Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When Stopping the Blog Won't Hurt the Book Sales

A dear friend I've never met but have come to love through social media is leaving her blog for personal reasons. She's not alone in this. Others have made similar announcements. Writers often start blogging as a way to promote their books, and then find that it takes more time than they have to give.

My friend started hers after her book was accepted for publication. It worked for her.

 In the Mirror: A Memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Carbine Best has been out a year and still selling well, consistently showing up on Amazon bestseller lists, especially "Memoirs and Biographies" and "Marriage." Ann's social media efforts got her book off to a good start. Now it sells well regardless of her online marketing efforts.  At this point, stopping her blog probably won't affect sales of her memoir.

There's no question that a strong social media presence can help jump start one's book with online sales. Is it enough to sustain best-selling status? I don't think so. Eventually, the book has to find an audience outside one's blog followers. Once it does, the writer can focus more on getting the next one written and less on promotion.

Ann is at this enviable position with her memoir. Although I'll miss my online association with her, I'm glad that her book is at a place where it doesn't need a blog to sell.



36 comments:

  1. Blogging becomes a chore if you don't find it fun - irrespective of the need to sell a book. If it's nothing but a marketing took then it must be impossible to carry on finding original or interesting or amusing things to write about. The best of luck to your friend - I'm sure she'll find other ways to keep in touch with people who have come to care about her.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Karen - I read Ann's post - and can quite see why .. she is one amazing woman and deserves some fortune in her life. I'm so pleased she's got some help for her daughter and that will give them both some free time ..

    Especially if we give her the odd plug occasionally - her book and future books, as I'm sure she'll write some more, will gain momentum.

    Cheers to you .. Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  3. It sounds like your friend, Ann, is doing well. Yes, blogging is definitely a way to promote yourself and your books, but you should still have time as a writer, to work on producing more manuscripts. If blogging interferes, then it's time to cut back.

    On another note, I think blogging helps writers practice their writing skills. As one friend once told me, writers should write three things: something that puts food on the table (writing for magazines), writing for social media (like blogging), and writing what you want to write (manuscripts).

    ReplyDelete
  4. First, I guess it's comforting to know blogging might actually translate to sells. :)

    Second, if blogging is choking out your writing time, it's probably time to cut bait. I think most of us start blogging as a means for exposure for current or future projects. It then becomes much more (as you indicated, we make friends). I think the key is finding balance.

    For instance, I had to scale back my blogging/follower aspirations as I realized I just wasn't going to put in the time it would take to build that level of following. Now I have a comfy core group of folks I love to interact with, pick up a few new folks here and there, and generally have a great time doing it.

    Great thing about blogging is the flexibility. You'll find people who fit your style, pacing, etc. no matter what. I guess we just have be happy with the results? Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think blogging for the purpose of promotion is kinda stupid. People should blog to blog. That's why I do it. If people buy my books as a result that's just a bonus. I like getting feedback from people and all the thoughts running around in my head.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How wonderful for her ! looks like a good read as well. Blogging is WORK and only those who do it full time understand the committment. I am blessed to have so many topics for mine, our farm, my soaping, my writing. It keeps me interested and hopefully my followers as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I started my blog to build my platform and have stayed for the friendships. My online activity has kept interest in my books going, but I will cut back some here starting next week to write my final book.
    And since eBooks require an online presence, part of blogging (or any social media) IS promotion. It's when it becomes ALL that blog is about that becomes a problem. And I've stopped visiting several authors who talk about nothing but their books.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I never started blogging for promotion. When I started - I had nothing to promote. I did it as sort of a... live journal I thought no one would ever read.

    It is a lot of work and I will definitely have to slow down.

    I will miss Ann and I am thrilled for her success.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I suppose in the end it comes down to how much you enjoy your blog. I love mine at the moment, because of the friendship and support I'm building. Although I mention my book, I'm not sure whether it's made much of a difference to sales, but I don't think that's what a blog should be about.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm really missing Ann in blogworld! :-(

    Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so sad Ann is leaving blogging but I respect her decision and am so grateful her book is doing so well on its own merits.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ann is such a kind and wonderful person. But it is amazing (for her) that she has reached that place in her publishing process. She will definitely be missed.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Blogging has always been a low priority for me. I do it because I enjoy the interaction and support, but if I have nothing to say, I don't say it.

