Pros and Cons of an Author Blog

12 Sep

Announcements:

It’s Friday, so you know what that means: it’s also Poetry Friday! In case you missed it, I’ve uploaded a new poem to my interactive poetry series on Wattpad – How She Loved Me. This is also the last one of this particular set. Depending on your vote, one of the four will be read on my YouTube channel, so check them out before it’s too late by clicking here.

But – in other news – two fantastic readers sent me book reviews, and my latest interview was posted, so here we here:

Tranquil Dreams wrote, “Take Me Tomorrow is absolutely impressive. It’s engaging, intriguing and is an absolute page-turner.  I took every single second opportunity to resume reading whenever I could because I just couldn’t wait to see what happen next with Sophia and Noah as the story unfolded.” But you can read her entire review by clicking here.

For The Timely Death Trilogy fans, Read Watch and Think reviewed Minutes Before Sunset: “Do not skip over this book thinking that it is another paranormal romance, if you want to read a quick, interesting plot with a whole new captivating world of shades and light. The core of the story may be romance but the book is not all about it and that makes it worthy enough for me.” Her full review can be found here.

But you can also read my latest interview at Into the Written World. I mainly speak about Take Me Tomorrow, including information on the possible sequel, but I also discussed my passion for writing and reading, so be sure to check it out by clicking the link above.

Whew! Thank you for reading today’s news. Onto today’s post:

Pros and Cons of an Author Blog

On September 25, it will be my two-year anniversary of blogging here. Over time, I have blogged about many topics, but I mainly focus on writing and reading. Because of that, I have received many questions about my decisions regarding blogging. Ex/ how do you choose what to write about, do you think it’s a good platform for selling books, how did you get 17,000 followers, what do you recommend I do? All fantastic questions. (And one of the main reasons I write Ketchup posts and provide a social media assessment through the Author Extension Community.) But today I wanted to share some of those pretty pros and pesky cons for all those that are curious about how blogging can be uplifting but also a stressful adventure – one that I will gladly continue.

Pro: You can share your thoughts

That is the point of blogging, isn’t it? Having a blog is almost like having a public diary, one that includes carefully thought-out posts (instead of emotional ranting about personal topics). Even better, we can connect with others who share the same opinion or be challenged by those who do not. It opens streams of thought from one person to another, even people the entire way across the world. How amazing is that? On top of that, you are cataloging it over time, and in the future, you will be able to go back and see what you were thinking, how you changed, and where you began friendships with readers and fellow bloggers. This is when you realize blogging is beyond blogging. It’s family-building.

Con: People may not enjoy your thoughts, and they might be really mean about it.

This is also a reference to the ever-illusive-but-always-present trolls. I like to believe that I’m fairly open-minded. I don’t mind if someone disagrees with me or a commenter, but the second name-calling or some other form of incredible immaturity happens, I delete it. (You’d be surprised to know how many times this has happened.) Call it censorship. Call it what you want. But I don’t want my blog to be a place people reference when they talk about online bullying and harassment. This means that I take an extra fifteen minutes to monitor my comments so I can guarantee a safe and happy place for everyone to come to without worry, but it was very disheartening to experience it the first few times it happened. Now, my shell is tougher, and my group of readers are (probably) happier – even if no one knows it since I delete all the evidence of my troll-destroying.

Original image from ms. ileane speaks: October 2012

Original image from ms. ileane speaks: October 2012

Pro: You connect with supporters

Everyone always says that writers have blogs to sell books, but that’s bullshit. (Excuse my French.) It’s not to sell books. It is to connect with people. It is not to connect with potential fans of your novels. It is to connect with potential supports of you. (So you can support them, too, of course.) For instance, one of my readers might HATE paranormal romance, but they may have a cousin who loves it, and since we talk, they might tell their cousin about me, but no one is obligated. I don’t expect anyone to do anything at all. I’m simply glad that my reader is here, and I’m grateful for every discussion we share, whether or not it is about my books. In fact, I had this blog long before I ever spoke to my publisher, let alone had a contract, but – Ultimately, I blog because I love to blog, and I love people, and I love blogging with people and for people. It is my other passion. It is a part of me. It is even permanently on my iCalendar. In case you’re curious, my website notes are in orange.

Con: You connect with haters

Ugh. Trolls.

Pros: You created an enjoyable platform

Again, I must repeat myself – writers don’t blog every other day because they want to sell books. Writers blog because they like writing, and blogging is another form of writing. It’s an easy way to express ourselves and connect with others who are interested in sharing their thoughts. Of course, I’m not trying to speak for every writer out there, but writing novels can (sometimes) feel like work, so blogging can be a nice way to take a break but still be involved with everything. That being said, if someone is wondering about starting one for platform purposes, I do recommend writers try it, but I don’t think it’s the end-all-be-all of an author’s social media. It is just one way to tackle it. And my final advice is this: readers can tell if an author isn’t enjoying writing a novel in the same way they can tell if a blogging doesn’t care about their post. Blog if you love it. If you don’t, find another social media venue to try. You can find one you love, and it will work. Just trust that passionate gut of yours to guide you.

Pros: A never-ending array of topics await

There is so much to talk about! Like, so much. And this is coming from someone who strictly focuses on anything to do with writing and reading.

Cons: A never-ending array of topics await

But sometimes, I feel like there are so many things to talk about I cannot decide what to speak about next. This can be overwhelming, and there are other parts that can be overwhelming, too. The amount of time that goes into every blog post builds up, and reflecting on it can be…well…exhausting. But so can novel-writing. So it’s easy to remind myself of my love for it (which might be why I wrote this specific post in the first place).

