Blogging is but one part of my writing arsenal. While it’s prevalent today, when I started writing the word “blog” hadn’t been coined. I came up the writer’s ladder the standard way: taking classes, learning the craft, participating in contests, submitting to publishers, and collecting numerous rejection letters. For most, to see your work published was a lengthy and often grueling time. Why did we bother with such a painful and agonizingly slow process? Well, it was the only game in town.
What writers need
What writers needed then is the same thing writers need now: exposure. In those days that meant getting our work in front of writing teachers, magazine editors, agents, and book editors. It was a pretty small and distinct circle. We clamored and elbowed our way forward for face time with those gatekeepers known as editors and agents during conferences and workshop and in the hotel hallways and bathroom lines.
Exposure rarely came with pay. As it is even today, young writers did a lot of work with little expectation of pay. We were looking for bylines, contest wins, and awards. The sum total of our collection would contribute to our ability to rise above the ever-growing mass of new writers and would, hopefully, earn us that celebrated contest award and eventually the holy grail of the elusive book contract.
The allure of blogging
By the time blogging showed up I had already amassed the bylines, contest wins, editorial nods, book contracts and even an MFA degree. So why bother with blogging? The lack of a gatekeeper, the ability to publish, and the immediacy of the form held a certain enchantment, but even more it was the ability to use a blog as a pathway into the publication realm while forging a direct connection with readers.
The benefits of blogging
Blogging brings community
Blogging comes with a heightened sense of community, far more than is available in other avenues of writing. People that blog want to connect. They want to share their thoughts and ideas and, even more, engage. Some prefer a small circle of engagement, while others are constantly seeking to grow and expand their community and their influence. Whatever the reason, there is a much higher level of expectation of community for those writers who take up blogging.
Blogging heightens exposure
Exposure continues to reign even more so in this technologically heightened era of writing. Today even bestselling writers are constantly seeking exposure and quickly adding the new social media tools to their toolbox. Exposure brings many things including, for the book blogger, ARCs, interviews, and sometimes even media attention. Exposure often leads to new opportunities including writing jobs, editorial positions, and book contracts.
When an editor sought a travel writer from my area for a client’s major marketing campaign, he found me. I had a nice-sized Internet footprint even though my blog was fairly new. With a little more digging, he discovered my phone number and called. This contract led to my work being featured online via Expedia. The same project led to a contract for more online travel work that appeared on MSN City Guides. And, of course, the money I received from these two projects exceeded that of my book contract.
Blogging allows writers to engage readers
More than any other form, blogging allows writers to finally engage directly and often immediately with their readers. Now, for some writers that may not be a high priority but most want their work read and seek some level of communication with their readers.
Taking control of the blog
Bloggers are a curious lot. A blogger is quite autonomous. They control what they want to do, when they want to do it, and where they want to go. Some bloggers are content to stay in their self-defined niche and never earn a dime. Others widen the pond and seek a larger lily pad. But then there are those who decide they are not content to wait upon the whims of exposure. They take the helm. These are the ones who really look at their blog as a mighty river with a strong financial current.
A blog becomes a publishing house
For the DIY writers, blogging is a natural fit. Their blogs become the first floor of their own publishing house. Whatever their genre and interest, they take hold of the platform and conform it to their wishes. Their imaginations are captured by the opportunities and the only limitations are their own. Many collect their writings into anthologies. Others will take a single entry and ply it into a book. Still others use the blog to write their novels.
Blogging has grown up and the technology makes it much easier today. Blogs aren’t limited in scope to the daily post. Many writers have grabbed the reins of this new publishing platform and, not content to wait on the eccentricities of exposure, they’ve turned their blogs into mini-publishing houses and cash machines. These are the folks who are not afraid to tackle the technology and figure out ways to use it. They self-publish and they produce their own books, pamphlett, white papers, and guides. Their writing is earning money and many are earning a decent monthly income.
A blog equals passive income streams
Blogs are also vehicles for passive income. Bloggers add this passive revenue stream by way of affiliate programs. Amazon’s program ranks high among the favorites. Google Adsense and other programs expand the stream.
These are but a few ways that writers are taking their blogs beyond their original intention. The beauty of a blog is its plasticity. It is a reflection of the writer and a product of their imagination. There is no one way to be a blogger and certainly no scripted pathway to becoming a book blogger. Each blog is defined by its writer’s vision. Where will your imagination take you?
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and experiences.
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