Investment vs. Payoff: Is Blogging Worth the Time?


First, a quick heads up, I'm being interviewed by Captain Jack Sparrow (how fun is that?) over at Romance Writers' Revenge today. Come say hi and check out how Captain Jack does at The Ranch. ;)

And congrats to...NOELLE PIERCE who won the STILL INTO YOU contest!!!! Thanks so much to everyone who bought the book and entered the contest. Love y'all! 


Is Blogging Worth the Time?

Photo Credit: Annie MoleIn a month, I'll hit my three year blogging anniversary. Three years of posting 3-5 times a week. That's a lot of blogs. And it's been a huge time investment. It still is. I love blogging, but I won't lie and say that it's always easy to keep it going.

In the beginning, blogging was the main way I was getting my writing out in the world. It was non-fiction, but it was still my writing. I was able to put a ton of time into each post because that book I was writing had no deadline. I wasn't even sure that book would see the light of day, so it was secondary to my journey to learn about writing craft, meet other writers, and connect in the blogosphere. I am so very glad I had that time because I've met some fabulous people, some of whom have now become close friends. 

But the blogging journey does transform a bit when you switch from being a blogger who writes to an author who blogs. Once you're published, writing books has to be number one on that list of priorities and blogging becomes secondary. If I don't put up a blog one day, y'all will forgive me. If I don't turn in a book by deadline, that's a bigger issue. So it becomes an exercise in learning to prioritize and balance.

I loved Nina Badzin's recent post on I’m Not an Aspiring Novelist (at least for now). She discovered in her blogging journey that the blogging format appealed to her more than writing a novel, so she's putting her focus where her current passions are. And I had to come to a similar conclusion (though in reverse) in January when I was still maintaining Fiction Groupie and this blog and trying to promo my debut on a blog tour and write the next book in my series. The house of popsicle sticks tumbled down around me. Maybe we can do it all, but doing it all well and keeping our sanity...not always possible. I knew I had to back off so much blogging because I'm a fiction writer first. That's where my deepest passion lies. So I downsized and streamlined.

But that begs the question, if your main goal is being an author, is blogging worth the time?

My thoughts...

1. If you're blogging because you thinks it's going to sell you a bazillion books, you're probably going to be disappointed.

A great blog can drive some word of mouth and some sales. I know that so many of my blogging and writing friends have bought my books, and I am so very thankful for that. *hugs you all* So yes, your community and friends will help support you and get the word out. BUT, even if you have a rocking following, it's still a drop in the bucket. I get 40k unique visitors to this blog a month currently. I assure you I haven't sold anywhere near 40k books, lol. Though that'd be lovely. So keep in mind that your blog can light a flame but it's not necessarily going to make you go viral.

2. Writing is a lonely business. Blogging and developing connections with the writing community can help save your sanity.

This is a priceless benefit. Twitter and the blogosphere are like my work watercooler. Without those friendships and connections, I'd feel like a hermit sitting here in my office pounding away at this keyboard. I'm an introvert, but I don't want to spend all day completely alone.

3. If you are blogging to connect with readers (who aren't other writers), you're going to have a a challenge on your hands.

I'm still working on this aspect of my blog. I had a writing blog for so long that most of my following was and still is other writers. I love my writer buddies and am so glad y'all are here, but I also want to have a place readers feel welcome. But the posts I've done that are non-writing focused tend to get the fewest comments and hits. (Well, boyfriend of the week does well, but I'm guessing lots of those hits are just image searches.) So it's a challenge. Most published author blogs that I know of attracted readers with their books first, not the other way around. (I talked about this more in  What Do READERS Want From an Author Blog?)

4. If you're going to write about the Random Ramblings of Randomness, then save yourself the trouble. (Unless you like talking to an empty room or are already famous.)

Having a blog just to have one is worse than not having one at all. If you're not somewhat focused in your content and you aren't giving the reader a takeaway, no one is going to stick around except your mom and a handful of others who are writing about Random Randomness. Caveat: If you're already famous, you can talk about whatever the heck you want. People already think you're fascinating.

So yes, I think blogging is still worth the time, but everyone should go in with realistic expectations and goals. Do it because you enjoy connecting with people, don't do it because you think it's going to vault you up the bestseller list. And if you're using your book writing time to blog instead, think about what you really want as an outcome. What is more important to you? It doesn't have to be a case of do one or the other, but it may mean reorganizing your time and priorities.

Also, Amber West gives some great tips about this process in her post: Do Writers Need to Blog?

So what are your thoughts? Why do you blog? What expectations do you have regarding your writing and blogging? Do you have trouble balancing your blogging with your writing time?