Why Authors Should Be “Selfish” Bloggers: And How To Be One

1115855_blogBlogging as an author is fun, but it’s also hard work. (Check out this list of the biggest minor inconveniences of being an author who blogs). One surefire way to make it easier and worthwhile–one way to make sure you enjoy rather than grudge blogging–is to be a “selfish” blogger, as strange as that may sound.

Being a “selfish” blogger doesn’t mean the following:

  • It doesn’t mean you ignore comments, feedback, and interaction with your followers. Blogs are all about interaction.
  • It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek out requests for posts from your audience. It’s always great to give people what they want and need, and it’s a confidence boost to know people are caring about and benefiting from your blog posts.
  • It doesn’t mean you post erratically or without a schedule/system. You don’t post “when you feel like it.” You work out a schedule that works for you: twice weekly, once weekly, perhaps even daily–and you stick to that. Your followers should know when they can expect new content popping up. You can always change a schedule if it becomes too much or it isn’t working for some reason: just keep people in the loop.

So what does being a selfish blogger mean, then?

  • It means you blog according to your interests and needs, and to further your knowledge base in your area of expertise. Blogging naturally forces you to do that. It’s wonderful!
  • It means you focus on blogging as a way to work through trouble spots in your artistic life. If point of view is being problematic for you, blogging about point of view is a good way to confront your issues and focus your attention on what’s currently plaguing a WIP. Only when you are getting something out of blogging will you find a sense of purpose in it and a reason to carry on.
  • It means you keep your needs and your obligations in mind when you set up a blogging schedule. I’m a big fan of the motto “Do what you can with what you have.” If blogging four times a week isn’t feasible for you, that’s fine. Blog two or three times a week, or even once a week.
  • It means you develop your own layout, tone, and style. And YES, you can do this while using keywords, using short paragraphs, and other tricks for engaging stock engines and internet readers who prefer to scan. There are “rules” for blogging success, but there’s wiggle room within them. And if you like, you can choose to ignore what the SEO experts say. That’s your call.

That is my take on blogging, anyway.

One of the most useful things blogging has done for my fiction is force me to focus on the “rules,” on why I do things the way I do, and how I can do things better. It’s brought me to contemplate the “scientific” as well as the artistic aspects of writing.

It’s helped me structure and organize my fiction-writing life, all because I am a selfish blogger.

In what ways are you a “selfish” blogger? How have you structured your blogging platform so that it benefits you?

 

If you enjoyed this post or found it useful, you might want to check out my collection of blogging posts here.

Also, a quick “Writing for You” update: release day is coming up soon! If you have a US mailing address, you can put your name in the hat at Goodreads to win a paperback copy of my writer’s handbook. Winner will be announced the day before release.

Advertisements

76 responses to “Why Authors Should Be “Selfish” Bloggers: And How To Be One

  1. Very informative. I try to be selfish, not in a bad way. I normally post short stories with the occasional post on writing. But mostly shorts because I like them. So far I haven’t had any input from followers to stop or change topics- so I figure it’s working for them too. I stick to a three times per week schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays for me- with an extra on Fridays for Flash Fiction.
    Always a great post, Victoria! Thank you much for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • glad you enjoyed the post!!! Flash fiction is really cool. I admit i have never tried my hand at it, but it’s sure perfect for the blogging forum. Gives people a great taste of your style and the topics that interest you.

  2. Nice points!
    You’re actually who inspired me to try for daily blogging. Now I couldn’t imagine Not posting every day. πŸ™‚

    I didn’t think I was really getting anything out of my blogging, until I started almost absentmindedly writing poetry as posts. A fellow blogger and I decided it would be a great way for me to keep writing poetry, while building a following for when I do launch my book of funny, clean bathroom poetry.

    I never knew I had deep, touchy-feely poetry in me until these last couple months. Now I am finally comfortable enough that I can post the most gut-wrenchingly melancholy poems. (they don’t all make you want to cry. There’s one about my cat waking me up in the morning. lol)

    So, yeah. Blogging has really stretched me as an artist. Thanks! πŸ˜€

    • so glad you’re developing your inner poet! I should do that too. I have always wanted to write more poetry…. outside of a sonnet sequence I wrote in college I haven’t done much with the medium.

