As ever, interesting things were mooted on Twitter last night.
My favourite author blogs tend to be ones that rarely talk about the author’s books. I find ones that do the opposite really tedious.
The above, from James Long, caught my eye and sparked a few nice thoughts. I totally agree with what he said after that, too, which basically stressed the point that he’s far more interested in what authors think. I don’t see the point of telling people how many words you’ve written (unless you’re George RR Martin and you can see villagers gathering with pitchforks outside your window).
Updating on your daily word count isn’t going to interest many people; neither is continually publicising your works. Sure, it’s ultimately a tool to sell books and folks will be keen on finding out a little of what’s going on with your novels, but I’m not so sure that constantly banging on about yourself these days is going to interest readers in the long run. With all the competition for attention from new writers discovering the benefits of being online (and it’s far tougher these days), I think it’s personality that makes the difference. It’s a tough balance.
Rather than waffle more about the art of author blogs (generally, it’s not that difficult these days: be varied, be interesting, be regular, don’t have dodgy web design), I’d point out a few very distinct examples of author blogs that I enjoy reading.
1. Chuck Wendig – always hilarious, consistent (even in the randomness), and all on a superbly designed site. Whenever there’s an update from him, you can be sure it’s going to entertain. He gives plenty of advice, too, and – most importantly – doesn’t take himself too seriously. He has fun.
2. Jonathan Carroll – the original online writer’s notebook. Wonderful stuff, observations on human life, or a scrapbook of poems or links, it’s always going to be something to make you sit back and reflect. This is the true, arty end of blogging, and I really do make time when a post appears in my RSS feed.
3. Punkadiddle – Adam Roberts’ hotbed of reviews, mainly of genre stuff. Note: he’s a thorough reviewer, and gives some of the best quality and interesting write-ups you’ll see online. Not every new author could probably get away with tearing into certain books, but Adam doesn’t seem to mind the rough stuff.
Some other good blogs include: editor Cheryl Morgan (a fascinating range of topics); Sam Sykes (you’re always going to reflect, chuckle, or worry for his sanity); Jay Kristoff (relative newcomer to the scene, but a great blogger); and there area whole load more on my RSS feed, but these are the ones that particularly come to mind.
All of them do exactly what I, personally, like: they offer varied debate, show me things I don’t know, entertain, or help make me think differently about certain issues.
And isn’t that what writers are meant to do anyway?