Back in my day, we had to walk uphill both ways to ask around the neighborhood for writing advice. Now there are tons of blogs about writing all over the internet, and inexperienced writers are so spoiled for choices that they may have difficulty finding which ones to read or follow. And it’s not always about finding tips; sometimes, we read author blogs because we enjoy their content and get up-to-date scoops about their work. There are also exclusive blog offers like giveaways and other free stuff to consider. So let’s talk about the best blogs from novelists and authors, and I’ll toss in a few important considerations when starting your own blog to sweeten the deal.
Table of Contents
But first, what is an author’s blog?
An author blog is a website or online platform where the author can post articles and other content about their books, writing process, career history, and other related topics. The blog itself can be part of an author’s website or exist on a separate platform altogether. Most blogs provide writing advice (because writers love giving advice, present company included), but their other content can range from diverse topics, such as discussions about the publishing industry, to what they had for lunch last Tuesday.
Do I need an author blog?
Why, yes, fellow writer, you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re a self-published or traditionally published author; blogs are an important part of branding. It’s also essential to book marketing, as the blog can help gather information for mailing lists and newsletters. Aside from that, writing blogs can help reach new readers, which can be invaluable when building your readership.
You might be thinking your blog is meant to be an extension of marketing. That’s true to a certain extent, but making it a complete promotional site from beginning to end will make it look like you’re trying to shove your books down your audience’s collective throats. Don’t make the mistake of keeping your personality out of your blog. It should be a labor of love and a way to get your voice heard, where you get to talk about what you’re interested in, what keeps you occupied most of the day, and what motivates you to put pen to paper and share your thoughts to the wider world. Make it as if you’re speaking to your readers as friends, not as just potential customers. By all means, post book news, craft an outlining manifesto, tell others how to improve their writing craft, and glorify the virtues of the written word. But remember to do so in your own style.
Blogs from bestselling authors and novelists
We’ve established that authors like giving advice, and aspiring writers like getting advice, right? Good. Now, if you’re going to get guidance on writing, you might as well take it from the very best. And to be clear, we’re not looking at just the quality of writing advice on display here. Blogs need to engage their readers. With those in mind, good fortune has allowed me to hand-pick a list of the best blogs I know, and now I present them to you in all their shiny, wordy glory. May they serve you well in your journey to becoming a published writer.
With over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, Jane Friedman has seen the industry’s transformation, from the days of print media all the way back to the 1990s up to the digital juggernaut we know today. She has valuable insider knowledge of how all of it works and has been giving the best writing advice to help authors since 2008. Friedman is a trusted name in the publishing world, and her blog comprehensively covers the process of writing, including submission to literary agents and other submission services, finding an editor, deciphering writer contracts, marketing your work, and ways to self-publish your work. She also talks about the nuts and bolts of the craft, like how to turn your Microsoft Word Document into an EPUB, and other soft topics, like finding encouragement during periods of unproductivity, cultivating writing talent at a young age, and suggests podcasts for writers.
- The Business of Being a Writer (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) (2018)
- Author In Progress: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published (2016)
- Publishing 101: A First-Time Author’s Guide to Getting Published, Marketing and Promoting Your Book, and Building a Successful Career (2014)
Renowned British novelist and screenwriter Neil Gaiman is one of the most well-known science fiction and fantasy authors today. He first broke through the industry in 1989 with the release of his comic book series The Sandman under DC Comics. The series received critical acclaim upon its release and is one of the first graphic novels to appear on The New York Times Bestseller list, and it frequently ranks among “Best Books” lists all over the Internet. Since then, Gaiman has consistently released beloved works such as Coralline, American Gods, and Good Omens (written with the late Sir Terry Pratchett, another popular author in the fantasy genre), all of which have been adapted as films and TV series. He is also known for blending genres and his masterful use of allusions in his works. His 2013 multi-awarded fantasy horror novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a personal favorite of mine — and the reason for several of my sleepless nights.
