Tuesday, October 7, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog...That's STILL the Question

A week or so ago I was at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference, and heard a number of conversations/debates on the value--or lack therein--of blogging. Here are some of the comments I heard floating around me:


"You have to blog if you're going to make it."
"If you want to make it in this business, don't waste your time blogging."


"Blogging is a great way to prime the pump as a writer."
"Blogging is a waste of time. Focus on writing your book."

"Blogging is the best way to connect with your readers."
"Readers want your books, and blogging takes you away from them."

"No one ever comments on my blog."
"I get 40 comments every time I post!"

By the time I'd heard a number of these conversations, here was my reaction:

AAAAAAGGGGHHHH!

Clear as mud, yes? Needless to say, blogging is still a hot topic, especially for writers and publishing professionals. In July I attended the Academy of Christian Editors breakfast, where the main topic of discussion was...? Yup, blogging. I was asked to speak on the benefits of blogging; another well-known editor spoke on why he doesn't blog. The ensuing discussion was...hmmm...interesting. I was amazed at how some of these learned folks viewed the blogosphere, and encouraged by the few who not only felt it holds value, but who have blogs themselves. Which isn't to say I think everyone should blog. It's a lot of hard work. And you need to be doing it for the right reasons.

Agent Rachelle Gardner has a thoughtful, thought-provoking post on this very issue on her blog, which actually triggered this blog entry. Lots of good points, and some very insightful comments. If you're blogging, or considering blogging, I'd encourage you to check it out.

As for me, I really enjoy blogging, but the fact that I can't keep this blog current concerns me. So I'm pondering ways to fix that. I have some ideas, but any thoughts or suggestions are welcome. Mostly, I want to be sure I'm doing what is serving people best. And what is helping fulfill the tasks God's given me.

Peace to you today.

Karen



10 comments:

Katy McKenna said...

Hi, Karen! I am a first-time visitor to your blog, having arrived here through my agent Rachelle's post today. I will be back to read more....

Very much enjoyed sharing a lunch table with you one day at ACFW! Thanks for the way you gave everyone a chance to participate in the discussion, in a most fun and engaging manner. :)

Robin Caroll said...

I blog when I have something to say, or to share. News breaks and photos, I have my daughter update and upload. I have a couple of faithful readers who'll email me if I haven't blogged in a week or so. LOL I try not to blog just to be blogging, though. When people ask me about starting a blog, or a website, my answer is the same--blog if you feel comfortable with it, but don't feel like you HAVE to have a blog presence. That's my thought for the day!

Courtney Walsh said...

Karen,

I saw Rachelle's post as well and it got me thinking back a few years as to why I started blogging in the first place. For me it was the need to write again everyday (or nearly everyday.) I really wanted that discipline in my life. Plus, one really cool thing is that now I have a record of my life for a few years, like a diary of sorts (only not nearly so personal given that it's posted online.)

As far as using it for marketing - I haven't quite done that yet. My two scrapbooking books have been mentioned, and I do some scrapbooking projects on my blog, but I cannot figure out how to 'promote' myself without feeling haughty. Ugh.

So, I don't know if my reasons will ever change, but for now I'm enjoying keeping track of my life and writing things down on a consistent basis.

:) HOpe you're having a great week!

Cara Putman said...

This is a challenge. I started a blog because everyone said you should. I keep it up because I enjoy it. I use mine to give people glimpses into what writing is like, but also spend a lot of time blogging about other people's books. I do this with reviews and interviews, because I love to tell people about Christian fiction. I've often wondered if I should cut back. But it's almost like this self-perpetuating beast. ARGGHHHHH.

Karen B. said...

Hey, all. Katy, thanks for stopping in! I love having new visitors. Please feel free to come back any ol' time.

I agree with you guys on blogging. It's not a MUST DO, but once you get started--at least if you're an extrovert of any sort--you can't walk away. I love hearing from people this way, and I think it's a good platform for sharing both info and ideas. So I'll stick with it.

