From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Can You Judge an Author's Fiction By Their Blog?

Sometimes I look back at old blog posts and find things that make me flinch. I've been doing this for a long time, which hopefully comes with some improvement, but I know I still have plenty of typos, grammar faux-pas and run-on sentences in my posts. My brain definitely knows the their/there/they're rule, but sometimes my hands don't. (And I admit, I didn't get the title for this post right the first time around).

Basically I just sometimes wonder, can mistakes on an authors blog be enough of a deterrent that people don't buy their books? (Got that "their" right the first time, btw).

In thinking about this I've been thinking about sort of the two ends of the blog quality spectrum.

On the one hand, there are some blogs out there of such poor quality that they're almost illegible. This is beyond spelling and grammar errors, this is confusing wording and very poor structure, so much so that you're not sure what exactly the blogger is even trying to say. Now, it seems like blogs like this would be an absolute deterrent, but in thinking about it, I actually don't think even that would be an authors final chance. Yes, it may take extra motivation for me to make the effort to go from such a blog to the authors books on Amazon, let's say, but I might--and the key here is free sample. For a blog like this, I definitely would not go from the blog to spending money. However I am not past being won over if and that's a HUGE if, they motivate me enough to spend the effort downloading a free sample to my iPad, which I would do with a very skeptical and wary eye. So not good chances, but still not last chances.

On the other hand are the types of bloggers we all aspire to be. These are the blogs we find, read one post and know already that it's worth our time to subscribe. The blogger continues to produce such valuable content that we come back consistently and eventually decide to put down effort and maybe even money towards their books. A sample often still comes first for ebooks (which is another reason why your first few chapters are crucial). But for the readers of a fabulous blog, there's not a lot of begging and convincing that needs to be done. The other thing I've noticed about this is that the blogs that are for me in this category are there not because of beautiful, poetic language (although they write very well). I pay attention to them because of consistent, relevant, and very well-organized content. That's a lesson we can take into account for our novels too.

We also need to take into account the fact that our novels undergo a much more intensive editing process (one would hope) than our blog posts do.

What do you think? Can you judge an author's fiction by their blog? Have you bought or not bought a writers book based on their blog?

Sarah Allen

13 comments:

  1. I think a writer's voice comes through in his blog posts, which gives you and idea of what to expect in the books.
    The blog is also a place for readers to get to know an author. When they make a connection, they're more likely to buy a book.

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  2. Fiction writers definitely need to make sure their blog posts are legible and show a knowledge of the rudiments of grammar and punctuation. I'm okay with seeing casual things like run on sentences but misspelled words and bad use of the basics like their and they're and your and you're etc would definitely discourage me from buying their book.

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  3. I fail at matching my blog voice with my fiction voice. My blog and myself in general are pretty happy and smiley entities. However, my fiction is so totally not. I have no idea what happens when I sit down to write fiction - suddenly this very dark, oppressive voice takes over.

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  4. I pay a lot more attention to my books than to my blog. Plus, I don't use an editor for my blog. On top of that, my blog is mainly about the happy things in life whereas my books are uncomfortable and dark. Definitely not a match.

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  5. It does to a point, but I know (from experience) that blog posts are typically self-edited, and so they're not expected to be the same quality as a published work.

    One thing that WILL turn me off is mistakes in the story description and or excerpt on a retailer site. THAT needs to be edited and polished to perfection. My feeling is, if an author can't be bothered to polish the marketing text for their work--the first impression everyone sees--then why should I trust them to take care with what's inside the cover?

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  6. My blog posts tend to be long and rambling while my writing is more succinct and concise. Not sure what that says, split personality?

    mood
    Moody Writing


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  7. I think my writing is much darker than my blog posts. I'm with Mood. I probably have a split personality :P

    But if the blog isn't easy to follow along then I'll probably take the free download and be on my way.

    Sam
    Writing Through College

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  8. Mistakes happen, especially if you're a sleep deprived writer/blogger. I'm with Alex. Voice matters.

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  9. Blog posts are not as thoroughly edited as novels and are often written "off the cuff" and meant to be informal.

    That said, if a writer's blog was glaringly full of grammatical errors, misused words, rambling sentences, and spelling errors on a regular basis, I would not even glance at their fiction.

    As for voice ... If the writing was full of the errors I mention above, I don't think there would be much of a voice. Authors who think their voice shines through multiple, repeated errors are, in my opinion, making excuses for not taking time at the craft of writing.

    The exception would be a first person narration that's deliberately full of errors because it represents something about the character.

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  10. I view writing on my blog as I do any other place I write, a way to exercise and perfect my skill. To be honest, since so few know me, I can't afford to be flippant or sloppy in my writing, although I know I have made my share of mistakes. I was raised with the motto you do the best with what you have, whereever and whenever.

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  11. I have never bought a book on the basis of an author's blog but you can tell a lot about the depth of their writing from the blog. Yours are always thoughtful and well written so I know you are a good author. Like other of your commentators, I spend most of my efforts on writing my books, and now also on the A-Z blog challenge!

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  12. I've always had trouble reconciling my fiction with my blog. My fiction is crime drama and suspense. Murder and gore and stuff like that. My blog is personal and usually lighthearted. Maybe I'm like mood (see comment above) and have a split personality.

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  13. I've been getting better at reconciling my blogging voice with my writing voice, although it's still an uphill battle.

    The problem I have is that my blogging voice is somewhat snaky and sharp while my writing voice is some to the extreme left of normal. A lot dark with moderate-to-heavy violence and flavored with sex.

    Almost all of the writer's blogs that I follow are extremely well written, thus I've had no problem in purchasing their books from time to time.

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