The Blogging from A-Z Challenge continues today. Throughout April I’m posting about my life as a writer, including my inspirations, frustrations and celebrations.
For the letter B, I’ve chosen to talk about the benefits of blogging for writers. Many authors find that blogging is not only a fun hobby but a useful tool for promoting their work.
Seven Benefits of Blogging for Writers
1) It’s a fun way of networking
Blogging is a great way to engage with potential readers and fellow writers through blog hops, weekly memes and discussions. I have made so many wonderful friends in the writing community that I would never have come across otherwise.
Blogging allows me to share my news and keep up-to-date with my writing buddies. It has also introduced me to lots of useful contacts such as editors, agents, beta readers and cover designers.
2) It helps to build your fan base
Blogging lets you grow an audience of potential readers long before you begin to market your finished book. Many authors encourage readers to sign up their author newsletter through their blog, which acts as a hub for news about their upcoming releases and writing projects.
Reading and commenting on other blogs written by your target audience also helps you to understand their interests and gauge what might appeal to them.
3) It improves your writing skills
Blogging is excellent writing practice, and not just for non-fiction writers. The skills you learn from writing blog posts can be handy when writing promotional material as you have to be concise, entertaining and informative.
You can also share your work easily in a blog post and get feedback from your target audience quickly. As well as that, chatting with your readers online can help you to write in their voice (e.g. YA) more authentically.
4) It’s an easy and low-cost way to have an online presence
Long gone are the days when authors could write their books and leave all the marketing down to the publishing team. Writers are usually expected to promote their books online at least to some degree, and this is especially important for self-published authors.
Setting up an author website is a good idea, but using a blogging platform such as Blogger or WordPress is an even better idea. You don’t have to be a coding expert or design wizard to set up a basic blog and you can do it for free if you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
One advantage of having a blog instead of (or in addition to) a website is that web pages rank higher on Google if they are frequently updated with original content, so a blog can generate more traffic. You can also start a conversation with your readers and get to know them better.
5) You pick up transferable skills
After running a blog for a few years, you naturally learn more about social media marketing. I didn’t understand hashtags and algorithms until I started blogging.
You can develop your coding and graphic design skills, all of which can save you a lot of money in the future! I probably wouldn’t have learnt how to use HTML and Photoshop if I didn’t start my blog, but those skills allowed me to set up my own author website.
6) Blogging can be cathartic
I find it therapeutic to be able to share my thoughts and discuss issues that have been bothering me. My blogging buddies have given me some great advice over the years. I also find that joining in with weekly memes like The Sunday Post encourages me to reflect on what I’ve achieved and keep my goals in sight.
7) You find more amazing books to read
Because you can never have too many books, right? I follow some brilliant book blogs that keep me in the loop about amazing diverse books, hot trends and rising stars in the publishing world. I read their reviews and try to learn from them.
I will often buy books on the recommendation of other bloggers, which gets me to read out of my ‘comfort zone’. I’m a firm believer that writers should read as much as possible!
A final thought
As we’ve seen, blogging can be a rewarding hobby for writers. One small caveat: running a blog is not for everyone, so don’t feel like you have to have to have one in order to succeed as a writer. Blogging can be time-consuming and hard work, so it’s worth weighing up the potential benefits against the downside of having a little less free time.
If you are willing to invest some time and energy and would like to know more about running an author blog, I recommend reading Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris which is a mine of information on the topic.
Before you go…
Writers-do you agree with my list? Do you personally benefit from blogging or do you prefer another form of social media?
Readers-do you enjoy following author blogs? If so, what sort of content do you like to see?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!