      You’ve got one up on me, blogging daily, or will soon. I don’t know how long I can feasibly sustain blogging daily. I’m trying to make it through my July 31 launch and hoping to have a job by then…. we’ll have to say. I’ll need to cut back soon, though. I can feel it coming. Which is fine!

  3. I recently posted, “Who do you write for? an audience or you?” b/c another blogger said writing whatever crossed your brain was selfish, so what a timely post! Selfish is such a strong word, with negative connotations so I’m glad to see you spin it around – for good! Cheers πŸ˜›

    • thanks, Lani. I’m glad you liked you post. There’s definitely always a large part of a blogger who needs to blog for his or her benefit in some way, and about what interests him or her.

      I just try to find ways to spin what interests me so that it’s useful and interesting to others. Some posts are more successful at that than others, but it’s an approach that gels with my academic soul, so for now it seems to be doing well for the most part.

  4. This is very interesting and I’ll have to think about it. I am struggling with my blog lately, to the point that I completely forgot to write a post last Sunday, when I normally send out one (I’m down to twice a week). The main problem is working more than fulltime and being completely exhausted in the evenings, but there’s also the issue of traffic, or lack thereof. I feel like I’m a mad woman shouting in a desert, basically. No one hears me. Which makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be more beneficial to spend those 2 blogging hours per week on writing fiction instead. After all, I’m currently not having ANY time to write fiction. Stopping with blogging would give me 2 hours to do that. Any advice?

    • One thing you could do is drop to blogging once a week. Blogging is always a mix of writing post and marketing posts. Maybe publishing once a week could give you more time to “peddle” your backlog of posts on social media and build up more of an audience. It would also give you more time to write fiction πŸ™‚

      I would evaluate what you mean your blog to do for you, as well. Is it meant to help spark ideas for your fiction? Market fiction you have already published? Depending on the answers you come up with, it might make sense to put blogging on hold for a while, or it might make sense to keep going but just cut back.

      Heck, you could even blog every other week. People do that, and it can work. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you. That’s WAY easier said than done, is the trouble….

      Have you checked out Molly Greene’s “Blog it”? It’s a great book with lots of great blogging tips. I know you don’t have lots of extra time but it’s a relatively short read. If you do keep blogging it could help give you focus and find ways to increase your audience.

  5. Ah, schedules. How I loathe them. I tried. Really, I did. It went well for about a month and then … well, ADD and all that. *sigh*

    • I definitely would never schedule what to write about…. ever. I write about what is on my mind when I sit to write a post. I write about what’s timely at that moment for me, which is how I keep my blogging engaging on a personal level.

      Why I would schedule–when I back off from blogging daily–is which days of the week to send a post life. Would I do MWF? Sun Tu Th? That kind of thing.

  6. awriterweavesatale

    I”m forever the selfish blogger if only because I can put it ahead of other stuff I really should be doing….

  7. Where does shameless self-promotion fit into this. I worry I do it too often.

    • I try not to post a self-promotional post more than once every two weeks or so, though with a release coming up, I’m self-promoting more.

      My trick is to put self-promotion in a carefully crafted call to action at the end of a post, rather than center an entire post on self-promotion.

      When I do have a post centered on self-promotion, I try to spin it in such a way so that my followers can also learn something from it or get something out of it beyond just hearing what I’m promoting. It’s not easy, and I can’t always pull it off, but I try!

      Self-promotion is SO, so tricky…. I don’t think anyone ever feels comfortable with it or that they’re doing it just enough, rather than too much

  8. I’m a pantser blogger. I don’t have a set schedule, though I try to blog about 3 times a week–more if I have author interviews. I blog about whatever comes to mind. I have struggled though on how much time I should spend blogging versus how much time I devote to my novels or my nonfiction projects, which sometimes take precedence since I signed contracts for those.

    I blog as a form of relaxation. I know that seems weird, but that’s me. I also crochet to relax.

    • Blogging relaxes me too! It allows me to put off other obligations but still feel productive πŸ™‚

      The time balance thing is a real toughie, though. I try not to spend more than 45 minutes crafting a post. And I will have to stop blogging daily at some point soon, unfortunately. It’s just a bit too much.

      • Oh, girl, I am SOOOOOO jealous I almost hate you. But in a good way! I would LOVE to be that organized. I do LOVE the scheduling idea. I have some fan fiction on one of my blogs, and I’m nearly finished, but so many….well …LIFE…life gets in the way. Hmmmm maybe SUNDAY can be a good day. I try not to have too much to do on a Sunday besides Church. AND…. if I pay attention to the idea of Sunday being a day of REST, that would be a great way to get caught up on what I want to do and begin to set up that schedule.

