Writing Fear Free

Can an Author’s Blog Really Reach Readers?

Every now and then, I like to reevaluate my use of social media and websites. With the speed that technology changes–Hello, Snapchat!–I probably need to do it more often.

This little musing on social media goes hand in hand with my writing process experimentation (trying to write more efficiently and make the best use of my writing time). If I’m writing, I want it to be something that my target audience will read and truly enjoy. I’m not sure this blog is getting that job done. What’s more, I couldn’t find many author blogs that seemed reader-oriented. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

This leads me to wonder if my writing time might not be better spent working on novels and not on blogging.

All the social media marketing types hype author blogs. You have to have one in order to reach readers. But my blog reaches other indie authors, not readers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if my goal was to reach out to other writers and share info. That was part of my original goal.

Success!

Now my goal has changed. I want to focus on reaching readers.

Yes, writers also read, but from what I can tell about my site use, it seems that people just pop in occasionally–very occasionally no matter how often I update–for some publishing news or writing process tips. I don’t know that I’m driving interest to my books using this blog format.

I want to write something that interests my target audience: those who read my novels. These people may or may not be interested in writing one themselves. Much as I enjoy composing the occasional blog post, I’d rather be writing fiction, and fiction is the thing that interests my target audience.

Basically, I have no idea how to reach readers in a blog format. I understand how it works on Twitter and Facebook, but I need help figuring out what readers want to see on an author’s blog.

Do non-writing readers even care about an author’s blog? It won’t hurt my feelings if the answer is no. I am pretty sure non-writers aren’t looking for tips on how to write more efficiently or what’s going on in the publishing world.

Do I share tidbits from my real life journal-style? Do you want to know that we are painting our main living area a new color? Agreeable Grey, if you’re curious. I haven’t decided whether or not I find it agreeable. Do you want to know that my cat has been murdering small woodland creatures?

Agreeable Grey with Disagreeable Murder Cat
Agreeable Grey with Disagreeable Murder Cat

Or that I’m watching Supernatural for the first time and loving it?

Castiel. Because I can.
Castiel. Because I can.

But I’m not trying to be a home decorating blogger or a wildlife conservation blogger or a TV critic. I’m trying to write fun books that provide meaning and distraction in a sometimes overwhelming world. I want to put my time where readers want it.

And I’m not sure it’s in writing rambling blog posts like this one.

4 thoughts on “Can an Author’s Blog Really Reach Readers?

  1. I’m afraid that the answer that I have might not be at all to your liking. But it’s something I’ve been thinking a great deal about too. I think that if you have readers (actual readers) and a lot of them and your readers reach the point when they can’t get enough of yours books or characters or universe or whatever and want more, more, more is when most of them turn to your blog to see if they can find anything else related to your books and characters there. So I guess in order for your blog to be directed primarily at readers it has to be all about your books. You have to go deeper, to give them more, to give them something that they can find only on your blog, something that will give them food for thought and, hopefully, will send them back to your books. That being said, I’m afraid that only a very small number of books have that effect on readers and you probably have to be something of a celebrity in the publishing world in order to attract non-writing readers who are interested not only in your books or in you as an author but also in you as a human being with interests outside the pages of your books. I don’t know. I might be totally wrong here but from what I’ve seen of non-writing readers, when they read a book, they don’t really care about who wrote it. Heck, most of the time they don’t even know the author’s name! And they don’t even care to know afterwards unless the book made a huge impression or impact on them or has a scandal attached to it. It’s very frustrating. But that’s just my observations and conclusions.

  2. Thank you, Farida, for this in-depth comment. It IS what I wanted to hear because it seems to me to be the truth. I don’t visit author blogs, not even those of authors I love and adore, so I can very well believe that I (the author) am not the draw. The books are. The stories. The characters. It’s all about the characters. Hmmm…maybe I can work with that…

  3. Just saw this post, and I have to say that it is the characters Jennifer! I agree with Farida. Readers come to authors blogs to get more of the characters, to find out any morsel of information they can on the series: when is the next book coming out, teasing excerpts, cover reveals, just about anything new.
    I know you were thinking about doing some SF short stories to satisfy your readers while they waited for the next novel. What happened to that idea?
    As a reader, I recently got drawn into Erin Nicholas’s FB page. She has created a FB page for her recent series, Sapphire Falls, and does all kinds of things on there to keep her readers entertained. It keeps the characters and the town (a character itself) in front of the readers. She doesn’t allow her readers to forget that she is currently writing the next book or allow them to grow too impatient and forget about the series in between books publications. Plus she gives away tons of swag. It seems like readers love swag. I have seen talk about that in some other forums too. However, that is all done in different genres from your SF series. But I would imagine those ideas could apply to any genre.
    Personally, I am always a huge fan of teasing lines and short excerpts to keep me in suspense for the next story. But yes, your readers are wanting more of the characters. And in your case, I think keeping readers updated on the goings on of Mercer, if you don’t have anything character worthy to update readers with, would be interesting. But now I feel as if I am rambling.

  4. You are probably right, both of you. I need to check out the pages you mentioned. I would love to give away swag, but it’s such a shift to go from writer to marketer. What quotes would I use? What clever ways could I use my setting? I do need to work on the stories. So much I need to learn and do!

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