I ran across an excerpt of this interesting post entitled “My Book Ate my Blog” by Sophie Perinot on the Passive Voice blog (which if you haven’t discovered the Passive Guy yet, run right over and check him out!), about the difficulties of balancing the demands of maintaining a blog while trying to write. The comments on her site, and on the Passive Voice, were filled by people who agreed that blogging was taking them away from writing or how hard it was to maintain a balance.
As I thought about my own history of blogging, I found an interesting pattern had emerged. First of all, I am not a prolific blogger. For the whole time I have been blogging (21 months) I have produced only 40 blog posts-counting this one (which means an average of 1.9 posts a month). My blog posts tend to be long, detailed, and they often take me 1-2 days to write. According to perceived wisdom on the subject of social media and marketing, this infrequent blogging pace, and my hopeless inability to use Twitter effectively, probably explains my small number of subscribers (40), and my low number of views (7000 views total in the 21 months I have been blogging–an average 333 a month).
Nevertheless, I have been very fortunate that most of my posts have been cross-posted in Publetariat, providing with me a much larger readership than these statistics suggest, and generally my statistics have shown growth, with 2011 showing 5 times the number of hits than 2010-and the ratio of growth should be even higher by the end of the year.
However, when I examined it, my pattern of blogging did not seem to suggest that my blogging had any negative effects on my writing. I started blogging in December of 2009 (the same month I self-published my first historical mystery, Maids of Misfortune. Between Dec 2009 and the end of Dec 2010, I published on average 1.7 posts per month. I was marketing, not writing, during those 13 months—so there was no conflict at all.
I started working on my sequel, Uneasy Spirits, in January 2011 and completed the first draft at the end of June 2011. In that 6 months period I averaged 2.3 blog posts per month. Obviously writing did not interfere with my blogging, nor vice versa, since in that 6 months I produced a draft that was over 140,000 words long.
However, as I rushed to complete the draft in June and then began the process of getting feedback, rewriting, getting more feedback, editing, and then proof-reading the manuscript to get it ready for publication by October 15 (my self-imposed deadline), my blogging rate went down considerably. I not only didn’t post anything in Jun, but I only produced one post for July, August, and by the skin of my teeth (since this post is coming out Sept 28th) one in September.
One could conclude that blogging had not interfered with my writing (since I was more productive as a blogger when I was writing full-time.) However, once the book was a real entity, and I moved into high gear to get it published, it completely consumed me. In other words, it was my book that ate my blog.
My conclusion? When I was marketing my first book, blogging was a natural extension of that process, no conflict. When writing the book, blogging was actually a nice break from the fiction, and my blogging benefited. But when the first draft was done, and I knew I had a book, and I created a deadline for myself (I was committed to getting the book out in October, in time to garner reviews by the Christmas holidays), then doing everything that was necessary to get that book out there to readers began to consume me. Everything became secondary.
But today I am currently waiting for the print proofs, I am confident I am not only going to meet my deadline, but the book may actually be out there a week earlier, so watch out world, this blogger’s back!
So has your blog eaten your book, or has your book eaten your blog?