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Why do you blog?

Like most writers, my long term goals are simple: Get my books published, and have as many people read them as possible. I haven't yet managed the first part, but I've already started work on the second.

Even though I don't yet have a book deal of my own, I set up the New Jersey Authors' Network, a free to join, free to use online database, where authors can get together for multi-author signings in New Jersey.  I did it, partly to help other writers sell their books, but also because, one day, I hope to use it to sell mine.

I designed the network to function without me, and it's already doing just that.  People I've never met use it to organize events at places I'd never been to, with other member-authors who I don't yet know.

Then there's this blog. I thoroughly enjoy reading other writers' journals and posting my own thoughts about the craft, but for me, a blog is more than just a social networking tool. I believe a writer's journal can have a huge impact on his or her book sales. Sure, the book has to be worth reading, but isn't getting the word out the biggest challenge for an unknown author?

If that's true, then the bigger the blog's readership, the better. Now I'm sure there are examples of previously unheard of writers whose blogs were an overnight success, for most of us, it takes time, effort, and a definite plan of action.

How do you develop a large readership?

I would say the answer is "On purpose."

I don't know about you, but I apply the same logic to my journal entries as when I'm writing a story ie: if I can make it entertaining enough and/or interesting enough, people will want to read it. Of course, unlike me, that's not as simple as it appears. You have to promote yourself too, otherwise you could write the most brilliant blog entries the world has ever seen, but no-one will know, so I'm working on that side of things too.

Am I being presumptious by assuming I'll get published? Possibly (I know my old gran would think so), but if I do ever get to hold a book deal in my hot little hands, I plan on having the benefit of a successful journal to help me launch my novel on an unsuspecting public.  Even if that never happens, I'm having great fun with my online friends.


How about you?

What are your long term plans for your journal?

Why do you blog?




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Comments

( 94 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Sep. 16th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
I think if you blogged just to make connections it wouldn't work - in the same way that deciding to be a writer because you want to make money won't.

Having said that, I think if you focus on producing a good blog and work hard to build a readership, you can't help but make those 'connections' by default.

Of course, I could be wrong.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 16th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
alaneer
Sep. 16th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
I don't, or not much nowadays. I should changed that, I should. Soon . . .
jongibbs
Sep. 16th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Absolutely :)
a_r_williams
Sep. 16th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
Looking back at my very first blog post, I see that it was in November 07. Hmmm...what could be happening in Nov.

NANOWRIMO!

I started blogging during Nanowrimo as a way to communicate with other people who were participating. Most of the original group of writers that participated are no longer blogging. I think only one of my startup f-list is still doing so.

I continued to blog for the community, but my reasons have since grown.

# community

# learn more about writing

# learn more about myself

# expand how I am able to express myself by writing on different subjects

# teach some of the stuff I know and maybe help someone who doesn't have that knowledge

# to help create a platform

# it's FUN!

-----

Long term:

I think I will create other avenues to communicate with my "fans" once I'm published. Different types of journals.

I may use Facebook for promotional type announcements, event schedulling, marketing, communicating with fans about w.i.p

Twitter for pretty much the same type thing

LJ for talking with and participating in a writer community, so it will continue to focus on the art and craft of writing

Then a website where a whole lot of the above combined.
jongibbs
Sep. 16th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
Excellent list!

At a recent GSHW meeting, Jack Passarella talked up the importance of an online presence for writers. He had a humungous list of things people could choose from when it comes to getting your name known.

Thanks for sharing :)
kellyrfineman
Sep. 16th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
My outlook on blogging is similar to yours. (By the way, any chance you'll be going to the Kidlitosphere Conference in VA (Pentagon City) in October?

I started blogging kinda-sorta by accident (I was commenting on other people's blogs and set up an account to do so, then felt stupid for not posting something). I hope that when (please God) I sell my books, many (okay, most, even) of my regular blog readers will buy them and/or talk about them. And I think that the odds of that happening increase if you are sharing something of value on your blog, and if you are helping to foster a sense of community (i.e., by posting comments on other people's blogs, at least sometimes).

You do that with your linkage posts and thoughts about writing and by leaving comments. I tend to do that through book reviews and things like Brush Up Your Shakespeare month, August at the Abbey and the like, and leaving comments. Or at least, I hope I do that.
jongibbs
Sep. 16th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
Sadly, the only Cons I go to are The Write Stuff (every March) and, starting this year, PhilCon.

I started the same way you did. I wanted to congratulate my friend aalford for his first sale, but I couldn't comment without an LJ account.

To be honest, I doubt the majority of my lj friends would buy a book just because I wrote it, though I do think they might promote (say) a good book trailer - with the emphasis on it being a GOOD book trailer.

That would be more than enough for me.

Thanks for sharing :)
marshallpayne1
Sep. 16th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC)
I blog therefore I am!! ;-)
dqg_neal
Sep. 17th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
So does that mean you have to keep posting or you'll cease to exist? *grin*
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Sep. 17th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 17th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Sep. 17th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 17th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 17th, 2009 11:47 am (UTC) - Expand
sandrawickham
Sep. 16th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
I started blogging originally on my fitness site for business reasons.

