So says Livia Blackburne (on the left there). And she’s a brain scientist.
But hang on – Hope Clark says it’s essential for any wannabe or published writer to maintain a blog. Unfortunately, she also says it should be focussed – have one overriding theme. Oh well…
But what’s all this about blogs being inherently bad? The potential for distraction I can relate to. Very much so. But there are also benefits. At least, that’s been my experience – specifically support and encouragement from you, you lovely people. And constructive criticism. That’s helpful too.
Well, according to Livia, blogs are effective for non-fiction writers as a showcase or clearing house for their area of expertise. But when it comes to fiction, she has this to say:
At some point, unpublished fiction authors started feeling the pressure to build platforms. The problem is, they forgot all about target audience. Rather than being a means to reach the right readers, blogging became an end in itself – a box to tick off self promotional checklist. Fiction writers, being somewhat one-track minded, overwhelmingly decided to blog about writing. And thus, the writing blogosphere was born, with articles, contests, and promotions all aimed at fellow writers.
The thing is, we haven’t created effective platform. What we’ve created is a never-ending writing conference. …blogging for writers will not sell your book to the general reading population. This is even more apparent in the field of children’s literature. There are thousands of YA [young adult] and MG [middle grade] writers (me included), blogging their hearts out to adoring readerships, while ignoring the inconvenient detail that their number of actual teens they’re reaching can be counted on one hand.
And you also have to look at the opportunity cost. Think about the number of blog followers you have, and suppose that a fifth of them buy your book (that’s a high percentage, IMHO). Now think about the amount of time you spend blogging. Time spent on the blog is time spent away from something else: writing another book, contacting book clubs, taking a part-time job and investing that money in advertising or a publicist. Given these myriad other options, is blogging still an efficient way to reach readers?
Sometimes in online platform discussions, someone will mention the elephant in the room, that we’re only blogging for other writers. Usually, that comment is met with thoughtful nods. Comments of “Yeah, we should think about that”. More awkward silence, and then we go back to our blogging. We can’t help it. It’s too much fun, and it’s a path of least resistance. I ‘ve never heard anyone come up with a thoughtful, generalizable, plan for reaching targeted fiction audiences through blogging.
That’s an edited excerpt of what she has to say. You can find the full version here. She finishes on this question: Is blogging a waste of time? The answer, according to her, is Yes. What do you think?
Meanwhile in other exciting news:
- The Belgian artist DINDIN whom I mentioned in Lively Ladies has got in touch. A reminder that the real world is out there and can come back to bite you – or in this case feel inspired. But maybe I should think about removing that post about Frederick Forsyth. Just in case.
- The first guest post in the international prestigious “The Day I Met…” competition will be published here on Wednesday 7th September. All will be revealed on Wednesday about the identity of the author and the celebrity, but I’ll give you a slight clue now. There may be baldness. And there’s still time to enter. Please do. Entry details are here.
- Getting back to the subject of blogging being a waste of time. Not only do I do it here, I also do it for another website. So feel free to click here to read about what Jessie (“It’s not about the money”) J and Rod (“Show me the money”) Tidwell have to teach us about social entrepreneurialism. The blog post is called Forget about the pricetag? And if anyone leaves a positive comment at the end of it, the website might let me do another one.