Allegedly writers need a social media presence in order to sell books. Of course the first rule of writers’ club is we never talk about writers’ club. So as an author I need a social media presence where I never ask you to read or otherwise buy my book. Fair enough I’ll just try to entice you with my dreamy masculine writer’s voice LOL. It makes sense though. We don’t buy features, we buy benefits. We don’t buy pragmatics we buy image. No one wants to visit the buymybook blog at wordpress.com
This of course brings us to the topic – blog or website? I’m insanely ambitious when it comes to all things writing tools. I went through and tested five different writer’s programs and used two at one time to determine which I liked best (Scrivner won). I don’t have one or two notebooks, I have ten. I get anxious when there are only two pens in my pen cup – twelve makes me feel better. In other words I’m the guy Staples and Office Max dream about. It should be no surprise then that I have a couple of platforms. There is this blog for writing, there is Nightmirrors for horror reviews and there is Graveyard Radio for my audio stories. I know being consistent with any one is better than being sporadic with three – but I can’t help organizing things or the lure of a new theme. I also have two websites. Nightmirrors and the basic Raymond Esposito dot com.
The decision to blog or website is dependent on your goal. The blog is a nice place to give readers a sense of who you are and what you think and how, in general you write. I have no idea if blogging actually results in sales for a fiction writer. Intuitively I believe the answer is “no.” I’m writing about writing on this blog. If I was thinking of publishing a writer’s guide book, this would be a great venue for that – but I write about things that scream in the night. You might enjoy my posts but still never have an interest in my philosophical treatise of love, loyalty, friendship and courage that I disguise as a zombie apocalypse. In that sense I think that blogging has limited value to a fiction writer. I guess if I can make you love my words you might make a purchase.
I’m not suggesting a fiction writer not blog. Readers today like access to their authors. I do believe however if you want to showcase your actual written work a blog is not the place to do it. I love short stories but even I am not likely to follow a blog that posts chapters – I follow blogs for reasons other than that. I believe a fiction writer must have a website for the purpose of showcasing their written work. It’s a better environment for chapters and stories. It doesn’t require daily or weekly changes and your stuff doesn’t wind up as a stream of infinity scrolling.
The costs aren’t what they used to be. I’m a fan of Go Daddy. URL’s are cheap (if you haven’t at least bought your name you really should before you get famous and someone else does.) Once upon a time you needed an expert to build your site. Someone who understood Dreamweaver or HTML and CSS. Today, there are products like Website Tonight, which make it very easy and very fast. I of course went all-in with 999 pages for 160 a year but you can get a five page starter cheap. Another benefit to a website is you can, as I did, write your novel as a serial. Post a chapter every two weeks. I’ll talk more about that in my upcoming post “Should you write a web series?” Not my idea, it was something I learned from author David Wellington.
The answer to blog or website is to do both. But maybe you’re a college student, or a single mom, or a dad supporting a family and even that small investment will impact the budget. I get it, once upon a time I didn’t have the money to eat on weekends. So here’s what I’ll do. I have 999 pages to fill on my website. If you have a horror, thriller, sci-fi, or suspense type story or stories I’ll start a guest author section. I’ll post your story or stories in your own section. I’ll add a link back to your blog. And this way you can have a web presence to go along with your blog.
Why would I offer to do this? Authors are sometimes just too competitive for their own good. Read my book, talk about my stuff, promote my greatness. I prefer a writing community that understands there is more than enough room for every great writer. So I’m not worried that your stories are better than mine or that you’ll get more traffic on my website than I do. If I can help someone else achieve their dream I’ll do it and I’ll do it free of charge. Just email me at Raymond@nightmirrors.com