I returned to another the other day and noticed that it had not changed in ages. Afterwards, I realized that seems too common: many author sites are (to me) just predictable promo tools – with of course links to books – usually maintained by some web company or IT guy/gal. Yes, there may be some “flash” graphics and other “eye candy”, etc., but overall they are static and can seem soulless.
Most have nothing like a daily/weekly blog. I love to read living blogs on author sites. I feel that (for me at least) regular blogging is a useful social media activity because I find social media is actually not very good to us authors.
Consider just the three best known platforms. For starters, Instagram is for photography, really. And, yes, a photo platform has its authoring uses…
View this post on Instagram
A famous cathedral in the distance, summer 1994.🇫🇷 I remember it being hot as well as sunny, which may be why I took this from under a tree.☀️😰😎 In those "olde" days, we also had to wait possibly *weeks* for photos to be developed😬, so I was thrilled when I eventually saw this one had come out pretty well.😊😂 . #tbt #throwbackthursday #throwbackphoto #travel #Paris #France #notredamedeparis #35mm #memories #humor #writers #authors #expats #tourism #photography
…but it does not exactly play to a writer’s strength. We are not, ourselves, normally much in front of a camera. We WRITE.
Then there is Twitter. Twitter is actually not a great platform either for writers precisely because it is so limiting. It is mostly for quick asides, short commentaries, and links elsewhere:
"...were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a go… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
R. J. Nello (@rjnellowriter) May 31, 2020
…and it has a massive downside: “the Twitter pile on” is a disgusting, bullying, unintended consequence of the platform. It is made possible by the nature of how tweets may be retweeted (unless it is a “private” account) throughout the “Twitter-verse” and tweeters having no control in advance of replies to their tweets. (Instagram, in contrast, does NOT allow repostings in the same way as Twitter “retweets” and allows a poster to disable comments before clicking post.)
Facebook is probably the closest major social media site to a blog. (I know there are others, like Tumblr, but FB is by far the largest.) Its biggest drawback is it is, well… Facebook. It has a Facebook template and you have little control over what the page looks like.
Much worse, in its unrelenting drive always to “grow” its user base, Facebook blurs privacy lines in ways we may not fully understand – until it is too late. I will always despise that platform for trashing my authoring effort at remaining pseudonymous when family/friend users whom I know under my REAL name at my personal FB account, and who also had INSTAGRAM accounts, were shown at their Instagrams my AUTHORING Instagram (Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 and SUPPOSEDLY operates separately) account as a suggested new follow. As I have no personal Instagram, there was no other even remote “connection” between us other than our personal Facebook accounts.
I would have revealed my writing to them eventually; but I wanted to be the one to do that. I had never allowed for possible “cross-platform-germination” between my real name account on Facebook and my authoring pseudonymous account on Instagram. I keep my authoring Facebook page only because it seems “required”: It is really just an extension of here; I publish nothing over there that is not here on my blog.
An independent web site such as this I feel puts the control with me, the author: photos, presentation, templates, content, comments and more. (In one dust up I had had with someone two years ago, I CHOSE to leave what I consider racist apologist comments up and I countered them so visitors could see I had done so, and then I CLOSED the comments to end “the discussion.” That sort of behavior from a commenter is very rare because I don’t have to put up with it on my own blog here and will not. If someone wants to push their garbage, they are free to do so on their own site; but I am under no requirement to allow their rubbish to go unchallenged on my own.)
Blogging is, as a writer, in micro, also what I do: WRITE. Blogging at some length several times a week is a helpful regular writing exercise. And blogging also may get an immediate visitors’ reaction, especially “likes” and maybe comments.
It also keeps me “connected” with readers and potential readers. A stream of updated and regular content on the blog is useful for me I feel to offer between new book releases. After all, full novels can take YEARS to write:
Even just a page like that one above can take days and even weeks to craft. (That there is STILL just a draft.) So the blog allows readers to know that as an author I have not vanished. A next book is just being written… quietly, day after day.
Posting regularly enforces also a degree of self-discipline too. From the blog to the manuscript has long been a regular routine for me. I post here and then often I write for a while after I post. One activity leads naturally, for me, into focusing on the next.
It is a freedom too. One day I might blog a tongue-in-cheek Hemingway-style letter such as I did Monday. Or I might choose to share published novel excerpts. Or I’ll touch on something else about writing. Or I’ll discuss a travel destination. Or I’ll delve into something personal that I consider relevant. The blogging possibilities are nearly endless.
And, above all, on my blog here potential readers get a glimpse of how I actually write, too.
Hope you are having a good day, wherever you may be reading (and perhaps writing) in the world. 🙂