        As far as daily blogging having to take a back seat, no worries. Do what you need to do and when you can find a block of ME time, use it to your best advantage. In the meantime, thank you for the great advice! I hope to be able to use it in the very near future. Like this weekend! πŸ™‚

  9. Victoria, Thanks for the suggestions and, probably not surprising, I heard the opposite a couple of months ago, that if you’re trying to get a book out it’s almost impossible to blog. I think it works better to think you could set a schedule once you have a book published and are working on the next one and gathering ideas or honing craft and sharing some of those ideas along the way. I’m puttering on my blog until I get to that point, using them to share thoughts on Google+, Twitter & FB, but will definitely keep your suggestions in mind when the time comes :–)

    • that makes a lot of sense! thanks so much for playing devil’s advocate here. Different approaches work for different people, I think. It’s definitely not necessary to blog daily or anything like that before you have a book out (or even after.)

      I do think regular but less frequent blogging can be a good way to get your name out and raise interest in a book you are going to release in the relatively near future, though…. especially a debut release. If you have something of a blog following, you’re not starting from ground zero on release day…. your following can give your book a boost. That’s just me, of course. There can be other ways to creative release buzz if an author prefers not to spend some “writing time” blogging.

      • I’ve covered a lot of ground trying to understand how to manage all of the demands and doing my best! Really appreciate your thoughts!

        • glad they’re helpful!!! we all can only do our best. I love considering other people’s take on something…. it can clear my thoughts and show me how to approach something from a different angle. That take you presented on blogging and writing fiction is really getting my gears going

  10. Excellent post. I am horrible at being disciplined and I truly need to get organized and stop wasting so much time. Thank you for your insights. They are most helpful.

    • I’m glad they proved helpful! πŸ™‚ I waste SOOO much time it is insane, so I definitely understand. I really need to get my act together…. I need to develop a new strategy…. if and when I do, I’ll probably post about it, knowing me πŸ™‚

    • Hi! YAAAY!!! I’m not the only one who has problems with self-discipline. And I SOOOO want to carve out that time. But every time I think I have a handle on a weekend, something happens. I’m wishing my life away, a weekend at a time; searching for a block of ME time to get all this organizing done. And while we’re on the subject of MIRACLES…. πŸ˜‰

  11. What an opportune post. I just started blogging more seriously (as myself and not anonymously), and I’ve been trying to figure out how it fits into my life. Thanks for reaffirming things for me. I also liked your reply on shameless self-promotion.

    • I’m glad the post was timely for you! that’s always the best! blogging can be a bit overwhelming, but if you go in structuring yourself and with a plan, it’s much easier because you have the plan to ground you.

      I think it’s really cool that you’ve blogged anonymously in the past. I might consider doing that in the future, or with a penname.

  12. Excellent post, Victoria! I feel like I’m a selfish blogger, but I do have a problem with scheduling. I keep thinking I’ll set up a schedule (once or twice a week). I know I can write my posts whenever and just schedule them, but … maybe it’s the interaction, the comments that make me post willy-nilly. And then all the reblogs! I don’t think my crew really notices when I post, though, and I’m not marketing anything yet. I’m just making a nuisance of myself through my blogging πŸ™‚

    • I love the schedule for later feature. I use it all the time. Sometimes I’ll have four or five days worth of posts schedule and ready to go πŸ™‚

      comments are great, and I love them, and I happen to be able to respond to them quickly most days, but I wouldn’t feel like you can’t schedule posts because you won’t be able to get to comments right away.

      People understand how busy and chaotic our lives are. I often have bloggers respond to comments I leave one or two days later, and I never think twice about it.

      One thing I do, when I’m going on a trip or something, I set posts to go live but warn I won’t have steady access to the net for a while. I feel that helps.

      I actually don’t do reblogs, just because I’m afraid of burning out my readers. I post my own material (or a guest post) daily. I feel like reblogging on top of that, on my case, would be asking too much of my readers to keep up with. But that’s just me. Reblogs can be great…. I’ve discovered some great bloggers that way.

