Last year the founder of the writing group I joined made it a priority to instill in its members the responsibility that marketing and branding are incredibly important, especially when you’re a debut author. This idealogy is also consistently touched upon in Writers Digest magazine. One of the suggestions for help in branding was the creation of a character blog. From the perspective of genre writers (e.g., fantasy or horror) within the group this may be an outstanding idea. Even within YA fiction of the paranormal variety readers are so in love with the characters they follow that they clamor for more. If JK Rowling created a character blog about the lives of the Harry Potter characters post-Potter I’m sure it’d be well visited. But what is the track record of a character blog? Well, this is hard to say. I’ve read articles and blog posts about these being an interesting idea and many that feel it's really bad one. There aren’t a huge amount of examples in regards to successful character blogs. Some of the better known ones may be tied to television shows such as “Monk” or “Battlestar Galactica” and so on and so forth.
I found a couple of character blogs myself and did notice that these were for self-published titles, or one in particular was advertised by RP (role players) who tend to take on the characteristics of established characters in the literary or comic book realm. I even found a course encouraging students to create a character blog and do step-by-step details to really go in-depth.
When I first got the internet I found a few character sites that continued on where the book or movie may have left off. For Seven and American Psycho there was a website that provided pieces of the puzzle that the central characters of the film or novel were trying to solve. It was intriguing and fun to read daily or weekly messages but after a while these tapered off due to the steady development of other sites as the internet itself grew. Social networking sites can probably be blamed for this as well.
For me, my passion project is a linked collection about family relations and race in America. In thinking more on the subject of character blogs I’m considering bring this project to the internet on a bi-weekly basis. Bringing the characters to life and having them look out for those interested in knowing more about them and even gaining some advice from their life lessons. Will this be a success? Who knows? Will I stay committed to it or will I focus more on the prose I seek to publish and baking in general? Well, I’m going to give myself some guidelines in regards to pursuing this and staying true to it for at least one year. If I see growth during that time than I may commit for a longer period.
One of my steady rules will be to update regularly. Not weekly per se, but bi-weekly as mentioned. Another is to have a steady rotation of the characters that will appear and consider in advance the information being presented and not overlapping too much. The next is the design. I’m working with a friend who has been a designer for years and whom I trust avidly to provide me with the best way to illustrate characters and brand the site itself. Something to consider is whether or not I should note that this is a character blog from the get-go or if I should just advertise it along with the other blogs? Should this blog stand out on its own as what could potentially be a success or will that be its downfall? I think that the idea could get lost with everything else of similarity and thus may not survive in the already overloaded World Wide Web. Who knows? There are many things to still consider as I bring this to fruition. But so far the URL and Twitter accounts have been created. I already have an idea for the header and am working on logistics of content as well for the first four posts. It’ll be like a magazine of sorts that I’ll have to consider everything well ahead of schedule because then I won’t be in a rush to create ideas close to deadline. In the midst of a year I foresee as being very busy I am eager to pursue this marketing strategy and see if I can connect with an audience online as I pursue connecting with them in the written form.
Wish me luck and I’ll keep you updated.