Monday, April 18, 2011
As I approach my 300th post, a few thoughts about blogging are rattling around in my head on the subject of readership. I imagine that most writer-bloggers ponder these at some point, and now it's my turn. Who, exactly, is my audience? Are the people who read my blog actually going to be interested in my novel once it is published? Are the people who buy my book once it is published actually going to want to read my blog as well? Does it matter?
With non-fiction, it's a more obvious connection. Those authors have special and specific knowledge about a particular subject that can be the basis of their readership across a variety of platforms. Someone who writes about science can also blog and tweet about science, and the same demographic applies. It's all non-fiction.
But the non-fiction "voice" of an author is not the same as the fiction "voice" of a novel's narrator. Sure, a writer of comic novels may want to cultivate a comic tone in her blog, and a writer of middle-grade books will probably want to keep his blog PG-rated so that there is some overlap between the stories and the writer's online presence. But ultimately, the things I want to talk about may not have any appeal to my future readers, and vice versa. (Jody Hedlund covered these issues quite nicely in a blog post she wrote earlier this year.)
If I write about my path to publication, I'll naturally be attracting mostly other writers. Now, other fiction writers should obviously also be fiction readers*, but who knows if they read the kind of fiction I write. Will the fiction posts get lost in the shuffle of "regular" blog posts, making it too hard to find for the readers who do want it? Might putting my fiction on my blog (as I did here and here and sort of here) actually be confusing and unwanted for my regular blog readership? Because as much as I want people to read (and eventually buy) my fiction, I like blogging. I hope that my posts on the craft of writing have been genuinely helpful to people. I hope that people can save time when looking for their first agent because of resources I've provided.
I've decided that one blog cannot be all things to all people. So I've created a second, fiction-only blog. People who want to read my short stories can go there. People who want to hear my personal, struggling-writer's voice can stay here. I hope a lot of you fall into both categories, but it's cool if you don't.
Readers, WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE OF IN THIS BLOG? What have been your favorite posts so far? Tell me a little bit more about yourselves, so I know who my audience really is.
*If you're one of those people who thinks you can write a novel without reading extensively... you're wrong. Go watch So You Want To Write a Novel and then for the love of all that is holy go get a library card and start doing your homework.