I've been blogging for about eight months now. I started doing this for the same reason as most other writers--to develop a marketing platform. The goal is to gradually build a readership that will translate into more book sales down the road. If you give readers a reason to keep coming back, the odds are that they'll be interested in purchasing your books when they're published. That's the theory anyway.
I've found I enjoy blogging. I've met a lot of nice people this way, and I like thinking about what to write each day. There are, however, a few points to remember.
First and foremost, I need to keep reminding myself of my purpose in blogging. This is not an online diary, and I'm not just looking for someone to talk to or using this forum as therapy. This is the site to which I directed my agent when we were discussing her possible representation of me. It's a site to which I will refer my publisher. Therefore, I need to behave professionally.
I also try very hard to stay away from politics, religion and other controversial subjects. I don't always succeed. I can think of two occasions in the last eight months when my outrage over something was so severe, I stepped over that line. Do I regret it? No. The issues were too important to ignore.
My good friend and fellow blogger, Sloane Taylor (http://www.sloanetaylor.com/blog/), did the same thing recently in responding to a particularly insidious form of terrorism. I agreed with what she did. Sloane also considered the consequences of what she was about to say and decided that the subject matter was important enough to outweigh any potential fallout. The comments she received proved that she was right.
On the flip side, I recently read a blog that made me say, "Sweet Holy Virgin, what was she thinking?!? Another writer had written a blog dissing an entire group of people. Forget unprofessional. It was suicidal. If your purpose in blogging is to attract fans, it's never a good idea to go on a rant guaranteed to make you sound awful and to alienate almost anyone who reads it.
Second point about blogs, it's like having a dog. Your blog needs to be taken out and exercised. That means you should update it frequently--at a bare minimum once a week. In my case, I've opted to post every day. Is that difficult? It can be. But that was the decision I made, and I'm sticking with it.
Final point about blogging: be creative. Have fun with it. A group of the Brazen Hussies created a blog (http://www.indulgeauthors.blogspot.com/) on which they are writing serialized stories; another Hussy does question-and-answer sessions with published writers (http://www.yasminephoenix.com/writing/); and a third is doing online reviews of erotic romances (http://www.jeannelaws.com/reads.htm). Each is creative and intriguing. Each will find an audience.
On the homefront, I talked to the insurance agent today. Hopefully my home disaster will be a thing of the past by the end of this week. Thank you, Jesus.