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Monday Musings: What I’ve Learned About Blogging (So Far)…

May 23, 2011

Now that the Crusade is over, time to wrap up what I’ve learned about literary blogging from the experience.

In my not-so-humble opinion, the keys to having a successful literary blog are:

  1. Have a positive attitude:  no one likes a grumpy bulldog
  2. Follow lots and lots of blogs and make innocuous comments on them:  sure you probably didn’t read the entry, but it’s the thought that counts and maybe they’ll make a meaningless comment on your blog!
  3. Outsource ideas:  coming up with ideas is hard, so let some Blogfest do it or just regurgitate some agent/editor’s advice!
  4. Giveaways!  Because people like free shit.
  5. Tweet constantly about your blog and all the other blogs you follow.
  6. Decorate your blog like a 10-year-old girl’s bedroom:  lots of pink, purple, unicorns, rainbows, etc will make your blog look fun!

Which all leads up to my final point:

  • Have a vagina!  Seriously, I’ll bet 90% of book bloggers are women.

Bonus blogging tip:

  • Don’t be the kind of prick who insults his readers.

There you go, grasshopper, my secrets to Blogging success! Follow these rules and you too can have a blog with a lot of followers.  Unless you have a penis.  Then either get a sex change or you’re fucked.

Wednesday I continue my plan for global Blogging domination…

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18 Comments
  1. There are definitely some fundamental differences that surface in blogs kept by men and those kept by women. Also, I think these sexual difference influence other examples of “social interraction”. For example, men have to have a purpose. If there is no purpose, they’re going to say “to hell with it” and abandon said project.

    There really is no defined purpose to a blog so most men aren’t going to be attracted to the idea of blogging. Furthermore, most men believe that the idea will need to be fresh and original for it to be worthy of blogging. Women don’t think this…if they see it said somewhere else, it should be reblogged and retweeted over and over.

    It’s definitely one reason I admire George R.R. Martin for his all male audience of millions. That means that what he’s writing is original and worthy of being read by men. Women seem to have no issues with reading the same thing over and over just so long as it has a hot guy in it and there’s some twitterpation going on.

    • I’m not sure I’d entirely agree with that. Don’t us guys go to the same type of action movies over and over again because a lot of cool shit blows up? Though definitely when I go to a store I find what I want and get out; I don’t go wandering around “browsing” and trying stuff on I have no intention of buying.

  2. I hate pink. 😉

  3. Seriously though, it’s hard to figure out why some blogs “go big.” There’s a lot of repitition out there. I’m happy to have at least some traffic, LOL!

  4. I’ve learned it was way more work than I thought it would be. I kind of had that ‘Field of Dreams’ mentality, if I write it, they will come.

    Not so much, so yea, it’s a lot of work, and there are quite a few folks that pop in and say, ‘nice post’ and move on, but I’d much rather have a dozen or so blogs that you can have conversation with as opposed to 200 that you just whiz right on by.

    So, I’ve got 140 ‘followers’, give or take, but each post I do usually gets less than 15 page views. Half of them are probably me, checking in to see if I screwed something up that I didn’t notice before I posted.

    But that’s cool with me, for that brief time I was getting lots of responses I was overwhelmed. I might be the only blogger in the world that just wants to be left alone sometimes.

    • At least with WordPress as long as you’re logged in it doesn’t count your own visits to your blog. Not sure how Blogger works with that. I wish WordPress had the “followers” thing so I could scoreboard like some people do, the kind who go on Twitter and beg for followers because they’re close to 500 or 600 or whatever.

  5. The men’s blogs who have big followings that I know of are fairly topical and do not write about themselves much (although my favorite blog is a diary- but only mildly so- he has a good following and had over 1000 hits on his site the other day) but it’s his pictures and comments on life in general not his diary per se that draws followers. The other big one I follow is “Why Evolution is True” which is a WordPress blog and draws atheists and people who are interested in scientific matters- some humorous stuff on cats. Again, topical and the content is always original and he posts about five times a day. Both of those blogs post that often. The commenters on both blogs are highly interactive and have begun to know each other. They often trade insults and jabs. They are more fun than the saccharin sweet comments on some blogs.

