Monday, August 1, 2011

How to know when you’ve arrived

You know you're considered a blogger/writer/smarty pants person when people ask you to write guest posts for them.

I've never been asked me to guest blog for anyone--no, stop, I’m not trolling for requests, nor trying to make my bloggy friends feel bad. Nor am I looking for sympathy or praise or "you'll get theres." It just is.

I think it says you haven't quite arrived.

I've spent a lot of time on my blog over the past year or so. I used to blog an insane 5 days a week, in fact. I know agents take into account a writer's social media presence with particular emphasis on their blog when considering them as a client. Some agents even approach writers based on their blogs. (I know two people who have had this happen.) That's one of the reasons I've labored on this blog. I've thought long and hard on what makes a successful writer blog. I've watched other successful blogs for what seems to make them tick. (And in several cases, I noticed that I was posting the exact same information as more successful blogs and getting a fraction of the response in the comments.)

The blogs I enjoy reading contain consistently useful advice on writing, or are funny and a delight to read. The best are have all three characteristics. I'm not sure I've managed to hit any of those marks. No, please, let's not pretend otherwise. We're being very honest here.

One of the interesting things to note is that if you have an agent, or are published, you are seen as imminently more interesting than you were before you got an agent or were published. In fact, your readership and comment rate goes sky high when you get an agent. My friend Meghan Ward once remarked that no one wants to hear from someone who hasn't been there yet--but that doesn't take into account her own blog, which dispenses sage advice, nor, say, Roni Loren, whose blog has long dispensed great advice to wonderful response. Way before she got an agent.

So what I'm wondering is:
  • What importance does blogging have for you in the scheme of your writing and future career? Is having a successful blog important to you?
  • If you haven't produced useful information about writing and/or aren't a delightful wit, what do you think you're giving readers when you blog? Does a strong readership matter to you? Do lots of comments on your posts matter?
  • Do you strive to make your blog interesting to fellow writers?
I sometimes wonder if maybe I'm just a massive bitch and it comes through in my blog posts. I kind of suspect I am and it does, but that's a post for another day.

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