The NYTimes has an interesting article on authors who also blog, but before I get into it, let me point you to Julana’s good quote and recommendation on writing. Many of us lead “humble and uneventful” lives, and we need communities in whatever way they can be formed to share them with each other.
NYTimes reporter Tania Ralli quotes the same reason I’ve heard from other writers on the joys of blogging. “It is very satisfying to write something and get an immediate response to it,” said John Battelle, who calculated that last year he wrote 74,000 words for his book, and 125,000 words on his blog. “It is less satisfying to write a chapter and let it sit on the shelf for six months.”
Too much feedback can overwhelm some authors, but if blogging builds trust in readers, I think it’s worth the trouble. Still, there’s more to blogging for published authors:
Authors who have experimented with blogging in this way – and there are still only a handful – say they hope to create a sense of community around their work and to keep fans informed when a new book is percolating. The novelist Aaron Hamburger used his blog to write about research techniques he employed to set his coming book in Berlin. Poppy Z. Brite, another novelist, has written about her characters on her blog as though they have a life of their own, not just the one springing from her imagination.
Blogging on the characters in a book? That’s cool. It’s back-story and instant sequel combined. Boundless opportunities for historic fiction, in which a writer may not believe he can include several great points of research in the story but can blog them.
Do blogs sell books? The article says it’s too early to say, but columnist James Watkins believes blogs are meant to sell books, in part. Number 4 on his “Top Ten Column-writing Secrets Revealed,” is shameless self-promotion. “I’m not above using excerpts from my 14 books for columns, and then shamelessly mentioning that they are available at www.amazon.com. And if you have a Web site with your best (?) columns archived, you can make references to it through out the entire column.”