. (Which is funny, because I’m the opposite in writing, very much a pantser.)
Thanks for visiting Shelly.
It’s good to blog the social media experts say. It helps people to get to know you.
That’s true. Even just getting to know you and get a feel for you does help. I find that a lot with the blogs I follow.
There are so many blogs out there and I only have time to follow a few. I have started following you and I also love Clancy Tucker’s blog. He posts daily and he interviews interesting authors and photographers. I also enjoy Darlene Craviotta’s blog. She is a retired screenwriter.
I try to post weekly on my blog but I am often late and I have no theme. Your blog is really organized Rinelle. I need to get a theme or become more organized. Still, there is a certain freedom in posting random thoughts.
Yes, keeping up with blogs can be time consuming. I have a huge list I try to keep up with, but I don’t get to all of them every day. I try to get to a couple a day, and slowly make my way through them.
Weekly is a good amount to start with. I do find though, that the more frequently I post, the more views and comments I get. It takes a lot of time though!
Blogging is time-consuming, at times tedious, but always rewarding!
Yep. That’s about what I find too. Thanks for visiting!
I like coming here to read your blog and find it very interesting. As for me, I blog mostly because I enjoy it and I find that sometimes, when I am unmotivated to write or just can’t seem to get into my novel writing – writing a blog post everyday or every other day gets me into writing and seems to bring on inspiration to write other things.
That’s a great reason to blog! It does indeed exercise our writing muscles, even if it’s a slightly different type of writing. (Depending on what you blog about I guess.)
You have a great blog!
I post on mine for much the same reasons. To give back to other writers by posting about my writing process. And for readers, so they can see into my world and read about my books and what’s coming next.
And a little about things I do personally (mainly travelling and other books I’m reading and the odd cat photo!)
It’s a little bit of everything.
I love your blog! So glad I discovered it. I think having a little bit of everything is good. Some helpful info, and a bit of a chance for people to get to know you on a more personal level.
I definitely think a blog is worth it as an author – for all the reasons you mentioned. But I have to admit that I don’t always have enough time to keep up with blogging when I’m in the middle of writing a book! And by “blogging” I mean visiting everyone else’s blogs and replying to comments…
Yes, I think visiting other blogs and replying to comments takes as much, if not more, time than writing the blog posts themselves. But of course, that is one of the most important parts of blogging, because that is the part that helps you build connections with other bloggers.
I do agree that putting dates out there where they’re seen helps us to stay on track and stick close to schedule. Finding balance is important when it comes to being a writer and blogging is an outlet that works for me too.
Yes, it’s that balance that is so important, and hard to get just right. I think I’m getting closer though.
Stopping by to say hi! May and June have been recovery months from the A to Z Challenge, and I still have a few blogs to hop back to… Ah well, such is life. Plus one day, this summer I guess, I will be happy to accept that Liebster Award from you.. it just hasn’t been a screaming priority. I’m very much on “Maui Time.” I like how you laid out this post in different sections w/ titles. I’ve been pondering starting a WP site, but also feel working on my existing blog is quite a bit.
Yes, the A to Z Challenge was a little overwhelming, wasn’t it? No rush on the Liebster Award, I think we all have awards we’re trying to find time to collect.
I find that WP isn’t any more difficult than blogger to keep up once the initial setup is done, though as with anything, you CAN spend plenty more time if you want to! The blog titles are just bolded sentences, so you can easily do them on any blogging platform. I find it helps break up the post, and makes it easier to read/scan.
You covered many of the same reasons why I blog. It brings all the other social media together in one convenient page as well as acts like a website (although I have one of those too). I could say that I wouldn’t have sold two books without having a blog (I can guarantee one sale, my own).
That’s the only sale we can guarantee, isn’t it? I do think my blog has contributed to sales, although it’s always hard to know exactly how or how much. It’s totally worth it though.
Reading has always been my first love, and writing a close second (oh, and don’t forget spelling – I’m such a nerd – I LOVE SPELLING!), and I always told myself I’d finish my stories and end up with a novel someday. But that never happens. I’ve never finished anything, really. I’ve started, and subsequently abandoned several blogs. I’m a horrible perfectionist, and would suddenly feel that the name I chose for the blog or site address wasn’t good enough. Silly, really.
SO, I picked another name and started a free website/blog on Weebly. It’s pretty straightforward and simple to use, so I’ve put several hours into making a nice-looking review site.
I told myself, “No more changing – you’re going to stick with this one, and try to update it at least once a week.”
So far, I’ve only had it up for about a month, and I have updated it weekly, even if some of those posts haven’t been published live yet (I’m still working on that pesky perfectionism).
Basically, my review site is a jumping-off point for me. At least I’m writing (and reading books!) frequently, which is more than what I was doing before.
And you know what?
The several-year-long writer’s block is slowly lifting.
I’m excited. I think blogging is a great tool for every writer, no matter what topic you choose. At least we’re communicating using the written word. I think not doing so is essentially a death knell for any of us writers.
That perfectionism gets in the way, doesn’t it? I always like the saying about perfectionism getting in the way of ‘good enough’.
I managed to finish the first draft of my first story by telling myself that I was never going to show it to anyone, and it didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect, because I liked it, and that was all that mattered. Then once I read it over later, I decided it wasn’t that bad, LOL. That, and making sure I had it edited, to be sure I wasn’t missing anything.
Blogging is great for breaking that initial ‘don’t want anyone to see’ barrier. If you’d like to post your blog link, I’d love to check it out!