Sunday, July 3, 2011

DO BLOGS HAVE MERIT?

Marja McGraw

Recently the question came up, does blogging sell books? My first thought was that there’s a lot more to it than merely selling books. Hopefully, the readers will glean some information from the blogs they read. Let’s start with what constitutes a blog. It’s basically just another word for an article, and it can be journaling.

Some people blog about their latest vacation, or what they had for dinner last Saturday night, or maybe what their kids are up to. Me? I prefer to blog about writing and books. That’s my passion—and if I’m passionate about something, I can write or talk about it ‘til the cows come home. (Just thought I’d throw in a little figure of speech to see if you’re paying attention, or are you groaning.) The thing is that the blogs allow people to get to know the author a little more with each one they read. I believe that the blog should reflect your personality, and hopefully be an unofficial showcase for your writing skills.

I blog about my books, the books of others, the art of writing, the job of writing (yes, it is a job), and where storylines and characters come from, among other things like marketing and promoting. Over the past six months I’ve written my own weekly blog at http://blog.marjamcgraw.com/ and I’ve done several guest blogs, including the Mystery We Write Blog Tour which is in progress now. This was something I said I’d never do, but with a nudge from the right person, I started blogging my little heart out, and I discovered that I kind of like sharing my thoughts. Who knew?

Then the person I mentioned earlier asked me if I thought these blogs were helping book sales. Do the number of comments left on the site equal sales? The truth of it is, I have no idea. I know that every time I put up a new article, more people visit my website. I know that even though there may not be many comments left by visitors, the number of “hits” on the blog are quite large. I know that after a guest author (Marilyn Meredith) did a blog on my site I received an email from someone who said they were so interested in her blog that they went right out and bought the first book in her series. This person also said that after reading the book, she was hooked on the series and would be buying the rest of the books. Success! Maybe not for me, but for the guest blogger. And who knows? Maybe someone has had the same reaction to my blogs and books.

The point is that the number of comments left didn’t equal the number of hits on the blog site, and the article ultimately sold books whether a comment was left or not. So, yes, I believe that the blogs are working, and I genuinely hope they entertain visitors who read them. They’re fun to write, and often informative.

And now, I have to once again mention that Bogey Nights- A Bogey Man Mystery, came out from Oak Tree Press in March of 2011, and Old Murders Never Die – A Sandi Webster Mystery, will be out in July of 2011 from Wings ePress. That’s two books in one year, and I’m pretty excited. If you’d like to know what the books are about, please visit my website at www.marjamcgraw.com and click on the Books Page. I don’t think you’ll regret spending a couple of minutes there.

Until next time, thank you to Oak Tree Press and eWings Press for their confidence in me and my writing. I hope you have someone who instills confidence in you.

20 comments:

Rena said...

I love this topic, and I think blogs have more merit than we think.
I applied as a correspondent with The Daily Herald, a central Utah paper with 39,000 subscribers, last March. I was proud of the publications on my resume; short stories published, a newspaper book review column, placing in a writing contest, and my blogs. I had heard that blogs are a quick way for prospective employers to see a sample of your writing capabilities, so I listed both on my resume. Later, after I was offered the position, my new editor told me that she loved my blog and spent twenty-minutes just reading my posts.
Do blogs have merit?
My blogs helped land me a writing job, so yes. They do.
www.prose-spective.blogspot.com
www.theredbookexperiment.blogspot.com

Kelly Hashway said...

Great post! It's hard to know how many sales come from blogging, but blogging definitely gets people to know you and your name. That's a good thing. Plus, blogging is a form of writing and any writing, in my mind, is good.

Anne K. Albert said...

I agree with both Rena and Kelly. Blogs are beneficial for a number of reasons.

The key, of course, is to make writing a priority rather than letting it take a back seat to blogging. Easy to say...hard to do!

marja said...

Rena, That's a terrific story, and really makes the point. And congratulations!

Kelly, You're absolutely right. Half the battle is getting our names out there.

Anne, We really have to be careful sometimes to keep our writing priorities straight. Good point!

Marja

Sharon Henning said...

I think for a blog to make money one has to really push it.
That's not why I blog. I'm just using it to practice my writing. It's also been fun and interesting to see other people's blogs.
Found you on book blogs and following.

marja said...

Thanks for stopping in, Sharon. You're right, it's a good place to showcase your writing, and yes, it's a good exercise in writing.

Rena said...

Thanks, Marja. =)

And Anne, you are so right. I think we probably pay more attention to our blogs sometimes, because with blogs we get immediate feedback. Our other work doesn't always get the instant praise that the blog gets. As writers we're "praise sluts".

Plus, I just realized I forgot to mention my own OTP Kindle in my comment. Something I also put on my resume. One-Armed Freak. Young adult fiction. Check it out.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Blogs definitely get your name before the public worldwide and if you're lucky, as I was, a publisher like Poisoned Pen Press, will publish your blog articles. Blog tours also introduce a writer and her work to propective readers. So, yes, keep on bloggin'.

C.K.Crigger said...

Marja, this post is right on the money. Well done.

I wish I knew if guest blogging helps with sales, but I truly believe that at the least they help get one's name out. I've done a few guest posts lately and have found them to be great fun. I always hope a reader somewhere will find a bit of value.
Carol
Two Feet Below

Sunny Frazier said...

There is another aspect of all this. By responding to a blog with a comment, it lets the site owner know that people are paying attention. When I "encourage" the Posse to stampede over to a site and the numbers jump to double digits, don't you think it affects the opinion of others in regards to the blog? So, if you wonder of the value of a blog, consider the value you bring as a reader.

marja said...

Jean, Carol and Sunny, All great comments. I sometimes wonder why anyone would want to read my thoughts on things, and then I remember the number of hits. Apparently I sometimes have something worthwhile to say. Who knew? And I'm continually reading the blogs of others, and I always learn something new.

WS Gager said...

Great post, Marja. Blogging is only as good as the material on it. You do a great job with your posts making them interesting and that gets people interested in your writing and kicking the tires so to speak. After that, it is easy to sell them the book.
Wendy
W.S. Gager
www.wsgager.com

marja said...

Wendy, I can only hope you're right. Hmm. Maybe I should do a blog about kicking tires. Just joking. Thank you for stopping in.

Marja

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Wow, Marja, I had no idea that your post elicited such a great response for my books.

I love blogging and I've always hoped they would intrigue folks enough to buy my books.

Remember, everyone, I love to host people on my personal blog, all you have to do is email me and we'll figure out a day. mmeredith@ocsnet.net

Marilyn

marja said...

Marilyn, Yes, your blog was a great example of what can happen when you write a great article. Keep up the good work.

Marja

Monti said...

If it does nothing else, a blog can connect you with new people who have similar interests. As a long-time newspaper feature writer, I enjoy the instant gratification of immediately seeing my words in print. For the newspaper printed page, a writer can be disappointed when another story moves in to take the slot you were scheduled to have that day.

Blogs are wonderful. Thank for your great article on the topic.

Monti
NotesAlongTheWay

marja said...

Thank you, Monti. And you're so right. I wrote a weekly column for a small town newspaper for a year, and loved seeing my writing in print. LOL The only thing is that they told me I talked too much and to shorten my articles. Oh well...

Jackie King said...

Interesting post, Marja. Lots of interesting things to think about.
Jackie

marja said...

Thanks for stopping in, Jackie. I sincerely hope that blogging gets our names and books out there.

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