My name is Rebecca Lang, and I am a fantasy author. I’m starting this blog in order express my thoughts on whatever topic happens to stir my passion at the moment. These topics may include book and movie reviews, interesting pieces of information I stumble across, the struggles and lessons of my daily life, and, of course, writing.
This is not my first blog.
Point of fact, this is blog #5.
The Previous Blogs
The first blog I ever wrote, back in 2006, was called “Becky’s Nagoya Blog” and it detailed my life as an exchange student in Nagoya, Japan. I wrote it to fanatically record every detail of this once-in-a lifetime adventure, for the friends and family who couldn’t be there and for my own future reference. My second blog, Becky’s Kanoya Blog, was similarly conceived. From 2007-2010, I served as an assistant language teacher in Kanoya City, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. I’d write long, detailed emails for family and friends (and me) about my exotic life, and I decided to post these emails as entries in a blog. Both blogs ended when I returned home to America.
Once I returned to America, at the start of the 2010s, I threw myself into my lifelong dream of being a writer. A number of websites advised me to start a blog, and so I did. Blog #3, “Flight of the Red Dragonfly,” was begun in 2012, back before I’d published a single book. I had no idea what to put in it, but I knew I had to put out content consistently, so I blogged at least once a week about my life, my travels, books I’d read, trips to the museum, writing advice, goals and my to do list. When I finally published my first book, I blogged the announcement. I don’t think any of this sold a single book, but it did exhaust and frustrate me.
After taking a break to have a personal life crisis, I started blog #4, “News and Reviews,” on my website in 2019. The reason I put it on my website was to: a. make it easier for people to find information on my books and b. make sure I updated my website. I chose reviews for content, because, by this time, I’d figured that writing about writing was getting me an audience of writers—not necessarily readers. Not all people who read fantasy books were interested in writing, and not all writers were interested in fantasy books. And so I tried to write about books, movies, and and pop culture that might be interesting to fans of fantasy. Unfortunately, I could not keep up with culture, and writing reviews was starting to put pressure on my enjoyment of books and movies.
Not a Marketing Tool
So what have I learned from this long, slogging experiment? Basically, I’ve learned that, for me, blogging sucks as a marketing tool. It takes a ton of time and energy, and it doesn’t actually seem to sell any books. I’m not saying it can’t work. For some people it obviously does, especially bloggers and nonfiction authors. But let me tell you why it doesn’t work for me.
First of all, the portion of my brain/ heart/ soul that loves to write does not like being told what to write. As soon as it’s told it has to write something (for business no less, ugh!), it goes into defiance mode, and I find myself struggling with myself. The writer portion of my brain requires freedom.
Second of all, the books I write are not conjoined by a strong theme that makes it easy to blog about. Some people write series set in a single world with an easy-to-Google topic baked right in: for example, cozy mysteries involving cats and yarn. That’s great. But so far, I’ve written an epic fantasy set with in a world populated by sentient beings no one has heard of, a children’s adventure that deconstructs a fairy tale I made up, and a paranormal mystery about a ghost and an imaginary friend. What binds them together? They’re all vaguely fantasy, and they all come out my own brain.
Third, the process by which I write my novels is not for the faint of heart, let alone the casual fan. I’m currently juggling 8 or 9 stories in various stages of development, each taking one taking between 7-10 years to complete. Who wants to hear me talk about an upcoming story that won’t be ready for another 10 years? No one has time for that.
Fourth, if I do want to give readers more content about the books I’ve already written (and I do), is a blog really the right format? All the old stuff gets buried under the new stuff. A website or webpage would be easier to organize.
So Why Write a Blog?
So now that I’ve convinced you that blogging doesn’t work for me… why am I writing one? Why am I starting Blog #5?
Here’s the thing. I’m a writer, but I’m also a person, and, as a person, sometimes I just want to express myself. And not for the purpose of making money or selling books. If I have a motivation, I guess it’s this: sometimes I stumble upon a lesson or a piece of information that I think may be of value to another person and so I want to put it out where they can find it.
That’s mainly it. I suppose, this blog is also a way for people to get to know me, if they so desire. Also, I tend to re-read my own entries from time to time, so having a blog is an easy way for me to peruse my old writing. It’s interesting to see how far I’ve come.
Who Should Read This Blog?
Anyone who wants to read this blog can read it. If you are, however, looking for branded content that arrives consistently, this blog probably won’t be for you. There are tons of good blogs, vlogs, and podcasts that specialize in writing and marketing advice, reviews and pop culture, and life lessons. I’ve no desire to compete with them. If you are a fan of my writing, you may find this interesting, or you may prefer other content I have on my website.
But I do want to say one last thing to any new writers out there, in case you stumbled upon this blog. I’m not a big name, hugely successful writer, so I’m not sure my advice has any value, but here it is, nonetheless, the lesson it has taken me over 10 years to learn.
There is a ton of information out there, some of it free, some for sale. Lots of people will tell you how to write, how to market, how to sell. And I’m not saying it’s not good advice. But you are a unique individual and your journey will always be at least a little different from anyone else’s. Don’t let yourself get buried under the “shoulds” or “oughts” or “action steps.” Learn, yes, but not at the expense of your own voice. It is important to know who you are and what you have to say to the world.