Oh, don’t worry, readers. I’m not going to abandon you, so no need for tears. Clearly, blogging is worth it for us here at DGLM, and I’ll explain why in a bit.
Earlier this week, I was intrigued by this blog post from author Livia Blackburne (via Galleycat). In it, she wrote about the major issue that blogging authors have: they often wind up writing not for their readers, but for other writers. It’s a great community to become a part of, but I’ll be honest, it’s not exactly what agents and publishers had in mind when we so fervently recommended that every author needed to be blogging. In fact, if you’ve heard me speak at a conference in the past year, you’ve probably heard me talk about authors finding the right ways to promote their books online–and I’ve suggested that most authors not blog. If your posts are only going to reach other authors, I honestly don’t think it’s worth the time to maintain a blog, since that time could be spent doing something more effective to either reach readers or create something new. It’s all about audience, and authors often lose sight of exactly who that is.
But Livia took things one step further in a follow-up post, suggesting ways in which authors might actually reach out to their readers directly. She even references a DGLM client who has done an amazing job of developing an audience all on his own, John Locke. Early on, he figured out who his reader was, going so far as to create a psychological profile, and then crafted blog posts to appeal to that reader. It may seem calculated, but it’s smart. (And, for anyone writing commercial fiction, it’s important that your books appeal to that same reader, though that’s for another blog post!) For those of you writing fiction and blogging, I suggest it’s something that you very seriously ponder.
So, back to us. We actually thought about our audience when we retooled our blog a while back. We discussed who our readers were: aspiring authors, clients, and a smattering of other people. We now focus our blog posts to appeal to those groups, which has raised our blogging profile. We’ve got a more cohesive, more appealing product. We’ve improved our reach by understanding our audience.
For those of you that blog, have you thought about audience? Are you building a blog following by reaching out to your readers?