Monday's blog was all about the "what to do" in blogging that I learned from one of my conference workshops over the weekend. Today I'm going to talk about the "what not to do" in blogging. The workshop I attended was taught by Anne R. Allen, who has a great blog on writing and publishing, so stop by and visit hers.
IMPORTANT NOT TO DO:
1. Ignore comments. Sometimes we get to involved in our own writing that we forget to read, much less respond to, the comments that people leave after a post. This is a biggy...you must respond! If you ignore those comments, people will think "Why bother? she probably doesn't even read them." It's not only respectful to respond, but it's also a good way to stimulate discussions.
2. "Crying in the wilderness." This was good for a laugh! Anne says if no one is coming to visit your blog, go find others that interest you and LEAVE COMMENTS! People aren't going to automatically know you have a blog... you have to get the word out yourself. As she said, Social Networking is SOCIAL, so use it to your advantage!
3. Using your blog as a personal journal. No one wants to look up your blog and read your personal thoughts ( usually bad ones) on how long you were stuck in traffic today! Or how you had to stay home and miss lunch with the girls because of a sick kid. Sure, it's okay to throw in a personal tidbit once in a while, but if your blog is there for professional reasons, don't crowd your professionalism out with a lot of personal junk that is interesting to no one but you.
4. Complain about rejections, agents, editors, and bad reviews. Oh, my! This is another of those BIGGIES! You never know when agents and editors just might decide to take a break from the slush pile and check out your name...and blog. Even if you're not complaining about them specifically, the fact that you ARE complaining is very unprofessional and that will turn them off quicker than a bad query. Ok, we all post about our rejections...after all, misery loves company! But DO NOT EVER put a name or any kind of identifying "characteristic" in your post. And if you can find a bit of humor in the whole thing, post that...it's better to laugh than to cry.
5. Posting unpublished works of any kind, if you ever hope to get them published. Did you know that is infringing on your own copyright? I didn't, but Anne says it is. Posting a story, poem, or non-fiction for a critique, for example, is NOT the way to go. Join a critique group or get a beta reader, but don't rely upon the public. If your work can be read on your blog for free, why should an agent accept it for representation or an editor for publication? Just DON'T DO IT!
Exception to the above: you can post short excerpts for blogfests and contests that connect you with other writers. "Short excerpts" = one or two paragraphs.
6. Not linking to other blogs. Don't be afraid to send your readers off to read someone else. It's another way to start discussions, and links raise your Google profile.
7. Blogging too often and/or erratically. If you have nothing to say, don't say it! One or two posts a week is plenty, and doesn't interrupt your writing time. Remember that novel you're writing...the one you need your blog to promote? Go work on it instead of posting just to be posting! Don't be erratic about your posting, keep to a schedule, even if it is only once a week. Keep the same day or days, and don't skip around. ( er...I need to take my own advice!) If you take a break from blogging, that's fine but let your followers know that's what is happening.
8. WHITE TEXT ON DARK BACKGROUNDS! Another biggie! Every "how to blog" article says never use white text on a dark background, but many of the blogs you visit have this. This is SOOO hard on the eyes! No matter how "pretty" you think it is, it is not cool, it is a sure "go away" sign.
9. Forgetting the #1 Rule of blogging. Want followers? Follow! Want comments? Comment! No one is going to follow you if you don't follow them, or comment on your blog if you never comment on theirs. This is Social Networking, gang, get it?
My thanks to Anne for a great workshop. If she visits me, I hope I've quoted her correctly. If not, I apologize. Her blog is: www.annerallen.blogspot.com.
I also hope these tips about what to do and what not to do in blogging have been helpful to my readers, and that y'all have learned something new!
Until next time,
That's a wrap.