How Bloggers and Authors Benefit From Reading Blogs

Blogs are even accessible on phones nowadays.... There's no excuse not to stay informed!

Blogs are even accessible on phones nowadays…. There’s no excuse not to stay informed!

I sometimes write about blogging from the perspective of an author: how blogging can help us develop our skills, develop a community of readers, and get us thinking in creative and new ways about the craft of fiction.

Today’s post is about blogging, but from the perspective of a blog reader. Following a number of quality blogs—and there are LOTS of quality blogs out there—is time-consuming.

However, an author who follows and interacts with numerous bloggers reaps a lot of benefits. Some of these benefits are less obvious, and others more so, but the fact is, the benefits are definitely there.

I got to thinking today about the wealth of resources blogs represent. In my personal experience, I can say that blogs are a goldmine, and I sincerely wish I’d started reading blogs sooner than I did! Here’s why:

1. READING BLOGS REMINDS US THAT WE ARE A COMMUNITY.

We can all have a tendency to think in terms of ourselves: How can I improve my novel? How can I find readers? How do I manage the world of indie publishing? Where do I find beta readers?

Reading blogs can help us answer those questions, but of equal importance, reading blogs gives us opportunities to answer questions. You might find a blogger, or a commenter on a blog, who has a problem you’ve faced and overcome. You can share your insight, pay it forward, and do something nice for someone else. And that’s great!

Heck, sometimes it’s even a great relief to someone when you can’t offer substantial advice but you can honestly say, “I’m having trouble with that too. You’re not alone.”

It’s easy to feel discouraged and talentless when your draft just won’t cooperate and sales just won’t come. We all know it helps when people let you know, “You’re not a failure. You’re not alone. You’re not the problem.”

It feels even better to be the person who says that to a fellow writer.

2. READING BLOGS WILL BROADEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

Reading blogs by fellow authors is a constant reminder that there is no one way to approach or define the writing process. It will constantly challenge you to reassess and to adjust your personal approach to writing and marketing.

Ideally, the adjustments you make will constitute improvements, but even if they don’t, you are gaining experience. Experimenting with new strategies is the only way to get better. Think of an author as a tree. If the author doesn’t branch out, she’ll never grow.

3. YOU WILL GET IDEAS FOR YOUR OWN BLOG (BECAUSE AUTHORS REALLY SHOULD HAVE BLOGS OF THEIR OWN.)

I don’t mean that you restate the content you read in your own words. But you can react/ respond to that content (with a gracious link back to the original.) I don’t do this nearly enough myself.

You can see what popular and successful blogs have in common: the layout of their post content, the layout of the site in general. You’ll start to see patterns, such as “busy isn’t good.” “Short paragraphs work best.” “Each post on a successful blog tends to have a similar structure to the other posts.”

4. READING BLOGS WILL ANSWER QUESTIONS YOU DIDN’T REALIZE YOU HAD.

I guarantee this. One of my favorite quotes is, “Average men learn from their own experience. Great men learn from the experience of others.”

Reading author blogs will help you learn from the experience of others. It will clue you in to what you might want to try and what you might want to stay away from or at least approach with caution.

5. READING BLOGS WILL INTRODUCE YOU TO GREAT AUTHORS TO READ. We writers are great bookworms, after all. I love that when I read a book I first heard about on an author’s blog, I can then interact with that author and let him or her personally know I enjoyed the novel.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been reading nearly enough lately, but once my life settles down a bit, I will be reading more books by authors I got to know through their blogs.

All that said, I feel a hearty thank you is in order to you guys. I appreciate you reading my rambling thoughts,and hope you get something out of them. This is trite, I know, but I cherish my interactions, healthy debates, and authorial commiseration with all of you.

One cool question to ask myself from time to time as a blogger involves putting myself in the shoes of my readers. I think, what is it I hope my blog provides for my readers? What do I want them to get from my blog in a general sense, to keep them coming back? What do I want to this particular post to give them?

My question for you guys is: why do you read blogs? And if you run one, what do you hope your readers take away from it?

If you enjoyed this post, I encourage you to consider signing up to follow my blog by email. That way you won’t miss out on any posts that might be pertinent to you; the form is at the top right of the page.

You can also check out my other posts on how to be a successful blogger.

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26 responses to “How Bloggers and Authors Benefit From Reading Blogs

  1. Love this post, Victoria. I read blogs for the reasons you state, for the infusion of new ideas into my little noggin and for the motivation that comes from being part of a community whose members encourage one another.

    As for what I hope my readers take from my blog, that would be a better question if I were updating it regularly. I might start posting more once my debut novel is published.

    Even though I use WordPress, what I have is as much “web site” as it is a blog. Occasionally I share some of my creative efforts with the world and I hope some people will find what I post as useful. At this stage, anything more than that is the cliched icing on the cake.

