Author Platforms (Blogs)-Where Do You Stand?
Written by
Hallie Sawyer
April 2011
Written by
Hallie Sawyer
April 2011

We have all been reading the discussions for quite a while now about author platforms, specifically in regards to author/writer blogs. Jody Hedlund touched on it the other day in her blog (as well as a guest post she did). There was also a guest blogger, Judy Dunn, over at Victoria Mixon's blog discussing blog rules for writers.

Here are the two sides to the discussion:

The professional-only side of author platforms:

Writers that blog should only talk about writing, their book, and things that have to do with their book. Build up their reader audience.

The other view, an author being herself:

People want to read about the writer behind the book. They want to get a glimpse behind the pages: what inspires them, what they struggle with, what makes them happy, what they ate for breakfast.

Okay, not the breakfast part. I was just making sure you were still with me.

Initially, after reading a few more posts about this topic, I felt that my blog was all screwed up. I'm not on the professional side of blogging. I don't yap ontalk about my book and all that goes on with it. Crap. Am I doing it all wrong? Have I totally veered off into the ditch of Writers' Blog Road, wallowing in wordy ravine where no one can see me, or worse yet, no one bothers to come looking?

What my blog is about is what I'm going through with my writing, about what inspires me, about great books and my writer friends, about junk going on in my everyday domestic life, and then I fill in the gaps with whatever else I can pull out of my you know what.

I figure I can only write about what I know since this my blog is non-fiction (that's the rule, right?) and this is what I know. Writing is hard, these people and their books are great, and this is the crap that is distracting me. Done. That is my blog.

Eventually I'll be writing more about my book because that will mean I actually have written something worth reading. Until then, I'm not going to sit here and write a bunch of stuff that I may not end up using in my novel. I might scrap this book eventually, because odds of this word dump making it to publishable status isn't good according to every publishing guru out there.

So, back to the two sides of writer's blogs. I have to lean more in favor of the second argument. Because isn't the first view really an extension of what people hate about authors that just tweet and facebook about their book? Gack, enough already! We KNOW you have a book coming out. Geez, get a life! (We all know that the book has been that person's blood, sweat, and tears but we don't want it shoved down our throats.) We know! You are a proud parent!

I read blogs because I enjoy the writer's voice. I like reading about who they are. I really like when they acknowledge their commenters and respond to those that take their time to review their books, tweet links relating to their books, and develop relationships with their bloggies.

What does that tell us? Ding, ding! It means they care about their readers. Craaaaa-zy idea, folks.

I understand the whole "being professional" thing (stop laughing) when it comes to blogging but I want people to really know who I am before they buy my book someday. Or whatever I'm selling. (God, it might be vacuums if I don't get this next draft figured out. Eek.)

As an agent, would you want to represent a snobby, closed-minded, "all about my book" sort of person? Or would you like to represent a person that knows how to build lasting relationships, exhibits genuineness through in all forms of communication, especially social media (we all know how tough that is-even Mother Teresa could sound a bit snippy if she only had 140 characters to work with), and maintains humility even if he/she sells a gazillion books?

Let's think of the game "Would You Rather...?"

If these people were authors trying to find an agent (and you were that agent), who would you choose to represent? Or if you were an avid book reader, whose book would you rather spend your hard earned money on?

1. Nellie Oleson or Laura Ingalls Wilder?

2. Kim Kardashian or Reese Witherspoon?

3. Paris Hilton or Sandra Bullock?

4. Jacob or Edward? (Just kidding, they both stink.)

5. Sue Sylvester (Glee character) or Julie Andrews?

7. Harry Potter or Malfoy?

8. Elizabeth Bennett or Snooki?

9. Anne of Green Gables or Snooki?

You get my point.

Book readers: What do you think? What do you like about author blogs, book stuff only or what they ate for breakfast? :)

Authors/writers: What is your take on the professional vs. personal in blogs? Are you all business or do you give your readers a taste of your life outside of books as well? Why or why not?


[photo courtesy of IcyAero/DeviantArt]


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