Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday's Wanderings: Blogging No No's

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.


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 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'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 Posting unpublished works of any kind, if you ever hope to get them published.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:

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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday's Meanderings: Do You Know How to Blog?

This weekend I went to a conference, and one of the workshops I took was titled " Blogging: A Must For a Writer."  The presenter was Anne R. Allen, who has a writing.  When I was signing up for the workshops, I hesitated about hers because I already have a blog, but then I decided I could always use some new tips on blogging.  Her information was solid and helpful, so I'm going to pass along some of it to you.


1. Read other blogs and comment, comment, comment! That is one way to get your name out, besides making the blog author feel good. Always leave your own blog address in your comment, then those who read the comments can find you. She also said it was important to respond to the people who leave comments on your blog.

2. Your name should always be in the title of your blog. "Cutesy" titles relating to writing, or to your family, or to your dog, are great if you are not concerned about readers, editors, publishers, and agents finding you on the Internet. But if you are blogging seriously, with the intent of making your presence as a writer known, then your blog absolutely has to have YOUR NAME in the title. She talked about how search engines look for new names in any, writing/publishing, medicine, etc... and if your name is not in the title of your blog, you can't be found by anyone.

3.  Publishers, editors, and agents DO look at blogs. If you've had an acceptance from a query, even if it's only for a partial, the publisher or editor or agent will probably look you up on the Internet, especially if you've given the name of your blog in your personal information. If your name is not in the title of your blog, this is not going to make a great impression, even if your blog is well-written. Putting your name in the title is the number one thing to do with your blog.  (Great...only my first name is on the address of my blog, and my name isn't on the title at all. Guess that means I have to change it...can you do that with Blogger?)

4. Use many as possible. This was an interesting comment. I've never used tags, didn't know they were important at all. She said that the tags, again, were a way for Google and other search engines to find you. You should tag the name of anyone mentioned in your blog post, as well as the main topics of your post. Anne called it Search Engine Optimization! Something else I need to start doing!

5. Keep to a schedule! Anne suggested once a week, and on the same day each week. She said that if you have nothing to say, DON'T POST! This was mainly for people who are new to blogging, but she was insistent about how you needed to have something of worth to post about, not just post because you're taking a break from writing, and can't think of anything else to occupy your time!

6. Anne talked about privacy settings, and said you should turn off Word Verification, because it does NOT prevent spammers, and it's annoying to most who come to leave comments. I definitely agree about that, I hate those dumb things! She also said that comments over a week all should be sent to you for approval, because old ones attract spam.

7. She talked about how your blog should look. She suggested using only a very few pictures, and NO MUSIC! You should definitely have an "about me" page, and she also suggested other "gadgets" such as "followers," "subscribe," "share," and "search."  Blogger now has pages you can add as well as the gadgets, so that's a big plus.

These were all the "positive" or "should do" tips Anne gave. My next post will be about all the "negative" or "should not do" tips. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
That's a wrap.