I want to talk about blogs and remaining relevant with blogs (which is possibly something for other writers to think about).
Some of you are familiar with my political and environmental rants. For any such future rants, I’ve set up another blog called The Green Stuff. The reason for this is quite simple. This site is going to predominantly remain a blog about books, literature, art, genre stuff, reviews, that kind of thing. It’s an author blog, with an industry focus. The other blog is about all the environmental stuff I like to talk about, because even though quite a few of you out there comment that you get a kick out of these posts, whenever I go through a sustained period blogging about other things like politics and the environment, there is a bit of a drop off in the readership. As my editor said to me when I told her this, people generally aren’t bothered what authors think about the wider world; readers want to know about books and the genre (generally speaking).
I’ve thought about why this could be. I suspect it’s mostly because people see authors from a few angles: (a) readers get to an author site via the books; authors are still entertainers – methods to help people forget about the real world. Talking about grim realities doesn’t appeal. (b) Authors are seen as spokespeople for the industry (or in my case charlatans with a wild opinion) and that readers are hoping to find out more about the nuts and bolts of the way the world of books works. (c) Linked to this, authors might be able to help with a little advice on how to get published. People come for advice.
I want to – and have done – build more of an audience based on publishing and writing. Why would I do this if no one was reading? As I mentioned, there was a bit of a dip at the end of last year when I was heavily talking about other issues. Likewise, if I wanted to build an audience talking about environmental issues (something I wouldn’t mind doing), they might not care about the frills of literature.
Hence the two blogs: to build and grow an audience for each. Because that’s the key with blogging, too: relevance. To build an audience, you have to have relevance to that audience. Of course it doesn’t mean I won’t talk about whisky or vegetable gardening or even the odd environmental or political rant from time to time. Also, I see the split as a good thing – it gives me two clear platforms with totally different messages, so I can build the audience in each field. Should other authors do that to? That’s up to them – they probably barely have time for just the one blog! I’m just conscious of the way blogging works as well as my profile as a relatively new writer to many.
So if you want to follow my environmental links, head over to the other blog and add it to your RSS feed. It’s on Tumblr, so its much more of a pretty and casual scrapbook. (If I was starting an author blog from scratch I’d totally use Tumblr.) I’ll also be linking to the new blog posts on Twitter, since I see no point in splitting that account, given the fragmented nature of the beast.
Could you split your blogs further? I’d like one in which you only post things I agree with (genre, environment, lunch selections, etc).
That way it’d not only be relevant, but also it’d reinforce my existing opinions. That’s the true key to internet success. That, and kittens.
I could do. How many categories do you need? Weirdly Tumblr has a lot of very niche things like that.
But no kittens. Aren’t there enough of those online already?
Honestly, if you could just set up a feed that linked to my blog, plus some sort of generic, positive descriptor, that’d do very nicely.
Plus kittens. A really adorable kitten holding up a sign that says “MARKS KITTEHS SAY JARED IS RITE”? Bullseye. That’s what I want to be reading more of.
I am personally for diversity. Mind you, I have little doubt you’re correct about numbers but I suppose I simply don’t care as much about that.
It’s not my site, so I have that privilege.
Fragmenting blogs into distinct zones of interest produces in my opinion, a number of blogs that are all slightly less interesting the sum of their parts.
In times past (and to be fair, in times present as well but far less common), specialization was not such a coveted position to hold. A person of worth need speak on the arts, on the sciences, and on the politics and social events of their time and place. Their opinions were not limited to their primary pursuit, or how they made their living.
This polymath approach has the added benefit of widening horizons for both the readers and the writer, I’d argue, as both are exposed to a wider spectrum of viewpoints and may discover or expose links between what otherwise seem separate things.
And… it makes you seem like a human being, with opinions and passions beyond the mere narrow walls of your craft.
I for one will be sorry to see the “focus” split into different sites as I’ve long noted that your well rounded approach, was one of the aspects that not just I but others spoke highly of in regards to your presence online.
But that might just be the laziness speaking, as I’m less likely to check on the updates of two or more blogs, where I used to just click on one.
Best wishes and good luck,
Well, the traffic suggests that the main audience comes here for book talk. I’ll put up a graph at the end of the month to show what I mean! It’s more about being aware how online niches form and build audiences.
And I want to stress again, I’m not being black and white about it – this is not a case of all or nothing.
I will still post the occasional rant about these things, and I may well cross post, it’s just that the two vehicles allows me the room to blog more frequently on both issues. One of the things I was concerned about was turning this into an environmental blog at the expense of those who wanted to read links regarding literature. So rather than compromise, I can make the most of each.
As I said at the beginning, you’re not wrong Mark.
I just think the world is.
Heh, yeah. We’re agreed there. BTW – any movement with political blogging yourself?
Won’t splitting the blog mean that a rather large crowd of book-focused people will now totally miss out on the environmental aspect? I follow your blog primarily for book related matters. I find the environmental posts interesting when they arise, and enjoy reading them, but I doubt I’ll follow a blog consisting solely of them as closely as I do this blog. It’s no doubt a fallacy of some sort to assume everyone feels exactly as I do, but won’t this limit the amount of people the environmental posts reach?
Yo, Evil Hat – not at all. Basically, it’s about just making sure I don’t go overboard with politics and environmental stuff on this blog, which I was tempted to do. The thing is, I like writing about the environment – so want to give that a spotlight rather than it being second-fiddle to the books. I will, on occasion, link to those posts on this site (or maybe cross-post).