Blogging is hard enough without being a novelist. Unless you’re J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, getting readers to frequent your blog can be quite challenging, especially if you’re doing it to simply pimp your products. Which is why Michael Hyatt developed 13 Blog Post Ideas for Novelists. If you’re a novelist struggling to excavate ideas for blog fodder, Hyatt offers these possibilities:
- Excerpts from Your Novel
- Backstory of Your Novel
- A Behind-the-Scenes Look
- “Directors” Notes
- Interview with Yourself
- Interview with Your Characters
- Interview with Other Novelists
- Interview with Your Editor
- Interview with Marketers
- Advice for Other Writers
- Common Obstacles
- Emotional Challenges
- Lessons Learned
Perhaps this is why I don’t follow many author blogs.
Some will see this approach as essential to maintaining blogging tenure and building a fanbase. If that’s you, have at it. However, lists like this tend to feel tiresome. I mean, how many Interviews with Myself can I do before you start thinking of me as narcissistic windbag?
- I get bored following authors who only talk about writing (especially their own)
- I get bored talking about writing (especially my own)
I am quickly approaching a decade’s worth of blogging. One of the reasons I’ve made it this long (other than the grace of God) is because I don’t follow advice like that of the above.
That’s not to say it won’t work.
But unless you have a large canon of work to choose from and/or readers find you exceptionally wise or interesting, I don’t see how it can. One exception could be if you’re writing in a niche genre that overlaps with history or the hard sciences. In that sense, topics other than just your stories and characters can be broached. Historical research, scientific studies, medical findings, criminal procedures, etc. Even then, building a steady base of blog readers will require writing about something other than just yourself and your novels.
But this goes against the grain of “industry advice.”
On the one hand, novelist are told by the experts that we need an online presence, a blog being one of them. On the other hand, we’re pressed by time and pressed for ideas. Novelist bloggers are encouraged to find a niche and then mine that audience. And finding your niche means narrowing your subject matter in order to target specific readers. Which is the assumption behind Hyatt’s advice.
Novelists should write about writing novels.
Call me contrarian, but I’ve never been sold on that approach. I read certain author’s blogs because I find the author interesting, knowledgeable, witty, or informative. Or I really love their voice. I rarely read a novelist’s blog to know exhaustively more about themselves and their novels.
There’s only so many Behind the Scenes looks at your novel I can handle. And if you think that Interviews with Your Characters will keep me coming back, think again.
The best advice for novelist bloggers that I can offer is this: Write about something other than yourself and your novels.
Question: Why do you read author blogs? What elements of a novelist’s blog keep you coming back for more?