July 29 – August 4: “Does blogging provide discipline and organization – or is it a distraction?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5This week we turn our focus to blogs and the people who write them: “Publishers tend to like writers who blog.  Does blogging provide discipline and organization – or is it a distraction?” Join ITW Members John Florio, Debbie Christiana and Steven James for another can’t-miss discussion.


sugarpopmoonJohn Florio (Brooklyn, NY) is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in print, on the web, and on television. He is the author of the Jersey Leo crime series (Sugar Pop Moon and the forthcoming Blind Moon Alley); he is also the author of One Punch from the Promised Land: Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and the Myth of the Heavyweight Title. Visit John on his website and follow Jersey Leo on Facebook.

SolsticeDebbie Christiana loves to read and write about mysteries, unusual love stories and things that go bump in the night. She’s been fortunate to publish two novels, Twin Flames and the recently released romantic suspense, Solstice, by Black Opal Books. In 2012 she published two dark fiction short stories in The Ten Tales anthology series. Debbie is a member of RWA, her local RWA chapter and the International Thrillers Writers, Inc. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

theKing book coverSteven James has penned 30+ books including his award winning Patrick Bowers thriller series. He has received wide critical acclaim for his work including two Publishers Weekly starred reviews and three Christy Awards for best suspense. Steven has an MA in Storytelling and is an active member of International Thriller Writers, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and International Association of Crime Writers. He is a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest, and has taught writing and storytelling principles on three continents. He lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. When he’s not writing or speaking, he’s rock climbing, playing disc golf, or slipping away to a matinee.

  1. First, let me say how excited I am to participate in the Roundtable Discussion. Thank you for having me.

    I am new to blogging having started in September of 2012. In the beginning, I found it a huge distraction. I believed that I had to to post a blog post 2-3 times each week and then I stress over how clever and exciting they were. Writing soon took a back seat to blogging. Then I realized that I wouldn’t have anything to blog about or promote if I didn’t get back to my characters and their stories.

    I am much better at balancing the two now. I try to have authors with a new release visit my blog as often as I can. I also have a monthly feature called ‘CURIOSITIES’ which spotlights a true tale of the supernatural or unexplained, usually by authors or readers. This is my most popular post and it’s so much fun to do.

    I do think blogging is a wonderful way to get your name out there, promote your work and help and support other authors, but writing should always come first.

  2. Apart from the obvious irony of writing a blog about whether or not writing a blog is really a good investment of your time, I’ve found that blogging is just not my deal. Despite how keen publishers are on blogging, it does distract me from my writing projects and I’m not sure it helps book sales.

    I’ve found that answering people’s questions about writing on asktheauthor.net is the only blogging I’m good at–and the only blogging I’m actually motivated to do.

    Some of my friends spend hours every day blogging, posting, tweeting, poking, linking, sharing, and updating their status and photos and bios . . . To me, it’s a little overwhelming. And one of those friends admitted to me that it didn’t result in any growth in his book sales. So, in essence, blogging is volunteer work–which I have nothing against–it’s just that I have other concerns I’d rather be volunteering my time to.

    A quick online search reveals that there are hundreds of millions of blogs (billions if you count microblogs) out there. My take–that’s hundreds of millions–or even billions–of opportunities for people to spend time reading something other than my books. The best way I know of to fight my way through the noise and be heard is by writing better novels, not by writing more blogs. Comments? Thoughts?

  3. There’s no doubt that publishers appreciate writers who blog on a regular basis. It makes sense, because blogs help authors promote their names and their books while building a loyal readership base.

    The issue for me is incorporating a blog into my everyday writing schedule. Why do I struggle? Because blog entries are written articles and I approach them as such. Try as I may, I can’t just “bang them out.” To be fair, I can’t even bang out a text or tweet without proofing it first.

    So, to me, blogging is a distraction. A huge one. Yes, it might help connect me to readers—something I’d truly enjoy—but I haven’t found a way to do it without sacrificing important writing time. (I’m currently working on the second Jersey Leo novel, BLIND MOON ALLEY. I have my schedule mapped out by the month, the week, even the day.)

    My solution? I’ve turned my “blog” into an update center: it’s a place where I announce my readings, speaking engagements, and the like. I can update it in minutes without stealing hours from my next novel. For me, that’s a worthy swap.

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