K

Tracy Ruckman said...

I started blogging as a way to market myself and build that "requisite" platform. It has become so much more, and this week, I became a PAID blogger for two blogs other than my own.

At Pix-N-Pens, we're building a great writing and photography community. I now have 2 weekly columnists - writing on freelancing and photography - and will be adding another one next week to cover editing. I'll be adding a marketing column each week too, so we'll cover all aspects of the writing business.

One of my paid blogs allows me to write regularly on one of my passions - VACATION! ;-) And the other allows me to share Scripture and my faith journey. Both blogs are in a secular community, and gives me a new - and larger - audience.

As I've started these two paid blogs, I've learned about marketing tools I never knew existed. I'm already utilizing them - for all three blogs - and seeing traffic increase greatly. I'll be writing about these tools in the next few weeks.

Thanks for great posts - from you and Rachelle.

Hope you are doing well - you've been in my prayers.

Laura Christianson said...

Karen,

I attempt to write two blogs. Since starting a blog for my (blogging) business a few months ago, I've been struggling to keep up my personal blog.

Although I love blogging and have been doing it for more than 4 years, I am now giving myself permission to take a break from blogging when I feel burned out. The universe will not implode if I take some time off!

To help assuage my guilt, I started a monthly e-zine (oh no, not MORE writing!). I've cut back on the number of times I post on my personal blog and supplement with my e-zine, in which I focus on a single topic each issue.

I loved Rachelle's post -- it gave me ideas for a whole series that I'm going to write for my business blog!

Blog on...

Laura Christianson
Co-founder, HeBlogsSheBlogs.com

Katy McKenna said...

Karen, BTW, I am a long-time blogger. Eight years! My techie-geek son got me started. Promised me I'd "monetize some dynamic eyeballs." I still haven't monetized ANYthing! But I LOVE my readers, and the comments section is more fun than I know what to do with.

Plus, tons of readers have said how much they look forward to me selling my first novel. I hope that means they actually intend to BUY it--ha. In the meantime, as with anything relationship-based, blogging does require a time investment. But it's heartwarming when readers--after even a brief hiatus on my part--email me to see if I'm OK! I don't feel a compulsion to blog, ever. But I always love "having blogged."

Have a great weekend!

Richard Mabry said...

Karen,
Yes, I've heard those back-and-forth discussions on blogging. Matter of fact, a couple of very well-known Christian fiction authors have asked me if my blog was worth the effort. Hey, I have no idea. I started it because "everyone" said I needed one. I continue it because it's fun to scan the Site Meter report and see that someone in Oslo, Norway, is reading it. And I've met a number of friends in cyberspace.
Rachelle's post gave me more food for thought, and your thoughts have just added fuel to the fire. As for whether it's necessary to have a blog in order to be published? Well, you tell me.
Blessings.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

I started out gung-ho about blogging. But during times when I couldn't blog regularly due to deadlines, it became cumbersome. I didn't like that pressure of feeling like I HAD to blog regularly to keep from letting my blog readership down.

Since Blogger has this new feature where we can post blogs in advance, my joy for blogging returned.

During non-busy times, I go in and write one blog post for each week. I try to keep the day consistant. That way, if I don't have time to blog my three days a week, at least I know there will be a post going up once a week.

I LOVE that we can use the schedule feature. It's made my life a heckuva lot easier. LOL!

Great blog, Karen. I am glad you've decided to keep it up. I found your blog to be a wealth of valuable information. Plus it's FUN!

I've heard the advice that we should target our blogs to either readers or writers but not both. But I ran a poll on my blog and the results showe me that I have an equal amount of each. But I figured since most writers are readers, but not all readers are writers, that I'd gear it more toward them. With an occasional post benefitting writers.

I wonder everyone else's thoughts on that.

Anyway, toodles!


Cheryl