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July 18, 2017

Comments

Kristopher

I think it depends a lot on the nature of the blog and the purpose behind it.

I have found that most of the successful author blogs are those that are a group of similar (but not too similar) authors who have joined together. Blogs like Femmes Fatale, Jungle Red, 7 Criminal Minds, Wicked Cozy, and Do Some Damage. (And even those are best when fresh blood comes in on occasion).

One-author blogs seem to be less popular and they are migrating to newsletters - which are also hit/miss. But some newsletters like Louise Penny's, Hank's, and Jenny Milchman's are still engaging. Also, newsy newsletters like Sarah Weinman and Alex Segura's are great and useful.

Book review blogs, however, seem to still continue to attract readers - especially those posting reviews and content consistently. Dru's Book Musings and Lesa Book Critiques seem to be going strong. Newer entries like Kathy Reel's The Reading Room become more visible all the time.

Since I really only know what ia happening behind the scenes at my own blog, I will say readership for BOLO Books continues to grow every month. But a large percentage of that traffic is driven there from my Facebook and Twitter presence. Certainly, the bulk of conversation about my reviews happens on those other social media outlets, rather than on the blog itself.

So, I don't think the blog is dead so much as evolving once again. That's not a bad thing!

Art Taylor

Hi, Laura -- I've seen that commentary on blogs being dead for a long while now; in fact, I teach a creative nonfiction course at Mason where we talk blogging, and one of our essays from 2013 is about blogging being dead--and then another from 2015 about the blogger who said that finally giving up his own blog (and this new article saying that despite that, blogging still isn't dead). In short, plenty to talk about.

I use feedly to keep up with all the blogs I follow, and it's become part of my morning routine. I enjoy keeping track not only of other authors' news but also about general musings they sometimes share. Always fascinating to me. And yet I do often see, especially with group blogs (the one I'm on at SleuthSayers and others I read), that the comments are from the same core people--often, frequently, other contributors to that blog. Still, I can't help but think that others are reading even if not commenting as often--at least I trust they are.

Going back and forth here, I know, but just saying that I'm loyal and hope others are too.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

SO interesting! Art, how does feedly work? (No, you go write. I will look it up. :-) But thank you!)

And I agree--they're sort of like industry/reading/writing newspapers, and focus on things we might be interested in. I guess it's the remembering to read them that's the key. And I SO agree that there are lurkers who are always there but who never comment--we know that for sure.

And "going back and forth," Art, as you say, is exactly what lots of people are doing.

And Kristopher, the key for blogs like yours is reliable dependable and informed content. You have exactly what people want, and do it beautifully. But it must be SO difficult.

But one more thing--when you all DO read blogs, what is it that takes you there?

Kathy Lynn Emerson

I'll play. I read six group blogs every morning with my coffee, before I look at Facebook. First up is MaineCrimeWriters, where I am one of 16 regular contributors. Then I go to LadyKillers, Femmesfatales, WickedCozyAuthors, WordWenches, and finish off with JungleRed. Why? Catching up with friends, since I know most of the bloggers from Malice or B'con or my distant past writing romance. The blogs are entertaining, no matter what the subject, although I admit to skipping days with recipes and don't always read the guest blogs. I would hope readers are the ones reading the blogs and that they are also buying the books by their favorite bloggers, but like everything else we writers do to get the word out, there's no way to measure whether blogs accomplish that goal or not.

Margaret Hamilton Turkevich

During my morning coffee, I routinely scan five blogs before perusing the Washington Post.

I enjoy reading about new authors and books plus some social time (food, travel).

I am a monthly contributor to Writers Who Kill, as Margaret S. Hamilton

Kristopher

Hank's question is interesting: What drives us to a blog. I can't think of a blog I read regularly - and there are MANY - where I don't know at least one of the authors/bloggers personally. Having met them at a signing, convention, or some other event.

And yes, I know there are folks who follow my blog who reach out wanting to meet me at the next event, so maybe I am the odd one here.

Just as an example, I am go to Jungle Red because of Hank, Rhys, and Julia - but once there found all the other wonderful authors involved over the years, not to mention the authors/folks they bring on as guests. I could probably fill several years worth of reading just by the folks I met via that blog - so they do work. Just not easy to explain how.

Laura DiSilverio

Thanks to all of you for sharing your blog thoughts.

Kristopher, you have such a well-informed blog--I think readers are looking for that. They know they can't duplicate your years (lifetime?)of immersion in books and authors. When you point out the popularity of Lesa's, Dru's and Kathy's blogs, I have to think that's part of it for them, too. Funnily enough, it seems like one of the ways some book review bloggers stay up to date is by perusing some of the author blogs, like the ones mentioned here, right?

Art, I want to take your course! I am in awe of how many blogs some of you are following. I confess to only having four that I visit regularly, and I do that AFTER I have my writing done for the day, for the most part.

And, Kathy, catching up with friends, like you mention, is my primary reason for visiting blogs. I also like to get book recommendations, but I, too, skip the recipes. :-)

Margaret--I usually settle for scanning the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, not quite the Post, lol. I do love discovering new-to-me authors on blogs.

Laura DiSilverio

I read a couple of publishing industry blogs where I don't personally know any of the contributors, Kristopher, but I know many of the folks who write for the author blogs I visit. I guess it's the difference between wanting to find nuggets of hard info vs wanting to form a connection or get to know someone?

If you could explain exactly how blogs work and what makes them work, you'd make a fortune!

