By Anne R. Allen
I’ve made some spectacular blunders in my blogging career. But since we learn from our mistakes, I’ve got a boatload of information now.
As Ruth and I say: “We made the mistakes so you don’t have to.”
The worst decision I made was trying to turn this blog into a monetized business blog. That lasted about six months— until my doctor said I was going to have to choose between blogging and living to see my next birthday.
This is the second anniversary of the beginning of that failed experiment, and I’ve been thinking over what I’ve learned.
My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.
Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, (Laurie will be visiting us in January.)
The money comes later when we sell our books. The mechanics of those sales are best left to retailers like Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, etc. unless you have a huge franchise with twenty or more titles to sell, as well as mugs, t-shirts, etc.
Does that mean we’re giving away our work for free when we write for a non-monetized blog?
When you think about how much work it takes to make the money to pay for the publicity, marketing and advertising required to make a book visible in today’s marketplace, an author blog—even if it doesn’t have any ads or affiliates—looks like a pretty good deal. A blog is the fastest way to get the attention of Google. Plus blogposts can be tweaked and recycled for guest posts and other promotions.
And an author blog doesn’t have to take much time. Because it doesn’t have to follow monetized-blog rules.
But don’t some authors monetize their blogs AND sell books?
Yes. But many of those authors started early in the blogging era so they built a big audience before there was a lot of competition. Others have a whole lot more energy and stamina than the average author.
And maybe a large staff of servants.
I’m not telling you it’s impossible to monetize an author blog and still find time to actually be an author, but I’m telling you that for me personally, it didn’t work.
Here are some other lessons I learned from my big blogging mistakes: