Grace A. Johnson
Is an Author Blog Worth it?
That, my dears, is an insanely good question. Personally, I know of a lot of authors with active blogs who dedicate time, money, and effort into maintaining their presence in the blogosphere...and I know a lot of authors who either don’t have a blog at all or have a stagnant one for fear of wasting time on cultivating it with no benefits.
Both types of authors have many good, plausible reasons for choosing the path they did and most will probably end up satisfied with the results of their marketing efforts.
Sure, the blogger authors won’t have the largest social media following...but those authors with the huge Instagram accounts and popular TikToks are missing out on one of the most effective digital marketing strategies out there.
You heard me right. Blogging is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies you can employ.
I know some authors won’t believe me, because they’re absolutely certain that they’re wasting their time, efforts, and money, and that blogging is detracting from their writing...and depending on how they go about blogging, they could be right. But there are ways to manage your time and blog for free and still reap all the amazing benefits out there!
I don’t spend a dime on my blog (unless you count what I pay for my website...but I’d be paying that for my site whether I had a blog or not), I don’t do any active advertising or promoting for my blog, and I don’t spend more than a few hours a week working on it! (I don’t have a set schedule, nor am I a consistent poster, nor do I keep track of my hours...so I don’t really know, but I’d guesstimate about an hour or two a week on only blog content [as in, not counting reviews and stuff I post on other platforms, but definitely counting the time it takes to create blog graphics and format my posts].)
So what kind of benefits have I seen from maintaining a blog, and what kind of growth have I seen in it these last couple years?
Another good question!
Benefits of Blogging: A Word from the Amateur Blogger
First of all, let’s start with the stats. I first started my blog on Goodreads in late 2019, but it wasn’t until August 2020 that I migrated to an actual website/blog and starting consistently posting. So my blog is just a little over a year and a half, and so far I’ve written 327 posts, with average views per post, and have 108 subscribers. My most popular post, “Submissions Open for Tell Me You Love Me Anthology,” has had 289 views at the time of me writing this post (and that's within a month exactly). I have an average of 300-350 views a month on my blog in general.
The only ways I promote my blog are (1) through Goodreads by linking my RSS feed, (2) through Amazon with my RSS feed, (3) by saving post graphics/images to my Pinterest, (4) sharing posts on Facebook, (5) joining blog tours, cover reveals, and reviewing books, (6) the occasional author interview or guest post (either on my blog or someone else’s), and of course (7) word of mouth. None of these methods cost me anything...and to be honest, I think I get the most traffic just by putting myself out there rather than my blog itself...by making friends, following other blogs, and interacting with people on social media. These people will google me or search for my links, and naturally they’ll find my blog out there.
(Raise your hand in the comments if you found me/my blog by actively looking for me rather than being directed through my promotional methods above!)
First and foremost, blogging has created readers. Notice I don’t say that blogging has “brought” me readers, although it has. But blogging has actually gone beyond bringing readers who are actively seeking pirate romances to the front door of my virtual castle...it’s taken fellow writers, fantasy readers, friends and family, random strangers, and cultivated them into readers who are interested and invested in my work. They’ve gotten to know me and my writing, and now they’re not only loyal readers, they’re friends. They’re beta readers and reviewers, influencers and supporters. They’re not passive customers; they’re constantly pouring into my work and changing along with me, becoming my audience rather than the audience of my genre or publisher.
Second, blogging has enhanced my writing. Most novelists probably see blogging the bane of their existence. I mean, why waste time writing trivial posts for the Internet’s algorithms to prey upon when they could be working on the next great American novel, am I right? Well, here’s the thing. Blogging hasn’t actually taken away from my writing; it’s added it to. Sure, there have been nights (like this one) where I’ve focused on delivering a quality blog post instead of pounding out a couple hundred words in my WIP...but overall, I’ve had (1) more story ideas, (2) better quality writing, (3) better understanding of writing, and (4) more writing opportunities since I’ve started blogging. Not only am I growing and evolving in the writing craft, I’m branching out into new genres and markets. For example, I never would have written a devotional if I hadn’t written “He Will Move Mountains.” I never would have written Daylight or decided to write a sequel if it hadn’t been for my amazing followers! I’m starting to realize my limitations as a writer...and how few there really are!
Third, blogging has sold my books. Let’s face it. Before I had a blog, the only people buying my books were friends and family in my hometown. Sure, that generated a lot of sales and revenue when the first book came out...but I’ve watched that trickle down to a couple random strangers and a few loyal friends who buy old print copies at my grandmother’s gift shop. I know I’m not optimizing my blog like I could be, nor am I actually generating half as many sales as I should...but I can see where blogging has expanded my horizons beyond just my neighborhood to include readers all across the world!
Fourth, blogging has built a community. My blog very literally is my virtual home. I love this place! I love writing for y’all and hanging out with you guys! And in making friends and sharing unpopular opinions, I’ve built a community around my blog and my writing. This is one thing you’ll find many authors and other businesses listing when it comes to blogging benefits—and that’s because it is so true! This community is always changing and growing, and it’s always finding new ways to interact with you and support your work! The blogging community—whether as a whole or just your own—is full of opportunities, from reviews, guest posts, and interviews, to building street teams, to starting new side hustles to bring fresh content to your followers!
