author blog

Do You Need an Author Blog?

Ann O'Brien

July 11, 2022

At one time, every self-respecting author seemed to have a blog. When author blogs first became popular, they were a way for authors to stay in touch with readers, post personal updates, and engage with a wider audience. Many of these early author blogs are still thriving, but blogs have diminished in popularity as vlogs, podcasts, and other forms of social media have become more prominent.

In today’s online world, is an author blog still a necessity? The answer, it turns out, is a loud and clear, “It depends.” Here are some things to consider if you’re planning to launch one.

Why People Blog

There are many reasons people blog. Typically, someone has a strong interest in a subject, and they feel a need to express their opinions on the subject or post articles aimed at others with the same interests. Some blogs have become authoritative sources of information on everything from fishing to marketing to political analysis. These bloggers have built a following among people in their field or industry because they offer useful, engaging content. People blog to:

  • Share the blogger’s opinions on a subject.
  • Be a source of information in the form of in-depth articles, guides, product reviews, and recommendations.
  • Forge connections with readers who share the blogger’s interests.
  • Become a source of trusted content in a subject area.

If you don’t see “make money” on that list, that’s because blogging is no longer a sure way to make money. Some bloggers do make an income from blogging, but it usually takes several years to build up a revenue stream from blogging. It also requires a specific type of blog.

Why do writers blog?

Writer’s blogs usually examine the author’s work and the world of writing in general. Just as other bloggers pursue blogging for varied reasons, authors have their reasons for wanting to post regularly to a blog.

Here are some reasons a writer might want an author blog:

  • Post articles about their work and activities. Authors who have a loyal following use their blogs to update readers about their latest projects. They might want to announce a new book’s publication date or the dates of a book signing tour. This type of blog is most common among writers who have several successful titles and an existing audience.
  • Build recognition and gain new readers. An author who is just starting might use a blog as a marketing tool.
  • Post articles about the writing process. Are you planning to share your ideas and inspiration with other would-be writers? Some authors use their blogs to offer useful tips and encouragement.
  • Write a story in installments. If you’re writing a book, writing it piece by piece on your blog is one way to keep yourself accountable and intrigue your readers.
  • Share the writer’s views on various subjects. Some writers blog because they want to share their perspectives on politics, cooking, fashion, or other subjects. If you like writing, you probably feel an urge to get your thoughts down in words. Some authors have blogs that have nothing to do with writing.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can cover all these subjects in one blog. The most successful blogs specialize in one subject or area of focus. People should know what to expect when they read your blog.

Who Is Your Audience?

Who is the most likely audience for your blog? Choosing your target audience is one of the most important parts of building a blog. It’s not enough to get thousands of views. That’s great, but you want those views from people who will keep coming back for more. It’s worse to have 500 people peek at your blog and click away than it is to have 100 people who find your content captivating and keep coming back for more. Those 100 people will engage with you, write comments, and promote your blog to other readers.

As an author, your target audience will determine the type of content you write. It will also guide your marketing efforts.

Readers

Your readers are probably at the top of your list. They’re interested in your work and want to know when you’re publishing your next book. They might have questions about your personal life or your creative process. These readers are fans, so reward them for their loyalty by keeping them in the “first to know” category about your current and future projects. Respond to their comments, and let them know about any opportunities to meet you in person.

Writers

You might also target fellow writers. If you take this approach, you’ll want to produce articles that offer writing or publishing tips. These tips can cover everything from your favorite writing routine to recommendations for writing software. You can build your blog as a source of helpful information on everything related to writing and getting published.

A new audience

If your blog focuses on something else entirely, think about likely customers for that viewpoint. You can build this audience by targeting potential readers on social media or by submitting articles, known as guest posts, to other blogs on the same subject.

Reasons Not to Blog

Have you started to guess that building a blog is a lot of work? You’re right. It takes a lot of research, writing, and technical knowledge to create a successful blog with a large, loyal following. It takes even more work if you want to monetize your blog to make money from it.

Is it worth it? Consider these reasons it might not be.

Blogging takes time

If you want to blog, you need to post consistently. Many bloggers start by posting something every day to build an audience. Blogging allows you to post long articles and short, one-paragraph updates. Bloggers may drop the frequency once they have a lot of readers, but they’re still expected to post at least weekly and on the same day every week. Are you ready to commit to that type of schedule?

It can be a distraction from writing

If your goal is to produce a book or other creative work, blogging may take up too much time, mental effort, and creativity. You may find yourself obsessed with your traffic numbers and comments instead of focusing on your writing. For most writers, writing time is precious. Do you want to eat up this time with worries about your blog, or are you better off focusing all your spare time on your writing?

Blogging is highly competitive

There are more than 700 million active blogs. It can be hard to make yourself stand out from the crowd. If you’re a writer, you may be better off using other methods to find readers and build a following.

You may lose your creative spark

Blogging is fast and casual. You get immediate reactions from your readers and can engage with them in the comments section. Because it encourages frequent posting and fast responses, blogging may blunt your creative edge. There is no time to reflect or to hone your words.

You probably won’t make money

If your primary goal in blogging is to make money, you’ll have to use affiliate marketing, sell online products, offer paid courses, and build a blog that is primarily a sales vehicle. This is a vastly different product than an author blog that’s focused on your creative work or your personal perspectives. It’s also time-consuming, and you’ll find yourself stretched in many directions.

What to Consider If You Want an Author Blog

If you’ve decided to give blogging a whirl, you’ll be in good company. Many people enjoy blogging, and you might find it fits the bill for you. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you want an author blog?
  • Do you have the technical ability to build one?
  • Can you commit to a regular posting schedule?
  • Do you have enough ideas for regular posts?
  • Will focusing on a blog take time and creative energy from your writing?

Be sure you have the right answers before you start building your blog.

Is Blogging Right for You?

A blog can be an excellent way to market your book and build connections with fellow writers. On the other hand, you may feel that it’s too big a commitment at this stage of your writing career. Only you can make that decision.

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