Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Has blogging lost it's sparkle?

by: Joelle Charbonneau

In the last year, I’ve heard people starting to call into question the relevance of blogs.  Years ago, and I’m not talking all that many years ago, blogs were fresh and different.  Only a couple of authors blogged.  The novelty of that daily or weekly contact with a favorite author made those blogs must-reads for a lot of fans.  The popularity of those blogs made blogging the ‘it’ thing to do.  Suddenly, all authors needed to blog.  Publishers, editors, public relations and marketing folk and agents all embraced blogging as the new, surefire way for an author to gain a following.  It’s easy to understand why.  In the good old days-AKA early 2000s and all the years before-readers had to go to an author event to connect on a personal level with their favorite authors.  Travel gets expensive, so it is no wonder writers and their publishing teams embraced the lower cost, longer reaching arm that blogging provided.

Yay for technology.

Or not. 

Fast forward to the here and now.  The internet has grown exponentially in the past decade.  Almost every business has a web presence and a large percentage of authors blog on places on the web like (but not near as fun as) this one.  Where blogging was once a unique, never before chance to glimpse into an author’s life, it has become more an expected commodity.  “Oh.  You’re an author.  What blog are you on?” is something I heard more than once at BEA last week. 

Blogging is expected.  However, knowing that the question has to be asked—because there are so many blogs out there, has blogging lots its effectiveness?

I admit that I love blogging here at the Stiletto Gang!  The ladies not only allow me (the girl who never wears stilettos) to play, but are incredibly supportive.  So, I know that my reasons for blogging are less about promotion and more about community and fun.  But it would be great to know your reasons for reading and or writing blogs. 

Do you seek out new blogs and actively comment on them?  Do you only comment on blogs that you know and feel comfortable with?  Are you like me who lurks a lot and doesn’t comment, but loves reading about what my friends are up to?  Or do you think that blogs have gotten lost in the glut of content that is available online?  What new and fresh things should authors be doing in order to keep their blogs relevant to readers?

We may not solve the problems of world peace here at the Stiletto Gang, but maybe we’ll come up with a new way to cut through the noise that is the internet and connect with each other on an even better level!


  1. The answer to your question is that it's not new anymore. I love reading blogs and writing them. For myself, reading them can be a bit like peeking into someone's diary, for me on my own blog, I think it's a bit like keeping a journal. I write about anything that crosses my mind (do that here too), post reviews and author interviews, tell what I've been up to, just no politics.

    One of my publishers checks to see if someone who queries has a blog and it could be a deciding factor as to whether that person's book is looked at or not.

  2. I blame the decline of blogging being relevant on Facebook and other social media. I'll post a link to my blog on FB but people won't comment on the blog but may hit the like button on FB. That may or not mean they actually read it. People are lazy - lol!

  3. I follow a Few Blogs..But not any Bloggers That are Paid to Review..Except 2..Because I trust their Honesty..But Do Like Blogs Like Yours with Author Chat/Books..And Blogging is a Good Way for People to not feel so Lonely out here..What Amazes me is All The Work Bloggers do to Make their Pages so Beautiful and interesting...I won't like a Blog unless I have read it..A Fun Blog for Moms @scarymommy.Just wrote her first Book..She Knows and is Smart and Hilarious..Author Jill Smokler Author Have a Look.....Was Sent Here By Steve W.. :)

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  5. I'm a reader that blogs. My blog mostly tracks my reading and (on a good day) sparks some book conversation - something I find difficult to have IRL (despite working in a library - how ridiculous is that?).

    As for reading other blogs (both author blogs and other reader blogs) I'll skim through my "reading list" on blogger and stop at any posts that look interesting. Then I check on some of my staple/regular blogs to see what is new either with the blogger in question or the genres the blog addresses.

    Commenting is an entirely different issue. That depends on if I have something to say, and if I feel brave enough to actually post said thoughts/opinions.