    It is a bit annoying when people comment that haven’t even read the post. Especially because I try not to write long boring posts that are too centered on myself. I do not comment on people’s blogs that are just repeating stuff that all the other bloggers are saying and I hate pink/purple blogs. I especially do not comment on blogs on writing because there is generally nothing new being said. I don’t write on writing. Again there is nothing to be said there and I don’t write about what I am writing because… because it’s not my style and who cares about me and what I am writing? Bloggers mostly seem to want to talk about themselves and if they bring in other people with questions about themselves it’s mostly to get the conversation back on to them. Or to have 58 commenters tell them how cute they are for asking such great questions which amounts to the same thing.

    If you want to be a hit as a blogger you model yourself after the ones I mentioned in my first paragraph and don’t pay attention to ones we mostly see. I don’t think I am interested in being a blogger star. I just like having a blog to post to periodically when I too tired to write on my real stuff.

    • Five posts a day? That would be much too much for me. Unless I just post overglorified Tweets.

      • Well the question is why are you blogging? (why am I blogging?) If you want to be a blogging star then you have to have 1. original content. 2. lots of content/posts. This generates high interest for viewers who keep coming back multiple times a day which is why my one blogging friend is now getting nearly 1000 hits a day on his site (he just moved to the 5 blogs a day few months ago). The other blogger probably gets much higher than a 1000 a day. And it also means you get moved up on the google search list. They have recently bumped up their search engine so that bloggers with original content get moved up in to the top of the list. Which means New Viewers Daily. The scientific blog most assuredly has content that will get hits from google and even the Key West blog will get lots of hits because tourists love pictures of the keys. And like I said- they both have great commenters with great comments. And the added Big Bonus for the Why Evolution is True blog is that when he writes a book he has a built in audience that will immediately buy his book.

        But what’s your purpose? Is blogging for selling books? For blogging stardom alone? For name recognition? What’s your name again?

        Don’t get me wrong! This is a great post because it asks the right questions. What is the purpose of blogging? If we’re all just hanging out following fellow writers who aren’t going to read our books because we don’t write the kind of books that our followers actually read then the followers we are gaining are actually symbolic- not real like the ones who will buy the WEIT bloggers book…. hmmmm….. then what is the point? I mean I posted a few chapters from my book and I think there were a few people who did like my genre/style but very few so I don’t kid myself that a lot of my followers who are going to banging at my door to buy my book. I don’t write riveting pop drama. That’s not what I am writing. When I put that I wrote magical realism/surrealism I got a sort or yawn or ewwww silence. So I dunno, what was the question again?

  6. Your post echoes thoughts I’d suspect many writers have had. Maybe they’ve even blogged about them amidst the giveaways and gossip. Perhaps they didn’t tag them well enough.

    I’m tempted to respond to all of the above, but I’ll limit it to three points (it’s dinner time).

    1. Perhaps my dissertation on masculinity in young adult Arthurian literature has me amped, but I’d strongly quibble over the conflation of being female or male (biologically) and doing feminine or masculine things. I’m a woman and I can’t stand endless repetition. I’m also happier playing a strategy game than spending time in a shopping mall. Humans are diverse.

    2. I think we are all kidding ourselves if we think you can write a post or comment on someone else’s post without thinking that your opinion matters. Connection with other minds is a wonderful feeling. I think reciprocity rather than ego drives conversation in an ideal space.

    3. In defence of “pink, purple, unicorns, rainbows, etc”, blogs are often an extension of the blogger’s personality. My blog serves as my public thought board but also as my writing CV. I have intentionally kept the artwork to a minimum (currently with a B&W palette) so you don’t get distracted. Words matter to me. I don’t begrudge others a little more extravagance in their blog decor.

