Blogs: The Good, the Bad and the Boring

Sunny Frazier 2Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to talk about what makes a blog work and what doesn’t.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

The word “blog” is the abbreviated form of “web log.” First appearing in the mid-90’s, they became an equal opportunity promoter. Here was a chance to explore one’s thoughts and share with the world.

I’m one of these people who holds back when new things appear on the horizon. Unless the idea is of my own concoction, I wait and watch the pros and cons play out. I had a suspicion that writers would burn out quickly if they tried to keep up a daily or even weekly blog. It would suck up time and the well would run dry of ideas.

Yep, that’s what happened. Bloggers started reaching out to other writers to fill their pages. I was willing to hop on board that train. When Lelia asked me to be a returning guest blogger, I was more than content to contribute content every 6 weeks. I also committed to blogging over at Novel Spaces once a month and the occasional guest blog elsewhere.

I believe less of me is more than enough. I want readers and fans to look forward to my rants just to see what I’ll say next. If I’m going to take the time and energy to blog, I’m going to make it an EVENT. By using compelling titles and promoting with teases, my The Mystery Writersgoal is to lure people over to read what I have to say. Site owners love a hike in readership, which is one way to become a valuable blogger.

The important thing is having something real to say. Before posting, I ask myself “Would I take time to read this blog?” Ego aside, I gear my topics to what is important to my life and career: the writing industry. Not how to write but promotion, social media, reaching fans, helping other writers, sharing my tactics and offering food for thought.

While I’m serious about the subject matter, there’s no reason not to have fun. People who follow me know I’m a brat. I don’t mince words while making mincemeat out of conventional wisdom. I’m okay with rocking the boat and causing people to squirm. It’s just one person’s opinion. Write a retort, riff off my thoughts. Let’s get a dialog going!

That’s what I look for in blogs I read.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF BLOGGING

1. Don’t water down your words.
2. Take a stand knowing you will please some and offend others.
3. A little humor never hurts.
4. Offer fresh ideas. Give a new spin on old topics.
5. Don’t point out problems without offering solutions.
6. Don’t make observations on the obvious.
7. Promote compellingly.
8. Use interesting verbiage.
9. Attitude is everything.
10. Keep it short. This article is 457 words. I’ve said enough.

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27 thoughts on “Blogs: The Good, the Bad and the Boring

    • Kathleen, I find boiling things down to a few easily remembered points helps people focus on what’s important. Plus, I love lists!

  1. You’re the one who talked me into starting a blog, although I don’t know if you remember that. I went into it kicking and screaming, and now I thoroughly enjoy it. Thanks, Sunny! And, yes, this was a post I truly enjoyed and I got something from it.

  2. Ah, Marja, we all kick and scream a little bit when told we have to do yet MORE work! You’ve come so far since I first met you. And I’m glad our paths crossed in Vegas!

  3. Speaking strictly as a reader, I like to see blogs that tell me something about the author, something personal. Travel and hobbies are always good but so are posts about what an author likes to read or the movies they enjoy or the local places they like to go, anything of that sort. The included PR for his or her book somehow means more to me then.

    I also think authors should remember that writing topics can be rather dry and often don’t appeal to non-authors. If you want to go with that kind of topic, dress it up, tie it in with everyday life so a non-author can relate to it. A perfect example is this post from Sunny a year ago—

    https://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/dont-curse-the-universe/

    It’s all about what can go wrong or right in getting published but a non-author having to make employment—or life—choices can connect with it quite easily.

    • I’m always in a quandary about attracting readers. As a reader myself, I find I’m not interested in the author unless I’ve pursued a relationship on FB or Good Reads or have just picked up their book. But, I don’t randomly scout the Internet for interesting people.

      Also, the most disheartening thing I hear much too often from readers is “No, I don’t know who wrote the book I just read.” Are they really paying attention to writers as to follow their personal lives?

      I do supply clues to my past and lifestyle in many of my blogs. I like to think I’m a puzzle that requires readers to piece together until they see the bigger picture. Since I write mystery, this works for me.

