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.
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.