I found LiveJournal via Stacia Kane, she tweeted on twitter (oh boy) that she was posting about editing and after I read her blog, I wanted to comment (to thank her). To do that had to have a LiveJournal account. So, voila, I have my own LiveJournal account and discovered tons of other writers do to.

I've found it extremely useful to read other people's blogs, so I just blog so I can fit in with the cool kids and steal all their great ideas and links.....
jongibbs
Sep. 17th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
I like reading other people's blogs too. I've learned a lot from them in the last eight months or so.

It seems that a lot of us only opened an account to comment on someone's blog :)
worldmaker_13
Sep. 16th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
I initially started blogging as a way to keep in contact with friends & family, but soon found 50% of my focus was on writing and not particularly interesting to anyone but me (at least not among that particular circle).

I came over to lj because my writing group moved here, and we all joined a community, then sequed into the Nanowrimo five years ago and started sharing novel-snippets there. After that, I found that lj was a good motivational tool and a good place to connect with other writers, which gave me plenty of space to rant and rave as the writing cycle occurred.

When publishing happens since we are going with the hypothetical idea, I will probably worry more about what I'm posting for the viewing audience (ie my writing process/my ideas/my next ideas/sequels/etc) and try to keep the goal-posting to f-lock/private posts, because then I will *definitely* need the motivation. :-)
jongibbs
Sep. 17th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
I think mutual support in particular, is a huge benefit.

Thanks for sharing :)
brni
Sep. 16th, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)

why did i start blogging?

why, to get laid, of course. isn't that why we do everything?
dqg_neal
Sep. 17th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
Everything?
Dang.. I wish I knew how vomiting would get me laid when I was in high school, things might have turned out differently. *grin*
(no subject) - brni - Sep. 17th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 17th, 2009 11:58 am (UTC) - Expand
chant_1
Sep. 17th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Well, Jon, judging by the number of comments, clearly you have plenty of followers!!

I blog (and I use the term loosely) to keep in touch: my LJ was initially to keep in touch with a friend who is a writer, but I love the social aspect and feel I've made many online "friends" here. I have another blog that's just for family, with pix of the kids and whatnot.

I think that, since I haven't associated my real name with either blog, I'd have a new blog associated with a web site if/when I get nearer to being published.

I agree with what several other commenters have said: I would be more inclined to look at a book by an LJ friend. I wouldn't necessarily buy it, but at least I'd pick it up and look at it. I tend, after reading a book I've enjoyed, to see if the author has a blog. There are occasions where I've read a book that I didn't like as well, where I still follow the author's blog, because I enjoy it. In those cases, I'd be more inclined to at least try another book of theirs.

Good job on yet another thought-provoking post.
jongibbs
Sep. 17th, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words :)

You make a good point about using your writer name, though I'm pretty sure you can change your LJ-name without having to start a new blog.

(no subject) - chant_1 - Sep. 17th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 17th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
ex_naomi_ja
Sep. 17th, 2009 09:03 am (UTC)
Interesting post. I've been thinking a lot about the direction of my blog lately. My livejournal used to be my place to rant (and still is sometimes) but now that I've got a few novels forthcoming, I feel like I can't legitimately use it to vent my personal bile and anger as much anymore. It suddenly feels a lot more public (and my Dad reads it, and doesn't approve of me swearing), so I'm trying to gear it away from being my personal diary and into being more promotional, writerly, and professional.

At the same time, I still want it to be a reflection of me, my opinions, and my humour. It's a difficult balance, I think. Not sure I've found the answer yet.
jongibbs
Sep. 17th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC)
'...At the same time, I still want it to be a reflection of me...'

I'd say that's the most important thing, though as you say, without the anger and swearing bit :)

Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - ex_naomi_ja - Sep. 17th, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 17th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
aka_shakti
Sep. 17th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
Why I blog? Arrogance.

Anyway, New Jersey? What's with the flag on your icon?
jongibbs
Sep. 17th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Lol, 'cause I'm an Englishman, living in New Jersey :)
clarionj
Sep. 17th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Ha! I came back today, after glancing over our post yesterday, to see what people had to say, and um ... ninety some replies! Well, I didn't read them all, but in one post you commented that you're starting now (with building readership and focusing--much of it at least--on writing) because it takes a while. I think you're doing it in exactly the right way. I've been reading articles on how to use blogging and even Facebook for promotion, and it seems to be the way things are going and one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to promote. It also does take time, as you said.

So, why aren't I and a number of the people who responded doing it yet? Because it's work? Because we're not taking our potential as novelists seriously? I don't know. When I'm not as busy at work, I'll research blogs on my focus genre--horror or romance, or whatever I'm into. I'll say, okay, I'm going to read these people's posts and I'm going to get to know them, and I'm going to connect. I start, and then I suddenly hit the old LJ bookmark, the quiet little friends' page, and cuddle up there. Heh. But really, I am looking into it ... just not ... you know ... as seriously yet as I should be. :)

Keep doing what you're doing.
jongibbs
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks. And I hope I didn't come across as trying to tell anyone how to run their blog. While I do believe that what we do, or don't do has an effect on our blog's readership, how someone chooses to use their journal is entirely up to them.
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Sep. 17th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
'...if I didn't enjoy blogging, people would probably be able to tell...'

Absolutely!

Thanks for sharing :)
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed

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