You'll still find plenty of articles on the internet advising would-be authors to start a blog to promote themselves - but they are all out of date.
This article by Jane Friedman reflects the current thinking about whether fiction writers should have a blog:
Note the opening line:
This will be a strange way to begin a guide to blogging, but I want to save you time, trouble, and heartache: The average author does not benefit much from blogging.
In fact, publishers are now actively discouraging their authors from blogging, because they've found it doesn't help sell more books, and it distracts the author from other, more important activities.
Some publishers don't even want you to have an author website, although that's still a hot topic for debate (and Jane, and I, both think they're still important):
http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/th … -websites/
This is a very super helpful link. Thanks Marisa for sharing it!
I found it fascinating and I've been doing quite a bit of reading about it.
I started out writing fiction, then diverted into factual articles when I discovered I could make money at it. I always thought my blogging and article-writing would help if I ever got my novel finished (which I never have, though I'm on Critiquecircle now trying to remedy that!).
However a few years ago I started to regret using a pen name for all my writings, because I kept being told that using my real name for fiction would work better - readers want to engage with a real person. So all my "profile raising" as Marisa Wright had been a waste of time. Now it seems that maybe it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because the people who know that profile are not the kind of people who would buy my novel anyway.
Oh, that's interesting. I created a pen name because I have a very common name but still feel that using my real name would be too much exposure for me.
I feel the same, but I think we're swimming against the tide.
Ten years ago, before the internet really got going, privacy was respected - but it's been changing steadily since then.
I started out using Marisa as my pen name, it's actually a play on my surname. But then Helium (where I was writing then) decided to insist on a "real name" - because their research indicated readers wanted articles written by "real people" who were "authentic" and not hiding behind usernames. So I became Marisa Wright (Marisa writes, geddit?).
That trend has only become stronger as time goes by. Now if you want to be an author, you need a Facebook fan page and be prepared to befriend your readers. If you want them to love you, you must be prepared to let them invade your space! Younger people don't seem to mind, they've grown up sharing their whole lives on Facebook and Snapchat, but I still struggle with it.
You'll notice, HubPages now gives us the option to provide our real names as well as a username, though they don't insist on it. I do wonder how long it will be before they do, though.
Well, to be fair publishers vary a lot on this issue. Mine are either silent or generally advise playing to your strengths when it come to self-promotion. That may or may not include blogging, a newsletter, social media, book club visits, paid speaking engagements, targeting local media, and/or any of the hundreds of alternatives. Most often their main advice is to focus on writing your next book. That's pretty much the line I have got over the last 20 years.
Are you a fiction writer, though, Pyscheskinner?
Yes, I write romance and erotic romance, predominantly. And in that genre at least, pen names are very much the norm.
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