Is blogging a waste of time or a mandatory step in building your author platform? Take a look around the web and you’ll find plenty of conflicting information. Some authors swear by blogging while others say it detracts from their main goal, to write books.
Is it essential to have an author blog? In a word: No. There are innumerable ways to reach your readers, including YouTube videos, podcasts and traditional media, blogging is just one of many options. Can an author blog help you reach more readers and grow reader loyalty? Yes, if it is done well blogging can be an insanely powerful book marketing tool. So that would be a ‘No you don’t have to blog but…’. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of having an author blog so you can make up your own mind.
To Blog: The Pros
Attract readers to your website
The number one reason to have an author blog is to encourage readers to visit your site, connect with your writing and join your email list. It is often the beginning of a book sale (rather than the end-point) making readers aware of your work and establishing trust.
Every time you publish a blog post you are increasing the chances of readers finding your work. Blogging increases the search engine optimization (SEO) of your site, making it more likely to appear in Google search results. A regularly updated site with relevant content is more likely to be found than a static out-dated site.
Connect with your readers
Most readers enjoy learning more about the author behind the book and your blog can be a way to show some of your personality and writing style. If you are an introvert a blog can be a fantastic way to build confidence and express your creativity.
Network with other authors
Writing can be an isolating past-time. Blogging can help you form connections with fellow writers. Invite authors you admire to an online author interview or swap blog posts to reach a new reader audience.
Blogging offers credibility for both fiction and non-fiction writers but in very different ways. For non-fiction writers blogging is a key way to establish yourself as an expert. Blogging demonstrates that you are knowledgeable about your subject area and keen to share this knowledge with others. For fiction writers a blog shows that you are a committed author. If you are querying agents or collaborating with other authors, having a regularly updated blog shows that you are dedicated to marketing your work.
Regular blogging can help create a solid writing habit. Enable comments for feedback on your writing and check out your analytics to see which posts are the most popular.
Or Not To Blog: The Cons
There is no denying that starting and maintaining a blog takes time and effort. A blog can easily become a distraction from your main goal of writing your book. To be an effective blogger you need to post regularly and promote your posts. It also takes time to gain traction with a new blog. If maintaining a blog is taking too much time from your writing then you may want to look at other promotion options.
Blogging is a different type of writing
Blog writing requires a different set of writing skills. Blogs are designed to grab the reader’s attention fast. Blogs often use subheadings and short sentences. The tone is conversational. If you don’t enjoy writing blogs and you hate the mention of subheadings, SEO, keywords and lists then blog writing may not be for you.
You and your writing are unique, so what works for some authors may not necessarily be for you. Seek out the type of book marketing that works best for you. If you hate blogging then consider other marketing options, such as podcasts, YouTube or Instagram. At its core, marketing is about connecting with your readers. The way you choose to do this is up to you!
Stuck for what to blog about? Check out our 40+ Blog Post Ideas for Authors