    Happy writing,

    Chenoa

  7. jschancellor permalink

    Yeah, no pink or unicorns for me and I’m a chick. I also blog on writing … but the focus is on being a writer, not the technicalities of shit most writers already know. Yesterday’s post was an exception, I normally don’t reference personal stuff.

    I do, however, make fun of the bullshit that’s out there. And there is lots of it, so no need to rehash old material.

    Commenting on other blogs does help build your readership, however, case in point: that’s how I wound up here. 🙂

    • Sure but you want people to take time and read the article and make a decent comment, not the same old “Thanks for sharing.” Though commenting is discussed more on tomorrow’s entry.

  8. Aw, come on! Don’t pick on the pinks and purples. They are immensely better than those black backgrounds with colored text.

    I do like blogfests, but only if it’s something I’m interested in. New followers are just a bonus.

    Networking is the main reason I started my blog. I’ve met a lot of great people through blogging; writers I keep in touch with outside of trading comments.

    Looking forward to your entry tomorrow.

    Oh, and thanks for sharing ; )

  9. I didn’t get to read this yesterday, so here I am.

    I subscribe to the “blog is a magazine” theory. I started blogging a long time ago mostly because I found out what blogs were and started one, and my original blog — Thinking The Lions — was sort of boring and unfocused. (Emphasis on “was,” right?)

    I expanded out then because I try to separate my writing; if you’re interested in hearing about my kids and my life, you maybe don’t care so much what I think of Star Wars, or don’t want to read a horror story – -the same way people who read “Entertainment Weekly” don’t want it to turn into “Life & Style.” So each of my blogs has a theme to it that unifies the posts, but they all exist for two reasons: 1: to say what I think about stuff, and 2: to make me money.

    On that latter part, I make an okay amount of extra spending money, but the fact that I’m at “work” today tells you how easy it isn’t to get rich blogging or writing, at least for me.

    Which makes me wonder whether Rogue might be right about attracting readers — and whether “readers” equates to “commenters.” I get 9,000+ hits per month on The Best Of Everything, but almost NO comments. Another blog that recently got a book deal (Hyperbole and a Half) got over 1,000 comments JUST on the post where she announced her book deal.

    I love to get comments, and if I read a blog, I always leave a comment; a long time ago I did a post about people who DON’T comment, and one reader (read.dance.bliss) said she sometimes doesn’t comment because she can’t think of anything witty to say — so “thanks for sharing” is better than being a shadow reader.

    Ideally, I’d like lots of comments, but, then, I almost never respond to the comments either (unless I turn them into a new post).

    But I do know that some basic rules of blogging include having a point to your blog (even if the point is “it’s about me”), and post as often as possible. If I could, I’d do 5+ posts on all my blogs each day; the only thing that holds me back is that pesky having to work thing.

    Or do what Rogue does: have a pattern of posting so people know when to check in, and tell them when the next post is coming, which I clearly do NOT do because I never know when I’ll be able to do it again.

    Now I’m rambling. So, I’m going to stop. Good post, Rogue.

    • Sometimes it is really hard to think of something other than a “thanks for sharing” comment or a “I agree with everything you say!” comment.

      9,000 hits a month, eh? I’m not sure I’ve got 9,000 in over a year! (Nope, just 5,042 for all time–that being last February!)

      Something I wrote to myself about last Thursday’s unpleasantness was that while the opposition had more followers I have BETTER followers. By that I mean I’m sure the comments here were far more interesting because I doubt they were debating the artistic merits of “Moby Dick.”

      So is it better to have quantity or quality? In a perfect world you get both. In an imperfect world it might be better to have 3 followers who make interesting comments (and do things like buy your books!) than 3,000 followers who just glance at your page, give you a “thanks for sharing,” and move on to the next thing.

  10. Genius! How do you do it???

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