I’ve been blogging here for six months now. I enjoy it–find it fun and challenging to think of topics, and it’s nice to run up against an idea and be able to put together a little informal essay on the topic and send it out for the world to see.
But at the same time I have to ask myself if this blog is doing what I’d hoped it would–which is to help promote my novels. This is probably something that many other fiction-writers-who-blog have asked themselves. The idea is to blog about what you know, to expound on topics you have informed opinions about. That hasn’t been a problem. I’ve posted on writing, editing, indie publishing, science fiction in general, and other things related to books. I’ve blogged about my own books specifically, including excerpts and sneak peeks and announcements of giveaways. That’s what I know about. So that’s what I blog about. It’s not all I know about: I could blog on parenting, on surf music, on rockabilly, on teaching, on pets, on film and Hollywood history…all sorts of things. But the book-related topics seem the most likely to speak to people who might be interested in the kinds of books I write.
But there’s one little problem: the things I blog about are likely to appeal to other writers. The day my blog got the most traffic was the day I posted some advice for indie authors who have decided to be do-it-yourself editors. People liked the post, and I was glad to be able to offer good advice. The post that gets the most consistent traffic is the one I did on creating an active table of contents for Kindle, which tells me people are searching for that information, and (again) I’m glad to offer some help.
Two other posts that get a lot of repeat business: my review of the audio version of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and a post where I used Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a kind of extended metaphor for indie publishing. People hit those pages because they’re searching for info on Gaiman or, for reasons I can’t fathom, Yukon Cornelius. I wouldn’t have thought those would be my most popular posts, but they are.
Considering my popular posts and my less popular ones, how many clicks are there on my Amazon links? Almost none.
How many Facebook likes? None so far.
What do I take from this?
People find my blog. They read my blog. It provides some people with good and useful information. Some people are entertained. But very few of those people who visit the page are actively looking for a science fiction book to read. And very few of the people who visit for other reasons find the book covers and descriptions displayed here sufficiently intriguing enough to inspire a click over to Amazon.
If I want to appeal to science fiction readers rather than writers, I suppose I should be posting short stories, which I don’t have a lot of. And the short stories I have produced are ones I feel should be making the rounds at various SF magazines to increase my exposure there.
So maybe I should re-focus. Maybe giving away some stories here rather than sending them out into the marketplace will ultimately get more potential readers (fans?) to find this page attractive. I don’t want to stop posting about writing, but maybe it’s time to start just posting some writing.
Something to think about. I’d love to hear what other readers and writers think about this. Do you ever buy books because you follow (or find) an author’s blog?