Who Reads a Fiction Author's Blog, Anyway?
Are you a writer or a reader? We know writers are also readers, or they better be. But I'm curious who the majority reading this blog represents. Actual readers/fans or other writers/authors?
|Staring blankly at the screen...|
For fiction or non-fiction writers to create a website of our work, well, that's not too tough of a task. On our website, we have information about our books, biography of the author, where to buy the books, perhaps FAQs and fun stuff. All items considered basic, factual and helpful to readers or future readers of our precious books.
Now toss into the mix composing the ever-popular and almost mandatory blog post for any writer's website. For a fiction writer, it's not as easy to come up with ideas as it is for the non-fiction writer. At least for the majority of fiction writers it is stressful, time-consuming and mind-boggling. Networking and marketing gurus say we should blog at least once a week, although two times is highly recommended. What exactly are the fiction authors to blog about though?
See, non-fiction writers can talk about all the content in their book and elaborate in detail on each chapter or topic. Let's use an example, say a book about cat care (which I'd be interested in!). If that author had written a chapter on adopting a new cat, they could write several blog entries just on that topic alone! One posting could discuss if getting a cat is the right thing for you. Another on where to find a cat. Another on what items to buy before bringing a cat home. Another on the first veterinarian visit. Another on setting up a safe room for the cat. And many more after that! All from ONE chapter in their book.
But what about a fiction writer? If you plan to blog about writing itself, then there is plenty of material to discuss. Especially since the world of publishing has been and still is transforming almost daily. Self-publishing information is overwhelming and is a hot and controversial subject. But the art of writing, publishing and marketing will likely be of more interest to another writer and won't be nearly as exciting for any current or prospective fans to read. Don't take me wrong - blogging on this subject is fine and dandy because I am one who is tremendously grateful to the writers who offer knowledge and suggestions about the writing industry! Writers need that information.
But fans – READERS – are the people who buy your fiction books (physical or ebook). And obviously other writers buy books, too. Keep in mind that if you're writing fiction, those readers/fans enjoyed your story. They liked your characters, the suspense, action, the conflicts and tragedies you put your main characters into, the locations, and the dialogue. The readers are thrilled with your ability to help them escape from the real world for a little while by submersing themselves into whatever your storyline may be: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, mystery, romance, young-adult, etc.
Point is – it's fiction. Most readers will not be very interested in reading your blog about the latest self-publishing marketing techniques. Any readers actually reading this, am I right? Wouldn't you find that somewhat boring?
So back to the dilemma for fiction writers. What are we to blog about then if we want to entertain our readers - fans - of our books?! To keep connected with them? To network? To engage in conversation? To let them know we are alive and say – hey – here's something fun and interesting we just wrote in our blog for YOU (the reader – the fan) to enjoy?
I write paranormal thrillers, urban fantasy, young-adult. All wrapped up in one package (novel). If a new book is due out, then at least I can highlight it for the readers, give excerpts, teasers, chat it up, suggest where to buy it. When an author is in between books, especially if some time has slipped by, writing even one blog post a week can be difficult, if we are truly trying to satisfy the fans and not writing blogs that are more directed to other writers.
It feels odd for me to talk about a book that has already been out for 3 years…or even 1 year. But maybe I should have fun trying that anyway? After all, many readers out in the world have not read my books yet. Maybe dissect certain scenes? Post a blog from a character's viewpoint? Give more details on locations or why I chose them? Divulge more background on a character? Give bigger hints at what I'm currently writing? Ask for story ideas (which I've heard is not actually a good move)? Do a giveaway? Do polls on favorite characters or anything related to my genre?
And another thing - an author should not chat up their books (market/promote) constantly as if there is nothing else in their lives because people don't like being "sold to". It's offensive and rude and gets old real fast having promotional stuff shoved in your face all the time. I know. I've been on the receiving end of that before. It's tricky to find that balance where you keep fans informed about an author's books but at the same time, you are not advertising to them too often, where they become turned off or ticked off by the author's actions.
So then, who is this particular blog post written to? I'd have to say both the writer and the reader.
To the writer, I'm sure many are nodding their heads in agreement with my ramblings.
To the reader/fan, maybe they can see the delicate situation an author faces when we blog and do social networking. I'd like to ask the readers, "What would you like me to blog about? And how often?"
Please comment! This is a way to learn how I can provide more interesting blog posts for you! Thanks!