Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Blogging Worth It Anymore?

Roni Loren, who is fab, has posed the question 'Is Blogging Dead?'

Wendy Lawton has a good post about marketing books, in which she suggests that blogging to gain a following and ultimately sell books is not effective. Wendy writes:
"I wouldn't recommend a writer start blogging in order to publicize his book in today's climate. It would be tough to picture a scenario where the outcome would justify the means." 
She's probably right. I've been blogging for two years or so and have 204 followers.If I published a book in the morning, would all these posts equal 204 sales? Of course not. I'd feel honoured if 10% of you guys bought my book. Hell, I'd feel honoured if three of you did (Zoe and Paul have to, you see, because I knew them pre-blog, so we can assume at least two).

Wendy essentially feels that blogging is not an effective way to stand out, and on this she's right too. Everyone has a freaking blog. 

Roni goes on to say that the blogosphere is 'glutted', that she's noticed herself skipping more and more blogs as the legions of writing-and-book bloggers are, naturally enough, producing very similar material.

She goes on to say:

Does that mean I'm giving up blogging? Hell to the no. I love blogging. It makes me happy and I feel blessed that you guys are still reading me after two years, lol. (Thank you!) And I really do love reading others' blogs.

That's how I feel about it. At his point, I have read probably dozens of posts about writers' block, making characters likeable, balancing writing with family/work, self-publishing vs. traditional. . .  but I keep coming back.

The reason why? You guys. I read blogs because I like the blogger's voice, whether they're personal, detached, funny, engaged, highbrow, lowbrow, giggly or serious. When I meet up with my friends, we don't sit around producing new 'content' in the form of new and exciting topics. I don't think 'Ooh, coffee with Writer Friend later, I hope to hear lots about something completely new!' or 'Oh great, Paul is online, maybe he can tell me something amazing about South African politics.'

Nope.

When I meet up with my friends, we talk about the same things over and over - our lives, work, writing (some of them talk back about this, others listen politely while I drone on about it), hobbies, whatever. But I don't go to them for innovative new subjects.

I go to them because I like them, regardless of what we talk about.

Likewise, I read blogs because I enjoy them. They may not always give me fabulous new insights, but I like knowing how you guys are doing, even if we're not sharing anything deeply personal. It's about connection, and it's about enjoyment.

Derek has an excellent post about how blogging connects us, which is an excellent take on a subject that's really doing the rounds at the moment.

By contrast, and as is so often the case, I have nothing much new to add today. I'm not contributing to the sum of human knowledge here, I'm not creating enormously valuable content. I'm just saying 'Guys, I'm here because I like to be here. And I enjoy reading what you all write.'

I'm not here to market myself, or build a following. I'm here to write, to read and to enjoy both. And it's going really well, regardless of how saturated the blogosphere is. Depending on your intentions, blogging has different things to offer and different levels of benefit. For me, it's fulfilling exactly what I want.

Why do you guys blog? Has the answer changed since you started? :)

11 comments:

  1. I've been blogging for almost six months. I started because I wanted to join in with all the people I met in the community. That's still why I blog, because of all the friends I've made.

    As a platform my blog probably wouldn't make the grade. I have less than 200 readers and I just ramble on about whatever's on my mind instead of having a focus; but it's my space, and I love it :-)

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  2. When I started blogging there wasn't as many bloggers and it was a great way to get your name out there and meet people, who eventually became Fb and Twitter followers.
    But I think Roni is right, the blogging market has become a bit sataurated so to rely on it as a marketing too isn't the way to go.
    So I blog to still meet people and keep in touch and because I enjoy it.

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  3. Sarah, it's the same here, my blog isn't a platform but it's a nice way to meet people, to keep writing and to document the journey. And who knows, maybe someday our posts will help someone.

    Jennifer, I would agree that the blog world is pretty saturated and it's very hard to stand out now. I didn't get into it for marketing reasons (as I have nothing to market yet!) but if I had, I think I'd be quite disappointed at its effectiveness. I would still be very happy to have met the people I have met, though :)

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  4. I've only been blogging since the tail end of February, and have less than 100 followers. Initially, the idea of doing this was, indeed, to establish some sort of "platform." But as you point out, that ain't likely to happen to any significant extent. Now, I do it because I enjoy it, and because I've met some really neat people because of it. The community of writers here is top notch. BUT, I spend WAY too much time doing it. WAY too much. At this rate, my WIP will still be a WIP when they stick my body into the ground. (sigh)

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  5. Susan, I was the same when I started. I think it gets easier to control the time spent on it when you've been doing it a little longer. Posts occur me now and I have the half-drafted in my head before I sit down to type them and they're done faster than before.

    I do notice my commenting is less frequent, so I'm working on that because I really miss it.

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  6. This sums it up perfectly. I don't blog to build a platform, or make myself an author brand. My followers are fellow writers who may or may not even write in the same genre I do, why would they buy my books? I'd never expect them to! Writers don't follow blogs to find good books to read, they follow your blog to connect as writers. Blogging to build a platform to sell your books to other writers will never work.

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  7. I also agree that it's too glutted. I'm honestly tired of reading the same things over and over, BUT when I find that refreshing post that looks at things from a different angle or presents something new (even if it's just a new unique voice), it makes reading blogs worth it.

    As far as using blogging as a platform not being so effective anymore, that's interesting to me right now, as I've been battling with this question: Should I start a blog to promote my editing? I always stop cold when I realize the topics I want to cover have been covered--and covered well, but it may still happen in the future. *Only*, though, if I can think of a creative spin to put on my blog, if I can make it worth it to readers.

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  8. It is a really good question. I am finding I need to allocate time to blog and the rest to my ms. Ultimately, a well written ms will do more for my career than posts about hummus ( which I love, by the way ).

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  9. I agree completely, Ellen. I go through stages where I can't be bothered - and so I don't. I don't have a regular blogging schedule and I don't do the "fests" that seem to spring up daily.

    If I see an interesting post, I'll read it. I don't actively seek followers and, to be honest, I have little respect for those that do.

    For me it is about the community, and you and I have been around for long enough to know where the support is when we need it.

    And I would TOTALLY buy your book!

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  10. I agree. Trying to follow even a 10% of all blogs would simply never happen-I love my sleep.

    I blog because I like it. I like the connections I make and the blogs I read pretty faithfully even if I don't post a comment to every single one.

    By the way, I'd buy your book.

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  11. I've been blogging for a year. I enjoy it; it's a way to express myself in my own way, and I've enjoyed the connections I've made through my own blog and reading others. So yes, it's worth it.

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