Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh, No! Experts Say Blogging Is a Waste of Time

Recently, an agent wrote that blogging could be a waste of time for fiction writers. What she said made sense. Then I found dissenting opinions. They made sense as well. What's a fiction writer to do?

The Arguments Against Blogging


1) The blogosphere is too crowded, so the average writer will never generate impressive traffic.
I seem to have plateaued at about 1,500 visitors a month, my number of subscribers increases by about 20 a month -- I now have 102. I won't be impressing anyone.

2) It's time consuming.
I spend four to eight hours on each blog -- time I could be spending finishing my novel.

3) If you blog about writing, your audience is writers, not readers.
Hmmm. Where have I heard that before? Oh, right, in my own blog. And yeah, most of my traffic is from writers. A former agent I spoke to said I should focus on blogging about topics covered in my novel, namely dating and single life. He said I should be forming alliances with dating sites. I've taken some of his advice, but I'm afraid my traffic numbers will drop! (I watch my traffic numbers the way a cardiologist watches an EKG.)

Things I could be doing instead of blogging


- Trying Twitter, Yet Again
I can't stand Twitter, it seems to be a real waste of time, a torrent of crap. But it also seems to offer the best option for connecting to potential readers and, more importantly, people who can influence a lot of potential readers. So, I'm going to focus on connecting with people with clout in subjects of interest to my potential readers: travel, singles and dating, humor.

- Applying for Fellowships at Writers Colonies and Grants.
I'm guessing a fellowship at Yaddo or the MacDowell Colony would be more impressive than having 2,000 Facebook Fans. Here's a short list of writers colonies and a longer searchable list of Writers Colonies.

- Posting and Commenting in Forums and on Blogs Frequented by Potential Readers.

- Blogging about Topics of Interest to Potential Readers.

- Finishing my novel
(Have I said this a dozen times already?)

The Arguments for Blogging (At Least in My Case)


1) It builds the resume
I've gotten freelance job offers that I've had to pass on to friends because I working on my novel. Eventually, I'm going to for another Web marketing/Web writing job, so I'll have a body of work to show.

2) I enjoy it.

3) According to this post by indie writer Yesenia Vargas, some readers of a blog about writing, may buy your novel. If people like you're non-fiction writing, they may try your fiction.

4) I may self-publish an e-book for writers about one writer's experiences in book marketing hell.

5) I'm still hoping for the serendipitous event: Some agent spots one of my blogs in a forum or Linked In group, comes to my blog, sees my other stuff and...

What I'm Going to Do Differently (at least for right now)


- My blog covers multiple topics -- writing and topics of interest to potential readers. To target the audiences separate, I plan to capture e-mail addresses for different mailing lists using newsletter sign-up boxes at the end of individual articles. Once I get enough names, I send out short, monthly newsletters that cater to readers' interests.

- Post short audios of me reading from my novel. In the past my videos and audios have generated a fair amount of traffic and these will cater to my specific audiences. For a sample, here's an excerpt called, "The Day I Almost Became Gay." (This piece carries content warnings for prescription drug abuse and men kissing on the lips.)

*Full disclosure: I have time to experiment because I'm not working. I quit a contract gig in April to finish my novel. I drive a 20-year-old car held together with Bondo and will likely need to find a part time job in April.

*Distorted face image at top of blog by Miguel Angel Pasalodos

Can't Get Enough Book Marketing?

- Book Marketing: Seven Month Progress Report 

- Book Marketing for Nitwits: SEO

- How Writers Can Earn a Living 
(Content warning: men eating lightbulbs, being run over by cars, hit with sledge hammers.)

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