Writers: Should you be blogging? Maybe not.

Here’s a reprint of an article I wrote last week for the MMRWA’s Writing 101 Facebook page. Re-posting it here, in case any of my writer friends out there might find it useful!

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media lately, so let’s talk about blogging! Or, why maybe you shouldn’t.

Here are the blogging rules for authors:

1. You HAVE to have a blog if you ever expect to be traditionally published. Publishers need to know that you have millions of avid followers before they’ll even consider a contract.

2. You HAVE to have a blog if you’re indie published. How else will people find you and your books?

Actually, neither of those things are 100 percent true anymore. The fact is, blogging isn’t for everyone. If the thought of blogging gives you the heebie jeebies, the willies and the hives, you probably shouldn’t do it. If you can’t think of anything to write and trying to come up with topics feeds your ulcer and eats your time, don’t do it. If you spend three hours a day crafting a perfect post and then you spend another three hours agonizing over the fact that you only got one comment on it and it was from a male enhancement drug-hocking spambot, you maybe shouldn’t be blogging. If you feel guilty that you don’t have a blog, but you like Facebook better and you’re just too busy writing books to add yet another thing to your schedule anyway, you probably shouldn’t blog.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a blogger. My posts are kind of sporadic and on random topics. I don’t have a boatload of followers and my site probably doesn’t stand out in a crowd of billions. I’m also pretty sure a publisher would never give me a contract based solely on any posts I’ve written. An editor would probably be more likely to suggest I try not to overshare with strangers so much. But I like to blog. It’s a creative outlet and gets me writing words. I’ve met people I really like through blogging. I feel like when I write a post, I can be the real me there, unlike on Facebook, where I feel like my posts are kind of forced. And I’m trying, but so far I just suck at Twitter.

Plus, if you don’t blog, it’s not like you’re totally going to lose the chance for your voice to be heard by the masses. There are plenty of other social media outlets and ways to connect and stay connected with likeminded readers and future fans:

– Facebook
– Google+
– Pinterest
– Goodreads
– Twitter
– Tumblr
– Instagram
– email newsletters

What I’m getting at here, is that you should only blog if it’s something you enjoy doing and can throw yourself into wholeheartedly. Readers will connect far better with someone who is obviously blogging for the love of it and not just phoning in a bi-weekly or monthly advertisement for their newest release (balancing promo and personal interest is another story!). Instead of feeling guilty about not doing it enough or not doing it at all, decide if blogging is worth it to you in time spent and results received. If you DO like to blog, figure out how to make the most of it! Your writing time is precious and any bit of it spent not working on your next book should bring you benefits, both personal and professional.

Blogging: like with anything else, don’t be afraid to just say no.

Questions? Comments? Heated rebuttals? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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