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?