And get this. Your blog is your blog. It’s not a social media platform that’s dominated by myriads of other creators...it’s just you and your readers! You’re able to connect with them and establish meaningful relationships with them that you can’t do anywhere else. More than that, a lot of people who follow blogs aren’t on social media—for all kinds of reasons, from personal views to time to mental health to age—so a blog offers them a safe, exclusive environment to interact with their favorite authors! And come to think of it...a lot of people who follow your blog might not be “officially” following your blog. They could be reading your content and clicking on your links and investing in your journey without ever hitting the subscribe button or liking a post! How crazy is that, right? It’s a kind of success you can’t measure, but that’s fine! It just means that there are readers out there even when you can’t see them!
But don’t take it from me! There are so many authors and businesses who agree with me, that blogging is super effective and in some cases necessary to your career—whether it’s in writing or soap carving!
Blogging in General: A Word from the Experts
Prism Global Marketing Solutions offers a list of the benefits of blogging in general, and even though they’re tailored toward traditional businesses, you can easily apply them to authors and other creators as well!
Keep Your Audience Engaged and Share Relevant, Helpful Content
Attract New Prospects and Clients
Promote the Idea of a Community Centered Around Your Organization
Build Your Brand and Increase Thought Leadership
Advertise While Sharing Meaningful Content
Build Trust with Your Audience
According to Hubspot, blogging also:
helps drive traffic to your website;
helps convert traffic into leads;
drives long-term results;
helps with link building;
and helps you share company news!
As if that wasn’t enough, blogging helps with SEO, gives you insight into your audience, and helps with lead generation, nurturing, and conversion, says Connection Model!
Blogging for Authors: A Word from the Author Blog Pros
If you don’t believe me and the marketers...believe the actual author bloggers and publishers! IngramSpark—yes, the print-on-demand company, y’all—offers a list of amazing benefits of having an author blog!
generate website traffic;
attract new book buyers;
help you cultivate a community (what did I tell you? *winks*);
be an integral part of your social media strategy;
create new alliances;
and attract media attention.
That may not sound like a lot, which is why I heartily recommend reading the full post here, where the author expounds upon each benefit and just how beneficial it is!
And, of course, The Creative Penn, a popular writing blog, recommends blogging for introverted authors, as it connects you directly with readers without showing your face, preparing for an event, or spending hours smiling until your cheeks fall off. A blog also gives you feedback from your audience and allows readers to peek into your life, but only as far as your open the proverbial door (unlike social media, where they can easily find disturbing images of you without any makeup on *winks*).
The Creative Penn also mentions how a blog makes you “real” to your readers (I can attest to this) and establishes your credibility with not only your readers but with agents and editors too, and that you have complete control over your content—from what you write to when you write it to if you promote it or get paid for it!
I highly recommend reading their full post here for more insight!
Author Blogs: Lead By Example
I hate to say it, but I will go so far as to not read a book by an author who doesn’t have a blog or doesn’t maintain the one they have. I know that seems...harsh, I guess, but I hold blogs (and especially websites) in extremely high regard. I mean, if you’re actively writing your blog, you’re alive, for one. You’re also interested in your readers, excited about your books and your content, and you’re open to connecting with your followers. You exude life, authority, enthusiasm, and genuineness when you maintain a nice blog! I’m able to connect with you, get to know you, have a taste of your writing, and feel like I’m part of your life, your journey. I’m able to be impacted by you and in return impact you in some way by following your blog and interacting with your posts.
I know not everyone has the time or even the desire to keep a blog, and I understand that (which is why an active social media platform or newsletter can be substituted...I just don’t like them as much), but it does enhance an author’s persona for me as a reader when they maintain a blog! Especially a pretty one with relevant, intriguing content!
That’s why I want to highlight some exceptionally done blogs that have really helped me establish a relationship with the authors...and, of course, some of the industry’s most prominent author blogs out there! Maybe you’ll feel inspired to start a blog of your own! And even if you don’t feel ready to create a blog of your own, there are some amazing group blogs (and writing blogs that accept submissions) out there that unite multiple amazing authors in one place! Sure, it’s not as comfy cozy or personal, but it does have a community all its own! I’ve included a few of those too!
Is an Author Blog Worth It?
I think we have our answer now...yes. Yes, it most assuredly is! There are so many benefits to having and maintaining an author blog, and even if you only reap one or two of those benefits, you’re still utilizing an amazing marketing strategy and you are building a platform that will last for years to come! And that, come to think of it, is another valuable benefit to blogging! Blogs have a longer shelf life than emails or social media—trust me, a lot of blogs from the early infant-hood of the Internet are still out there and they are still just as awesome as ever. Emails are deleted; blog posts stay in the same place forever (or as long as the author wants them to). Social media posts are lost in a sea of millions of other posts; blog posts have a forever home. See what I mean?
So there you have it, folks! If you’re looking to enhance your author career or establish your very first platform as a beginning writer, a website with a blog is the best place to begin! Even if you start out with one long post a month or a 200-word post a week (the latter is actually the most beneficial), just having and maintaining that platform is one of the best decisions you’ll make as a writer!
I know what you’re thinking, though. I don’t have time! What if it ends up costing money? How in the world am I supposed to do that? How do I get myself out there? What am I supposed to post?
All fantastic and very important questions, and ones I would love to answer! If you wanna know what I have to say about the most common blogging problems/excuses, just let me know what you thought of this post in the comments and what you want me to talk about next! If you have any specific questions or thoughts, I’d love to hear those too!
I hope this helped break the blogging bias and inspired you to consider starting your own blog! If you’re not a writer but you know someone who is, feel free to share this post with them to help encourage them in their writing journey!
Yours in spirit and script,
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