Friday, June 29, 2012

Reflections on Blogging and Other Mayhem

To Blog or not to Blog... 

Therese says: When I began blogging in 2009 I didn't have a book to present, or a theme for my persona, but I was having a great time reading and commenting on blogs as my evening entertainment. The blogs were on topics of interest to me. I liked networking and wanted to be active in blogsphere, but I had no platform or product so what was the point?
Now there are many examples where authors began blogging specifically because they had books scheduled for publication and they needed to create a public persona on the web to generate interest in The Author and connect to an audience.
What I had in my early blogging days was intention to be a novelist and encouragement to get-my-writing-out-there. Friends and family told me they always read my life-status-emails, and annual holiday newsletters, because they were entertaining. I'd recently taken some college level essay writing classes and decided blogging would be a great way to practice those skills in a public venue. But what topic? My life, and thoughts on life, wasn't that interesting and only generated a few hundred words in three posts a week.

However, I wanted to share with my few readers all the cool stuff I was exploring so I created what I called webbit tours. Every week or two I posted about interesting stuff I had read, explained why I liked it, and I embedded the links to other blogs and sites. This increased my exposure by default. Links showed up in other's stats so they were curious to see who was promoting them. It's sort of fun to realize I was doing, on a really small scale, what Twitter does now.
What's important to remember about all the FLASH social media venues is that they are designed and used to share more substantial fare - like blogs and websites.
The most important advice I got about blogging was from a fellow student in my screenwriting class in 2009. This young man is Jean Auel's grandson and one of his parents was an active blogger at that time. He cautioned that blogging could consume me as more people found me and I'd be sucked into their agendas and discussions. I quickly saw the truth of this potential social-media-time-suck and made a point to stick to topics of interest to me. If a post caught the attention of an agenda I didn't want to pursue, I picked other topics for future posts.

My blog network remained small and friendly even though I could see from the stats, and locations of those who commented, that my blog posts were being read around the globe. This boosted my courage and eventually a reader told me my blog theme was "practical spirituality." I started to really have fun with my posts and I organized my topics.
A blog is not a platform. It's free. It's friendly. It's an added value for your audience to connect with your author persona.
Your book, whether memoir or novel, is something you created in the past. A blog is interactive in the present.
When I chose a new template for Terri Patrick's Blog, earlier this year, it was to highlight my primary blog topics, even one as random as "musings." The bonus to this experience is that as my online persona developed, I became bolder with themes and topics while writing my novels and memoir. None of which are available for sale at this time. That is a different dilemma. Social media activity increases expectations of immediacy in relation to the writing process.

Now, in 2012, (I felt a date stamp was a good thing - who knows what's coming next year!) my personal blog is in an RSS feed where some of my posts are reissued through an online news journal. This is a big plus as it gives my writing more exposure with no additional work.

Will all this generate sales? Maybe, when I have something to sell. But the emotional and professional benefits are greater than I could have anticipated, yet, it is because I was having fun and I still enjoy the world of blog.

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