It’s always a good idea to have someone proofread your website before it goes live. Yes, we’re writers and all that jazz, but you’d be surprised what might slip past when a writer is focusing on all the bells and whistles.
So the other day, I was checking links and text, making sure a writer friend’s sparkly new website had easy navigation and sure enough, the calendar functionality was wonky. If you’re an author who wants to get school visits and/or speaking gigs, the calendar functionality matters. We met a few weeks later for lunch and talked about the website (and her new book!) and she said her webmaster had finally fixed the glitchy calendar.
“No,” she said. “I don’t have anything to blog about… I don’t think I need a blog.”
“Would you like to promote your book launch?” I asked. “And then have lots of pictures of your book launch afterwards of you with your new book? Would you like to promote some of the fun activities tied into your book? Share about school visits? Awards you might receive?”
My friend’s salad paused midway to her lips. “Yeah,” she said. “That sounds awesome. But won’t all that be on the website? The webmaster will take care of it.”
Maybe, I told her. But maybe it’ll take a month every time you want something new posted on your website. Especially if it’s a basic static website.
So we had the conversation about the beauty of a blog.
Lots of my author friends have websites once they sell the book. They usually hire someone to do the website because time is money to a writer. Which is also why authors often balk about blogging. It’s just one more thing to add to their “To Do” list.
But authors often miss the advantage of adding a blog to a website: it can be the fluid, responsive, and immediate part of your web presence. And it’s a simple and easy platform to learn.
A blog on an author’s website doesn’t need to have posts on a regular schedule; in fact, it’s probably best to leave dates off the posts. It’s more about getting information about the book (or books!) out there then introducing readers to the author. But that doesn’t mean that an author’s blog can’t shine a spotlight on personality, too. Think of the blog as the news and events related to the book(s) with a dash of author, and update accordingly.
Ultimately, the blog saves all that time and trouble of tracking down the webmaster, and all the stressing that goes along with getting the updating job done. Because with a blog, you can do it yourself and take care of your own business.
And that, my author friends, is the real beauty of a blog.
Cathy C. Hall uses her blog platform as her website because that's what works best for her now. But writing paths can veer off into all kinds of wonky places, so who knows where she'll end up next? (Pssst. She'll let you know, of course.)