In the past two years that I’ve been blogging, I slowly developed a theory that I was hesitant to vocalize. We hear good-intentioned advice from those in the know that all self-published authors should have a blog. And obviously, since you’re reading this on my blog , I halfway agree with that sentiment.
Blogs are great tools for getting your name out there on search engines. Let me tell you, I felt like I had arrived the second I Googled myself and actually came up with something that pointed back to me. Now, there are pages and pages of results, but I’ve also written hundreds of blog posts, been relatively active on various social media outlets, and of course published four books.
Blogging is also a great exercise for making a commitment to writing on a regular basis. Common convention suggests that a successful blogger should be posting new content at least once a week with few exceptions. No one’s going to come after you with a wet noodle if you take a week off for vacation or over the holidays, but you don’t want tumbleweeds to roll across your page either. Sticking to a consistent schedule forces you to devote a certain responsibility to creating posts, even if they aren’t all going viral. At least you’re in the habit of writing and publishing for the entire world to see (if they so choose).
So what then is the epiphany that I’ve been loathe to announce?
Blogging hasn’t helped me sell books.
You see, the target audience for my blog is authors. I talk about publishing, advertising, social media and the like. Things that would bore laypeople to death.
The target audience for my books is not authors, but readers. And the readers are way too busy reading to look me up on the internet and see what I’m ranting about this week. A lady who is quite possibly my biggest fan (and no, we aren’t related) – as in I chat with her online at least once a day – told me this very thing. She has never been to my website. She doesn’t have time.
Maybe this would be different if I was writing non-fiction. If I was the go-to person for insurance questions or home mortgages or something and my blog content was directly related to the books that I wrote. But I’m not and it isn’t.
True, I do post promotional things from time to time here because I can, but my readers don’t see my bonus content, or my top ten lists or my character studies because they aren’t looking for them. And I can’t blame them one bit. I know I don’t stalk my favorite authors online. I read their books and move on, because I’m too busy reading myself.
This further cements my idea to curate all of this promotional content into ebook format and offer it at retailers. Then it would actually be getting to the correct audience.
So does this mean that I’m going to stop blogging? No way. But I won’t fret as much about page views or post shares or retweets because it’s a very small facet of my writing life. If I had to choose where I wanted to be ultra popular – in the blogging community or in the author/reader one – I know hands down what my answer would be.
Fiction authors: do you notice the same thing?