On September 25, it will be my two-year anniversary of blogging here, and I love it more and more every day. I want to thank all of you for following me. Every time you read, comment, and share, I smile with gratitude, which is why I add this.

You are my biggest pro.

What are your pros and cons of blogging? Share your thoughts below,

~SAT

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15 Responses to “Pros and Cons of an Author Blog”

  1. Charles Yallowitz September 12, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    Excellent list. I definitely agree with all of them. Not sure how much of a Pro this is, but I like being able to experiment on my blog with various styles. Mostly poetry, but I do feel like I have more freedom on there because it’s my corner of the Internet. This is why I present some of my WIP ideas for feedback too. Guess this Pro would be a confidence and self-esteem builder. Thankfully, I haven’t had many trolls on my blog and that ‘move to spam’ option is helpful for the few that appeared.

    The only Con that I can think of adding for my personal list deals more with being a prolific series writer. I’ve written the first 8 books, published the first 5, and have all 15 planned out to some respect. So the issue of spoilers appears whenever I talk about my series. Especially when I do excerpts because people are at different levels. Even if I edit out the spoilers or pick a clean section, I get some heat for not putting up a warning. Yet a warning tends to drive everyone away from the post. So it’s a lose/lose situation even though it’s one of the best post types to use. I can only use the first two books for so long before I run out of juicy parts.

    • Shannon A Thompson September 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      Those are both great points! I’ve shared excerpts, but I always post a spoiler warning. I didn’t know that it drove people away though. Maybe I will have to try an experiment like you mentioned. :] I do have to agree with you on the confidence building as well. Thank you for reading and commenting.
      ~SAT

      • Charles Yallowitz September 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

        You’re welcome. Honestly, I kind of stumbled into discovering the reactions to excerpts. People seemed to have no problem informing me that they weren’t reading them to avoid spoilers or yelling at me for ‘tricking them’. Just can’t win some days. 🙂

  2. Allie P. September 12, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    I agree completely. I’ve been blogging for just shy of a year, and I positively love the fact that I am interacting often with people on the other side of the globe. I can sometimes get completely swept up in the dialogue and often forget that I am supposed to be promoting the book too. This might be bad for business, but it is great for me personally. It definitely is community building.

  3. kbeck13 September 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    I’ve had mixed feelings about blogging for awhile now, but I think I’m finally starting to break through. When I started I wrote about books and writing, since I’m a writer and all that. But then I got burned out because, although I love writing and reading, I really don’t like to talk about it. Since the burnout, I’ve been trying some vlogs (because videos are so fun!) and doing a fun feature on Fridays. The vlogging can get time consuming, so I started writing more and now I have four posts lined up ready. I thought I had nothing to talk about, but it’s crazy how much stuff can float into your brain when you quit worrying about blogging the “right way” and just try something out. If it works, great! If not, you know to try something else.

    • Shannon A Thompson September 12, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      Great tip! I definitely believe in “how much stuff can float into your brain when you quit worrying about blogging the ‘right way’”. It’s just like writing novels in that sense. Forcing it can cause that pesky writer’s block. I’m glad you’re enjoying your vlogs! Do you have a YouTube channel?
      ~SAT

      • kbeck13 September 13, 2014 at 10:50 am #

        I do. I post under my name, Kelli Beck. It needs a ton of work, however. Thumbnails, better outros, that sort of thing. I tend to be impulsive when I start something, then have to go back and fix it later. 😉 Plus I just posted them there so I could easily put them on my blog and didn’t pay any mind to the the YouTube community for awhile.

  4. eclecticalli September 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Great list 🙂 I’m really enjoying that authors have blogs that help me connect with them as people… often leading me to pick up (and enjoy) books I probably wouldn’t have gravitated to on my own. It also gives me hope for my own blog-platform (for that point, you know, when I actually have a book for people to read… and those moment of joy when someone jumps to my little fantasy-story-blog-experiment)…
    It’s sad that so many people do take to the internet to cause trouble and “troll-it-up”… but the monitoring of comments can go a long way to help keep the comments civil (like you said)… I don’t think of it as censorship as much as keeping the place tidy. Disagreement is different than trolling 🙂

    • Shannon A Thompson September 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      😀 I love connecting with readers, too, and yes, you’re completely right. Disagreement is different than trolling. I never delete disagreeing comments. I only delete obvious spam and trolls (which is generally someone who says something that is completely negative without any relevance to the topic, the commenters, or the website.)
      ~SAT

  5. theowllady September 12, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

  6. nanaaj September 21, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    These points are so true.I actually spent a lot of time reading on Wattpad and dabbled in some writing before deciding that if I cannot be an author because of my schooling I could be a blogger of some sort. A few months into blogging, my daily worries remain people not actually getting the angle I am writing from.However it is really true that blogging helps you connect to all kinds of people.And even more importantly for authors,it gives you a scope of what your readers would love to see from you.Amazing post.

    • Shannon A Thompson September 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed this point! Thank you for reading and sharing your experience with everyone.
      ~SAT

  7. heatherbcosta October 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    I am hopelessly late to the party, but happy 2nd blogging birthday, Shannon! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. September Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - September 30, 2014

    […] Pros and Cons of an Author Blog: If you’re thinking about starting one, these might be things to consider. (But I hope you ultimately start one if it’s right for you!) […]

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