Keys to Successful Blog Postings
So I've been doing this blogging thing for a while now, a little over three weeks, a little over three thousand hits. Pretty good. Not Stuff White People Like good, but pretty good. So far, the feedback has been largely supportive, with a few people hating it, and a couple friends taking exception to their personal lives being made public.
Now any writer who tells you that they don't write for an audience is either A) lying or B) a shitty writer. I may well be both, but you have to take audience into consideration if you want to have any impact. I'm not saying to you go all Bruckheimer/Bay or anything, but writing is not done in a vacuum, even if it is a solitary and lonely act (unless you are James Patterson). You can call it formula or template, or "the rules" or whatever the fuck you'd like, but every writer, no matter what they write, whether it's by-the-book thrillers or fucking poetry, study response.
Here is what I have learned in my three weeks blogging:
- Posting daily is good. Posting four times a day is not good. Blog posts are best served in small doses. One of the appeals of reading a blog, it seems, is feeling like you've read the whole thing. 1,000 words a day is doable. 5,000 words and people feel like they are being asked to read a book. And no one wants to read a book.
- Mentioning friends by name is good. Unless they are named John. Since my readership consists of basically the same half dozen or so, addressing them by name creates a personal touch, makes them feel a part of the show, brings them back for more (right, Sean, Esther, Shawn, Justine, and Jimmy?) This rule, however, should be suspended if the person is named "John." For some reason "Johns" do not like to be personally addressed, even if you are promoting their work or lightly teasing them about baseball.
- Use the word "fucktard." It has been consistently proven. You use the word "fucktard" in a post, the post will be successful.
- Don't make fun of online zines with goofy names. This was a hard lesson to learn. While trying to continue a series where I post all my bad query letters, I made fun of a magazine called (and I am probably getting the name wrong) Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens. People did not like this. Especially Cynthia, who said I was a bad person and very unprofessional. I explained to Cynthia that since I am writing this blog only to get my name out there and get people to like me that that wasn't my intention, so I deleted the post. Even then Cynthia was still upset with me. It wasn't only Cynthia. Also Eric and some other guy were not happy with my poking fun at Chickens. To date this has been the only post roundly hated and with more negative comments than positive ones. As such, I hereby vow never to make fun of online zines with goofy names. Dirty Goat, you are safe.
- There is a fine line between bitching and whining. When I posted a piece called "Vampire Love," where I replaced all the "junkies" from my memoir with "vampire" in a snarky attempt to cash in on the current vampire craze, I received this from Jess, who said... "Wow, this is pretty bad. When we hit Peak Phosphorus, our descendants will say 'Damn, we'd have had five more minutes of phosphorus if Joe Clifford hadn't ever existed. And we wouldn't have to listen to his whining about being a failure, either!'" I was forced to concede Jess has a point. I'd prefaced the entry with my frustration over the delay in getting my book published. But truthfully it is probably just a matter of time. My agent says it'll get published, and she knows more than I do. And I do spend a great deal of time bitching, which can come across as whining.
- Mention Berlin High School. That was my high school. Like any mopey artist dressed in black, I didn't like my time there, but most of my friends are on Facebook and they like reading pieces about our hometown. And mentioning Tracy Bartlett doesn't hurt either.