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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Some Thoughts on Blogging by Marilyn Levinson

I can't remember when I wrote my first blog, but it had to be more than ten years ago when my first mystery was published. Then blogging was all the rage. "You must blog," the Promotion Pundits declared. "It's one of the best ways to engage with your readers." Many of them drew up long lists of blogging topics for authors. Those documents are still on my computer, though I can't remember the last time I bothered to read any of them.

As mystery writers, we're well aware of our obligation to promote our books and stories. We do this in a variety of ways. While we never know for sure which methods bring us new readers , we know that new ways of promoting rise up and others fade away. Having a newsletter is a must. Social media is still hot. There's Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok. And many more I'm not aware of. Which brings me to the question: Does it make sense to continue to blog?

I write a blog once a month here on Writers Who Kill and even less often on the Blackbirds Writers' Blog. Writing a blog is actually writing an essay—at least it is for me. I suppose my mind has been trained, because I always manage to come up with a topic to write about, usually something related to writing. Doing so takes up time, time away from writing. And the question is: what am I getting in return? I get comments, but these are mostly from my fellow group blogging authors and other author friends. 

Am I communicating with readers as I do when I do an author takeover for one of the cozy groups I belong to? Is blogging helping to create sales? I honestly don't know. But to be fair, I'm going to list a few of the reasons why I will continue to blog:

1. I like writing about writing or any other subject I'm thinking about and like sharing my thoughts with other people. After all, I am a writer and it's natural for me to express myself this way.

2. Blogs have longevity. One of my fellow Blackbirds Writers made a comment to a blog I'd written a year ago. 

3. Blogs are a way of communicating. I will leave a comment on someone's blog if the subject touched me.

4. Blogs can be reused. The topic, actually, since I always have new thoughts when I rework an old blog.

5. Blogs can be helpful to other authors. I can't count the number of times I've given out "Twelve Things to Include When Writing a Mystery Series," which was first written as a blog.

6. Guest blogs are a good way to have exposure to possible new readers.

7. Mystery writers are also mystery readers;  blogging is a way for them to learn about my books and me.

Though some say blogging isn't as important as it used to be, I think it's here to stay. What are your thoughts regarding blogging?


17 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

Blogging is a way to share a piece of yourself with others. Fellow authors often empathize or take support from our words; readers enjoy insights into authors. Whether it sells any books, I'll leave to others smarter than I.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

A monthly deadline gives me the discipline to plan and write a blog, usually a book review.

KM Rockwood said...

I really like reading blogs. Writing them, less so. I struggle with topics, with writing them appropriating them appropriately, and especially with posting them. Along with my daughter, I've spent hours trying to get them to maintain their formatting when I try to post them. Thank you, Annette, for coming to the rescue for me!

I'm much happier writing short stories! (Maybe I should just post a flash fiction every month?)

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Although I am inundated with blogs to read, I do glance at each and if the topic interests me read it fully. I don't always comment as I should, but I love seeing inner thoughts of the various writers. For myself, it is a form of expression and a way of sharing a different side of me with readers.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Jim, Margaret, Kathleen and Debra,

You have each added a reason why we write and often read one another's blogs. I now find blogging to be the perfect method of exploring my thoughts on a subject, most often the subject of writing.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

I like to blog too. The post is out there forever and I've had someone comment long after the posted date. I don't get as many commenters like I used to. And some have switched to reading on a Facebook notice and commenting on FB. Secondly, because I usually have a small bit about one of my books, it is a marketing piece as well. I'm with Deborah, too, as I read ones that sound of interest. I am always happy to hostess a Guppie on my blog.

Molly MacRae said...

I love the feeling of community among writers that comes from blogs and blogging.

Shari Randall said...

I enjoy reading blogs and always learn so much. Like KM, I find it difficult to come up with fresh ideas. I did love the blog we did where we all devised our own ending to Elaine's story start. I hope we do another one soon!

Kassandra Lamb said...

I continue to blog, although not as often, for all the reasons you give here. It is another way to remain visible in a crowded world.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Vicki,
Yes, blogs have long lives. Recently someone commented on a blog I'd written a year ago.

Molly and Shari, I agree with you both. So much to share and learn.

Claire A Murray said...

I blog almost weekly on writing, whether it's my own travails or sharing someone else's. I'm also partway through interviewing 22 authors from an anthology.

I share the blog posts to FB, but since I control my blog and not social media, I'll continue to maintain the blog even if I cut back on its frequency. It's where I hope my audience will find me. I think a blog or newsletter with website backup is important because it's under our control.

Korina Moss said...

What a great topic. I feel very lucky to have been asked to join this blog. I used to blog when my son was young and I didn't have the time to work on a larger project. It wasn't about writing, it was just about my life and points of view, often humorous. I like the essay form. Now that I'm so busy, they're not always as fun to write, but I do find them a great way to communicate. I remember when I started writing eons ago, there was no social media, so there was no contact like this with published writers. I think it's great that writers, new ones or those who've been around the block, can reach each other and hopefully give each other some insight and also a sense of shared experiences. And as a reader, I'm interested in insight about authors' books.

Judy Penz Sheluk said...

I do think blogs have lost a bit of their lustre, there are just so many out there. I follow a lot of them but I'll be honest, if the headline or topic doesn't grab me, I won't read it. I know that's horrid because I also blog and hope folks follow me. But, I also see that some posts get a lot of hits, and others not as much. If I knew the secret, I'd share it here. But...your title did grab me and the post was interesting enough for me to comment and share!

Saralyn said...

Like you, I think blogs are here to stay. I enjoy reading them when I have time, or when the author or topic is important to me. I enjoy writing them, too. If a blog post touches just one person or causes someone to comment or connect with the writer, it has been worthwhile.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Claire,
I think control is what newsletters and blogs have in common.

Judy,
So glad you found this an interesting topic. We read the blogs we're drawn to. Our time is limited. We're supposed to be writing.:)

Saralyn,
I only write blogs about something that touches me. And it's wonderful when someone reading them thinks so, too.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Korina,
The great thing about blogging is we can write about so many topics.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Vicki,
Good to know you're always welcoming Guppies to guest blog.