Monday, 13 September 2010

Selling Yourself

As most of you know, I'm a writer. And a lot of my blogger-friends are writers too. I know all of us love blogging now, love meeting new people and making friends through this fantastic medium. But I've been wondering: why did you start a blog in the first place? Because you thought it'd be fun? Or because you thought it was the way to start building up a readership for your writing career?

I started this blog because I read countless bits of advice for new authors telling me I should have some sort of web presence. I thought I'd like blogging, so I picked this form of web presence. I didn't expect to love it as much as I do, so much so that these days it's more about the posts and the interaction than it is about selling myself.

So my question for you is, is this why you blog? To sort of market yourself? I don't have a book due out, but if and when I do, having a few blog followers and a few people already interested in your work is going to prove helpful.

Do you think it's ever too early to start selling yourself and your work?


  1. I doubt it can ever be too early to make friends of one kind or another... And friends can represent the core of an eventual platform for a potential author...
    I expect it all hinges on how you go about it and what you want from it.

  2. I started blogging because that's what writers are supposed to do...You're right we are supposed to build an online presence. We are supposed to tweet too, but I don't. I lurk, but rarely say anything. I haven't really seen the purpose in it. I did make a great agent connection that way, but it was by luck/chance that I happened to see his tweet and then his blog post and then struck up a friendship...I think even if I stopped writing I probably would still blog. It's kind of addicting...

  3. Mine is almost entirely just for fun. I don't have anything to promote and I'm not a writer, so I just do it because I want to.

    I think self-promotion can only go so far though. Ultimately people will only follow and enjoy your blog if you're putting something of yourself into it. I think I'd be turned off by an author's blog if it was all "buy my book! buy my book!"

  4. I started blogging partially because it was what writers were supposed to do and partially because I was in a bit of a writing block and wanted to switch things up. I'm a very introverted person, so blogging was very "out there" and gave me an opening to talk to other writers.

  5. I don't think it's ever too early but I started a blog just to get some thoughts out. I never counted on making so many great writer friends!!

  6. When I started my first blog, it was...

    1. Sort of a step up from writing fan fiction and my involvement in that community. I wanted to test out my own characters and stories. See if I could cut it outside my fan fiction comfort zone.

    2. It was to promote me and my writing (and now jewelry biz) And I wanted a place to showcase my accomplishments and learn from my mistakes. Nothing says motivation like telling a bunch of people you are going to do something. Makes ya wanna keep going forward.

    3. I wanted to connect with the writing community, to learn and network. To feel like a profession writer till I was (will be) one.

    4. I wanted more of what I get in my writing groups. And I have in spades. The folks I have met have been great! And it still surprised me sometimes, when I realize that there's a whole population of folks out there who think and behave similar to me. I am not alone.

  7. One of my friends used to say I should write a daily newspaper coloumn sharing my finds and encouraging others to ditch the high street and go second-hand.
    Blogging seemed a good and unpressured way of doing it.
    It's a little indulgence that now seems a huge part of my life. I'm always randoming chatting about my blogsphere friends. "Oh, Sangu's off to Bangalore soon" xxx

  8. I started blogging for the same reason. (And because my publisher told me to get my butt online.) I enjoy it now. And for me, it's difficult to promote my book through my blog. Although lately everyone wants to know more about my book, so I guess I'll just suck it up and do my best.

  9. Hey Sangu - I started blogging to meet other writers. I wanted to know what their worries and struggles were when it came to writing. I wanted to feel connected to a writing community.

  10. It's never too early to build an online presence.

    I started blogging long before I sold for a couple of reasons.

    1. It gave me the chance to experiment and find my blog voice before anyone really knew me.

    2. I knew it would take time to build relationships and gain an audience.

    So blog away and network widely. This is the easy part. :)

  11. Sangu, I started my blog because I read an article by an author on GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS that had been his way to get an agent.

    I also buy LOTTERY tickets : I haven't won the Lotto or gotten an agent.

    But I have met a lot of fun, intelligent fellow strugglers. I've learned a lot. I've tried to teach what I taught my students in my creative writing classes.

    And I try to have fun. Life is too short. It seems highly doubtful I will ever get an agent or become published. There are worse fates.

    Enjoy the journey, Roland

  12. It’s never too soon to make friends. That said, friends can be a distraction as well as a help. I’ve spent almost all my life without writer friends and that forces you to become self-sufficient. But I like the level of friendship and association that the Internet affords me. As for selling yourself, if I can take that quite literally, then, yes, absolutely. I wrote crap for years. I had nothing to sell. I was learning and I think a writer needs to give themselves time to learn. I remember the story of Joyce Carol Oates writing two novels back to back – she wrote one on one side of a pile of foolscap paper and then turned it over and write a second novel on the other side and then tossed them in the bin. How many of us if we’d laboured to write even a single novel would be able to see that this was just a part of the learning process and not something to try to sell? Unfortunately as a young writer I developed a bit of an ego. I thought every time I put my pen to a piece of paper pure genius flowed down my arm. A few writer friends would have been nice though to knock me down to size, something my non-writer friends weren’t really qualified to do.

  13. I started blogging mainly to connect to totehr writers but also with an eye to the future! I love the supportive community and as a writer working alone at home, it's great to reach out and interact.

  14. Great topic!

    I started with a farm blog, a way to sell sheep and wool and all sorts of tangible things. The farm blog worked pretty well, but I was working on my second novel, and there were so many writing-related topics that just didn't seem to fit the farm-format.

    Also, due to one of my character's career paths, became obsessed with cheesy 70's music and wanted to share all the dreadful and fun oldies I'd dug up. (These definitely didn't fit with the farm thing!)

    Blogging IS fun, but there's also an odd sort of pressure... must post... don't let it sit too long... sigh.

    I have enjoyed meeting other writers. And find I love readingn all these writing blogs too!

  15. I started my blog because as writers, it was expected. But I found all I was doing was whining,so pretty much dumped it. Lately, Ive been crusing the blogshere to see how it SHOULD be done, and have become inspired by such a supportive and open writing community. I'm addicted, now.

  16. My reasoning is similar to yours: get a web presence, find people with mutual interests. I also wanted to find a community for critiquing and support, which came eventually but not actually through the blog. I think it's been well worth it, though I've been having trouble keeping up with everything now that school's in session again :(

    If you get a chance, stop by my blog. There's something waiting there for you :)

  17. My answer is the same as yours: It started with professional intentions taken from several tips (from writers to literary agents), and then it became a vice to me. The community is so awesome that its easy to get addicted! =)