The Purpose of Blogging for Fiction Writers

Over the past several months I’ve seen numerous posts around the blogosphere debating the issue of what fiction writers should blog about.

On one side, some say that fiction writers should NOT blog about “writing.” They encourage us to find out what our target fiction readers want to hear and gear our posts toward them. They believe that if we gear our blogs toward writers, then we’re missing out on our potential to connect with readers (particularly after publication).

On the other hand, some say if we’re passionate about writing, then why not share that love with others? Since we often can’t share the ups and downs of our unique writing journeys with real life friends, blogging provides an outlet for talking about writing and publication. Besides, we have a lot to learn from one another.

I haven’t jumped into the discussion because quite frankly I haven’t been sure who’s right. I guess I’ve always considered blogging to be individualistic and figured each person needs to find the niche that works for him or her. Of course, non-fiction writers really should have blogs geared to the topics and audiences of their books. And of course, there will always be the one-in-a-million blogger who has a unique voice and way of sharing that will make a name for themselves in blogging (like the Pioneer Woman).

But the majority of us are pretty average bloggers. So is there really a right or wrong way for fiction writers to approach blogging?

Sure, we can talk about attracting our genre readers before publication, but that’s very hard to do because we’re relatively unknown to readers. And we can talk about how we’re going to attract our readers after publication, but that’s hard too because when we’re a young author, we’re still mostly unknown.

The fact is, most readers aren’t flocking to their favorite authors' websites and reading them on a regular basis anyway. This might change for authors who eventually go on to be big time best sellers and have millions of readers. Perhaps then, we can expect that readers will seek us out on a more regular basis. But for now, I’m not expecting hoards of readers to wait with bated breath for every blog I post.

The more I’ve thought about the issue and evaluated my blogging experience, the more my opinion has evolved. Here’s my current philosophy—I believe one of the primary purposes of blogging for fiction writers is to develop a team or tribe, particularly before publication.

I found that through blogging I’ve made incredible connections, expanded my web presence, and developed a network of team players who are supportive, encouraging, and willing to help me out in numerous ways. During the releases of my books, my team has spread the word of my books in SO many more ways than I ever could have done on my own (which includes many of you—thank you!!).

When we blog authentically and relationally (meaning not all one-sided!), we will begin to build our teams. We develop friends who will go out of their way to promote us because we mutually care about each other and want each other to succeed.

In the scope of today’s crowded marketplace, I can’t emphasize enough just how much of a difference having a team has made in the promotion of my book. And I wouldn’t have had that team if it weren’t for my blogging.

So then, does it really matter what we blog about?

Yes and no. Yes, we want to attract team members. We want to refresh, encourage, and inspire them through our posts. Maybe we’ll make them think, or laugh, or cry. We want that give-and-take relationship that is a part of team-building.

But no. We are writers. We can take a dried worm and make it look good enough to eat. We can craft our words and posts in such a way that draws people—no matter what we’re talking about. Right?

What’s your opinion? Do you agree with my evolving philosophy that one of the primary purposes of blogging for fiction writers is in building a team? Do you think it matters what a writer blogs about?

Mid-week blog tour stops:

Thurs. 10/13: I'm visiting on Karen Lange's blog and sharing a time management tip that has held me in good stead as a writer. (Plus a book giveaway!)

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