OK, so the wine wasn’t part of the research.
Still, I uncovered a lot of good advice and some…well, not so good advice.
Here are a few myths I’ve stumbled upon as I’ve worked to find my way with this blog:
MYTH #1: Unless you have a book deal, no one will read your blog. I kicked off my blog on February 1 with a post that was well-received by…um, my cousin. At that point, I was crossing my fingers, toes, and several unmentionable body parts my book would sell soon. Because my agent
It’s probably no coincidence my readership started climbing after that.
At the same time, a book deal isn’t a mandatory part of drawing a readership. Take a look at The Misadventures in Candyland, a blog maintained by Candace Ganger.
Candace doesn’t have an agent. She doesn’t have a book deal. She’s only been blogging for seven months, yet she has over 250 registered followers and her posts almost always draw 25-30 comments. Why?
Here’s what I think: she’s funny. She’s honest. She’s edgy. She’s sassy. She writes her posts in ways that prompt discussion, and she participates in that discussion in her comment trail. She’s consistent, blogging every weekday and wrapping each week with her hysterical Feel Me Up Friday feature.
There are plenty of other bloggers out there like Candace. Who are they? What’s their magic formula?
MYTH #2: Size doesn’t matter. Sorry, guys – I know you’d desperately like to believe otherwise, but length is crucial.
I read a lot of blogs, and I have a short attention span. If I click a post and the first thing I see is a giant block of text followed by twenty more giant blocks of text, guess what I’m going to do? (Hint: the answer is not “read it six times before forwarding the link to my friends.")
When it comes to blogging, size matters. Blog readers are busy, and if your post doesn’t grab attention in the first few sentences, you’re screwed.
Paragraphs should be short. White space should be plentiful. The total number of words shouldn’t exceed 500. I know there are exceptions to these rules (some of this week’s posts will definitely exceed 500) but the fact remains – one of the greatest writing skills you can develop is the ability to make your point in the fewest words possible.
MYTH #3: Social media is for celebrities and socialites – not serious authors. A year ago, the only thing I knew about Twitter is that it had something to do with Ashton Kutcher.
When my wise agent suggested I try it, I did my homework. I read Shel Isreal’s TWITTERVILLE and Joel Comm’s TWITTER POWER, and I spent a few months lurking to learn how it worked.
In a nutshell, you make friends. Pretty simple concept. Friends like to do business with other friends, so they visit each other’s blogs and buy each other’s books and braid each other’s hair (sorry, Bill Cameron – we missed that part).
Show of hands, how many of you originally found this blog through Twitter? I’m going to guess it’s somewhere around 80%. It may not be what keeps you coming back, but it was likely the first point of contact.
I’ve gone from skepticism about Twitter to being a devout fan. I’m seriously considering tattooing the bluebird logo on my left breast.
What blogging myths have I forgotten here? Do you disagree with any of mine? If so, let’s fight by the bike rack after school. That would make an AWESOME blog post.