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Why Every Author Needs a Blog

Sunday, November 07, 2004
I'm still a relative newcomer to the world of blogging, but the more I blog, the more convinced I become that every author would benefit from having a blog. Here's why.

1. Blogging allows authors to carry on an ongoing dialogue with their readers. It's kind of like having a virtual booksigning that goes on 365 days a year. I love hearing from people who have read my books, and who have benefitted from them in some way -- or who want to offer me feedback on how I can improve on the next editions of my books. Hosting a blog allows me to build that kind of rapport with my readers.

2. Blogging allows authors to promote their existing and forthcoming titles as well as any speaking engagements, book signings, and other author events. Because people read my blog on an ongoing basis, it's easy for me to spread the word about any new books I have coming out, or anything else I think might be of interest to my readers.

3. Blogging allows authors to write about issues that they are passionate about. Your blog is your soapbox. You don't have to try to convince a magazine or newspaper editor about the newsworthiness of a particular issue or try to pass through a particular publication's political correctness filter. You simply put your fingers on the keyboard and blog away. I love that!

4. Blogging allows authors to connect with other authors. Authors can play a powerful role in marketing one another's books.
It's all about working cooperately rather than competitively. Novelist MJ Rose is a master at this game. If you're not already reading her blog, you should be.

Some authors give blogs a firm thumbs down because they think it will be very time consuming to maintain a blog, or because they worry about the possibility of having someone steal the contents of their blogs. Here's are my thoughts on those two points.

Blogging time commitment: Yes, there is a time commitment involved in maintaining a blog, but it doesn't have to be onerous. If you've only got 5 minutes a day or a week to devote to your blog, then that's all you put into it. When you consider all the hugely time-wasting activities that fall under the job description of author (e.g., the book signing that only blood relatives bother to attend; the detailed author questionnaire that gets filed in the publicity department's filing cabinet, but that never actually gets acted upon!), I think you'll find that your return on investment for blogging is a whole lot more impressive.

Possibility of copyright infringement: There's always the possibility that someone will rip off your stuff. You face that risk with your written work, too. Someone could scan in pages of your books and upload them to their website or e-mail them to their best friend. (Hey, chances are someone already has!) I think the benefits of maintaining an author blog outweight the risks of having someone rip off your stuff. I really enjoy maintaining this blog because it allows me to connect with other writers, my readers, family members (Hi Dad!), friends, and others who happen to stumble across my blog.

So if you're an author and you're weighing the pros and cons of blogging, I'd urge you to take the plunge. I did six months ago, and blogging has become part of my (almost) daily routine.

| posted by Ann D @ 2:01 PM