Friday, December 17, 2010

Everyone Is Doing It

There seems to be a new trend in the publishing world. At first, I didn’t think it was much of a trend, but now I’m beginning to wonder. If Michael Hyatt does it, I’ll know for sure.

I first noticed it when Chip MacGregor did it. Of course, Rachelle Gardner has talked about doing it, but never has. But then Brandilyn Collins announced that she is doing it. Suddenly I feel like I’m in The Neverending Story fighting The Nothing. Could this be the forerunner of the end?

If I were to do it, few people would notice. I have a few people who follow my blog. I would hope they would notice—especially if I announced it, but the thing about blogs is that people only notice what you’re doing if you tell them about it. No, even my most faithful readers wouldn’t notice if I did it. That is sad, but true. Maybe that is why they have decided to do it.

Their decisions to do it gives us all reason to question whether we should do it. And I’m not sure I can give a good answer for why we shouldn’t. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that we shouldn’t, but some of that prevailing wisdom came from the people who are. It would make a difference if we had some kind of evidence that not doing it would help us sell more books, but what most of us have experienced hasn’t show that to be true. That does seem to be the case for some authors, but most of us put in a lot of effort only to see little in the way of results. Oddly enough, when Brandilyn Collins announced that she is doing it, her reason was that she wanted to be more effectively in contact with her readers at large.

It’s refreshing, in an odd sort of way. By doing it, people are admitting that what they thought to be true isn’t. But what gets you is that these are people for whom it should have worked. In many ways it looked like it was working. So why didn’t it?

When we look at why an author like Brandilyn Collins would quit blogging, I thing we notice is that she attracted writers, but not so many readers. I fear that is true for all of us. Blogging is a non-fiction medium. People find blogs when they are looking for something in particular. People find my blog when they are looking for information about publishing or about writing. What they aren’t looking for is a good novel to read, so it is hard to convince them they should purchase my books. I’ve literally offered to give my books away to my blog readers and have gotten a pitiful response.

Blogs are like speaking engagements. They only work to sell books if the topic of the blog is compatible with the topic of the book. I think people like Brandilyn Collins have an advantage because they have an established fan base, but for the most part, novel readers aren’t going to spend a lot of time reading out blogs. They might swing by after reading one of our books, just to learn a little more about us, but they won’t be hanging out to read every post.

I suppose that’s a good reason to implement a e-mail newsletter. I’ve avoided doing that because I don’t much care for being on a e-mail list, but as I write this I’m about to talk myself into it. It still requires a fan base, but with an e-mail newsletter a reader can learn about new releases when they come out without having to follow the blog. I’ll have to give that some thought. In the meantime, I’m not planning on following Chip MacGregor or Brandilyn Collins’ example anytime soon. I’ll keep on blogging for now, even though it won’t sell novels.


~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Nice post, Timothy.

I figure--all things in their season. There was a season in which blogging was a good thing for me to do. It got me through a certain level of my career. Now I'm looking toward the next level. And that's why my efforts need to be turned more toward my readership at large.

Keep blogging as long as you want to. Don't be pulled one way or another because of what others are doing. Do what's right for YOU.

Blessings to you!

Timothy Fish said...


Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts to my post.