Where does your “value” go?

With the media attention on large-advance book deals for bloggers, more and more writers may feel confident that their drive to put their most valuable content online is worthwhile.

I’m wondering what writer mamas think about this. Because I write for money, the lion’s share of my daily efforts are not visible on this blog. For example, I’m rewriting my second book right now and I’m not planning to share much on that topic until the book is done.

For me, it’s a matter of containment and concentration. Books require an extraordinary amount of detailed thinking. And I need deep concentration to get there and find the right words.

Other writers feel differently. They like to get immediate feedback to what they are working on. So they “blog” their books in various ways. They say that the open book writing process makes their books better.

However, it’s still the case that most of the writers I know who make their living writing (through freelancing and writing books) don’t necessarily open up their writing process via a blog, they focus on serving editors and/or clients.

Whereas, I know lots of writers who write a lot online, who are not necessarily making much money from writing. Though I see a few who are doing such a good job with their blog that I wouldn’t be surprised if that road lead to a book deal. But those writers are still very much in the minority, at least based on the hundreds of writers I personally know.

So…what do you think? Where is the smartest place to share your “value” as a writer? Is it online or is it to serve editors without the emphasis visibility?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you do one, the other or both. 🙂


6 Responses to “Where does your “value” go?”

  1. 1 Mary Jo C. April 24, 2008 at 9:27 am

    That’s a good question. Which is the reason I have not started a blog yet. I haven’t decided on which niche my blog will focus on. I originally thought it would be to promote my novel -in-progress, but now that’s on the back burner as I’m concentrating more on building my non-fiction portfolio.

    So, would I start a blog based on the articles I’m writing (and eventually publishing) and the adventures of wearing that hat? Or a blog about the youth writers group I’m starting this summer – and then who to focus on – the youth, the teachers, the parents or all above?

    I feel that blogging is a reflection of the author’s personality, and that may get me in trouble – I can be a bit sarcastic and fiesty!

    Blogging can be scary business. As my mom used to say (in the pre-internet days) be careful what you write down, it may come back to haunt you….

    I guess I’m an old-fashioned book girl at heart. Give me paper and bound books to cuddle up with; the blogs can be read when I feel like talking – not so much reading!

    ~ Mary Jo

  2. 2 anniegirl1138 April 24, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I started blogging as therapy after my first husband died. Later it became a way to train myself back into daily writing, a “muscle” building exercise almost. Now I use it for practice and for personal venting and sometimes to talk about what I am doing and how I am doing establishing myself as a writer. I don’t write to a “niche” audience even though much of my early blogging is about widowhood and the road back to “normal” and then after meeting my current husband it shifted more towards the remarriage and blending issues that two widowed people and their children have.

    I don’t put my fiction online and I only discuss it in the vaguest terms. I want to see those pieces in the print medium. However, I have noting against publishing online in an e-zine. It is a shame that blogging isn’t recognized as a writing medium outside the web world to a larger extent.

  3. 3 nathalie April 24, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    I think this one comes down to personal preference. And what works while writing one novel, might not work for the next one. For me, writing is such a solitary thing and I hate writing groups so my blog is my lifeline to the outside world. I blog about my writing when I want some feedback or am curious how readers might interpret something. Most helpful for me is posting a running word count of my writing projects to help keep me accountable. One of my favorite posts was putting up the names of some of my characters and asking blog readers to share their impressions of the name. Super interesting. I’ve done this for titles as well. I’ve stopped publishing entire poems, essays, etc. because when entering them in contests I need to be able to say they’ve never been published.

  4. 4 Pattie April 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    If I were an author, I would not share my book online until it was finished. I’m a huge believer in protecting intellectual property. In fact, Christina, I’d be really surprised if you posted parts of your book online in any form. It just doesn’t seem as professional, somehow.

    NOW…I’ve seen authors post a few paragraphs of a WIP as an example of what to do or what they changed; more as an illustration. That, or a teaser, seems okay to me.

    Posting large portions of a novel in progress, or essays that will eventually be compiled into a book, seems counterproductive in my mind.

  5. 5 Abby May 2, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I started my blog partly as a way to self-publish all the short, funny pregnancy & parenting essays I was writing (and trying to sell). Print pubs take so long to get back to you & run so few essays. I didn’t want to waste my work by trying to sell it! Just getting it out there in front of readers has been gratifying.

    Some of my blog posts have spun off into complete essays that have sold & been published in print. Other times, blogging is a way for me to try out ideas & see how they resonate with readers. Since I enjoy doing it, it helps my writing & it doesn’t take (much) time away from paid opportunities, I don’t see blogging as decreasing my value at all.

  6. 6 The Writer Mama May 4, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for these great comments!

    Very insightful. And don’t worry. I don’t plan to publish any more than a teaser of my forthcoming book.

    🙂 C

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