Blogs are an excellent way to get more in depth posts than other social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Authors can use blogs to present more complicated ideas or responses. Other than the physical practicality of a blog, the young adult use of blogging also makes it an excellent way to connect to that demographic. Half of all online teens read the online journals or blogs of others, which is increased from 38% in 2004. Out of the teens who go online on a daily basis, 59% (“Teens and Social Media”). Blogging, if done right, is an excellent way for YA authors, or YA librarians, to reach their teen audience.
Benefits of Blogging
- Demographic – teen users are prevalent
- Creativity – options for a variety of web designs
- Length – the format of a blog allows for lengthier, more in depth posts than some other forms of social media
Disadvantages of Blogging
- Dependent on activity – if authors aren’t posting frequently their blog can be lost on the internet
- Expensive – only if you want to buy your own domain, or purchase a theme for your blog
- Readership develops slowly – less condensed than Facebook, teenagers may be reading blogs but there are many different blog sites that may be difficult to compile
FANTASTIC AUTHORS BLOGGING RIGHT
FANTASTIC AUTHORS WHO COULD IMPROVE THEIR BLOG PRESENCE
Rachel Hartman is the author of the fantasy YA novel Seraphina, and has an absolutely fantastic blog that seamlessly melds information about her books with other interests and passions. She personally responds to many of the comments on posts, including logical responses to criticism or questions about her books. She utilises humour effortlessly, and throughout commentary on other books, art, and essays. That’s right, she makes essays sound interesting and amusing, a feat which many young adult readers likely appreciate:
“There is nothing quite as wonderful as an essay that pinpoints something you hadn’t quite been able to put a name to previously, something that has been deeply bothering you in ways you couldn’t articulate. In this case, it hasn’t just been bothering me; it’s been obstructing my airways. This article, “On Smarm,” was like an intellectual Heimlich maneuvre” – Rachel Hartman, Dec. 5/2013 Blog
Her blog is well organized and attractive, her posts are frequent and well-written, and she includes information about her other passions, such as Goreddi Saints. She writes about these things in such a way that makes them interesting and accessible to young adults, not by dumbing them down, but by imbuing her interest into them so they become interesting. A+ on an excellent blog!
Sherman Alexie’s blog is hilarious and insightful at the same time, a feat that is not surprising after reading his novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. His blog is attached to his website, and he lets his website do most of the talking about his books, focusing his blog on current events such as responses to racism in Duck Dynasty, or reblogging funny pictures and videos. A lot of his posts have to do with race and inequality, a topic that could be both fascinating and helpful to his teen audience who connect with his books because they feature Native characters. There is not a lot of representation of Aboriginal youth, or other minority youth in novels, so it is wonderful that an author like Alexie connects with his readers not just through his books, but through his blog. My one critique would be that the layout of the blog itself could be improved by having old posts easier accessed then constant clicking backwards.
Tara Sullivan, author of Golden Boy, intrinsically combines her novels and her passion for wanting to right the wrongs of the world. Similar to other authors previously mentioned, such as John Green and J.K Rowling she shows her readers how they can get involved in causes that interest her, such as the killing of people with albinism in Africa, which is also the topic of Golden Boy. Like Sherman Alexie, her books are directly related to what she considers important. Also like Sherman Alexie her blog is attached to her website, but unlike Alexie it is used infrequently. It is a pity because her posts are excellent and relatable, particularly this one post where she explains her awkward “elevator pitch” to Newberry Medal award winners (click on the picture below for the hilarious incident in her own words).
Teenagers love hearing stories about awkward encounters, or embarrassing moments, just look at many teen magazines and find pages full of them. Sadly, content is not enough on social media, as frequency to stay continually relevant on social media is crucial. Yes, frequent updates to the official website are great, but websites lack the interactivity found in blogs and other forms of social media.
Judy Blume is a canonical author of YA and children’s book, such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and Forever. Judy Blume broke new territory with her realistic and graphic representations of sexuality in some of her teen novels. Due to this, I was expecting a more YA approachable blog, but found instead it was focused mainly on children. The layout of the blog is fantastic, to be fair. It is unique, colourful, and easily navigated, BUT is designed with children in mind. The pictures of Judy Blume floating around the site are of her real head on a cartoon body, which is cute, but maybe not for teens. Not being YA focused is hardly reason to criticize her blog however, the problem is the extreme infrequency of her blog posts, the most recent of which is July 2012. Judy Blume has a fantastic Facebook page, found here, and is also active on twitter, so it is understandable she let the blog slide, but it is unfortunate when the blog itself already has so much good content.