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Sunday, 29 January 2017

'To blog - or not to blog? That is the question...'

I was recently involved in a discussion about 'mummy blogs'. Well, when I say 'involved in', I mean I read the discussion and occasionally nodded. 'Mummy Blogs' are where (usually new) mothers blog about their experiences of parenthood and can vary hugely from 'this isn't what I expected, I want to go back to work, the baby's just eaten pooh and the dog's been sick on the carpet', to 'here are my little treasures enjoying an educational game before eating a home-cooked nutritional meal #feelingblessed'.

And it got me thinking... do you read blogs by your favourite authors? Are author blogs less or more interesting than Writing Blogs?

Really well known authors tend less towards blogs (and if they do have a blog, chances are they haven't written it, it's done by their Publicity People, because they have people. Most authors are barely on speaking terms with themselves, let alone people) and more towards newsletters. The 'here's my latest release, out on Tuesday, here's a competition.'  Which tells you a lot about the actual book, but not much about the author behind it.  So, here's my question... do you like reading author blogs? If you do, would you rather read about the author's experience with their grumpy neighbour and how everyone thinks 'working from home' means sitting around drinking coffee all day and running down to the shop in their slippers to buy more biscuits?  And how their hoover is broken and why the cat has that face on?  Or would you rather read purely about the books?

Or, again, would you rather read a Writing Blog, where authors write about the process of writing?
Do you want to read about the person behind the author? (I mean, the actual person, the real one, not someone standing behind the author with a whip and a stern expression muttering something about edits having been promised last week, because that is called a Publisher, and they have their own blogs, thank you).  And I know that reading my blogs is more like reading about the person behind that person, because I've got a lot of people in my head and it seems rude not to give them all a turn.  Or would you rather read about the writing processes of authors?

Or would you rather that we all just shut up and wrote books and didn't bother you with our biscuit preferences and our dog pictures?  Because, if you are going to be like that about it...

8 comments:

Mark West said...

I went to a couple of writer/blogger meet-ups last year and what I took from them was the idea of a blog being published on a regular basis. Since I love researching stuff, I decided I'd post once-a-week and even though I am a writer and my writing is the key point behind having a blog, most of the parts are about anything but - behind-the-scenes on films and music, book reviews.

So I hope people enjoy it... :/

Sharon Booth said...

I'll be very interested to know the answer to that one, Jane! When I was starting out on the writing path, I was told, in no uncertain terms, you MUST have a blog. I was never sure why, but since I was new to it all and believed everything I was told back then, I went along with it and set up a blog. A few years later, I'm not at all sure that it's of any use whatsoever. The website part of it is all right to post information on, updates and links etc. But the actual blog? I think not, really. I am yet to be convinced that it attracts any new readers, increases sales or is of any interest to anyone outside a few very loyal followers. I would love to hear what other people think. Thanks for posting. (Ooh, see, your blog was useful AND of interest!)

Jane Lovering said...

I think it all comes down to Internet Presence...if you have a blog and a website you are far more likely to show up when potential publishers/readers Google you, than if you are just on Facebook and Twitter. So I blog, pretty much every week (day job dependent) on a Sunday, so people know it's there if they want to read it.

As to what to blog...well, I've pretty much covered everything, from my appallingly badly behaved dogs to how to write character. I have to say that I like author blogs that show me a bit about the person behind the books. But it's very interesting to read other people's opinions, so thanks for the input, Mark and Sharon.

Chris Stovell said...

Thanks for posing the question, Jane. I wonder about this myself which is probably why my blog appears less frequently these days. I'm also conscious of the fact that blogs provide yet more free content and, frankly, I'm a bit reluctant these days to give too much work away. I don't even know if blogging's still 'good for exposure' but, as the old saying goes, people die of exposure. I'll be interested to read the responses to your blog. Cheers m'dear!

Vasiliki said...

I rarely read blogs. There seem to be so many out there but I would read blogs by my favourite authors if they blogged but unfortunately for the most part they don't seem to. I subscribe to their newsletters instead. As to content, well I'm discovering that after a lifetime of avoiding it I am enjoying being a fan and I want to read all sorts of things; what makes them tick, their writing process etc. A combination of all the things you mention Jane, not just one or two. I enjoy reading your posts btw! You're one of the few I visit. :)

Liz Harris said...

I have heard it said that in the time it takes to write one good blog, you could be writing a chapter of your latest novel.

I'm an intermittent blogger. I'm always intending to improve my blogging output, but I'm not helped by knowing that I rarely read any blogs as I want to use the limited time I have for writing my novel, and I imagine that other readers are in the same position as I am.

An interesting topic, Jane.

Jackie Ladbury said...

Interesting post- and I read it all, including the replies! So often I glance at a blog, skim read the contents and move on as I just don't have the time to settle down with a cuppa and digest it all. So for me, short sharp and snappy- wth a line or two that makes me smile. The content can be anything, really. I'm guessing that most writers blogs are aimed at their potential readers so something that sheds light on the person behind the book is always worthwhile.

Louise Marley said...

Great post, Jane! I love blogging! I have three blogs - my own personal one, one I share with my writing group, Novelistas Ink, and a book review blog (which is just for fun - I'm not a book blogger). On my personal blog I write about the things that interest me and only talk about writing in relation to my own books. Readers are interested in the behind the scenes stuff, but not the 'how to write' posts. Those I save for the Novelistas Ink blog or guest posts. I've found sales of my books go up after I've published a post. Ideally I like to post twice a month, but it usually ends up being once a month. And the book writing ALWAYS comes first!