Should a novelist start a blog?
I read your comments today on bloggers-- how six people with book deals this season are bloggers and how agents google the names of potential clients.
Would you advise would-be novelists to start a blog? And at what point in the creative process would a blog be most helpful to a writer's career?
I'm worried that writing and maintaining a blog will take away from my much-needed real writing time.
And what kind of things do you look for when visiting potential clients' blogs? Publishing savvy? Humor? Evidence that they enjoy a dry martini? A certain professional commitment? The lack of felony convictions?
Let me clarify: I visit blogs of people who mention me. They are not potential clients. When someone sends a query letter, I read the pages. I hardly ever read the blog or a website unless the writing gets my attention. So, your first job is to write well.
Blogs are a nice bonus when you're talking to an editor about the fact this debut novelist is not unknown. Short story publications help. So does a well clicked blog.
Blogging sucks up time like a hoover. None of my novelists blog unless they are on the road. I asked. They're busy writing their novels, or writing to me, or writing to their fans. Mostly they're writing.
And blogs can suck up your creativity. I'm reminded of a scene in one of the Fletch books by Gregory McDonald. A columnist does a whole rant on "my wife liked your book". At the end of the rant, he ruefully says "there goes a great column. Once I've said it I can't write it."
The value of this blog for me is that I get to hear from writers who aren't all caught up in the burning question of whether I like their novel. I've learned a LOT from the questions that've been asked and the links y'all have sent. Not to mention learning how to punctuate y'all correctly.
Plus it's like an early morning diner with the local townspeople. Not a lot of that here in New York. I like that. It's fun.
But, it sucks up time like a whale at the Circus Circus plankton buffet of life. I don't sleep much and I don't watch television at all so that's where I get the time, but if you're trying to write a novel AND work you don't have much time as it is. And a successful blog is work, and has to be updated OFTEN.
I advise posting comments and reading them rather than writing one. Or joining forces with other writers. They do that over at Romancing the Blog
No, I don't advise novelists to start blogs. I advise novelists to revise more.