I hope everyone will click over and read Karen's post before continuing with mine, because while I plan to quote all six of her points and answer them, some will be edited for length.
1. Blogging really is as time-consuming as I feared it would be. A decent entry takes me a good hour or more to compose and edit. Oddly, readers expect me to be funny. Funny ain’t easy. If I blog at least three times a week, that’s three hours I’m not writing.
Sounds like blogging is a waste of Karen's time. I spend way more than an hour a day (and I'm blogging six days a week), but unlike Karen, I'm getting something in return for my effort: an education (I learn a lot while searching for interesting things to blog about) and a creative outlet that isn't provided by my fiction writing. For me, blogging is brain exercise, writing practice...and fun. If I happen to sell a few books while I'm at it, that's icing.
2. After a year, I’ve kind of run out of things to say. New stuff, anyway. Really, there’s very little happening on the industry front that warrants daily commentary, let alone in my personal life.
That's why I look outside of myself and my own experience and even outside of the publishing industry for topics to blog about. Mixing it up keeps things more interesting for me and for my readers.
3. I could say my stats are up by 200%, which sounds impressive. Until you take into account how pathetic they were before. We’re talking 65 or so visitors a day — now, not then.... My web addy has been published in my books for years; I sell a fair number of copies of each title. And yet, readers are not exactly stampeding my website. Or my blog.
Karen seems disappointed that her fans aren't flocking to her blog. But why does she want them to do that? Aren't those people already buying her books? Wouldn't it be smarter to make some new friends in the blogisphere and then make them curious enough (by blogging often and well) to check out her books?
4. But then, this ties in with what I’m reading all over Cyber Romanceland, which is that – contrary to current Marketing wisdom – most readers are not interested in getting to know the author and hence do not seek out their blogs. They don’t want to be our friends, they just want to read our books.
Again, instead of trying to hold court for her fans, maybe it's a better idea for an author to build an interesting blog, and then from that platform, encourage visitors to try her books. I can name any number of No rules readers who have bought my books because they enjoy the blog. In fact, every time I mention this, two or three of them jump into the Comments and say, "Yes, you're talking about me."
5. Except for Big Name Authors, writers’ blogs generally seem to attract other writers more than readers. Many readers, if they visit blogs at all, are more interested in other readers’ musings than authors’.
But writers are readers, too. I'm a writer, and I buy tons of books. I have even bought one of Karen's. So why does she sound so disappointed that people like me are the most likely to visit her blog? Maybe it's because this business has conditioned her to believe that fans are more desirable than casual readers--and fellow writers are less apt to get all giddy over authors as "personalities."
6. Blogs are like booksignings: The more books you already sell, the more people come to your signings. If you’re a peon, fuggedaboutit.
The assumption here is that if you're not a wildly popular author, you'll never see much traffic on your blog. Yes, a well-known author can count on a built-in audience when she starts blogging--but a savvy blogger can build an audience out of nothing. Case in point: Karen is a better author, a better-known author, and a more prolific author than I am, yet my blog gets more than twice as many daily visitors, with frequent spikes (big-name bloggers often link here) in the high hundreds (my best traffic day so far was 1,400 unique visitors). I'm not doing anything Karen couldn't do, and do better. The difference between us lies in our expectations; I'm getting what I want out of blogging while Karen is scratching her head and wondering how she ever allowed herself to be talked into this.
I've said before that I don't think every author should have a blog. If Karen Templeton wanted my advice, I'd say she ought to move on to some other kind of promotion--something she could feel good about investing her time in.
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