Dru Ann Love

Blogs are not dead. Every blog caters to an audience and the reader have to find the one that caters to them. My blog reading is down, but I regularly read, but not comment, on at least 10 blogs. Blogs need to be unique in what they are bringing to an audience. I will admit that most of the blogs I do read are group blogs and that I'm being introduced to books that I normally would not read.

Dru Ann Love

I forgot to mention that once I meet a new-to-me author on the blogs I read, I see if they are a fit for my blog and will invite them to do a guest post.

My readership continues to grow, despite doing less giveaways. I hear from my reader who tell me that my blog is one that they go to every morning.

Laura DiSilverio

You have such a wonderful, original blog, Dru Ann. I think you are exactly right when you say a blog needs to pinpoint what value added it gives to its audience. It seems to me that the successful, long-running ones have carved out a specific niche for themselves and have a good sense of their audience.

PlumGaga

I too use Feedly for the convenience of having my preferred blogs gathered in one place. I mostly follow book and food blogs that present individual points of view that appeal to me. That of course includes FemmesFatal and JungleReds.

Kathy Reel

I'll be back later with more, but just let me say now that if loving blogs is wrong, I don't wanna be right. Hahaha!

Seriously, ones that I love like Kristopher's BOLO and Dru's Dru's Musings and Jungle Red and Lesa's Lesa Book Critiques and 7 Criminal Minds and Femmes Fatale keep me coming back for reading recommendations and all sorts of interesting information that I don't get elsewhere.

Susan Neace

I check this blog every morning as well as Fantasy Cafe books. I check Charlaine Harris and Robin D Owens at least weekly. I do the same with Patricia Briggs blog although it was her deceased husband who usually did the blogging and his last blog was posted January 9. I keep hoping she or her assistant will pick it back up. I check the same way for new Robin McKinley who also hasn't posted since January. I recommend Smart Bitches Trashy Books even if you don't read romance since it is consistently intelligent and funny.

Mark

So this is the part where I hang my head in shame. I blog, but I rarely visit other blogs. I just don't have the time. I regularly check in here, Wicked Cozy, Jungle Red, and Cozy Chicks. Again, they are blogs where I know several of the authors from their writing if not in person, and I enjoy getting to know them better and meeting the guests they bring in. Some days, I skim and don't comment, other days, I read them well.

I know I don't get a lot of comments on my own blog. And I'm bad at replying to comments on my blog, so that could be part of it. But I get comments from people who say they regularly read my blog, so I know people are reading it even if they don't leave comments.

And my stats seem to continue growing. I'll go through slumps (like now), but then after a week of that, they seem to pick up again. Of course, the days I promote my reviews in all the cozy groups on Facebook, my stats do better.

Laura DiSilverio

Thanks for including FF, PlumGaga! I'm going to check out Feedly. Sounds very useful.

And we love your blog, Kathy. We're always glad to see you at FF, even when you're only lurking. :-)

Laura DiSilverio

Hi, Susan. I immediately checked out Smart Bitches Trashy Books on your recommendation. Not my kind of reads, but what a hoot! Thanks.

Mark--I can't imagine doing a blog on my own the way you and some others here do. So much work! So you don't respond to all the comments--fah! You've got a life. And yet you offer entertainment and a hugely worthwhile service to many readers. Keep it up, please, all of you!

Cyranetta

Another Feedly user - it allows me to follow all sorts of blogs efficiently and yet dive in to the entries that really intrigue me.

One of the reasons I still appreciate regular blogs more than other formats is that they tend to be more visually accommodating. Many entries and comment sections on things like GoodReads and Tumblrs have ridiculously small print.

I still appreciate discussions and commentary longer than 140 characters and conducted in words rather than emojis.

 Susan

Lesa mentioned something about this recently on her blog,too. Thankfully, she reassured us she plans to continue writing. I found it very disconcerting, since I started a blog a few months ago (OneThriftyReader.com). Personally, I read blogs both for entertainment and to discover new and new-to-me authors. We always hear that a gazillion new books are published every month, which is puzzling since I think it's actually getting harder to find new and new-to-me authors that I really love. At my house, we celebrate when we discover an author we love. BTW, I'm only reviewing books I like a lot. There's already enough negativity in the world. Really interesting to see all the comments here!

Laura DiSilverio

That bit about blogs being more visually accommodating--what an interesting point, Cyranetta. And, at least in the blogs I read, the posts and comments aren't mean-spirited as they sometimes get on GR and other sites.

Wow--what a great idea for a blog, Susan. I just checked it out. I'm off right now to sign up for the Penguin books giveaway you have posted! Thanks. (And thanks for keeping it positive; you are so right that there's too much negativity.)

Sherry Harris

What a great topic and thanks for the Wicked shout out. I'm fascinated that half of the list of blogs from 2009 is gone. I tend to browse blogs topics instead of reading the same blogs every day. I'm sure I miss stuff by doing that but it's what works best for me. I love reading blogs about books and writers and occasionally cooking even though I'm a lousy cook. I do a personal blog on my author page but not very regularly.

Edith Maxwell

Yes, thanks for the shoutout about the Wicked Cozy Authors - and lovely to see how many commenters here keep us on their daily reading schedule. We so much appreciate the community of commenters we have built up, like the fabulous one on the Jungle Red backblog. I've discovered lots of new authors there, too. I wouldn't say group blogging is dead at all, nor book review blogs like Kristopher's, Dru Ann's, Marks, and Lesa's.

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