Monday, August 13, 2012

You Tell Me: What Do You Look For In A Blog?

Last week, Jeff O had a great post called Will Success Change Your Blog?  He talked about what happens to writers' blogs once they've achieved what we're all working toward:  the coveted book contract.  Blog posts tend to slow down and the blog becomes more about the author's self-promotion than anything else.  I think this is extremely tricky to navigate.  I started blogging a couple of years ago for one reason:  to connect with other writers.  I wanted people who could commiserate with me, encourage and support me and teach me things and I have found all of those things on my blogging journey.  I've also made some really incredible friends and read some pretty kick-ass books by pre-published authors.  The blogging community helped me stay on the querying path when I wanted to throw in the towel and they helped keep me sane while I was on subs.  Now that I finally have a book coming out, of course I want to share all my excitement and successes with the very people who helped me get there!

But I don't want to be obnoxious.  Or boring.



I definitely like reading about other writers' successes!  When a fellow writer gets a contract or a 5 star review, or hits the best-seller list, I'm super pumped!  I want to hear about it.  But I don't want to visit a blog where every single post is all, "Hey look at me!  I sold nine bajillion million copies of my book and John Grisham is my assistant now and also, look here at the sixty trillion 5 star reviews I got in just the last week!" Let's face it--as supportive as we are of each other, when you've just cried into your keyboard after getting agent rejection # 122 or editor rejection # 18, the last thing you want to hear about is how great Newbie Bestseller 3000 has it over in Greener Pasture-ville.  It's not even because you're jealous, although that is a normal response, it's just because reading stuff like that when you're scraping bottom makes you feel like hammered crap.  It makes you think holy crap, I thought this was bottom but look here, it's a hydraulic drill that I can use to bust right through the floor of rock bottom.  WTF?

Now I don't know what will happen when my book comes out in December.  I'm hoping for the same thing everyone else is:  lots of happy readers!  Of course I hope my book will be successful.  And I'm not gonna lie:  getting your cover art for the first time, seeing your book up on on Goodreads, getting a pre-release 5 star review and awesome feedback from an advanced reader--that sh*t feels pretty damn good.  It's awesome.  It's massively-distracting-to-the-point-where-your-loved-ones-want-to-slap-you-in-the-face-cause-you're-all-silly-and-euphoric-and-thinking-about-your-book-all-the-time awesome!  It is and I wish this feeling on all writers!  If I am lucky and fortunate enough to achieve some success once my book is released, I am definitely going to share that with my followers.

But I don't want to be obnoxious.  Or boring.



I want this blog to have value to other writers, to be of some use.  So you tell me:  what do you look for in a blog?  What would be most helpful to you?  What makes you rush right over to your favorite blog when you log on to your computer?  What would you like to see?  I know we're all at different levels but I want to hear from everyone.  So what is it?  Interviews with other writers?  Interviews with agents?  Query critiques?  First page critiques?  Writing advice?  Fun blogging exercises/prompts?

15 comments:

  1. Basically, I look for verbs.
    Don't worry about being bored by my success, though.
    :::crickets:::::crickets::::

    Seriously, I just enjoy keeping in touch with people all over the world. My friends are amazed that I write to people from Australia. And New Jersey.

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  2. I like to see people working through the disappointment of failure to achieve success. Once they have that success, I like to read how they got there.

    Interviews with agents and writing advice are always interesting too.

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  3. If you don't want it to change you, it won't!
    I blog even more now than before I was published, and while I'll mention small successes and a book release, it's more about others now.
    And now I look for a kindred spirit and a friend in a blogger, regardless of his or her blog topic.

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  4. I think its all about the give and take. You keep supporting the writing community as well as you do and we want to hear all about your success!

    And... i think if you get Mr. Grisham as your assistant, we'll all know of your amazing successes and you won't have to post that anyway ;) haha

    SO excited for your release!

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  5. "...a hydraulic drill that I can use to bust right through the floor of rock bottom" Good one! I laughed so hard. xD

    I think you've got it. Keep it real and keep it balanced. A little self promo and a woot-for-me now and then is fine, but don't forget to keep giving the things to visitors that you liked/craved when you were in their shoes.

