Blogging is often recommended as a way for authors to build their brand, but it’s a special challenge for novelists to find topics. I’d see posts on platform from non-fiction authors who didn’t know what they were talking about in relation to novelists, and it left me even more confused about this branding thing. And I’m clearly not alone, because what ends up being a common topic is writing about writing — usually how-tos. That created quite a bit of discussion in the comments over here, so it made me think about why writers blogs don’t work.
Writing blogs sound the same. How many times can anyone discuss “Butt in chair” without sounding like everyone else? I’ve searched for articles on pantsers for my posts, and it’s a challenge finding anything not “plotter vs. pantser.” These writing posts may sound new to the writer, but they’re in the same uniform and don’t stand out.
Can you spot the five women?
Writing how-tos. Not every reader is a writer, so all this will do is get other writers — and not necessarily writers who would be interested in reading future books. Yet, it’s also the first person every writer zooms in and starts marketing to.
Limited subjects: After a while, there isn’t much to say about writing when it comes to how-tos. I’ve been blogging since 2007, and every 2 years or so, I’d stop because I’d run dry of ideas. It also made it more difficult to simply come up with ideas that were fresh and different.
Mike Hyatt suggested novelists do interviews with their characters and excerpts. He’s has great information on blogging and non-fiction. But fiction? Not so much. It assumes the author already has a contract in place and is promoting a book readers are waiting for. I don’t have a book out. Exactly how will blogging about my story and characters draw potential readers to the blog? Plus, it puts the focus on the individual book, and not the brand itself.
Others have suggested posting about your research. Weeellll … Miasma’s setting is based on Hawaii, and my next book is set in Washington, DC. If I did posts about Hawaii, I would get tourists planning to go to Hawaii, not potential readers. If I did posts about Washington, DC — we’re getting into election season … bad, bad idea.
I don’t think we can’t fully escape from doing blogs about writing because writing is so much a part of our time. Yet, I don’t think it’s a complete ban on writing topics. Readers are interested in books, so it’s reasonable to assume that there are topics that would bring them in.
Your turn: Let’s pretend there’s a ban on writing how-to topics, but you still want to write about writing. What would you write on?