His blog goes back to early 2001, and there he talks about everything from writing tips to unboxing the most expensive books he’s ever purchased. He also often features fan mail on his blogs, and he answers their questions with a startling level of detail and sincerity. He knows he’s speaking from a place of authority and is always more than happy to give solid advice to his fans.
- The Sandman (1989)
- The Graveyard Book (2008)
- The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (2017)
The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn
“I’ll teach you how to write, publish and market your book — and make a living with your writing.”
This is the introduction to Joanna Penn’s blog, The Creative Penn, and, based on her content, she’s making good on her promise. Her site is packed with information, and she talks about the usual stuff (how to write nonfiction books, tips on self-publishing and marketing, and how to navigate Amazon as an author) in her older blog posts, but her more recent work discusses such pinpoint topics like how to reach Christian audiences with your book, how to handle and write about mental health, how to take advantage of SEO, and how authors can utilize AI to help with their writing. What makes her special is her approach to writing: she sees it as both an art form and a business, and she gives advice coming from both places
- How To Write Non-Fiction: Turn Your Knowledge Into Words (2018)
- Successful Self-Publishing: How to Self-publish and market your book (2015)
- Your Author Business Plan Companion Workbook: Take Your Author Career To The Next Level (2020)
Terrible Minds by Chuck Wendig
Chuck Wendig is another author I’m familiar with. He writes science fiction and fantasy but dabbles in crime and mystery. He is also a freelance writer and blogger, and his minimalist blog site TerribleMinds.com is one of the funniest and most engaging writing blogs I have ever seen. He’s known for making listicles and has published a collection containing most of the advice he gives on his site. He does the usual coverage of publishing and marketing, of course, but his blog shines best when he’s talking about the creative aspects of the industry. The way he gives you tips on how to improve your writing will have the dual benefit of improving your work and making you laugh all throughout. For example, here’s an item from one of his blog posts, A Very Good List of Writing Advice:
“3. Also Run Screaming Past Your Self-Doubt. Your self-doubt is a jerk. It’ll jog alongside you, trying to convince you to just stop and lay down and give up. You can’t give up. Keep running. Run faster than your self-doubt. Steal a car. Steal an actual car. Drive fast past it. Then reverse and back over it. Hear the crunch of its bones. That’s what it gets for sassing you.”
- Blackbirds (2012)
- The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience (2013)
- Gentle Writing Advice: How to Be a Writer Without Destroying Yourself (2023)
Helping Writers Become Authors by K.M. Weiland
Katie Weiland is known as an author and writing mentor. Her site, Helping Writers Become Authors, has been the go-to blog for many writers, and her in-depth discussions about the ticking parts of novel writing have helped countless others in their journey to becoming published authors. The resources page on her blog is divided into categories corresponding to each step of the writing process, from outlining your book, creating your story structure, writing character arcs, and more. She also likes to break down movies and books into their constituent story beats. Then she examines each part as an independent section and how it stands as a whole. You’ll find lots of free content here that can be useful whether you’re a fiction or nonfiction writer. I personally love her take on the most common writing mistakes, and I highly suggest you give it a look when you have the time.
- Writing Archetypal Character Arcs: The Hero’s Journey and Beyond (2023)
- Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success (2011)
- Storming: A Dieselpunk Adventure (2015)
With over 30 years of writing experience and more than forty published books across multiple genres, it would be an understatement to say that Holly Lisle is an expert in all things writing. Scrolling through her list of works took me a while, and it took even longer to skim over the numerous tips, articles, essays, and workshops on her blog. She covers topics from plotting, outlining, and worldbuilding. Then finds the time to write about scams in the writing industry, query agents, and find the right writer’s group for you. Her blog is a gold mine of information, even if the design looks a bit bare (I’d take content over presentation any day.) Consider giving her blog a visit if you have the time.
