When Is It Necessary for Writers to Have More than One Blog?
by Kristen Lamb
It's never necessary for a writer to have multiple blogs. Can we choose to have them? Sure. Is it a good use of time? Nope. We need that time and word count for the most important aspect of our author platforms:
Here's the thing. When we step out and decide we want to be writers, most of us won't get paid for a while, which means there will be a period of time where we'll have to balance a day job along with social media, blogging and the writing of the actual books. Additionally, most of us don't have servants and nannies. Laundry, dishes, kids and dust bunnies won't magically disappear because we've decided to follow our dream of being a career author.
Many of us, the second we discover social media, promptly develop a condition I call R.D.D.-or, Reality Deficit Disorder. R.D.D. can cause headaches, sleeplessness, heart palpitations, premature aging, hair loss, weight gain, a weird twitch in our left eye, and a need to shout expletives at passing strangers.
If left untreated, R.D.D. can be fatal (to our careers).
No one will stop us from having multiple blogs, but if we're spread so thinly we begin wearing our underwear on the outside of our clothes, it's safe to say our writing will suffer.
What's the Real Goal?
Are we blogging to build our author platform-our brand, which is our name-or do we have the goal of having a nervous breakdown? The line can be finer than one might imagine.
Time for some myth busting when it comes to why authors "might" require multiple blogs:
Myth #1-Writers blogging for pleasure need separate blogs for writing and each interest.
This was great advice…in 1997. There's no reason a blog that supports our brand cannot be fun. Why are these activities assumed to be mutually exclusive? What's the point of churning out thousands of words a week if they aren't serving to build our brand? Let's work smarter, not harder.
When I coach writers on how to blog to build a brand, it's the authors' interests other than writing that are going to connect to readers. Even non-fiction authors can benefit from connecting as a person as well as an expert. Blogging about our book and our writing process will wear us out quickly, and to be blunt, since when has talking about ourselves non-stop ever been a good plan for relationships?
Ten years ago, who cared if an author could cook or garden? Now? Those hobbies are exactly how all writers can reach and connect with regular people (code for "readers"). Readers don't care about how to write a killer query letter. More people care about Star Wars than Smashwords. Shocking, I know.
As far as needing separate blogs for different interests? Let's give the reader some credit. If we switch topics, it will not fracture their reality. Really.
This is why blogs should always be branding us, the author. Slap your name at the top and then you don't have to strictly adhere to one subject. Why? Because the common thread that will tether all your blogs together is your writing voice. In fact, the purpose of your blog is to expose as many people as possible to your voice so they fall in love and buy your books no matter what genre you write.
Myth #2-A writer needs more than one blog if he/she writes under multiple names.
Again, why? Go to New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer's site. He blogs and he also has five other pen names. Would Bob have any time to write more books if he had a separate blog for every identity? We "get" that Bob Mayer has sci-fi books under the name of Robert Doherty and yet live to tell the tale. Besides, pen names are an old paradigm. Even Bob has streamlined to one name.
Myth #3-If an author writes multiple genres-YA, erotica, sci-fi, and cookbooks-he/she needs a separate blog for each platform.
I can lecture about focus later, but the cool thing is that Digital Age readers are quite eclectic in their tastes. We saw a similar shift happen when Apple introduced music for $0.99 downloads on iTunes. Consumers were suddenly willing to give Swedish Zydeco a chance if it cost less than a buck and they weren't committed to an entire album.
Same with books.
Blogs are a great way of creating community. Maybe you write historical romance, but also have a science fiction for sale. There are those in your following who might never read another science fiction, but they'll give yours a try. In the new paradigm, we buy from those we know and like.
If you're writing YA, you don't need a separate blog. Many adults read YA, and teens who read blogs like to be treated as if they're just another grown-up. Blogging posing as a teenager is risky. If you're found out, you risk a massive backlash. We're in an age where people desire authenticity, so pretending we're someone we aren't is Russian roulette.
Some genres will conflict. If you write erotica and young adult? Likely you'll need a pen name. As far as which blog platform to build? I'd recommend the one that will cause the least conflict with your employment and/or family. If there isn't a conflict, then choose the audience you can connect to more easily, because blogs are only effective when updated regularly.
Why Blog at All?
Blogging is the most stable form of social media. Twitter could flitter and FB could implode, but unless the Internet goes away, our blogs will remain. It's why I recommend an author blog as core of any author brand. Yet, focus is key to long-term success.
One name to rule them all, One blog to find them, One voice to rock them all, then on the kindle bind them.
Kristen is the author of the new best-selling book, Rise of the Machines-Human Authors in a Digital World in addition to the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone-The Writer's Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It's Me, Writer. Kristen is the founder of the WANA movement, the CEO of WANA International and creator of WANATribe, the social network for creative professionals. She's a contributing humor blogger for SocialIn, a blog that reaches 2.5 million and blogs for The Huffington Post. Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @KristenLambTX and on Facebook.