It's a burning question for many authors. Helping me answer it is this conviction: My writing isn't all about me.
Whether to blog is a question I've asked myself many times since I published my first novel in 2007, and until now the answer hasn't been a resounding Yes. Readers want stories, I reasoned to myself. They want to get lost in the lives of people whose innermost thoughts and feelings can be revealed safely, in fiction, with no harm or invasion to any living person (except, perhaps, the author).
So why spend my time figuring out how to set up a blog, let alone finding the time necessary to keep the thing aliQIAe with post after post? Wouldn't my readers (and wouldn't I) prefer that I spend my time writing fiction?
Maybe twenty years ago, my reasoning would have been... well, reasonable. But not today. Publishing houses have folded and merged and folded, and the survivors have had to change how they operate to a radical degree, so that in today's world they have to be all about the bottom line. They don't have the resources to coach an author whose work is almost ready for print. They don't have the business or marketing bandwidth to support authors whose work might be excellent, or even groundbreaking, unless that work sells and sells and sells. And every year, the number of sales necessary to justify publication grows larger and larger, while the effectiveness of standard marketing techniques shrinks at least as fast.
Where does this leave authors and, by extension, readers? Authors whose names aren't household words must become marketers, or readers won't even know about their work. And as I read through the online articles and "Top Ten Tips" lists about how to market my writing, the pattern I see emerging is this: Authors must connect with readers and potential readers on as personal a basis as is possible. This connection isn't something the publishers can accomplish.
But now that I think about it, why wouldn't I want to do this? Heck, why haven't I been doing this???
A blog is just one way to connect, but it's one that appeals to me. It lets me tell you how I think, how I feel, and what I believe (not the same things) about issues that drive me to write stories that I hope you'll want to read. And it gives you a chance to respond, to argue your own points in response to mine, to tell me what you like and don't like about my stories.
I'll start. First, I need to come out as straight. Even so, my stories all have the same objective: demonstrating that the only thing wrong with being gay (or bi, or trans, or queer, or intersex, or asexual, or gender fluid) is how some people treat you when they find out. Some of my ideas for upcoming posts will explore how religions and laws come to bear on LGBTQIA individuals and their lives and loved ones. I'll reveal my own effort to understand what transgender is all about. I'll relate and discuss some things I've learned about what it's like to be intersex. And, because so many readers have asked, from time to time I'll include a post about writing.
I hope at least some of that will be interesting enough to you that you'll read some future blogs, but–even more important–I hope you'll tell me what you think. Because if there's one thing I don't want to create, it's an echo chamber.
So. Please, tell me. What interests you?