If anyone wants a quick education in how writers should market themselves online, go to this post. But it's not the post, it's the comments. When I posed the questions, my awesome, amazing and incredibly good-looking followers gave over fifty intelligent, well-thought out opinions on the conundrum of online promotion.
Seriously, whatever marketing answers you need are in these comments. I've pondered them at length and have finally made my peace with marketing.
It's my blog and if I want to talk about my books, my writing, my editor, my publisher, my pet projects like Celery Tree or the maple trees I planted last summer, then I can and I will. However, I like to consider your feelings. After two and a half years, I've got a pretty good idea of what you like and what you don't, so I try to respect that.
My author website contains plenty of information about my books, so I don't need to use my blog for that purpose. It simplifies things, and I like the arrangement--having my website for my book information and my blog for random whatever. I maintain the Celery Tree blog but this one gets the most traffic, so I'll occasionally write a post here featuring Celery Tree. Why should anyone care if I do that?
I'm involved with day to day operations with WiDo Publishing, and from time to time I post about publishing/editing/submitting information. I think writers enjoy those kinds of posts. Not that I'm promoting WiDo. A publishing company doesn't really need to be promoted. Submissions pour in just by the fact of its existence.
I no longer believe that blogging sells books. WiDo has authors who blog endlessly and others who don't at all. People buy what they want to read whether the author is blogging or not. It's more the cover, title, genre, quality, themes and story that sell a particular book, not the writer's online presence. I'm not saying blogging hurts, unless the blogger comes across as a big jerk, and it MAY help, but it certainly is no guarantee! It may not even be necessary.
This relieves a huge amount of pressure. I can now blog for fun and enjoyment and camaraderie rather than for promotional purposes. I've worked hard to develop an online presence and have benefited in countless ways, but selling books isn't top on the list.
Really, the way to sell books is to write the absolute best books you can write. And then write some more and more. I believe this with all my heart. One of these days, I'll write a novel that shoots to the bestseller lists and stays there for a really really long time. And it won't have anything to do with my online presence. It will be simply because I happened to write something that resonated with a whole bunch of readers and the word spreads and the rest is history. Or rather the future. Because it hasn't happened yet. But when it does, it will be about the writing not about the marketing.
Have you made your peace with marketing?