I was at a conference a few weeks ago, and I ended up meeting a couple of other writers. We chatted about all sorts of different writing-related topics, and eventually, the topic of blogging came up. One of the authors I talked to had written two novels, but she didn’t have a blog. It surprised me. But what surprised me even more was when she said, “I just don’t know that blogs are that important for novelists.”
I wanted to say, “Hey, wait a second! You don’t understand!” But then I realized that I used to think the same thing. Are blogs really that important for novelists? What can authors of fiction even do with a blog? Is it worth investing time in when you’re already busy cranking out fiction?
What a Blog Can Do for You
Many authors underestimate the importance of a blog. They don’t consider themselves the “blogging type”, saying that they prefer fiction. I get that. I’ve been there. But I have a few things to say about the value blogging can bring to up and coming novelists.
1: A Blog Helps Readers Find You
One of my favorite bloggers, Michael Hyatt said, “If you don’t exist on the web, you flat-out don’t exist.” And today, that’s true.
If you want readers (and potential publishers) to be able to find you and learn about your work, you must have a website. Social media is a good thing to invest in as well. If you want to share your work with others, this is vital.
2: A Blog Will Help Readers Connect
Never underestimate the value of a personal connection. It’s so important. Readers don’t just want to see your stuff—they want to see you. They want glimpses of who you are, not just as an author, but as a person. That’s how you build a loyal following, and not just a fan-base, full of people who will come and go with the trends.
3: Blogs Are Great Marketing Tools
This is the part where writers (including me) cringe. Are we talking about self-promotion? *sputter* Yes. But not the slimy kind. The way you promote your work on a blog is through the connection you’ve made with your audience. Believe it or not, once they’re loyal to you, they actually want to hear about your work! So don’t be afraid to share it with them.
4: Blogging Helps You Hone Your Voice
This is one of the most important parts about blogging—and why it is absolutely vital to novelists. Having a blog keeps you writing. It constantly pushes you to get better; to be brave and share your work.
Blogging can teach you a lot about writing, which will in turn help you to write better, more compelling stories. Not only does it help you understand writing better, it helps you to realize why you write. And that is the key to a strong voice.
— Emily Tjaden (@dreaming_hobbit) June 11, 2015
But What Can Novelists Blog About?
So maybe you’re starting to see the value of a blog, but what if you aren’t sure what to say? What’s the point if you don’t know what to talk about?
I’ve been there. Until recently, I considered myself more of a novelist than a blogger. Fiction was my main genre of writing, and I had no clue what to say on a blog. For beginners, the idea of blogging is probably a scary one. But I have a few suggestions for blog posts topics that would be good for novelists to use.
- Talk about why you write
- Talk about what got you started writing in the first place
- Talk about your projects and the progress you’re making
- Talk about why stories (specifically yours) are important to you
- Share tips and lessons you’ve learned through your writing (hint: they don’t have to be about writing—life lessons are cool too)
- Review books
- Occasionally share short snippets of your work
- Talk about your writing process; your struggles and successes
- If you do NaNo, document it
These are just a few ideas. There are so many things for novelists to blog about; I could probably go on for another couple of pages. If you’re a novelist, don’t bypass the value a blog can bring to your readers.
Do you have a blog? If so, what do you write about? Feel free to share a link in the comments! I’d love to check out your sites!