Are blogs dead or simply evolving?

Good morning Scribe’s readers,

PJ Sharon here with a few questions for you. I hope you’ll stick around long enough to take the short survey at the end of this post. We appreciate your opinion and it should take less than a minute of your time. The results will be used to help us determine what changes we’ll be making to the Secrets of 7 Scribes in the coming weeks.
It has become increasingly clear that the world of publishing–and writing in general–is evolving quickly. Not that good grammar, great content, and entertaining interaction with a like-minded community will go out of vogue, but the way we interact is ever changing. With so many demands on our time and the speed at which communication has progressed, our current attention span has been reduced to about seven seconds per clickable nano-byte of information. In other words, we have about seven seconds to grab someone’s attention and hold it. Which is why venues like Instagram, Vine, and twitter are so popular with tech-savvy readers. It’s also why daily writer’s blogs such as ours are rapidly going the way of the dinosaur.

My Scribes sisters and I are committed to bringing you quality content, but we recognize that we have all grown beyond being writers only. Many of us are now published authors with busy production schedules, deadlines, and the myriad of marketing duties that go along with the job. After three years of daily blog posts, we need to re-evaluate our goals and decide what works best for us and our readership.

Before we make major changes though, we’d love to hear from you about what you’d like to see from us in the coming year. Please take this survey or leave a comment below with your suggestions, questions, or concerns.

In appreciation for your participation, and to thank you for your continued support, I’ll be offering a free critique of a query letter, synopsis, or first chapter of the current work in progress of one random commenter below. Just let me know that you’ve taken the survey or leave us some suggestions of what you’d like to see here, and you’re in the running!

If you aren’t a writer, let me know that too, and I’ll think of some other fabulous prize for you if your name gets picked…hmmm…thinking…signed copy, gift card, or swag…I love surprises, don’t you?

2013 RWA conference pic

Peace and blessings,

PJ

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30 thoughts on “Are blogs dead or simply evolving?”

    1. Thanks, Nia. I’m actually one of the few who still enjoy blogging, LOL. It’s sometimes difficult to come up with fresh topics, but I love sharing my experience with others and am a teacher at heart, so whichever way we go, there will still be great info to be found here at the Scribes and a way for us to interact with our followers on a regular basis. For instance, I’ll be developing a FAQ page about self-publishing so writers who are considering that path will have a jumping off point. At the same time, we’ll try to come up with ways to engage readers and hopefully make the site more entertaining:-)

    1. Hi Jolyse! I’ll post the results next week and hopefully we’ll have a clear plan for the updated blog by then. Thanks to your suggestion several months ago, we want to make sure we have a way to showcase our books and upcoming releases as well as being a place for writers to find helpful information.

      It is currently 58 degrees in my house:-) I’ve got a few layers on, but that’s ridiculous. I’ve just cranked the heat up…oil bill be damned! So looking forward to Spring!

  1. PJ-

    I think many blogs (Including mine) are suffering through the same problems of low readership and too many demands on the blogger’s time. Love to know how your survey turns out.

    1. Thanks, Connie. I think it’s just part of the social media evolution (or revolution). With so many new ways to access information coming along daily, we all need to find ways to creatively find our audience and stay engaged. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Darling picture! I love your blogs, and to be honest, PJ, yours is the one I follow the most. It’s hard because like you said, our writing time is so precious in this busy day in age, and the internet can prove more of a distraction than asset. I can’t maintain my own blog as regularly as I like because of the time involved, so I bow to your dedication. I took the survey and found what I look for most in a blog is information I need to further my own publishing career. I’m new to this game so having someone point out the pitfalls, or advise me of tips to help me achieve my goals faster, are the blogs I take the time to read.

    Are blogs going the wayside? More and more I fear, due to time constraints. I also don’t like static “look at my latest and greatest” sites, but do enjoy ones where a blogger is brave enough to post an honest opinion about books he/she has read. This is how I discover a lot of new authors and good reads. Guest bloggers? Not so much, unless it’s related to a certain subject. The same old questions get asked too frequently from blog to blog. If they write murder mystery, I’d love to know what they do to research to add authenticity to their story. If a personal event in their life sparked their story, I like to know that, too, but the standard “when did you know you wanted to be a writer” doesn’t hold my attention, and time is far too valuable these days.