    I wish Ann well.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think I enjoy blogging almost as much as I enjoy writing. I also think that the more I write the better I get and blogging counts so...

    I'm sorry to see Ann go.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I wish Ann all the best. She's a gifted writer, so I suspect in time we'll see her come back to blogging. She's always been kind and wise.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have had to cut back on the number of posts on my blog, so that I can finish my cookbook, but some people just don't understand. Congrats to Ann on the success of her book!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congrats to Ann. I also went away from blogging for about a year to focus on a WIP. Blogging can be time consuming.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was sorry to hear that Ann's stepping away for now, but under the circumstances, I can't say that I blame her.

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is so great for her! It is a tough balance. Blogging, and all the rest of the social media markets, is more time consuming that I had expected. But building toward something keeps me motivated.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Aww! I'm sorry to hear that Ann is stepping away from blogging, but that's awesome news about her memoir!

    ReplyDelete
  21. When blogging doesn't re-charge the writerly batteries, but begins to drains them- it should be left behind.
    I never thought blogging sells books. But it can be good for a writer.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I so understand Ann's decision. I find that I love blogging and my blogger friends, but now I'm writing stories so much less than I did before I started in this social media whirlwind. Here's to her success.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I met Ann at last year's A to Z Challenge and I have treasured her friendship, read her book, felt her concern for her daughter, and yes, felt like a friend. I will miss her, but I am glad she announced her decision to stop blogging. I walk around with nagging concerns about some bloggers I truly cared for, who just one day stopped. Or did something happen to them.....?

    ReplyDelete
  24. In many ways I can understand Ann's decision, I've noticed a lot of my time gets spent blogging, tweeting, visiting blogs when I probably should be writing. I'm too selfish to give up my blogging, I really love my blog :)

    What I am doing is re-prioritising my time and blogging less. I now feel for me once or maybe occasionally twice a week is plenty. Besides, leaving your blog post up a bit longer gives more people the opportunity to visit it. I'm also taking more time to get around to other blogs. Basically I'm forgiving myself for not getting everything done by my previously strict deadlines. I hope Ann keeps well and she can always come back if she gets lonely offline :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think it's a fine balance to be found. Sure, books need promotion, but the thing that will really make them sell is by being brilliant. And you have to find the time to write brilliantly.

    BTW there's a blog award waiting over at my blog for you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'll miss Ann, too. Though I'm not published yet, since I've come back from vacation I've found that catching up with blogging is really taking time away from editing. So I've cut down to two days a week!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's hard to tell how much my blog has helped sell my fiction. I'm thinking that from a pure monetary standpoint it isn't worth the time I put into it. On the other hand, I enjoy blogging and it's always good to have some more visibility. I make sure to write 1,000 words of fiction minimum per weekday so at least blogging isn't acting as an excuse for not writing my books. I've seen authors do that!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Blogging can be a powerful marketing tool alright.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow. Best seller list. She must write beautifully to sustain sales.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I too will miss Ann in the blog world but I know just how time consuming it is to write and maintain a blog. But then that's the beauty of running our own blog, we can take a break from it when we need to and hopefully come back again when the time is right.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Time is important and time away from what you really love to do does dilute your writing energy. How wonderful to have the choice.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow. Wouldn't you say this helps people enjoy what they're doing more? Knowing it isn't that of a chore, but that of a fun way to connect with others.

    I know several people who are bestsellers and don't even touch a blog. Some people just have different ways to dedicate their time.

    I'd have trouble letting mine go!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Blogging and social networking does suck up a lot of time. I guess its important to find a balance but it's good to know that it does make a difference in eventual book sales! Hope your friend is doing well!

    ReplyDelete
  34. If you're blogging just to sell books, you shouldn't be blogging, because it *will* become a chore. Also, it's not fair to your blog readers to not be invested in what you're doing.

    Precious Monsters

    ReplyDelete
  35. Blogging can take up so much time! I started out blogging every day. I now blog three days a week. So far, that's manageable.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Blogging does take up a lot of my time. I understand when people have to step back from it.

    ReplyDelete