Okay, the whole thing started with this post by Kristen Lamb. Sacred Cow Tipping – Why writers blogging about writing is bad. Read it.
The gist of it says that by blogging about writing you only reach a small percentage of the population. You want to be reaching readers. Her one example made perfect sense: a paranormal author who blogs about wine and cooking.
It’s easy to read Kristen’s words and immediately scorn the blog you’ve put so much time into. A hot flush races across your skin as you realize you’ve been doing it all wrong. You can’t blog about writing anymore! So maybe you better start watching soap operas – and fast! Or pick up knitting. Something. Anything.
I’m pretty sure that strategy won’t work either.
So is Kristen wrong or right?
She’s neither, just a little misunderstood. Blogging about writing is different than a pure writing blog. My takeaway is that she encourages your blog to be about you. Don’t limit your blog to just writing tips all the time. Be yourself. Include parts of you that you want to share. Funny stories. Book reviews. Your travels. Your research for your stories. Be you. Let your voice shine through. If you’re passionate about cute little green inch worms then blog about it. Or not.
No one can argue the success Jody Hedlund has had and her blog is primarily about writing. But she puts herself into each and every post. There is a difference.
I write for children and teens. Most of my targeted audience won’t read my blog unless I sell a book on the bestseller list or win an award. And then they’ll look me up to fill out a book report. So my next target would be teachers and librarians and moms. (No thanks. I’m not becoming a mommy blogger no matter how cute I think my kids are.)
I can think of a handful of authors who naturally embrace Kristen’s approach. Lisa and Laura Roecker (hilarious) blog about pop culture with self deprecating humor. But they are entertaining. Kirsten White used to blog about nothing in particular, but again, is extremely witty. And Elana Johnson not only has posts on writing but her blog is full of heart. She’s Elana. And those bloggers reached higher heights of followers through getting agents, giving back, book deals and almost dying (Kirsten).
So if you blog about nothing or pop culture or soap operas or cooking you better be ready to entertain. Or you won’t gain many followers even if they are potential readers. But the same holds true when blogging about writing. And entertaining doesn’t have to mean funny.
I return to the motto I uphold when blogging: unique, useful, and updated. Use your slant, your voice, your approach to any topic, even if it’s writing.
That’s what I think Kristen meant. Don’t dig yourself into a “writing” hole. #ofcourseicouldbewrong
Here are some great links to check out.
And Roz Morris answers my questions on the subject in this blog post. (How will she promote her fiction when she blogs about writing?)
Roni Loren recently wrote an incredible post on ten things she’d do differently. (In reference to her blogging journey) (Incredible post!)
The Bookshelf Muse wrote a terrific post about knowing your audience.
Livia Blackburn writes Author blogging: you’re doing it wrong.
And of course this brings up another scary question: How effective is blogging? Um yeah, that will be for another time. Maybe next Wednesday.
What do you all think? Are you going to start blogging about your lifetime obsession with the Smurfs? Make me laugh and I’ll read it.