Slogging Through Blogging

Slogging Through Bloggging

by admin • January 13, 2015 • 0 Comments

ID-100211058By Jill Amadio //

Remember when everyone frantically rushed to create a blog? And then we scrambled to be a guest blogger, accepting every invitation that came our way, and later joined the blog-hop craze? And after that we agonized over how often to blog and if readers were finding us?

That’s when some writers realized they were singing to the choir and either cut back on posts or quit altogether. Others decided they were spending too much time blogging, to say nothing of Facebooking, Twittering, LinkingIn, and Pinteresting, leaving fewer hours to work on their next book.

Blogging became such a phenomenon, in fact, that it has launched its own mini-industry with how-to books and tons of sites advising which platform to use and how, when, where, and to whom to blog. We are admonished to create a checklist, think up a theme, choose a catchy name, and, most important of all, to Post Daily! Pretty exhausting stuff. Some writers maneuvered around some of the machinations by simply adding a blog page to their book website; others found Blogspot or WordPress for individual blogs.

One advantage of guest blogging

is the opportunity to reach an audience outside of your normal “box.” One Los Angeles author who writes a series featuring a fashionista detective has been invited to post on a site that has nothing to do with books but is followed by thousands in the fashion industry. Another mystery author posts as a guest blogger on a classical music site because the fictional detective loves opera. Both avoid brash promoting but discuss an aspect of the character or plot. The bonus is having the book cover displayed.

While the practice of blogging appears to have lost none of its mojo with many authors who find it a powerful tool to showcase their books, get cozy with readers, and announce book signings and contests, not everyone is enthralled with the concept. In particular, many Orange County mystery authors are more wary than most and are not so sure about its benefits.

Aileen Baron, an Anaheim author of several archeological mysteries, growls that she is anti-blog and skeptical about its rewards.

“I was getting daily posts from a writer who was on a virtual tour,” said Baron. “She was always telling me she’d just posted a new blog. It was so annoying I vowed never to buy any of her books. It seems to me that most writers cover the same ground [on their blogs], repeat the same advice over and over again, and are boring and useless. Down with blogs!” Baron’s latest book in her archeological series set in the Middle East is “Gold of Thrace.”

Another Orange County author who eschews creating a blog is Irvine resident Jack Martin, who claims that if he did have one, he’d write on it weekly. “Blogging less often risks having the author descend into the trivia, and also risks losing the interest of readers,” is Martin’s take even though he has yet to set one up. The author of a Civil War mystery series featuring sleuth Alphonso Clay, Martin is working on his sixth book.

Patricia Wynn, author of 10 historical romance novels and several historical mysteries in her Blue Satan series, doesn’t blog either. The Corona del Mar resident believes that although blogging is a great way to bond with readers it can take too much time when we should be focusing on the new novel. “It all depends on how much one can manage and how worthwhile the effort seems to be,” she said. “If blogging is not steadily increasing sales, I would save it for before and after a new book comes out.”

Suspense novelist Terry Ambrose, who, like most area mystery writers is a member of Sisters in Crime Orange County, is a permanent guest blogger on http://www.criminalelement.com. And instead of calling his own missive an actual blog, he names it The Snitch. Here, rather than discussions about writing, he instead helps readers with tips and advice on how to avoid scams and cons. Formerly a skip tracer, Ambrose uses his career experiences in his McKenna crime series set in Hawaii. The latest is “Honolulu Hottie.” Generously, he also trumpets other authors’ book giveaway contests on his site.

Although she’s not local but was within interviewing distance when I talked to her at Bouchercon in Long Beach recently, Sara Paretsky said that her blog is a favorite place for her to post short essays on general issues, either in the publishing world or in life.

“I save the tour dates, book synopses, and contests for my newsletter,” she said. “I also post quite frequently on Facebook and judging by responses to those posts, I find that readers are most interested in anecdotes about my writing life, my husband’s history, and dog stories.”

An author who finds that guest blogging is more to her taste than having her own blog is Terri Nolan of San Clemente, although she rarely participates.

“I’ve done two guest blogs in as many years,” she said. “I am challenged with the idea of spending valuable working time on an enterprise that has no measurable reward. There are so many social forums of expression and millions of people who participate. It’s overwhelming to consider entering the fray and throwing my voice into that massive market. That said,” she added, “I’ll contradict myself and admit to thinking about blogging.”

Newport Beach author Dean Koontz blogs on one of his websites, and recently reserved much of his ramblings to talk about his dog, Trixie, and Trixie’s new children’s book. Luckily for writers, Koontz also delves into talking about writing in its various forms. A recent post discussed writing and narrating introductions for the new John D. MacDonald audible collection. He said that MacDonald and Charles Dickens are, in his opinion, the two greatest of writers. Koontz also has a video blog out there in cyberspace, and finds himself quoted on others’ blogs, one as diverse as health and good living, which occasionally uses excerpts from his books to, it seems, prove a point or make one.

Perhaps blogging comes down to whether it is an enjoyable exercise, a hopeless waste of time, a marketing tool, or, as one author claims, a way to get the creative juices running. A blog is, after all, another public forum for authors to air opinions, beg for sales, and promote their books.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net.

JillAmadio

Jill Amadio is the author of “Digging Too Deep: A Tosca Trevant Mystery.” She was a reporter in England, Spain, and Thailand, and a crime reporter in the United States. The Dana Point resident is the author/co-author of several memoirs, and a ghostwriter who is originally from the fishing village of St. Ives, Cornwall, the land of mead and piskies.

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