- Holly Lisle’s Create A Plot Clinic (2010)
- It Came From Beneath the Slush Pile: 20 Kinds of Stupid: An Anthology of Idiot Heroes and Ridiculous Heroines (2016)
- Strange Arrivals: Ten Tiny, Twisty Fantasy Tales (2013)
Unfortunately, I can’t list the writer blogs I have read over the years here. Otherwise, we’d be at it all night, and you certainly have more important things to do, like writing your book. That said, I would be remiss not to mention, albeit in passing, some of the other blogs by and for writers.
- Writers Write
- Writer’s Digest
- Not a Blog by George R. R. Martin, the person behind A Song of Ice and Fire
- Whatever Scalzi by John Scalzi
- Seth’s Blog by Seth Godin
- Reedsy Blog
- Goodreads Blogs, where J.K. Rowling and Stephen King post content
- Leaders Press Blog – Yep, we have articles about every step of the writing and publishing process. We can also take it one step further and help you get your book idea published. Click here if you want to know more.
How to make your own author or writer blog
Now that you’ve seen my list of best author blogs, how about we start talking about starting one for yourself, hmm?
As mentioned earlier, blogs are an important part of marketing strategy; ideally, every author needs one. It allows you to create a network and community of readers, enhance your author branding, and take advantage of digital media all in one go. Depending on how you play your cards, your blog can have a big impact on your sales, get more traction, and help you build your audience base. If you’re a self-published author, it can even help attract the attention of a publisher.
Step 1: Pick a good name for your blog
Before you start blogging, you need to find the right name or title for your blog. Having an interesting one helps you get more attention. The ideal blog name should reflect you or your genre, or, if you prefer, you can just put your name there and add ‘blog’ or ‘journal’ like Neil Gaiman did. GRRM did something cute with his Not a Blog title, but, to be fair, he doesn’t really need any more publicity.
Step 2: Choose a platform
Once you’ve got your blog name sorted out, it’s now time to choose your website or platform. (Remember that you can have an author website and a separate blog.) Blogging on social media websites like an influencer is not unheard of, but I have a soft spot for classic blog sites. They allow more creative choices, especially if you have a background in coding. Websites like WordPress, Squarespace, and Weebly are some of the more famous blog sites you can choose from.
Step 3: Come up with content
So you have your shiny new blog up. Congratulations! Now it’s time to make sure to put up some content. It’s a good idea to align your blog posts with your books, genre, or author brand, and we shall talk about it momentarily. But as we discussed, whatever content you throw up there needs to feel personal. Talk about your next book, sure, but then keep things fresh with new content and topics while staying focused on getting more readers and sales.
Step 4: Time to optimize
Not only do blog sites let you personalize everything to your heart’s content, but they are also great tools to grab the attention of both readers and search engines. Every writer should ideally become aware of SEO practices and how they affect their search ranking (even if they require serious time commitment). They are great ways to leverage writing skills to help with marketing books. Proper application of these practices can translate to a substantive effect on your efforts for promotion, even if you’re only working on putting out a debut novel.
Step 5: Align your blog with your other marketing aspects
One of the most important aspects of book branding and marketing is consistency across the board. You want to ensure your message, tone, and delivery align with your process and goals. It’s okay to post personal stuff occasionally, but if you check the blogs I listed up top, you’ll see that all their personal posts are still somehow connected to their prior, current, and upcoming works, their writing process, the genres they write in, or the media releases for their works.
And if you’re a self-published author, your work is cut out for you since you’ll be doing most of it. You’ll need to maintain your social media presence, all while handling marketing campaigns, distributions, and listings. If you need a hand with any of these, or, better yet, if you want an industry leader with a proven track record to take them off your hands, then take a look at our pricing and services to see what fits your needs.
And so the blog ends
If you want to reach more audiences for the genre you’re writing in, or if you’re exploring ways to market your book, author blogs are the way to go. Treat it like it’s your personal kingdom. But remember that once you’re committed, you need to maximize your blog for its potential in marketing and promoting your work.