Last week I stumbled upon Anne R. Allen’s Blog and she has some incredibly sensible things to say about writers and blogging. Her series of posts on blogging (highlighted in her side bar) covers tips on content, search-engine optimisation, pitfalls to avoid . . . and how to attract readers. Highly recommended reading.
On the last point she emphasises the need to engage with the community by commenting regularly (and insightfully) on blogs that you read, thereby spiking interest and luring other readers over to your blog. Does this work, do you think? I’m not sure — it’s rare that I click-through to the blog of a commenter on someone else’s blog, and if I do it’s usually because I already recognise the name. I will keep it in mind though, and perhaps stop lurking so much… and bear in mind that such a strategy will only work if the content of my own blog is sufficiently engaging to keep readers coming back.
Anne’s blog also introduced me to the concept of ‘Slow Blogging’, which is essentially occasional but regular posting. Again it comes down to the fact that most writers should be spending time writing things other than blog posts (i.e. novels, if that’s your thing). This to me makes so much sense; it’s so easy to convince yourself that you should be posting every day or so in order to keep readers returning.
I am going to try this Slow Blogging scenario, which will probably mean weekly posts on Wednesdays, unless something comes up in between that I simply must discuss or voice. The focus will remain essentially a journal of my writing life, with occasional thoughts on industry hot topics.
Which brings me to one final post-worth-reading on Anne R. Allen’s blog that I wanted to mention, because it relates to my recent post on self-publishing and was in fact the post that drew me to her blog in the first place. Her post was written in response to the recent social media maelstrom and cyber-bullying that occurred when an indie author made some ill-considered responses to a less-than-glowing review of her ebook.
Anne poses three insightful questions to ask yourself before considering self-publishing:
1. Are you able to present a professional book in a professional way? (i.e. hire editors, designers, coders etc)
2. Are you emotionally ready for your close-up? (1.e. you’d better have very tough skin, because every book gets bad reviews, no matter how good it is)
3. Is you book really, truly ready?
Of these, I believe question number #2 resonated with me in particular. As Anne puts it:
There are some unspoken benefits to the old query-fail-query-fail-submission-fail-editorial meeting-fail, fail, fail system. It not only gives us numerous readers to help hone that book to perfection—it also teaches us to deal with rejection, failure and bad reviews.