This morning another favorite literary agency blog announced its end. “And so we say good-bye” by Jessica of Bookends Literary Agency gently closes the window that provided a peek behind the curtains that protect whatever happens in the world of agents. Jessica says she feels the power of the blog has faded in a world of Twitter and Facebook.
Insane as you might think this is, I agree with Jessica. Blogs are kind of like the New York Times of miscellaneous information when news crawls across the bottom of a screen fulfill some readers’ need for all the facts. Blogs are a guilty pleasure—reading about a topic of interest for a full minute instead of answering emails or opening Facebook or something equally as immediate. The Bookends blog had a rotation of writers and posted new materials almost daily. Wow, that’s like producing a new brochure about your business every week.
While I agree with Jessica, the reality is new writers are encouraged to blog, to build an online presence, and relationship with readers. When Nathan Brandsford moved from agent to social media consultant and published writer, he backed away from daily blogging because of new demands on his time. Maintaining an authentic blog presence is a responsibility that can’t be approached lightly. Nathan is back and writing to a different reader—a person who likes YA literature and reading instead of Jessica’s audience—individuals in earlier stages of their own literary careers.
During AWP 2012 blogging was all the buzz. Poets presented blogs that featured party pictures and new works, bookstores talked about blogs connecting them to their customers, publishers emphasized that writers had to have presence to attract an audience.
While presenters at AWP 2012 didn’t present solid statistic about the value of blogs, others in the marketing world have been doing research. Social Media Examiners claims there’s a strong correlation between how frequently a blog posts and the amount of traffic generated. They claim businesses that post daily will generate 5 times more traffic than those that post weekly or less. They have interesting diagrams to support their findings.
For writers that suggests blogging could be useful not only in attracting an agent or small press, but also supportive of continued marketing of published works. It would be wonderful to have harder data, but when has there ever been hard statistics about successful marketing for writers to follow? More people are buying books and there are so many more book titles to buy. In a market that continues to fragment building an audience requires more than one strategy.
Beyond marketing data, a blog does provide a writer with the opportunity to invite readers to peek behind the curtains of a fictional world. I am not Sally Dodge or Anne Hartford. This is Cynthia Kraack figuring out the world of writing.