Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How not to blog.


Joe Konrath, author of the Jack Daniels series and mentor to millions of new writers, posted suggestions for successful blogging. Let's take a look at just what the hell I'm doing wrong.

Joe suggests:

1. Content is King.

Joe uses the lovely Ms. Weinman's blog as a great place to read about all the news in our dark little corner of the publishing world, and he's right. It's a blog I visit every day. Hi, Sarah.

But, as I've confessed before, I am remarkably unskilled. I have no contacts. I have no special knowledge. Those things I could comment on are being covered beautifully by Joe at his place and Josh over at The Comics Curmudgeon. So I write about what interests me, even if it's only a chance to make fun of my betters.

2. Lists, Tests, and Bullet Points. A text-heavy blog is a turn off.

I've failed this test. Yes, I have the Great Typewriter Challenge, with no more of a payoff than a small taste of shallow victory and I did give away a copy of Dusty Rhoades' latest Good Day In Hell. But I don't do bullet points. A lifetime in advertising has made it impossible for me to write anything with bullet points. And, if you notice the Neil Bush post below, I'm not afraid to write long. Why? Because I'm interested, and it gave me a chance to make cheap jokes at Neil's expense.

3. Pay attention to negative space.

Some days, this entire blog is one big negative space.

4. Stay Focused. Stick to one topic per entry ... What is the reason for your blog? Do you have a reason?

A reason? Ask Olen Steinhauer why I'm doing this, the bastard. I'm so incompetent at sticking to one topic that I may be related to Neil Bush. One topic? Ha! Might as well ask my dogs not to sniff the errant turd as to ask me not to comment on some bit of trivia that attracts my limited attention.

5. Ask Questions. A blog isn't a monologue...First Offenders is very good at this. Solicit opinions, ask for input and advice, and people will offer it.

Does this blog make me look fat?

By the way, I love First Offenders. Hi guys.

OK, so how many of you have read this far? Yeah, I didn't think so.

6. Be Friendly.

I can do that. It usually involves alcohol, but I can do that.

7. Be Controversial. Arguing is good.

I can do that, too:
Who's the funnier dancer, Jeff Shelby or Jim Winter?
If the plane to Bouchercon crashed in the wilds of Wisconsin, we know the passengers would eat Bryon Quertermous first, but who would the passengers eat last, Ray Banks or John Rickards?
If you could change your name to anything at all, why would you choose Swierczynski?
How could you talk to parents who named you "Dusty" Rhoades without smacking them?
Why does Olen Steinhauer hate America?

8. Link to Other Blogs.

No problem. Joe gives this good information: Go to http://www.sitemeter.com/ and sign up for free. It will let you see where your traffic is coming from. This is often an eye-opening experience. The more sites that link to you, the more hits you'll get. If you want to see who is already linking to you, visit http://www.technorati.com/

I should give away more free stuff. It's a fine way to clean out my sock drawer. Stay tuned.

10. Keep Yourself Out of It.

That ain't going to happen. I know it. You know it. The NSA probably knows it.

11. Strive for Perfection.

I'm incredibly anal so typos, except when involved with alcohol, are normally not a problem.

12. Limit Self-Promotion.

You mean I'm supposed to promote Beneath A Panamanian Moon on this blog? OK, go buy this book. I'm serious. Go now.

13. No Blog is an Island. Besides linking to other blogs, you should reference other blogs in your blog entries.

That, Joe, I can do. Thanks for letting me reference your excellent blog and thanks for giving me a topic for the day.

Tomorrow, more shiny objects. Because the success of this blog means I've managed to entertain myself. If you're having a good time reading this blog, well, that makes it all the better. To everyone who keeps coming back, thank you. I'm very happy you're here.

16 comments:

Stacey Cochran said...

Hey David,

Feel free to link to my blog, if you'd like. It's located at:

http://www.staceycochran.com/_wsn/page5.html

So, what're some of the independent bookstores in NC that get a lot of mystery/suspense writers who do signings and events?

Stacey

JD Rhoades said...

How could you talk to parents who named you "Dusty" Rhoades without smacking them?

We got through all the smacking stuff when I was in my teens.

Ray said...

We know the passengers would eat Bryon Quertermous first, but who would the passengers eat last, Ray Banks or John Rickards?

Neither. Rickards and I would survive. We have this already worked out. Be afraid. And you're in the same camp as me, Mr Terrenoire, when it comes to failing at blogging. I don't have Joe's number of comments, or people telling me how great I am, and I wouldn't change that for the world. I am similarly unskilled. And you know what? I'm stupidly proud of that.

You keep up the good work, David. I keeps a-readin' the blog cuz I likes the blog. There are plenty of people out there giving "advice" like they're Dr Phil ("You're fat, woman! Eat less and move around more, you'll be thin!"). Ain't helped me none. I likes idiosyncracy and sometimes downright silliness.

Now, where's the next typewriter?

Daniel Hatadi said...

So this whole typewriter challenge, is it anything like the America's Cup? I've got this typewriter that's unlike any other. It's got a winged ... oh, no wait. I can't tell you what it's got. Look. It's just really fast.

So can I enter it into the Challenge?

Jeff Shelby said...

I wouldn't say the blog makes you look fat. Portly, maybe, but not fat...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Nice post.

JA's blowing smoke up his arse, as usual.

Not everybody wants to puff themselves up on blogs, telling people what to do.

I get a range of writers, psychos and the sexually frustrated visiting my blog. Which I consider quite healthy, thank you very much. I just thank God there are no bitchy feminists.

But you're failing on promotion. Really, get it together, man!

Aldo said...

Reading this blog has made me fat.

As to the book, I bought it twice (what was I thinkin'?) Probably nothing, just eating potato chips and reading this damn thing

Tribe said...

Jesus Christ, there has to be a system for blogging now? Fuck this, I'm gonna get rid of everyone that currently link to and start linking to bukkake porn sites.

And Sandra...the "sexually frustrated?" Do you really need to announce to the whole world that I visit your blog that often?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Tribe, sweetie, I didn't even mean you. You're essentially sexually indifferent compared to some of the poor fellows who wallow in my virtual space.

Olen Steinhauer said...

When I said I hated the Terrenoires of America I didn't mean I hated America as a whole, bee-yatch.

But really, there's no one way to go about this blogging thing. When I had a solo blog it sucked. When I got a group together it became more interesting. I still post the same old crap I always did, but a little more frequently. We're getting a fair number of hits (around 100 or less a day) cuz it's frequent, I'm a genius at design, and people keep looking for more posts from John.

secretdeadartist said...

Always wanted to be the King Of Content, or someplace equally as interesting.

David Terrenoire said...

Hey, why aren't the rest of you like Aldo? He bought TWO copies of Beneath A Panamanian Moon. I think that should be a minimum.

As for blogging rules, there's only one rule that matters: Don't be boring. That said, I'm still wondering what the hell I'm doing here but I'm happy you're all along for the ride.

Tribe said...

Ya know, Sandra...your blog does need more sex...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Tribe, really.

I get hits all the time from the middle east from guys looking for 'Sandra sex'. And my infamous porn posts have drawn dozens of readers who've left more frustrated than when they arrived, no doubt.

My new favourite google hit to my blog, from South Africa:

"I am horney I want to be fucked without registering"

No can do. I only fuck the registered guests. Don't know how that came up to me.

Oh, and that one rule? I agree.

Tribe said...

Registration is all? Had I known that...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yes, well, you just wait for my "check to see if his balls had been removed" post tomorrow and then decide if you want to register or remain a lurker.