I have been involved in a Facebook discussion on authors and blogging recently. While I am an obsessive blogger, myself, I don't think it is a necessity for writers. There are far more writer and literary blogs than there are readers to read them, and few people can follow and read any one blog on a regular basis. I think writers are much better off using their time to create and maintain (that means periodically update, people) a traditional, static website where potential readers can quickly and easily find information about them, what kind of writing they do, and where they can find it. That kind of information is often lost in a blog, which should be generating new material regularly. The most recent blog posts may not contain the info seekers are looking for.
In our Facebook discussion, a question arose on how writers can share their work and generate interest in it without blogging. Well, you know me. I have some thoughts on that. I think, therefore I blog.
Be Careful What Work You Share
Writers need to be very careful about "sharing" new work at a website or blog, even their own, because many journals and potential markets consider what they've posted as "published." Those markets, and there are many of them like this, won't consider that work for publication. It's now "previously published," and many places don't accept that kind of work. It doesn't matter how low your readership is, the material is, or at one time was, available to the public.
I never publish my essays and short stories here or at my website, because I want the option of being able to submit them elsewhere. While I was taking part in FlashNaNo2020 last month, I wouldn't even post any of my work at the group's Facebook page, in case doing so meant I'd lost the option to submit it elsewhere.
I write frequently here about a number of subjects--blogging and time management, for instance--that I might someday want to write something on and submit somewhere. However, I don't expect to be able to publish anything I've posted here as is. I would need to do updating, rewriting, and maybe some new research. I would need to come up with new "original content."
Then How Do You Generate Interest In Your Work?
Well, I haven't made a new book sale in over--well, in quite some time. Clearly, I'm not the one to be giving advice on how to generate interest in your writing work. Not to worry. That won't stop me.
Three things you can try:
- Submit your work to appropriate journals/markets. If you get something published, share that on any social media you're part of.
- Make good use of social media. I have my Tweetdeck set up with columns that show me tweets from editors and publications I follow. That's how I learned one of those publications is open to submissions of flash fiction this month, and I just happen to have something to send it. (Here is my second post on how to use Tweetdeck.) I'm a member of Facebook groups related to types of writing I do, such as essays and flash fiction. I could be more active in those, but membership in the essay group led me to submitting a flash memoir to Bending Genres, which eventually published it in its anthology. That got me into print again.
- Help other writers by sharing their news on social media. For years before the pandemic, I did the Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar here at this blog. After publishing the calendar, I'd share it over and over again on Twitter, each calendar event getting a tweet. I shared it on Facebook. I got some attention within the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for that work. Since the pandemic started and public appearances have ended, I've been doing monthly childlit book release posts and tweeting them. Those posts draw the most traffic to my blog these days, meaning they're promoting me, if not my actual work.
- Helping other writers when you don't have a blog. On Twitter? Follow writers you know and writers who write your kind of work. Retweet their tweets on new publications, awards, etc. On Facebook? Do the same, but share their info instead of retweeting. You don't have to say anything. You don't have to gush about books you haven't read. You're helping these people to extend their reach. It helps you, too, because it gets your Twitter and Facebook info out into the social media streams.
While thinking about the Facebook discussion I was part of, I searched Original Content to see what I'd covered on this subject in the past. Here are links to more of Gail's thoughts on blogging than you will want to be privy to. Some of these posts go back a while, so some links may not be working. My own words, of course, are timeless.
- 6/5/16 The Weekend Writer: Blogging For Writers
- 3/12/16 Time Management Tuesday: More On Content Marketing For Writers
- 3/8/15 NESCBWI: Marketing Your Brand
- 10/3/14 Promo Friday: To Blog Or Not To Blog
- 3/21/14 Are Bloggers Blogging All Wrong?
- 1/6/14 The Function Of Blogging
- 11/13/13 Writers, Check Out Kidlitcon Recaps