Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Decision to Start a Blog

The proliferation of blogs is amazing. From agents to editors to almost every published author it seems new blogs are popping up daily. So it’s not surprising to note that lately I’ve been having regular discussions with my clients about the necessity of a blog and what it means to start one.

A blog is a commitment, and it can be a big one. Therefore it’s not surprising that the decision to start a BookEnds blog was not taken lightly and was something we carefully discussed in numerous meetings for at least two months. I was, obviously, the biggest advocate of a blog and pushed for it the hardest. Because of that, I’m really the one responsible for keeping it going.

Among the many things we considered in our discussions, and things I think everyone should consider before committing to a blog, especially one meant to further a fan base and build a career, were:

Whether or not we had the time to post daily. For a blog to work it needs to be kept up. Readers have short attention spans and won’t continue checking in when there’s nothing to check in for.

Whether or not there was any purpose to a blog. Would people really read it? Do people really care what we have to say and do they really have the time to become regular readers?

Whether we had enough to say. A blog is a huge commitment, and is it really possible for me to come up with content every day, year after year? At this point I still have no idea and know that I’ve already regurgitated material, and will continue to do so. I only hope that at least 80 percent of what I’m writing is fresh.

While I’m still not sure I have the answers to all of these questions, in the end my desire to enter this world won out. My argument to start a blog is twofold. The first reason is that I’m not committing to nearly as many conferences as I have in the past, yet I still want to be able to give writers the information I think they can benefit from. By writing the blog I can hopefully provide that behind-the-scenes look that will help writers in their careers. The second reason is that it’s a promotional tool for BookEnds and our clients. Hopefully you are getting to know me a little better and the submissions I receive will reflect that. I also hope that by posting author interviews you can see what some of our clients have been through to get where they are and maybe even pick up a new book or two.

Tune in tomorrow for a discussion on what a blog should be once you’ve made the decision to have one.

—Jessica

12 comments:

Leo said...

I agree.
Even though I'm not published, yet, I see the importance of connecting with readers.
It's a view into my thoughts and my life...and I know I appreciate it when an author I respect shares with me.

Maria said...

Your blog is GREAT. I much prefer an agent blog to meeting a agent at conferences (not that I don't want to meet them, you understand.) The blog almost allows a lengthy one-one conversation. It also answers questions I haven't thought of. It definitely lets me get to know the agent, the agent's preferences, something of the agent's ethics and personality/tone.

Agent blogs have really cleared up a lot of myths. They have helped me understand the importance of a query letter. They have taught me how the industry works and how it has changed and is changing.

I also really appreciate any agent that uses the blog to advertise client work. It's a great opportunity and not to be missed (btw, could you link the picture of the book to amazon or somewhere where the book can be purchased? I tried to purchase one the other day and found that I had to remember the name, go to amazon..etc) I'd also love to see a bigger picture of the book. :>) Maybe I need a bigger monitor...

Thanks for doing the blog and for taking the time to post every day.

Amy said...

My writers' group recently started a blog about, you guessed it, how to manage a successful writers' group. It does take time and care to maintain, but it can also lead to wonderful connections within the writing community -- and serve as a conduit to discovering great new blogs.

In fact, the topic of your blog came up last night at our meeting and we all agreed BookEnds is fantastic. Thanks for making the effort.

Anonymous said...

I agree - originally when I started my blog, it was about my winnings and writings and now it has expanded into a little bit more to include family accomplishments and the like. I don't post every day but it's okay - I'm not in it for the fame and fortune - just a place to put some thoughts or good news to share with others -

One thing anyone who has a blog and wants to promote themselves without too much trouble should do is put their blog address in their signature line on emails. Any website you have - it is easy to set up a signature line to include all your websites, your blogs, et cetera- something as simple as seeing a link in an email message tends to attract attention - I've connected with someone in Australia because her blog link was in an email sent to me by a friend - it was there and I've made comments on her blog postings quite often. I try to make comments on my friend's blogs and other blogs that I have marked to check out every day -

I thank you guys for starting this blog as I have met Jacky and think this site is a good one - E :)

Kate Douglas said...

The BookEnds Blog is probably the most informative one going right now! I'm glad you made the decision to do it, as I know it's a huge commitment. I know I don't have time to make daily posts to a blog, but I find that being a member of a blogging group gives me the opportunity to stand on a soapbox when the occasion calls for it, w/o the responsibility of success or failure on my shoulders alone. I participate in one with Aphrodisia authors as well as another with a group of "Red Hot Romance" authors in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's enough to give me my blogging fix!

Zany Mom said...

I have a personal blog and a professional blog (which is anonymous on purpose). I haven't started a blog about my writing yet, because, well, I just haven't.

Do personal and professional blogs count?

Liz Wolfe said...

Great topic, Jessica! I've been weighing the pros and cons of blogging for a long time.
Liz Wolfe

BookEnds, LLC said...

Maria:

Great idea! I'm putting my web designer on it now.

thanks

--jessica

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes...the "I must post at least every other day" feeling...

I do try to post at least every other day. I've noticed I get the most comments on that schedule, as opposed to every day. But I plan to start stepping up production soon.

I too love this blog. Very informative and fun.

Nicole Reising said...

I just want to say 'Thanks for blogging'.

When I started looking at agents my biggest thing no matter where I looked was... ok, they sound basically the same... how am I to know who will more likely than not make a great fit with me? Now I realize reading a person's blog does NOT tell us everything or GUARANTEE us anything... but it does give us a little insight as to their personalities and I've found it an invaluable tool towards this end.

Thanks!
Cole

Bernita said...

Blogs ARE work.
They are also excellent practice in articulation and exploration of ideas - especially if one gets feed-back from other bloggers.

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