Is Blogging a Waste of Time?


I’ve been asked that question three times in the last week.

Individuals have to make up their own minds. But until now I haven't blogged.

Overnight, Blogs initiate discussion, interviews or even reviews and Google Alert do pick up blog references. But if you already have an author/illustrator website as your shop-front window for publicising your books and talks, is blogging a waste of time for a writer? Or are you altruistically acting as a hub for others?


· Technically and financially, blogs are becoming more accessible. But if you spend your ‘writing’ time blogging, are you wasting hours which could be better spent on your major literary project?
· Is your blog a ‘warm-up’ for other work?
· Is it more than egotistical ramblings?
· Is your blog just about you, a significant challenge or about events involving others?
· If people link to your blog, does it sell more of your books? Or do you just have more links that may not be used much? A bit like thousands of unknown Facebook friends.

· For a professional, blogging is part of the free sharing of ideas. Is that what you wish to do? Or is a monthly web update fulfilling the same role of informing readers?
· Does learning how to blog, increase your electronic skills? Is this worthwhile in itself?
· Will others pay for your later published work, if you provide early freebies? Or will you provoke more interest in future paid publications?
· Does it matter at which stage of your career you are blogging? Beginning, mid-career, blooming or defunct?
· Is a blog a substitute diary? How personal is too much? Or is the aim info-tainment? Do you have paid ads on it?
· How often should entries be made?
· Any humour or wit, information or fascinating style?

I’ve decided against having a blog, but others argue that the fast uploading of photos and news works well for them. What do you think?

And which blogs do you consider visiting often and why?

Obviously I've been seduced into putting up this on a blog, and probably I'll be keen to come back and check if anyone has commented BUT I'm really using it as an excuse, not to get started on my REAL book.

is that what others do too?

***************************************************************
Hazel Edwards co-authored’ Cycling Solo; Ireland to Istanbul’
ISBN: 1-92078592-2 with her son, from his ex-blog which was crafted into a book and the blog taken down!
Selling well with cyclists & adventurers who did not read the earlier blog.
Check http://www.hazeledwards.com/books/adultnonfiction.htm

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Comment by Kathryn Lilley on March 16, 2009 at 11:52pm
For some themed blogs, you can check out Killer Hobbies (they all write cozy hobby-oriented series), The Lipstick Chronicles The Crime Sistahs .
Comment by Kathryn Lilley on March 16, 2009 at 11:20pm
I started the Kill Zone last fall with the specific goal in mind of making it a thriller-oriented writing blog. I looked for thriller and mystery authors and invited them to join the blog, and we each picked a day to be our blog day. We decided on a theme and general focus; we each have a lot of latitude for creative discussion on our day, but we generally bring it back to a writing theme. It's been a really great collaborative experience, and I've really enjoyed "meeting" lots of new people online through the blog. I've actually never yet met any of my co-bloggers. We all live in diferent areas, and hope to meet in person at a conference soon.
Comment by Goldie Alexander on March 16, 2009 at 9:42am
Could be either. Perhaps it could even be interesting to write a collaborative blog between writers who have never actually met. Maybe even in another country. We could swap ideas and experiences.
Comment by Hazel Edwards on March 16, 2009 at 9:38am
Thanks for the comments. Would a collaborative blog need to be written by co-authors, or by those in a similar field of writing?
Comment by Goldie Alexander on March 16, 2009 at 9:35am
I tend to agree with Hazel's comments about blogging. So far I haven't been seduced into trying it on, but I may change my mind as another means of marketing books. I think collaborative blogs are an excellent idea in that they concentrate on the writing rather than the personal. Who wants to know how often I throw away a good idea because I can't get it to work? Or how often I have to rewrite an ms before it's successful? But what a time sink!!!!
Comment by Hazel Edwards on March 16, 2009 at 7:36am
Thanks for the collaborative blogs idea. That makes sense. But also agree that blogging can become a time sink( wonderful term) I tend to place my online articles with tags which lead back to my monthly updated website so visitors can use the notes and links. But when I speak at confernces, i don;t give out notes, just my website and invite them to email me.Then I email them the notes. So I still think that the website, updated regualrly is the most cost effective PR in writing minutes.
Comment by Kathryn Lilley on March 16, 2009 at 3:19am
I've discovered new authors by visiting their web sites and learning about their writing over time. I think of a blog as a writer's platform, much like a web site. Neither a blog nor a web site guarantees success in terms of selling books, but both helps authors establish presence in today's publishing marketplace. (Especially a web site--a web site is the equivalent of a business card. If you don't have a web site, it's almost like you're invisible in the Google search world).

Blogs need to be updated with fresh content on a regular basis, which is why they're such hard work. For that reason, collaborative blogs work well for many writers. You can take turns writing posts each week. In my experience, as a best practice it's good to start a blog that has a clearly defined theme and daily updates if possible. You do need to make the discussions as interesting and lively as possible so that your readers come back day after day. I think the most successful blogs combine established readers while constantly drawing in new readers. One way to do that is to invite guest bloggers to participate on the blog on a regular basis.
Comment by Dana King on March 15, 2009 at 11:59pm
I usually come to a writer's blog after reading one of their books, but I have also discovered quite a few interesting writers because they either write on collaborative blogs (like The Outfit, Murderati, or The Kill Zone), or because of something I read on another blog. My interest in some writers has been piqued because I liked their attitude, humor, or style in blog entries. Cross-pollination is also good, as over time you may well pick up as many views from others as you give away.

Blogging can also become a time sink. It's best to decide what role it will play in your writing day or week, and stick to it.

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