      However, with A Snitch In Time coming out in late January, you’ll hear more personal stuff, I promise.

      • I don’t necessarily want to *follow* an author but I won’t go look at a post unless the topic is interesting to me for some reason. As to whether readers know who the authors are, the discussions on book groups and elists I’m in suggest that many do. A lot of these people maintain calendars of when to look for an author’s next book.

        Perhaps authors should think of blogs as a way to capture the attention of new readers in addition to engaging those who are already fans.

        I probably have more to say but I’m off to a book club dinner to talk about books 😉

  4. This was a condensed blog with a lot of information and I thank you for that. Some are way too long. I’ll try to take in your suggestions. Humor is the one I’ve had to work on the most.

  5. I thank you for this blog incite. I kept a blog for quite a while, never let it go, but didn’t contribute for over a year. (don’t get me started in de-spamming after such a long time off.) I’m back up and writing again, and discovered I do like to blog. I’m wondering though about keeping the blog focused on writing. I’d been thinking about posting reviews (I do write them occasionally) articles on writing techniques, short stories, blogs about my characters and adding guest bloggers to post reviews, articles, their short stories. But, I’m also wondering about adding other topics to the blog. ie: i’m doing research on Advent: Lessons and Carols. We performed it at our church and I watched St. James Choir in England (on You Tube) It has a very interesting historical tradition. Also, one novels deals with horses, one with a psychotic psychiatrist and the third coming out–a paranormal dealing with Romania and terrorists. So–my question. Would it be helpful to become more eclectic? Articles on horses, dogs historical traditions etc. I was concerned about your point of sticking to the writing. Sorry this is so long.

    • Hi, Patricia,

      I often wonder that, too. I try to keep my blog writing-focused, but this month I’ve blogged about Christmas movies and holiday food celebrations, too. I hear from readers that they really enjoy the posts when I deviate from the norm. And like Lelia said (above), I think it’s fun to let readers get a glimpse of who I am in my blog. It keeps me interested in writing it, too.

      And Sunny, I love your list! #10 is the hardest for me!

    • Here’s how I figure out if I’m on the right track with blogs: what kind of response am I getting? Many bloggers I know don’t have anyone reading their words. To me, that’s just spinning one’s wheels. I have been out in the world teaching what I know, I run a “Posse” to pass on info from other sources and help new authors learn marketing and promotion. Those are my strong points and I play to them. I have many other interests, I just don’t blog about them. So, how do you want to be perceived? I like the label “Mentor.”

      It all comes down to how you promote your blog and if you find a core readership. Your core might be friends and family, and that’s fine. But, you would be limiting your reach.

  6. Sunny, Great advice. I’m still trying to find my way through the blogosphere. Is it acceptable to post articles I’ve previously written on a different blog? Or is that self-plagiarizing? How about if I update them, like they do on news shows?

    • Maggie, I do it all the time! I’ve already had two people ask if they could repost this article on their sites in the future. I have pages on Crime Space, Book Town, several other sites and I post the blogs months in advance. I don’t even have to monitor them, they come up when I fill in the date. Is self-plagiarizing even possible? You’re going to get a different readership each time and this expands your fan base.

  7. I like the list of short dos and don’ts. On some days I love blogging and on others I definitely do not. I recently heard an editor say blogs are dead, passé, etc. But what has replaced them? He didn’t say.

      • I love FB and I don’t really care if it sells books or not. What it has done for me is put me in touch with readers, relatives I never knew I had who are also readers, other authors who I have promoted in my Coming Attractions column. I’m uber curious about other authors and feel I should know everybody.

        Bottom line: do what’s fun. Don’t stress so much on the outcome, just know you are getting something valuable with every encounter.

    • And that would be #5: don’t point out problems without having a solution.

      Am I always up for blogging? No, especially after a morning in dialysis. But, I do respect deadlines, a holdover from my journalism days. I don’t let my friends down when I promise to deliver. That’s why when committing to a blog it’s important to be honest and look at your track record. If you aren’t in it for the long haul, better to be the occasional guest.

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