    Thanks for this blog, girl! I’m interested to know if others’ opinions.

    1. Awesome feedback, Harley. We’re looking to find the place somewhere between a static page that doesn’t require daily updates, but one that will still be engaging and informative, and worth visiting often. Hopefully, we can figure a way to do both! Thanks so much for your insights:-) I’m taking notes!

  3. Yes, I took that great survey. How smart of y’all to ask your readers what they think!

    I’ve personally blogged up to 3 times a week, but I’m currently writing about 1-2 entries per week. I have noticed blog traffic overall dropping off somewhat, and honestly I don’t visit as many blogs as I used to. Rather than subscribing to a lot of blogs, I now just pop over when I see something that intrigues me. I’m grateful to blogging because it honed my ability to communicate publicly, write concisely, and be consistent with output…and even more importantly, it connected me with fellow writers and potential readers. That said, we have to be adaptable and maybe those goals are met in other ways now as well or instead.

    1. Exactly, Julie! Being adaptable in this environment is key. Part of the difficulty with blogging is getting the word out to our target audience. Using categories and key words is important but will only pull in a few viewers and not folks who generally interact or comment. I know when I do go to a blog I’m interested in, I always want to read the comments as well. I appreciate the interaction. But finding those readers who will come back again and again is tricky.

      I have the great fortune of being part of several large writer’s groups and loops and I can disseminate information easier than my fellow Scribe mates, so traffic to my Tuesday posts is generally higher. As such, I’ve also focused most of my posts on writing and publishing which is great for spreading the love to my fellow writers, but doesn’t necessarily help me reach new readers. We’ll try our best to find a middle ground that will be a win. win for everyone!

  4. I took the survey too. I think maybe the daily update could be changed so that you’re only posting on high traffic days. For example if Sundays and Wednesdays are the slow days, then only publish on the high traffic days. Or post every other day. I dunno. Just a thought. I also like what you do Paula when you send a message about your blog, you put in a twitter cut and paste so that it’s easy to promote the post.

    1. Thanks Lissa! We’ve talked about cutting new posts to a couple of days a week and rotating through so we each only have to blog once or twice a month which would cut down our work load but still have us consistently engaging our readership. Weekends are definitely slower so that would be an easy fix. Thanks for the feedback, and yes…any favor I’m asking of other busy people in my life, I try to make it as easy as possible for them. The Golden Rule applies–even to twitter! Do unto others and all that:-)

  5. Good idea with the survey. On my blog, romance beyond dot com, shared with Sharon Clare, we had those same questions. She’s published, I’m not, so we have two different perspective. We decided to go with themes for a period of 8 weeks approximately. We have guests too! It made a difference to focus on themes. Our first one is Memorable Marketing Moments. The second one will be on deleted scenes.

    The most important thing is to have fun. If blogging becomes a chore, it’s time to change it up. Right?

    1. Absolutely, Carole! I love the theme idea. Even a monthly theme would be cool. We’ve found that many times, people leave comments days after a post has first gone up, telling us that either they aren’t visiting daily or they’ve found a topic days later that interested them. Having a monthly theme might inspire more traffic over a longer period of time, if that makes sense. It makes sense in my head:-) I’m putting it on my list! Thanks for the feedback and taking time to share ideas.

  6. I find the general topic interesting. Three years ago I didn’t follow a single blog…not about ANYTHING. I still don’t subscribe to many blogs (and not to any individual author blogs), but there are a few writing group blogs I like for industry news/craft tips. As a reader, I follow a few book review and book discount sites, but I find myself skimming many of them now because it is just too much information every day. I don’t know what the solution is, but I applaud your effort to figure it out! Best of luck to you all.

    1. Thanks for the great feedback, Jamie.

      I see the same pattern in many people’s on-line experience. We’re all just getting far too plugged in and bombarded with new technology. There has to come a point where things hit a peak and then start to slow down, right? Right? (hoping}}}}

    1. Thanks for the support, Brenda. Being adaptable and willing to change are essential characteristics for the success of any business these days. I just never thought I would be a business:-)

  7. Wow, I filled out the survey too. It’s become hard for everyone to catch up. I run my own website, book blogging site, write, volunteer, and so much more. I know how hard it is to keep content fresh. I wish you the best of luck!