    Tell us about the process from the other side and how you're navigating things--the ups AND the downs. That will keep us coming back. Tell us about other WIPs and random things, too. And if your posts grow a little less frequent, so be it. You're not the only one who's busy. ;)

    Counting the days 'til December...and not because of Christmas. :)

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  6. You know what I love? The process. It's nice to see what's ahead, so I know what to expect or look forward to. Those posts don't feel particularly braggy to me--just informative. :)

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  7. I look for real people in blogs. I like the ones that get personal while staying professional (and even sometimes don't stay professional). I try to pop into blogs where the blogger has commented on mine, because I like seeing what they're up to.

    Prompts are always cool to read, but in the end, I want to hear about the crazy things that happen to you guys. Be real with me, there's time for the writing stuff on Wednesdays, right? :)

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  8. You are so funny! I visit different blogs for different reasons. Maybe just to keep up, see where so-and-so are in the journey, how they've muscled through letdowns, watch them celebrate their success. Although I might have experienced a twinge of envy, it was never about jealousy. I always figured, if they made it, then it's possible. I just have to keep trying. And that's what so many of my blogger friends have done for me, helped me keep going, given me hope.

    I do love reading query critiques & advice from agents. Interviews are okay. I love book reviews and blogfests. I love writing advice from other authors. I like cover reveals & launch parties.

    I think it's okay to talk about your book release, but not to the exclusion of everything else. I do love hearing about the process, the journey we're all on to get published. I want to know what I have to look forward to or be wary of.

    I like just about anything & everything having to do with writing & publishing novels. And I'm looking to make friendships that will last.

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  9. I agree with the others. I enjoy reading some of those 'braggy' posts! I love hearing people's success stories. Other than that, like Lynn said, I look for real people. If those promotions sound like the author actually telling us about what's going on like a real person talking to friends then yay. It's when they sound like a promo written up by a PR person that they get a bit boring.
    I'm sure you'll be fine! :) No worries.

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  10. I love reading success! Because these bloggy people are my friends, and if my friends achieve something, I want to hear about it. I can't wait for December, to see all your excited posts and the high from your book being out in the world. We all want to experience that. I swear, just be yourself, be excited, and you won't come off obnoxious or boring. We get that once the book comes out, even before, your life gets crazy busy. No worries, for realz.

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  11. You know, it's hard to say sometimes *what* I look for in a blog. It's a surprisingly-complicated question. I think what brings me to many of them in the first place is luck-a link somewhere that I follow, a recommendation, I don't know for sure. Once at a site, what keeps me coming back depends on the blog. Agent blogs, like Rachelle Gardner, Janet Reid and Kristin Nelson, are one thing. They offer helpful tips, an insider's view, inspiration and hope, which is a really big thing, as you know. Writer blogs (or, aspiring writers) are a different thing. Some of them are helpful, some inspirational, some are thought-provoking, but on a different level than 'how to land an agent'. What keeps me coming back, however, is less a function of how 'helpful' they are, and more a function of how I 'connect' with people, even if I don't comment.

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  12. You know, upon thinking a little, I don't think you need to worry. Your goal for blogging now is the same as before - which is connect with people. You obviously are very interested in your blog not becoming a self-promotional daily, so I think you are fine. It is totally okay for authors to talk about their triumphs as well as their frustrations. It's so exciting as a reader to hear about the good, and by the time something good happens, the author totally deserves to revel in it! :)

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  13. I think it depends more on the blogger than the blog. I get bored at sites that talk about writing all the time. I like to read blogs with personality and perspective. I like little stories and witty language. That's just me though. :)

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  14. I like sincerity. Just be yourself. Even if you're obnoxious or boring. :) No really, I like a strong voice in a blog. No matter the content. I want to feel like I'm visiting you, not a website.

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  15. I started blogging to gain a wider audience and I've realized, the writing community is such a good blogging community because we have one or more things in common: getting published. I also started blogging to connect with people and it has been a great experience thus far.

    I like to read blogs that I can relate to. If I can't relate to a certain blog, I won't be able to comment.

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