Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Blogging Worthwhile?

When I first began blogging in May I had several reservations/questions, including:

  • Could this could end up being a big time suck?
  • Will I run out of things to say and then find it a chore to write?
  • Am I too late?  What’s left to add to the public conversation?
  • What exactly do I want to say and how will I say it?
  • Can I really help others?

Now, nearly a hundred posts later, I have some of the same concerns but to a lesser degree.  I know that it does take time to write, edit, post, and Tweet about the posts, but I find it’s a worthwhile endeavor. It gives me a venue to express myself, and a platform to grow on.  I’m becoming the expert people expect me to be.

I have no fear of running out of things to say.  That could only happen if I no longer am curious, if I no longer read or research things, if I no longer experience new things or if I no longer am successful at promoting and marketing.  There are many things to say, not enough time to say them all.

The online conversation is fluid.  It keeps changing with the times. There may be repetition and overlap at times but over time, new ideas, strategies, theories, and success stories come to be and they are worth sharing with others, so author-writer blogger, don’t ever think you don’t have something new, useful or interesting to say, and don’t assume others said it already.

In the end, blogging will be of value to me if it nets me clients and if it helps showcase me as a thought leader in the book publishing community.  I love bathing in words and feasting on new ideas.  I know others do too.

I think authors should have the right not to blog and yet as publicists and marketers we tell them they must blog.  Blogging connects authors to their potential readers (customers) and it comes in handy when you want to execute a social media strategy involving tweeting, video posting, Facebooking, etc.  People will judge an author, to a degree, not just by the quality of their writing, but by their online presence. Just as authors need a Web site and email address, they need a blog and a digital footprint.

But all of this can be a burden or distraction to those who want to spend time perfecting their craft and getting paid for it.  Some kind of balance needs to be struck here.

There are, perhaps, too many blogs and books out there, or, at least, too many bad ones.  The real good ones don’t always get read or noticed.  The Internet needs an editor and a librarian.  But as it evolves and improves, I’ll still be there, a part of the conversation. 

Will you?

Interview With Literary Agent Rita Rosenkranz

  1. Rita, what inspired you to launch your literary agency, and is what inspired you then still motivating you today?  I was eager to have autonomy and I also welcomed the chance to work on a broad range of non-fiction projects--from the dark to the decorative--without risk of being pigeonholed. My client list feeds my curiosity about the world, helps me stay open to new ideas, and rewards me regularly. I'm still inspired by the serendipity of my work--the thrill of finding a saleable project that was sent over the transom, the satisfaction of seeing a project turn into a top seller and reliable backlist title, the chance to travel to conferences to meet authors who are starting out and to help build their careers, book by book.

  1. What do you love most about being in the book publishing industry? I love the shared passion for books, of course, and the opportunity to be an advocate for authors whose books delight, inform, inspire, further the conversation on a topic.

  1. Where do you feel the industry is heading? Who knows, though it's obvious we're at a tipping point when reports it is selling more eBooks than traditional format titles. Some agents are expanding their services in response. Authors have mainstream venues for publishing short work online. The menu of publishing options seems infinite. The challenge is distilling the best choices for each author.

  1. What advice do you have for authors looking to get published? Even with the immense changes in the industry, some requirements don't change: tenacity and patience; understanding your readers and how to reach them; how to build your audience; how to stay excited by the process so you aren't derailed.

  1. What should authors do to promote and market their books? I think the strategy changes from category to category, based on how and where an author's core audience stays connected. Authors should identify their promotional strengths (is it through social media, lectures, hiring an outside publicist?), that one hopes is in synch with the author's financial resources. There are many great books available on promotion, and the good news is that not all promotion requires high finances. Generally, I have found the authors whose books fare best in the marketplace have short- and long-term promotion plans in place so their books don't get upstaged by newer releases.

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