Posted by Juliet Madison
A few weeks ago I posted a survey link to find out what people like to see on author blogs. If you haven’t participated in the survey you can do so here. I will share the results periodically as more people respond to the survey.
Here are the survey results so far:
- 5% of respondents were readers, 92.5% were writers (and readers), and 2.5% were publishing industry professionals
- The most popular genres that respondents like to read, in order of most to least popular, are: romance & women’s fiction/chick lit (tied first), romantic comedy, mystery, thriller/crime/suspense, historical, paranormal, young adult, literary, Australian rural fiction, steampunk, men’s contemporary fiction, and sci-fi.
- 75% of respondents have a blog, 17.5% don’t, and 7.5% are thinking about getting one.
- Of those that have a blog, 40% only post when they get a topic idea, 23.3% post a few times a week, 20% post once a week, with the remainder posting one or two times a month. None of the respondents post daily.
- 40% of respondents regularly visit author blogs a few times a week, 32.5% visit author blogs when they are enticed by an interesting post, the same number of people (7.5%) visit daily, once a week, and a few times a month, with only 5% visiting once a month.
- When asked which factors influence the decision to visit a particular blog or blog post, 82.1% of respondents said that knowing the author professionally or personally made them want to visit the blog. 79.5% visit a blog to learn about a specific topic, 64.1% visit based on the recommendation of a friend or an interview with a favourite author, 51.3% visit to discover a new author or book, and surprisingly, only 38.5% visit a blog to enter a contest or giveaway. Some other reasons people mentioned that cause them to visit a particular blog were: to learn how to do their own blog, to keep up to date with industry information, to visit the blog of someone who commented on their own blog, posts with interesting titles, recommendations via facebook and twitter, and to support fellow writers.
- The most popular types of blog posts/categories, in order of most popular to least popular, were: How-To articles & tips on writing, interviews with publishing professionals, How-To articles on author marketing, opportunities to pitch your book to an agent or publisher, author interviews, humorous posts just for fun, book reviews, info on upcoming new releases from authors, excerpts from books, book giveaways, free short stories or serials, giveaways for non-book prizes, and character interviews.
- The most popular topics to read about on blogs were: digital publishing, writing books, marketing & promotion, the story behind a book & how it came to be, cover designs, how to get an agent or publishing contract, a writer’s life behind the scenes, self publishing, readers guides/book club questions.
- In author interviews on blogs, the most popular things people like to find out about the author are: info about their latest book, what they’re working on next, where they get their ideas and inspiration, how they came to be an author, how they balance family/life with writing, info about their other job or previous career, how to connect with them online, fun things like favourite colour/movie/tv shows/books/music/hobbies. Respondents also commented that they’d like to see more specific information about developing writing skills, fun character interviews to find out things that weren’t in the book, and detail about the author’s processes from beginning of the idea to the end result.
- Some of the final comments people had to say were: many author blogs seem to be the same – need to make the blog stand out and be unique, never blog an apology for not blogging, don’t get offended if you don’t get many comments – it doesn’t mean the reader hasn’t enjoyed the post, it usually means they are busy. And someone also commented that I was amazing so I thought I’d throw that in there to add to the important statistics, lol! 😉
- Here are some of the blogs that respondents mentioned were enjoyable (and some might have just wanted to plug their own, but that’s okay!): Romance Writers of Australia, Ted Dekker, Joanne Phillips, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Elizabeth S. Craig, Jami Gold, Nathan Bransford, The Creative Penn, Em’s Place, Jenny Crusie/Argh Ink, Max Barry, Nick Earls, Lynn Viehl, Books By Banister, Jenn J McLeod, Margareta Osborn, Cathryn Hein’s Friday Feast, Chuck Wendig, The Blood-Red Pencil, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, Novel Adventurers, Imelda Evans, Annie Seaton, 🙂
As with all surveys, the results are only representative of a selection of people so take from it what you will, and I hope the results help authors to plan their blogs with the reader in mind for the greater benefit of both parties.
What I gleaned from this survey:
- Try to blog one or more times a week
- Network with authors and readers
- Blog about topics that people want to learn about
- Support your friends and favourite authors by sharing links to their blog posts
- Visit and comment on other blogs to increase exposure for your own
- Contests are good but not essential for a blog to be popular
- Blog not only about writing but about marketing and the publishing process
- Space out your informative blog posts with fun & light-hearted posts
- Character interviews are enjoyed by some but hated by others – these may be best used as a bonus for those who have already read your book
- Anything to do with digital publishing is a hot topic
- Try keeping a story journal to record the development of your book from idea to end result
- Think of a way to make your blog unique and stand out from others that are similar
So next time you’re thinking hmmm… what will I blog about? Take a look at these results and maybe you’ll be inspired and come up with a top idea that readers (and writers) will love.