What blog posts do you like and dislike?
Posted on August 6, 2011
I received a fantastic email yesterday. More on that in a moment! But first, a bit of routine self-doubt...
Like most authors, I often wonder about the point of blogging and self-promotion and all that stuff. Obviously it's worth doing, because every little bit helps and I won't get anywhere at all if I crawl under a stone and never emerge. But even though I'm committed to blogging like this, I wonder what kinds of posts are the most interesting. I tend to target this blog at adults and other writers, which is odd when the books I write are primarily for younger readers. But as far as I can tell, far more adults have bought my books than younger readers, and most of the feedback I get is from adults.
So maybe I should ask YOU what I should be blogging about... or not. What kinds of posts do you roll your eyes at and skim over? Which ones do you find most interesting? What would you like to see more of? Is there anything you'd like to see that I've never done before?
There are plenty I could name who comment on my posts on a fairly regular basis, and I'm very grateful to those readers for making it seem to the outside world that people are actually reading! There are also those who read these posts but never chip in, and that's fine; just knowing you're reading is good enough for me. And then there are the rest, probably the vast majority of subscribers, who may or may not read these posts. I have no way of knowing! Hmm, maybe I should introduce an anonymous "LIKE" and "DISLIKE" button...
Anyway, back to that fantastic email I received:
I was given a print out of your blog by my Landlady, whom had been told I was writing a novel. I am ashamed to admit this, but I stuck it in my desk and forgot all about it, until I was in a car wreck and had nothing to do or read. Once I started it a couple of things came to mind: First, that I am extremely excited to read your work and as soon as I have the funds I will be purchasing them. Secondly it was really helpful in getting me back to my computer and finishing my manuscript. So in that alone, I had to write this and thank you from the bottom of my heart.Sincerely, KM Anderson
Thank you, Karen, and thanks also to all those others who continue to read my posts. Message to all: Don't be afraid to tell me if I'm being boring. My idea of an interesting post might involve nerdy facts and figures, or the ins and outs of punctuation, which might please about 1% of you. Feedback is useful from time to time – positive or negative is fine, as long as it's constructive.
I like all your posts but my favorites are the ones involving the trials and tribulations of being an author: From hanging out at a book signing, visiting a school, mulling plots, talking about the characters and the vagaries of running up against big publishers.
Thank you! Immediately I feel like writing a bunch of posts about these very subjects, proving that feedback does indeed work! :-)
I like the fiddly technical details of writing and production given my typesetting (as opposed to WYSIWYG) background. News of real-life outings to bookshops and classrooms is also entertaining. How you "get things done", i.e. write to a schedule, is also good.
Excellent! Thanks, Ralph. And I'm completely with you on the "as opposed to WYSIWYG" thing. I can't stand WYSIWYG. That's why I create my own ebooks (hand-coded) rather than use Smashwords and similar services that rely on a shaky interpretation of Word documents. Of course, this probably works against me in some ways. While some authors throw their manuscripts into the mincer to get a badly-formatted ebook, and then go on to make millions, there's me trailing far behind with my perfectly hand-coded ebook that nobody knows about...
(For those who don't know, WYSIWYG means "what you see is what you get," eg. website building software that allows you to drag-n-drop and build you site without even glancing at programmer code. It generates HTML code automatically in the background, usually very badly.)
I like your mix — thoughtful, well-written posts on author minutiae, thoughts on the craft, insights into self-publishing. You hit all of these frequently and I always find your posts to be interesting.
One thing I'll be trying to inject into my own blog is a little more "fun stuff." By that I mean posts that aren't necessarily about the above mentioned areas but that, hopefully, will give the readers/followers a little more insight as to who I am as a person. I'm told "they" like this. ;c)
To get an idea of what I'm talking about, check out sci fi author John Scalzi's HUGELY popular blog "Whatever", http://whatever.scalzi.com/, where he strikes an impressive balance between informative "author-y" posts, self-marketing, and fun stuff. He has a lot of pictures, too, which I like. Sometimes he strays a little too far into fun territory and I'm largely uninterested when he "goes political" or posts pictures of his cats, but other than those quibbles I think he's got a great, frequently updated blog that I visit on a daily basis. (Personally, I realllly need to work on that "frequently updated" part!)
Yes, I'd like to see more posts from you, Roger. :-) And I'll definitely check out "Whatever."
Okay then, so far I've pretty much been told to keep doing what I'm doing. That's good to know. But then, I've only heard from a handful out of over a hundred subscribers (plus Facebook page fans, which are extra), so I'll just have to assume everyone thinks the same way. This is what I mean by the blogging process being a largely one-way affair! That said, I'm happy as long as I get some hint that I'm on the right track, and you guys have provided that hint (plus I've had similar messages from others who haven't posted here).
Well, this post will remain open for comment, so anyone who reads this later and wants to chip in, please feel free!
Dear Keith, I am one of those who often drops by your blog from my vantage point here in North Wales to see how you are getting on with your books and also to learn from your experience. I've bought the first two of the Island of Fog series and enjoyed them, and will soon buy the third. Like another poster said, it is interesting and valuable to learn of the trials and tribulations of someone trying to make it as a published author, all the more so for someone like me because I have now taken the plunge and am trying to do the same. I've written a children's adventure novel - slightly Blytonesque in flavour - certainly inspired by the Famous Five series to some extent, set on the Welsh coast. I've just done it as an ebook for now, selling through Amazon's Kindle Store, very early days yet though. Anyway, keep writing - both books and blogs because you are an inspiration to the rest of us and I enjoy your posts! Kind regards, George
Thanks, George! And great to hear from you. Good luck in your endeavors. Your novel does indeed look very Blytonesque! Why don't you plug it on my website at http://www.EnidBlyton.net — just say "Keith suggested this" and then the moderators won't think you're being cheeky! :-)
I generally find a mix of blog posts that are boring and interesting. A lot has to do with the subject matter. Some things attract my attention more than others. The next person may have a different view, so in the end, blogging is all good.
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