      • You comment about reblogs is giving me something to think about. I do like to do reblogs, but you make a good point that doing too many too often can burn out one’s readers. WordPress isn’t Twitter πŸ˜‰ My WordPress account is tied in with my LinkedIn account. Recently a friend in my network said, “gee, you’re really active on LinkedIn.” Actually, I’m not, it’s just my blog but then I realized that it was all the reblogs that were making me appear active πŸ™‚

        • I have linked in set up with my blog too, but I never actually get ON linked in…. I should, much more often, I think. :-/

          Reblogs can be really great and helpful for people, for sure, especially on a day you haven’t published new content yourself. I keep reblogs to a minimum on my account, like I said, because I do publish every day. That’s a personal choice. I know lots of bloggers–very successful ones–who publish more than once a day as a standard and reblog on top of that.

        • I need to spend more time on LinkedIn too. In my case, it’s my original account which reflects my work in the public health field. I’ve included my blog and even list having an occupation as a blogger. I’m sure that is confusing to most people in my network πŸ˜‰

        • hahaha! I think my account still says I’m in academia and a grad student.

        • That is funny πŸ˜‰

  13. Each time I fall off the blogging wagon it takes that much longer to get back on it again. I’ve started to work on my next book, so your suggestions are timely and welcome! Thanks…

    • I’m glad the post resonated with you! You’re so right… momentum can be difficult to build up after a break, especially since followers will have left and the audience is smaller and you’re not seeing much payoff. That’s a fantastic point I hadn’t really considered.

  14. Victoria, this post reminds me of how great I think you are with your responses to people’s comments. You’re always engaging and you never put anyone down no matter how much they might disagree with you. You are always willing to look at the other side of an issue and see it’s merits. So while you may be selfish in some respects with your blog, you’re definitely not selfish in all respects. I admire you so much, and I just wanted you to know.

    • thank you so much, Michael!!!! I really love it when people talk about how they write differently than I do and how they see value in a different approach…. I think that kind of discussion is beneficial to everyone who takes part or reads the back and forth.

      I don’t think there is a “right way” to write. Good writing is good writing, but there are different kinds of stories and different ways to get to :good writing.” What works for one person might or might not work for another, with or without adaptations.

      Experimenting with the process is a ton of fun, and can be really fruitful. When people disagree, I see a way to maybe experiment in the future and get excited πŸ™‚

  15. I always enjoy your blogging posts. I completely agree with your second list of bullets on what being a selfish blogger means. In my paranerd and spirinerd circles, blogging forces me to really study what I’m researching, reading, or experimenting with. It has given me confidence in the topics I like to discuss. It has kept me away from the couch and the TV with potato chips, and even though I’m not a writer (you could argue that I am since I’m typing haha)… blogging kind of makes me feel like I am one. πŸ™‚

    • Glad this one connected with you, Patrick! Blogging is definitely a form of writing….one just as structured and unique in its way as fiction. I totally agree with you that blogging has given me confidence to “own” my area of expertise. That’s probably the best benefit of blogging….It forces you go research and grow and go deeper than you have before.

  16. You make an extremely exciting level right here. I did research on this issue and that i think that lots of folks will concur with your weblog post.

  17. I’m a selfish blogger because my blog focuses totally on me and my writing πŸ™‚

    • that’s a great concept for a blog πŸ™‚ lots of writer take that approach and it works great. My blog evolved to be something a bit different. I’m not sure how or why or when the switch turned… but I like the direction it’s taken, so I guess I’m blogging selfishly in a different way πŸ™‚

  18. Blogging has helped me rediscover my sense of humor. You helped me discover that I’m a writer. Thank you for being so supportive of my writing habit. πŸ™‚

  19. Cate Russell-Cole

    Reblogged this on "CommuniCATE" Resources for Writers and commented:
    A thought provoking post from Victoria. Please also check out her new book for fiction writers, which is soaring up the charts. Congratulations Victoria.

  20. This is great advice. I’ve struggled with what I “ought” to be blogging, and how often, then had to keep reminding myself it’s as much for me as for anyone. I try to keep my natural tendency for silliness out of it though – that’s what my G+ account is for. I’d like people finding my blog to believe I’m serious about what I do, even if some of that is funny. Does that make sense?

    • It does make sense, for sure. Humor can sometimes come across as you’re not taking something seriously. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some silliness in your blog from time to time, of course, though I LOVE your strategy of keeping the wit for social media like Google+. That’s a very effective forum for jokes and humor!

