After a month of extremely low traffic (like February was for me (see part 1)) or a drop off in comments or a failure to generate sales from blogging or any number of other things, you might wonder, "What's the point? Why should I spend my time doing this thing; it doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere."
I can't say that's not a legitimate question.
So let me give you an example of why a blog can make a difference for even a well-known author.
John Scalzi is kind of a big deal in the science fiction world. His first (traditionally published) novel, Old Man's War, was nominated for a Hugo in 2006. Red Shirts won the Hugo for best novel in 2013. There have been many other nominations (which I'm not going to go try and figure out). He was also the president of SFWA for a while.
But, see, despite the fact that I read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy, I'd never heard of John Scalzi. Not as a writer. I discovered him through his... wait for it... blog! His blog is, in fact, great. I didn't find his blog until well after I'd started blogging myself, and I didn't realize, right at first, except in a very vague way, that he was a writer of books. I mean, he doesn't spend much time talking about the process of writing, so, just from his posts, it's not always apparent. Which is fine. I don't really need more author/writer advice, and I didn't go there looking for that stuff. Why would I when I didn't know about any of the books he'd written?
I went there because he has interesting posts about actual things and, more importantly, he has real things to say about those things, whatever those things happen to be, and we, evidently, have a very similar way of looking at those things. So far, I haven't disagreed with him about any of the things, at any rate. Though I'm not likely to wear a dress. (And you can just go check his blog to figure that one out.)
Eventually, though, he mentioned a thing he had coming out ("The B-Team," part 1 of his serialization of The Human Division), which caught my eye since I was serializing Shadow Spinner at the time, and I really took a look at his books and decided I wanted to read Old Man's War, which I haven't actually done, yet, but I will. And I also, now, want to read Red Shirts (which is going to be a TV show, so I really need to get on that). So, in me, he has a fan, and I haven't even read any of his books, but, see, I like him.
And all of that was because of his blog.
There's also Demetri and the Banana Flavored Rocketship, my favorite read of 2012, by Bryan Pedas, whom I found through his blog. And Briane Pagel and the very many things he's written (which, actually, includes his blog, which is like some vast, scrawling art form); do you want to guess how I discovered him? I bet you can't. No, seriously, just guess.
Okay, you got me. It was his blog.
I could go on.
Actually, I kind of will. If you have a blog and, for whatever reason, I go to it, and I see that the last post was November 27, 2011, guess what I'll do. If you're thinking that I'll explore it anyway, you'd be wrong. I'll close it up without bookmarking it and never bother to go back. I won't go poking around and I won't find out what you may or may not have written. Which is not to say that if you're an author you need to have a blog, but, if you do, you should keep it updated. If you're not going to do that, take it down. All the way down. Or archive it somewhere as a "look what I used to do" kind of thing.
Blogging may not be the thing anymore, but it is a thing, and it can be a big thing if you use it well. Most of my new reading (other than authors I already follow (like Gaiman, Lawhead, and Russell)) is coming from things I'm finding from blogs. That someone may be following along here and later decide to read one of my books makes me want to do a good job with the blog, which, granted, can mean a lot of different things and is a much longer conversation, but the intent is still there.
All of that to say, sure, blog traffic will dip and sway and be fickle and passive-aggressive or, even, aggressive-aggressive (I've had some of that, too) and it will come and it will go, but that doesn't mean that I should decide that it's just not worth it. How do I know when someone like me might come along and decide to check out one of my books? I don't, so I need to make sure that no one comes along sometime in 2016 and finds March 5, 2014 as the date of my last post.
This post has been brought to you in part by the IWSG.