Holtzbrinck is starting a blog initiativeI don't usually quote such large chunks from other blogs (sue me for copyright infringement, M.J.--I could use the publicity), but that post contains many excellent points and I wanted to tempt you to click over there and read the rest of it. About the only place I disagree with M.J. is where she writes, "And we do not need to market ourselves to other writers but rather to readers."
The program will launch in October, and they are now looking for ten authors from each of the trade companies (Holt, SMP, FSG, Tor, and Picador) to be part of the launch of the pilot program this autumn.
The company's email to potential blogging authors who they have invited to be part of the beta launch says:
"And of course the blog will act as promotion for them and their books (in addition to any kind of press we get when we unveil the program)."
With over 50 million blogs in existence, this should be a widely noticed effort. But sarcasm aside.
While I really do admire every publisher who is looking for new ways to market books, I don't believe that putting yet more pressure on the author is the right way. This request is really no different than to suggest every writer get a gig writing a column for a newspaper - except in this case you won't get paid.
Nor do I believe that blogs sell books for the average blogger in any way that justifies the time it takes to keep the blog going.
First - and I quote from that email invitation again:
"In terms of effort on the author's part, a successful blog needs to have at least three posts a week, and it only takes a few minutes post a new message, so it won't take them much time."
I don't know any successful blogger in the world who takes a few minutes a post. And it's not just simply a "post" anyway.
For a blog to be successful it has to have passion, voice, commitment, creativity. It takes a lot for the writer to bring fresh ideas to a blog on a continuing basis.
I didn't stop reading when I became a writer. In fact, since I began writing fiction, I've been reading more fiction than ever before--and most of my writing friends will tell you it's been the same for them. So M.J.'s assumption that writers don't read other writers' blogs and then buy their books is way off base. Writers who read my blog quite often tell me they became curious enough to buy one of my books. And I've been known to check out other writers' blogs and buy their books for the same reason.
Still, as M.J. suggests, selling a handful of books is a poor return on the investment of time and creative energy required to run a successful blog. If selling books is a writer's primary reason for blogging, I firmly believe she's wasting her time.
If you have anything to do with the writing/publishing business, please check out M.J.'s post.
Technorati Tags: writing, blogging, book+promotion