Stop blogging. It's a giant waste of time.
It's 2009. If you're a writer, you already have a website, and you
probably have a Facebook page and a MySpace page. Maybe you Twitter.
Maybe you're LinkedIn. There are other social networks as well;
Shelfari, Goodreads, LibraryThing, RedRoom, Crimespace, and more
appearing every month.
It's obvious why we have websites: they're 24 hour ads for our books.
Granted, the best websites are more than just ads. A good author site
provides information and entertainment, with things to offer fans and
readers other than a giant beacon the blinks BUY ME!!! over and over.
The social networking sites also serve a purpose. Linking like-minded
surfers together allows writers to be discovered. Anyone who looks for
JA Konrath will find me easily; that's not a victory. But if someone is
on a friend's Facebook page, sees I'm also a friend, clicks over to my
Facebook page, clicks over to my website… you get the picture.
Your website is for people who are already looking for you. Social
networks allow people to meet you while they're looking for something
But why the hell are we blogging?
As an experiment, visit your top ten favorite blogs. Read a month's worth of posts, and then read the comments.
Chances are high the same 200 people are the ones commenting on every single mystery writer blog on the Internet.
This isn't gaining new fans.
This is incest.
So why do we bother? Why do we keep wracking our brains to come up with
ideas for blog posts that are read by the same 200 people who buy our
Is it because we think we have to blog? Because our publishers tell us
to? Because we have no control over our book sales, so we might as well
try do do something?
Why are we doing this? Do the majority of our readers even know what a
blog is? Is this just a writer substitute for water cooler
conversation, because our professions are so solitary?
Be brutally honest: If you stopped blogging, would anyone actually care?
The answer, surprisingly, is yes.
Yes, your blog is helpful. Yes, your blog is needed. Yes, you should continue blogging.
It's natural to think that you're just spinning your wheels. It's
normal to doubt that your words are having any effect at all. And if
you use a tracker, like FeedJit or Statcounter, you might even think
you have the low numbers to prove how useless this blogging thing is.
But it isn't useless. And here are some reasons why.
1. Self-promotion is intangible. Unless we physically put a book in a
reader's hand and watch them buy it, we don't see the effect we have on
our own sales. But we do have an effect. I know this for a fact,
because I'm on this blog tour, and every time I post someplace new I
watch my Amazon numbers spike.
2. The Internet is permanent. Your words on your blog can be Googled
three years later. Every time you blog, it's one more road that leads
to you. That means more chances to be discovered. It's cumulative.
3. Blogging isn't really incest. Sure, the same people comment over and
over, but the ones that really count are the lurkers. The people who
visit, but don't post comments. You have them. You probably have a lot
more than you think.
4. It's helpful. We were all newbie writers once. Sharing what we've
learned, giving back to the community that helped to spawn us, is just
So next time you think blogging is useless, that no one cares, that
you're wasting your time, I point you to a lowly midlist writer who
never got front-of-store coop, never got a large promotional tour,
never got an advertising budget. But his seven novels are all still in
print, and if you Google his name you get over 60,000 hits.
That writer is Stephen King.
Ha! Kidding! That writer is me, JA Konrath.
Now run out and buy all my books. The new one is called AFRAID, written by my pen name, Jack Kilborn, and it comes out March 31.
Kilborn only has 3000 hits when you Google him.
But give him time. 🙂
Many thanks to Joe for sitting in today. I'm at the beach – (and you can stop cursing my name now, thank you very much…) I'm taking a long overdue break, and I'll be back next Friday. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!