I’ve had a couple of people ask me (or mention in a comment): “Are you going to continue your blog now that you’re published?” That’s a fair question that deserves a full answer because I’ve seen authors take both approaches.
Many authors—both traditionally published and self-published—continue to blog about writing or publishing advice after publication. But just as many authors stop blogging about anything other than release news tidbits for readers once they’re published.
Neither approach is wrong, and I remember years ago wondering how I’d handle my blog when that dreamed-upon publication date hit. And now here I am. *smile*
Even if we’re not at the point of publication, we might wonder if we need to change how we blog. At any time, we might ask ourselves if our current blogging style is working for us. Let’s explore how and why we might decide to change how we blog.
Do We Need to Change Our Blog?
We can use a simple four-step process to decide whether to continue on our current path or to change our style. (Note: “Change” might also include starting a blog if we’ve never had one before.)
Step One: Identify Our Original Blogging Goal
There are nearly as many reasons for why people blog as there are people who blog:
- Some blog to build a platform.
- Some blog to get an agent or editor’s attention.
- Some blog because they don’t know how else to reach others.
- Some blog to build a community.
- Some blog to share their writing or ideas.
- Some blog because they love to teach.
- Etc., etc.
If we’re facing the question of what to do after we publish, each of those reasons would come with a different attitude toward post-publication blogging.
Step Two: Decide If Changes to Our Situation Have Affected Our Blogging Goal
If our situation has changed since we first started blogging, such as becoming published, we might find that our original reasons and decisions for our choices no longer apply. Depending on our original blogging goal, our reason for blogging might no longer be relevant. In that case, we might stop blogging entirely, or we might blog only when we have relevant news.
Or maybe publication or other life circumstances have changed our blogging goals. Our new goals may or may not fit with our current blogging efforts.
Step Three: Examine Our Blogging Strengths and Weaknesses
If we’ve been blogging for a while, we’re probably more familiar with our blogging strengths and weaknesses than when we first started. So even if our goals stay the same, we might have better ideas about how to meet those goals now.
Step Four: If Necessary, Adjust Our Blog to Meet Our Goals
If our new status or our new goals have changed the purpose of our blog, we can change our blog to fit our new goal. Or if we’ve realized a different way to line up our blogging strengths with our goals, we might change our approach. Or if our goals haven’t changed and we’d already adjusted to our strengths, we can keep doing what we were doing.
We Might Want to Change Our Blogging Style When…
Let’s go through a couple of examples to see when it might make sense to change our blog after a major status change—publication. Many of these examples apply for other life changes as well.
- If we’ve blogged for the purpose of becoming published—such as to get the attention of an agent or editor—or for another specific purpose, we might not continue our blogging efforts after we reach our goal.
- If we’ve blogged to share our journey to publication, we might blog only about our books after we’re published because that’s what’s important on our journey now.
- If we’ve blogged just because we thought it was expected of us, we might look to quit blogging at the earliest opportunity.
- If we’ve blogged minimally before (or not at all) with the thought that no one would care about a pre-published author, we might increase our blogging efforts after we feel more relevant.
- If we decide we want our blog to appeal to readers, we might change our posts to be more reader focused.
- If we realize we have a weakness in meeting our current blogging schedule, we might change our blogging style to match a schedule that works with our strengths.
We Might Want to Keep Our Blogging Style When…
Now let’s consider some examples of when it might make sense to keep doing what we’ve been doing—no matter our publication status or any other major change.
- If we’ve blogged to share our writing, we might continue after publication and just add “buy links” to our excerpts.
- If we’ve blogged because we loved blogging, there’s no reason to stop or change.
- If we’ve blogged to teach others what we know, we might continue because that goal is still relevant.
- If we’ve blogged to build a platform or connect with the writing community, we might continue to expand our platform.
- If we’ve blogged within a social niche to connect with non-writers who might become our readers, we might already have the reader community we want.
- If we’ve already adjusted our blogging style to match our strengths, we might be comfortable continuing to do what we’re doing.
The Pros and Cons of Any Approach
There’s no “one right answer” for this question. After publication, some want to focus their blog on reaching their target market and hope to find readers who care enough about them to visit their website and follow their blog.
Others quit blogging after becoming published and use that reclaimed time to grow other areas of their career. And yet others continue despite the time and effort because they’re getting other (maybe intangible) benefits out of their blog.
Should I Blog after Publication? — My Thought Process
Realization #1: Author-Specific Reader-Focused Blogs Rarely Draw in Readers
Years ago, I watched an acquaintance in the blogging community try to spin her popular and respected writer-focused blog into a reader-focused blog when she became published. It didn’t work.
Debut authors don’t have thousands (or even hundreds) of dedicated fans, salivating for every morsel of “here’s how I came up with my characters” and subscribing to our reader-focused blog. We’re far more likely to reach readers if we go to where they already are, such as providing “tell me about your book” interviews on book-focused blogs.
Most fans want to receive a newsletter update letting them know of new releases, but they don’t want to have to stay up to date on every post of every blog of every author they like. Author-specific blogs for readers rarely work unless we’re a big name author or offer them something valuable in our posts, such as exclusive content, extremely humorous anecdotes, etc.
I’m a slow writer and I’m not sure a steady diet of humorous anecdotes is something I’m capable of (I generally find myself pretty boring *smile*). Those options didn’t connect with my strengths, so I decided that a reader-focused blog wasn’t a good fit for me.
Realization #2: I Like Sharing What I Learn
I’ve often said that I’m a teacher at heart, so while I occasionally grumble to myself about the amount of time blogging takes from my schedule (that’s entirely my own fault for writing such monster-long posts *smile*), I truly enjoy sharing my thoughts and insights into what I learn. That’s a strength of mine.
I saw no reason to change my blog to something that would ignore that strength and take away something I enjoy. We each have to know what we have passion for, and holding discussions here about writing and publishing and balancing our lives is something I feel passionate about.
Realization #3: Writing-Focused Blogs Are Good for Non-Fiction Work
Because of my teacher heart, I’d like to find the time…somewhere, somehow, sometime…to work on a book of writing advice. For that future potential project, having a blog filled with ideas for material and an audience of writers isn’t a bad thing. *smile*
Realization #4: The Writer Community Is My Online Home
But most of all, I feel like I belong here—in the writing community. I want to help writers in a “circle of life” paying-it-forward kind of way. I want to remain a useful member of this community.
I often talk about how grateful I am to all of you, and I really mean that. I love helping my writing friends just as much as I love writing fiction.
So yes, I plan on continuing my blogging. I’ll throw in new release announcements when appropriate, but my mix of (hopefully) helpful posts will continue as well. I’m not planning on giving this up anytime soon. Now if only I could figure out how to write shorter posts… *smile*
Have you ever wondered if you should change your blogging style? What triggered that thought and what did you decide? Have you seen authors change their blogging focus after they published? Did their plan work? Have you thought about your blogging goals from a pre- versus post-publication perspective? Do you disagree with any of my reasoning?Pin It