The Writer’s Legacy.

My Classic Bookshelf.
My Classic Bookshelf.

Recently, the world heard of the sad news that author Iain Banks has only months to live and this piece by author Val McDermid actually brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t all that long ago that one of Australia’s favourite authors, Bryce Courtenay, died of cancer. It not only got me thinking on how short life really is, but also about the legacy we leave behind.

For writers our legacy is our writing; our books. Our stories can move people, get people talking, feel the need to read more of what we have to say, and perhaps even inspire them to tell their own stories. If we’re really lucky our stories will live on in film and on stage and even be talked about for generations to come. In a world where time is a valuable commodity; people are reading more than ever before. We may pass through this life only once, yet if done well, our stories can last a lifetime.

As I read some tweets written regarding Iain Banks, there was one other thing that struck me as part of a writer’s legacy and that was admiration by his fans. It wasn’t just his work they will always remember, but also actually meeting him. They considered themselves fortunate to have met their favourite author. Having had this social interaction will ensure his fans will remain with him long after he’s gone.

Interacting with our readers helps bring the author-reader relationship even closer. People remember those who are friendly and helpful towards others. It is believed that the way books sell more than any other is through word of mouth. Kristen Lamb fairly recently posted about the importance of writers building a rapport and community with their readers. In this selfish world, it is the little things such as common courtesy and politeness that people are remembered for. If we combine our efforts with producing good books, we can guarantee ourselves a loyal readership.

What do you hope will be your legacy? Are you making the most of your time? What steps are you taking towards building your community?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

Author Blogs.

There has been some discussion of late amongst writers on what content to have within their blogs. This is an issue I have been grappling with myself for quite some time now.

As an unpublished author, I have the advantage of experimenting with my blog to find out what works and what doesn’t. When we start out we naturally blog about writing, however there are so many blogs on this topic that the humble beginner can get lost in the crowd. Published authors also blog about writing; they know what they’re talking about and are well informed about the industry. I have read both Get Known before the Book Deal by Christina Katz and We Are Not Alone by Kristen Lamb, and both recommend authors blog on topic. With this in mind, I decided to take a step back to see exactly what other authors were doing when it came to blogging.  Here’s what I discovered:-

  • Authors blog about writing and the writing process.
  • Authors blog about their books – new releases, book signings, television versions of their novels, etc.
  • Authors review books they like by other authors.
  • Authors talk about the inspiration behind their books.
  • Authors discuss how they became writers.
  • Authors blog about social issues that affect them.
  • Not all authors blog.

I was beginning to see a pattern emerging; when authors blog, they talk about books in one form or another; they also blog about topics that interest them and therefore can inspire their writing. When I read books by an author I enjoy reading, I look them up on the internet to find out more about their books.  If I’m lucky, I can also find out more about them as people.  These days, people want to find out more about the personal lives of celebrities.  Fortunately, authors don’t seem to have to put their lives under the microscope, but it is always fascinating to learn about how they became writers and what inspired them. There have been biographies written about authors such as Jane Austen, the Brontes and Charles Dickens for example, because as readers we are fascinated about them as writers.

By undertaking this research, I have discovered a number of things. As writers it is only natural that we need to talk about our books (and those of others) and our inspiration behind them. This not only informs the reader on what our books are actually about, but also lets them know a little bit about our own personalities and what we are passionate about. If we are passionate about certain topics this will come through in our writing for both our books and our blogs.  I have recently discovered something that I’m passionate about just by undertaking this research – it has allowed me to dig deeper.

So where do I go from here with my own blog? Yes, I’ve been guilty of blogging about writing (I think we all have from time to time), but it is one of my passions.  Here are some of the things I’ll be blogging about:-

  • Books.
  • The writing process.
  • Specific locations of where my stories are set.
  • Topics I’ve researched.
  • Time periods I’ve researched.
  • The inspiration behind my stories.

Blog what you are comfortable with; write about your passions. The main thing to remember about blogging is to have fun! I’m looking forward to blogging in the future – what about you? 😀

Have you undertaken your own research when it comes to author blogs? What have you discovered? What do you like to see in an author’s blog? What don’t you like to see? Do you think authors should blog at all?

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