    • there’s definitely a difference between a website and a blog. I’m glad you brought it up because I have a website I haven’t updated in months (and I really, really need to). It has static, evergreen information set in “pages” rather than too many “posts”.

      A blog is very different. And it’s not hard to run both because a website, once you have it put together, doesn’t need a whole lot of maintenance (unless you personally want to treat it a bit more like a blog).

  2. I could not agree more, Victoria. Once again you hit the nail on the head… 🙂

  3. I think you add a lot of value to the blogging/writing conversation. I find you approachable and your advice thoughtful and meaningful. I also enjoy the fact that we have a blogging rapport 🙂

    Thanks for the wonderful quote, btw, “Average men learn from their own experience. Great men learn from the experience of others.” I posted it on FB, giving credit back to you, but you didn’t write it, right? Do you know who did?

    High five to another lovely post!

    • Aw, you made my day, Lani! I’m so glad you enjoy stopping by…. I enjoy our rapport as well!

      I definitely didn’t make that quote up…. I did of couple of searches to see who wrote it and I can’t find a name. Dang! 😦

  4. I originally had two purposes when I set up my blog. I want to help the “newbies” like myself get the exposure and recognition that otherwise might be difficult to achieve and to start building my platform while I wrote my debut novel. I know that I spend entirely too much time on the social media, but it is helping. I have only been blogging for a little over a year now, and although I don’t have a big following, I do have some. What I hope to achieve, what I want my readers to take from my blog is again twofold: 1) I want the authors to know that I am on their side, I am fair, but always in a constructive way, because, and this leads to #2..I want the readers to trust in my credibility. I want them to trust me and get an example of my voice. We all have a unique voice for the different things that we do. I spent over 30 years on the telephone in customer service/sales & marketing. My roommate and I met one another through work, we were co-workers. She told me the other day that when I am on the phone conducting business, she doesn’t even recognize my voice! I have a completely different persona in that capacity. When I write, it is a different voice. I never realized that so much until an author told me that she liked my voice when I wrote and she would totally buy one of my books based on what she got from my blog! Isn’t that something? I don’t have a word published yet, outside of my blog, but she got that from reading my blog! So, my point is that it can have many more benefits than you ever dreamed when you started out. I have had authors offer to be a beta reader for me and one guy that is listed on LinkedIn as a designer/artist..he offered to do a custom cover for me for free! You never know the benefits until you put yourself out there. The writing community embraced me when I said “Hey, I want to write a book! I’m a newbie, got any advice for me?” Then, I started my blog.. 🙂 I am so grateful for all the friendships that I’ve made in this last year! Especially with you Victoria, I am blessed to know you and appreciate all the help that you have been to me.

    • Thanks, Becky! I appreciate you too and glad that I have been able to be helpful!!!

      I love what you say about sounding different on the phone at work, haha!!! That makes me think of one of my best friends…. she sounds completely different talking on the phone with family than she does at other times. Completely different!!!

      I too have been offered free covers, and they turned out so wonderful that I try to promote the designer as much as I can. People really can be open and helpful and supportive….

      It’s really touched my heart to see the openness and community of the indies.

  5. II read blogs, because there are so many interesting people in the blogosphere. I’m often inspired by what I read. Also, you can’t help building a community as you connect with others.

  6. Reblogged this on Elayne Griffith and commented:
    This was very interesting so I thought I’d share:

  7. Interacting with other bloggers is such a fantastic way to grow as a writer and to make friends! The support and encouragement in blogging communities never ceases to amaze me. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many talented, kind people and I love that.

    Thanks for posting, Victoria! I agree 100%. 🙂

  8. Ditto all those reasons! I was thinking about how important it is to follow good reading/writing blogs the other day, as that’s how I’ve been really introduced to all areas of the business and industry, and been able to make more informed decisions that will help me and my book do the best we can. Great post, as always!

  9. I run two blogs, and have been wondering about shutting at least one of them down. Your post gave me pause.

    • Aw, that’s cool! 🙂 It’s possible shutting down is the right idea…. I don’t think I could do two the way things are for me right now…. but maybe it’s not!

      You don’t have to give two blog equal attention, of course. You could keep one going by publishing once a week, or even two weeks if you want.

  10. What a great post. It definitely reminds the reader that we are all part of a community and we should keep that spirit alive.

    I read blogs mostly for information and tips on how to improve my craft. Like you mentioned, it’s also nice to read posts from others who are going through similar difficulties.

    I try to offer all of these things in my blog. I share what I’ve learned and hope to lend a shoulder for the reader to cry on. 🙂

  11. Hi Victoria, as a person who is just warming up to blogging, I enjoyed your tips! On top of my sister that gives me insights on my writing, I definetly hope to get insights from other writers. And the learning experience begins!Thanks 🙂

    • I’m glad you stopped by, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 I’m so jealous you have a sister who shares your interest in writing 😛 I have two sisters and they are wonderful…. but they are more science-centered and while they love to read, I don’t really talk to them about my writing.

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