  21. My selfish aspect is that i write about what interests me at the moment – the birds outside my window today, the research I’m doing for my novel another day. I know the “rule” is that focusing on a particular area will create a bigger, more loyal readership, but I’ll be bored writing about one thing. The consistency I work for is to have every blog well written and interesting in its own right. If people like my writing, if they find the viewpoint interesting, I hope they’ll stick with me through my eclectic meandering.

    • I agree with what you say here, for sure. Your readers want to know YOU. And if YOU feel inspired to write about the bird outside the window, they’ll appreciate that, and you will fulfill that drive to write about it πŸ™‚

      My personal take would to take my reaction to the bird outside the window and create a connection between that and writing. Because I blog about writing, but that’s me. We’re all different.

      • Sorry for the double post, Victoria. It didn’t look as though my original post went through. I’ve done what you say – connect the bird to writing – sometimes. It doesn’t always work. At least for me. And if you can delete the second post, go ahead!

  22. I enjoyed reading your take on selfish blogging. A refreshing perspective.

  23. Pingback: Why Authors Should Be “Selfish” Bloggers: And How To Be One | featherstoneauthor

  24. Hi Victoria,
    Gosh, you are getting so popular, but I’m happy for your success.
    This was timely for me to read. When I first started writing seriously I had just published my first book. Wait, that doesn’t sound right, but it’s partially true. I had professional help with the editing so they cleaned up a lot of my errors.
    I started blogging and then lost my job; yikes! I started blogging like crazy, then got another job and have been trying but failing to keep up the pace.
    I need to put some things aside for good I think and focus more on my writing (fiction and other books) and do less blogging.
    I think I will change to a weekly post but with some twitter promotions of old posts.
    I have never been good at the selfish promotion thing but I need to change that because I need to learn how to promote my book in a more selfish manner and also what I am working on now.
    Thanks for the insight and encouragement.

    • I’m glad the post was timely and helpful for you! I’m hoping to be in a position soon to be employed and blogging less frequently as a result πŸ™‚

      Blogging once a week is a great format that works for a lot of people I know. Each post gets time to reach a wide audience and gain followers before the next one comes out. And people will always know when to expect a post!

      Self-promotion is agonizing, and it really sucks. It is definitely a skill to learn…. I learned a lot of strategies from people at socialbuzzclub.com about social media presence and promotion and how to be effective.

      • Self-promotion: I know I have to do it, but something about it doesn’t feel right so I have to get over that or the things I write will remain a secret.

        I miss the time I had to blog more often but having a job has its benefits. πŸ™‚
        It’s also forcing me to chose between the vital and the less important.

  25. Lorraine Marie Reguly

    I have committed myself to two posts per week, usually on Sundays and Wednesdays, but I have not set these “rules” in stone. I like doing my own thing, so in some ways, I am a selfish blogger, but I usually try to help others with my knowledge and experiences, so I’m really not! πŸ™‚

    I also like reciprocating comments. At the very least, I will like/share something when they like/share my posts!

    Reciprocity in blogging is needed, to build relationships.

    It can also be fun, especially when you meet interesting people!

  26. Pingback: BLOGGERS: How to make an update post worth reading to those who don’t know you | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  27. Keeping a regular schedule on your posting will do wonders for your SEO. One technique I find works for me is take a Sunday and write out 2-3 posts, then schedule them to automatically publish over the next few weeks. This takes a ton of pressure off and helps keep me focused.

    • I totally agree. Regular blogging is really essential to grab and maintain readership. When people know when they will find new content, they’ll come back at that time. If you just post willy-nilly, it’s tough to keep people checking in on the off chance you might have a new post.

  28. I’m still working on the regular schedule thing. My job is very uneven so I can’t always guarantee the same time each week to write an entry, but I’m getting better. Good advice.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Matt! Yeah, a shifting work schedule would make things difficult for a blog, for sure. Even if you try to write in advance and schedule a post for a certain time. That’s what I try to do, set the post to go live for a later date…. but that’s not always possible.

  29. Pingback: 5 Tips to Blog Your Best (and Making Blogging About You): No Matter Your Topic | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  30. Pingback: AUTHORS: How to Blog To Improve Your Creative Writing | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  31. Pingback: 3 Ways To Be a More Efficient Blogger | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s