Vague intentions and meta musings

I’ve always had this vague notion that by having a writing blog, I was somehow increasing my profile, both with potential readers and potential publishers. I wasn’t exactly sure how my pitiful average visitor numbers made that happen, but it made a kind of sense. Regardless, I would keep making my irregular posts even if I thought only one person was reading them, (you, of course). I guess in a way it is a lot like those paper journals I still keep. A type of personal-enrichment effort.

Still, if the blog got me the attention of the masses and then the riches flowed, I was not going to complain.

I’ve seen a few sites say that a writer ought to have a blog (along with a web page) to do the very things I mention above. Generally, though, I see these suggestions at sites for small publishers. I guess that makes sense. With zero dollars (or pounds or yen or euros) in their promotion budgets, a blog by one of their authors would be a way to increase profile and maybe affect sales. I’ve also seen talk that a blog allows a writer to connect with readers, which I guess also makes sense, but that seems like preaching to the choir to me. The faithful reader will be devoted to a writer’s blog, but that reader would have been devoted to the writer’s books anyway. I’m not sure how many new readers a blog generates. Sure, there are a lot of stories about this happening, but like so much anecdotal evidence, you have to be suspicious of it.

And I’m still looking for Philip Roth’s blog! Since I haven’t yet found it I suspect that the way a writer truly connects with readers is through the work, not through the ancillary stuff. A daily insight to the writer’s mind might be exactly the thing that would turn a reader away from a writer since it could destroy the illusion of the creative genius (which we all cultivate) typing away in a garret somewhere. A blogger who has written less-than-stellar fiction probably won’t sustain readers (and why would he want to?). And a writer whose fiction is much admired and respected really has no need for a blog to harvest more readers.

Of course one might keep a blog for other reasons: to discuss craft, to carry on a conversation, to explore some altogether different area of interest. But if you’re a private person, as I tend to be, those other motivations are even less motivating. I’m not comfortable spreading my personal life on the internet.

Curiously, that venerable writing tool Agent Query, lists bragging about your blog as one of the ways to achieve an “immediate reject” when submitting to an agent. You can find the link here (#5 at the bottom). A lackluster blog could be the reason a harried and overworked agent chooses to reject a submission (and given the capricious reasons I’ve seen agents give — on their blogs! — for rejecting submissions, this seems fully credible to me).

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One Comment on “Vague intentions and meta musings”

  1. Brian Keaney Says:

    I don’t believe it generates any readers.

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