Monday, February 20, 2012

What Makes a Blog Worth Reading?

In our busy lives, what catches our eye and makes us stop for a few minutes to read and savor something that's been written? 

I am in the very beginning stages of researching what it will take to become a published author.  I have my first story almost completed and I am working on my plot and ideas for my second, but there is so much more that goes into publishing a book than just writing it. 

Reading about the craft of writing, attending writer's conferences, networking with other authors, finding an agent, and so on, are just a few things I am beginning to learn about.  But one thing that keeps reoccurring, as I research, is the importance of having a blog - a good blog with dedicated followers.

How do I create a good blog with followers who are genuinely interested in what I have to say?  Because someday, when my first book is hot off the presses, I will rely heavily on my blog followers to be my marketing agents around the world, not to mention a sounding board for me to bounce ideas off of.

So what makes a blog worth reading to you?  Do you like short blog posts or longer ones?  Do you like reading blogs that focus on specific topics like cooking, writing, decorating, family, etc. or do you enjoy reading blogs that are random and surprise you?  Simply put, what kind of a blog is worth your time and effort?  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

4 comments:

  1. You have asked the $10,000 question, Gabe, and I'm not sure there's a specific answer to it.

    Marketing gurus who have blogs, like Seth Godin, will tell you to focus on one thing and that will bring in the followers. After following Seth's blog for a couple of years, I got bored and stopped. He was saying the same thing over and over. Of course, he does have a gazillion followers, but he started blogging early on in the internet's history and those who started early tend to have lots of followers.

    Another very popular blogger, who is also a popular author, is Neil Gaiman. He blogs about all things related to his writing and he does it in such a conversational style that it makes for good reading. He has been blogging for going on 8 or 9 years, but he's slowed down considerably in the last couple of years because he has so much to do. He's got a great blog following because he has so many great books out.

    Mommy blogs are incredibly popular, especially among mothers and I follow one. I enjoy hearing about the daily lives of kids as they are growing.

    I also like artsy blogs or blogs on creativity.

    One common strategy for getting new followers is to start following blogs you like and making comments on them. That's what I did at the beginning of my blogging, but I've found that fewer people are blogging now that there are easier social media sites for sharing.

    I tend to blog about all kinds of everything, whatever interests me. I write long posts, short posts, and picture posts. Longevity and the sheer mass of content I've accumulated is what brings people to me now, although I do have regular readers.

    My suggestion is that you do with your blog exactly what you would do with your other writing - write what you want to read.

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  2. Thank you, Mary. My passion is historical romance and I don't know how to incorporate that on my blog... My other passion (actually my first passion) is my family, which is easy for me to write about. As I work at this blog thing I'll figure it out bit by bit.

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  3. As with books, what makes or breaks a blog to me is the writing style. I often buy or put back books based on a few pages chosen randomly from the middle. I don't go for a specific voice, just unique ones. I'd say find and develop your own voice (which, after this long, I'm sure you have), then embrace it! If you're good at witty dialogue or humorous footnotes, or gorgeous details on the setting, or if you're big into internal monologue... whatever you like about your writing style, show it here! Use your blog as a way to develop your voice, and at the same time, it will make you unique amongst all the other blogs as one written by an author with an established feel. Even if you're just writing about what you did today.

    Another way to make your work recognizable is a theme, or some regularity readers can look forward to. Like a quote on the top of each entry, or a subject t you write about once a week (like, "Things the boys broke this week! :p). Quirky habits will help readers get a feel for you as a person, which draws readers in.

    Also, show some samples of your fiction! Getting readers absorbed by giving little bird if a story at a time will keep them coming back, while letting you get feedback on it.

    As for long or short? Well, people these days tend to have short attention spans. But! Even a 4-page article gets read and shared if it's well-done and engaging :)

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