The Anchor

Yesterday I saw something online that made me recall an author “chum,” which then led me to recall I had seen nothing new posted from him in seemingly ages. I clicked over to his web site and there saw yet another “dormant” author blog. No explanation from him for his sudden long-term silence and inactivity is offered – as if his site has essentially been “abandoned,” but not deleted.

That is not all that unusual, though. Sitting here in mid-2022, nearly every author I can remember blogging “alongside” back in early 2014 (not long after I started this site) stopped being active, or they even just pulled down their sites without an explanation, years ago. All of them, of course, doubtless had their own reasons for behaving as they did (I can recall at least two young women writers who, for example, became mothers), yet I suspect at least some apparently gave up due to frustation because they had not understood that an author site is usually a slow build and requires a “personal endurance” to maintain it.

No book, no matter how good, will be read if potential readers do not even know it exists. And how do we find most products – including books – now? Through the internet, of course.

[Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com.]

On the net, I behave probably much the same way you do. I visit social media and web sites I follow that post regularly and where I signed up to receive notifications. If they post predictably they become a “habit” for me, whereas if one – not just an author one – ceases posting with regularity I tend to drift away and develop new follows and new visiting “habits.”

I know for a fact that I would not have reached even a small fraction of the readers I have over the last decade had it not been for maintaining this site regularly. For me, this active web site is my “display window” that has links to everything I write and also displays to readers through my regular postings that I AM active. (By “active” for a web site, I mean it is updated at least once or twice a month. I try, as you may know, to post a minimum of once a week.) I never know who is going to be “searching” today for a new book, finds me here for the first time, and when they do the last thing I want is the first thing they notice to be that I have not posted anything new recently.

Like that “vanished” author I wrote about in the opening paragraph, I have lost count of the number of author sites I have visited over the years – often through Instagram or Twitter profile links – to see the copyright date is “two years old” and even a blog that has not been updated in six months or more. They are then basically really “dead” sites, for a visitor having been there once, and maybe having returned a second time just to make sure and seeing nothing had changed, do they need to go back a third or more? Visitors quickly get the hint and move off to actually “active” places elsewhere on the net.

[Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com.]

And because I have an “active” site, I do not see the point to an author “newsletter.”

One author I know emails a newsletter every two months or so. Whenever I receive it, I wonder: Why is she bothering? Reading each I always find myself thinking she could have written what is in it in perhaps several blog posts. Moreover a “newsletter” is a “one-way” conversation in which one talks AT people: they cannot “like” any of it or offer a comment.

I presume she saw somewhere, or someone told her, that newsletters are “required.” Yet web followers/readers who are interested can sign up for new blog post updates, so there is no need to have both an “active” blog and a newsletter since the content is likely mostly to overlap. I don’t see the value in a newsletter unless an author does not want to update a blog or web site very often, but is willing to put out a newsletter “once a month” or so.

[Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com.]

Regardless every author now has to have a public “personality” and even a “brand” – and how you project yourself and your writings are major ways to “create” such. Knowing well by now who I am as a writer, and what I write about, and making both plain on here, has helped I believe gradually to attract me a reading audience (sophisticated, refined, and exceedingly clever people, of course 😉 ) largely in line with that. Above all, I have come to believe after nearly a decade of doing this that to best “connect” with readers and potential readers, an author – a new one, in particular – has to have an “active” web presence (other than on increasingly problematic “social media” platforms like Instagram and Twitter) and nothing provides that better than “the anchor” that is your own web site and/or blog.

Incidentally, so you know, whenever I do “close up shop” here (I do not plan to soon, but nothing lasts forever, we also know) and if I am in control of my situation, I would certainly put up an “out of business” post as my final one.

Anyway, have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

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