    1. Thanks for taking time to respond to our survey. I think it will help us see more clearly what we want to do. We writers are consummate multi-taskers, aren’t we? I jokingly say, “I wear more hats than Jackie O’.” There really are only so many hours in a day. I’m much better about not killing myself, these days. I’ve started keeping track of my “writing business” hours which is helping me maintain some balance. I feel like I’m always chipping away at a giant boulder that keeps growing, LOL.

  8. Yes, I did the survey though I found it hard to reconcile some of my answers with each other!
    I definitely prefer less frequent posting – I post around 2-3 times a week, on average, and for myself I find I am more likely to take time to read blogs on traditionally low traffic days, as that’s when I have the time available! I dread Mondays – way too many emails to deal with. Over the weekend, I have time to stop and read whatever comes my way.

    1. Interesting, Deborah. It seems there is no definitive pattern for everyone, but that’s to be expected. I can totally see how you could have more time to peruse blogs on the weekend. I could say the same thing, but I’m kid free these days and that makes a huge difference. Mom’s with young kids who have dance recitals and sporting events have much less opportunity to sit down and read blogs. They are also probably working moms who have to use weekends for house work and errands. It was fun, but I’m glad those days are behind me. Next up…Grandkids!

      1. That’s true, I’ve never had kids in the equation, at least, not two-legged ones! I work for myself, running my own consultancy (competition horse training) and weekends are one of my busiest times – during the day. But weekends evenings I put less pressure on myself to write, as I’m too tired from work, whereas during the week I’m trying to write and not give in to reading too many blogs!

  9. I put my comments in the survey. I only visit blogs a few times a week, so blogs with daily content isn’t something that’s important to me. I think once or twice a week is fine for blogging, maybe twice for a group blog. I think writers have so much to focus on, and microblog sites like tumblr, instagram or even pinterest offer some options to make blogging more creative. I love crafting articles and bookmark them like crazy. Not every post has to be in-depth though; linking to a pinterest image that’s inspiring, or posting something funny with photos, that can be refreshing. (Keeping it realted to books and writers.)

  10. Hi, PJ! Adrienne here. Great topic ~ made me think. One of the commenters here expressed what I am seeing on my own blog, http://WritingNovelsThatSell.com, which I launched originally to be a “how to write/get published” blog.. To be specific: my readers aren’t all that interested in craft. They’re bored with author interviews. BUT when I strike a bargain with a guest columnist to write something interesting background research from their novel (Collette Cameron’s guest post on Marriage Rituals of Gypsies come to mine); or internet marketing, or something off-the-wall but humorous (“What do you buy as a shower gift for your heroine’s bouncing baby werewolf?”) those blog posts get traffic — but only after I publicize them all over the social media universe. I get big hits from Twitter and Pinterest, btw. (Pinterest always surprises me, for some reason.) Hope that helps! (Oh, and I took your survey.) Hugs!

    1. You are awesome, Adrienne! I love your blog and often pop over to see what’s happening. Like many people, I don’t always leave comments on blogs I visit, but I’ll “like” it or share it to FB and twitter. I don’t think to send it to Pinterest, though. Great idea! Thanks for taking the survey:-)

  11. I don’t know if there is a way to record how many people, be they potential readers, authors (we also read a lot), or just browsers look at each blog you host, but that and how many hit the “buy link” (knowing not all will really buy but are at least go to look at the novel) might be of some indication of how “effective” blogging is or isn’t. It is work to do a blog, both on your end and on the author’s end (I’m an undiscovered author of my “Immortal Relations” series). I’ve been on a number of blogs and do enjoy trying to communicate with the few commenters. Even if I don’t set up a “give-away” on the blog, if I see a comment that intrigues me, I will try to contact that person and offer them a Kindle edition of one of my books (explaining a little about each book in the series to help them choose). I certainly haven’t found a big increase in sales from any of the blogs I’ve done (unless I count the books I pay to have sent to the commenters). Even so, I do enjoy trying to reach out to potential readers. I didn’t write my novels to get rich – I doubt I’ll ever make back what it cost in time and Indie publishing for the books in the series, but I LOVED writing the stories and while my writing style won’t endanger any of the literary giants, I felt each of my stories have a unique storyline and a worthwhile message. That is my two-cents!

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