    Blogging isn't irrelevant to me, but I'm not a big enough player to have a say in the overall trends.

  6. I agree with Kathy. I'm not sure it's laziness that's the motivation for commenting off-blog, though. I think people especially other authors—not only want to check out other authors' blogs, but also want to "be seen reading" those blogs. For this, they would rather comment in more open social media locations such as FB, Twitter, or the loops on which the links were originally posted. That way their comment contributes to their social media profile.

    As an author seeking publication I know that blogging is a great way to raise awareness about your writing, but there is so little time. Mine is a memoir-type blog but it seems the same number of people read it whether I post or not so it's hard to get motivated to spend time on it. A better blog theme that would draw more readers continues to elude me.

    I think group blogging is the way to go, Joelle, even though some great ones have folded due to declining readership (Lipstick Chronicles and Working Stiffs come to mind). I'm currently on The Blood-Red Pencil. FYI: I came to this one because you tweeted it, I like you, and it sounded interesting. :)

  7. I think it is great that you brought this topic up. I am not an author, I am a reader, and I do have a blog (although due to health issues I am not active with it at the moment). I think the sheer number of blogs has a lot to do with them becoming less relevant. I can't possibly read all the ones I want to in a day, nor comment on every post, or it is all I would be doing every day!! That said, it is nice to have a way to connect with your favorite authors, especially since book tours only hit so many places.

    I have noticed that some authors that I like aren't posting on their blogs, or do so very infrequently. Eventually I stop following because it is too much effort to keep checking in to see in they finally came back!

    I think as with all blogs, you have to post fairly regularly, you have to have great content that keeps people coming back, and it really helps if you respond back to people who comment. I know if leave a comment and feel ignored I am less likely to comment there again and if it happens more than once I am less likely to follow the blog at all. The idea of blogs is that you can have a conversation, not just be preached at. I don't need a lot of gimmicks or promotions to draw me in, just give me good content and a little attention and I am yours for life. . . LOL!

    I like that all of you have different writing styles, different lives and experiences and that you write about all of it, not JUST your books. It makes me feel like I get to know you as people, not just as "authors".

    Thanks for listening to my point of view and for asking what we all think.

  8. Ok - this is all really interesting! I think with all the "noise" on the internet it is hard to cut through. Social media has added a great deal of that noise, but clearly some people drop by here due to social media. (*Waving and Kathryn and Susan here.) Funny, but I have noticed that when I post a link and topic to a blog post to Facebook, I find that many people will comment there instead of here and from their comments it is clear they read the entire post.

    Maureen - I do think you are right and that frequency of blogging is important. So, does reading certain blogs become a habit to you because of that frequency? Is it something that is part of your daily routine, or are blogs the things you read when you find yourself with a little extra time?

  9. Joelle,

    Great topic! I blog and try to post at least two times a week on my own blog. I also blog on Saturdays for a group blog, Writers Who Kill. Out of loyalty, I feel I have to check WWK each day. I always check Jungle Red Writers each day because they're my friends and they've had me on there several times. That, check Twitter real quick and email. Then, I do my own work. In mid-afternoon, if things are going fairly well, I'll stop and run down the list of my other favorite blogs to see if any topics catch my eye (like this one did). If so, I'll read one or two blogs. but that's all I can do in a day without eating into my own writing time. On a day when I unexpectedly have extra time, I may indulge in reading several of my favorite blogs.

    I see that lots of folks will comment on a blog post at the link on Facebook or Twitter. And yes, it's pretty clear that they read the whole post. In part, I think they feel more comfortable commenting on FB because they're already there. The blog community can seem formidable to some.

  10. I think blogging may have lost its sparkle for the authors who may well be overwhelmed the different demands on their time. For me, the blogs you all write are a gift. I'm seventy with indifferent health. I wouldn't be able to go to a "con," but I enjoy hearing about you and your activities, and interact when possible. it also keeps my reading list miles long :)