Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bloggy, blog, blog, blog

by Dave White

I used to say I hated blogging. And at the time I really did.

But at that time I didn't exactly know what I was blogging for or who I was blogging to. I just spilled my guts about writing and crime fiction. And while I'm sure that's what people out there in the crime fiction community want to read about, it's also what everyone else out there is blogging out.

Take a minute and go to Crimespot and take a look at what everyone else is blogging about. Go ahead, I'll wait.

(That old gag.)

Oh, you're back?

What'd you see? Book reviews, probably. Someone talking about the right way to write. Most likely. How to write a sex scene? (I've read that blog post by about 17 different people. One day I want to see a blog post about "How to write about people eating dinner.") There is nothing wrong with these posts. I've read 'em. I still read 'em. And I usually enjoy them.

But I'm deep in the crime fiction community. I follow all the publishing gossip, the little cat fights... I'm still trying to learn how to write a sex scene... And after I point, I started thinking about my own blog, who was reading it, and if it was helping me out.

Turns out, I don't really think it was. I was probably getting the same 75-100 people checking out my new posts about crime fiction and writing.

So I took a step back and thought... What is going to bring more people to my blog? Maybe even some people who don't give two craps about the in-depths of the crime fiction community and a way to sell an extra 17 books.

And I decided that my posts had to be broader.

And now I do several things to gain a bigger blog audience. I am one half of The Dave and Krewer Show... a comedy podcast, available through my blog or iTunes. I live blog STOOOPID movies (like Twilight). I talk about New Jersey and why it's better than every other state (who knew so many people from Maine would find it? And be pissed!). I talk about my fears. I get personal.

And a funny thing happened. The hits on my blog started to go up. Whenever I did something completely ridiculous (like the aforementioned Twilight post) my sales rank on Amazon jumped a little. Just a bit... probably meant I sold one book. But whatever, it also meant someone knew checked out what I was blogging out.

I think when people talk about promotion, they tend to get focused on how to sell something to the crime fiction community. That is important, but you also have to appeal outside the community.

You have to expand your horizons. You have to think about different things.

I don't know if that works. I've seen some changes, a little bump in site traffic. But, in the form of blogs, each one has to be different. I mean it's my blog and it's about my interests, so you're still going to see crime related things and book related things. But if that's all my blog was going to be about, it wasn't going to be interesting to me anymore.

You'll probably find more of the same nonsense from me here at Do Some Damage.

You have to find your blog voice, just like a writing voice.

And a blog should be fun.

At least, I think it should.

Yet, I still don't know how to write that damned sex scene...

What do you guys think about blogs?


Joelle Charbonneau said...

I don't blog. Perhaps because I can't decide if I have anything useful to say. But I like blogs and agree that anything different or unusual that is unique to your brand is always important.

Oh...and to write that sex scene you should join RWA (Romance Writers of America). And it will give you more unique stories for your blog:)

Scott D. Parker said...

Dave! Man, your post hits me right square between the eyes. It's the perfect post that puts together things I've been pondering for a few weeks now. Like you, I have the same loyal readers and I thoroughly enjoy my conversations with them. However, I remember last year, I got a few more hits. Not the end-all, be-all of blogging but something to gauge nonetheless. I have begun to realize why: (a) I had regular, weekly themed posts and (b) I wrote about things other than crime fiction, music namely. I'd review a new CD, post the link at the artist's website, get those fans to my blog, and some stayed awhile. It was nice. I wrote about just about bunch of things I like and I got eyes. I've been thinking about starting the music thing up again (and I'm not really sure why I stopped). Gradually, I think I'll expand the scope of my blog. I started my science fiction blog, SF Safari, mainly b/c I didn't feel SF belonged in a "crime blog." Perhaps I was in error. Perhaps I should merge the two, make it all about pulp fiction. Dunno. But I like your post. It's making me think more. Thanks.

Jay Stringer said...

Great points made by the Jersey kid.

I think it's important to let your blog be an extension of yourself, and to never take yourself TOO seriously.

My original blog was a crazy and mis-shapen creature; i covered politics, music, comic books, TV, zombies, farting and the occasional book review. That blog got far more comments and visitors that my current blog at, because that one is more focused.

I think that's why the collection of voices weve got here will work. There's enough different crazy people; some weeks people will b on topic, some weeks they'll be flying off the rails. Some weeks Mike Knowles will be considering shaving his beard and calling himself Dr Sexy. But at other times it will be exactley the kind of focused crime blog you mentioned. We'll cover a lot of ground.

And live blogging the X Men films was as much fun as anything else i've done. I liked your casino Royale one; we should try and team up sometime on a live blog cross over.

Dave White said...

You gotta be varied to bring in a varied audience. And then, maybe something about your book catches their attention... Hell, I'm giving dating advice on my blog today.

John McFetridge said...

Yes, to everything you say.

And, for me the best part of a blog is the conversation in the comments (maybe because I can check back all day and avoid doing work) so whatever kind of a post gets it going is great.

Maybe if you posted a sample sex scene in the blog, we could see where your problems are.....

Bryon Quertermous said...

I love writing about writing but the most popular my blog ever became was during the worst break up of my life. I've also had popular posts dealing with musical theater and my home improvement adventures. It's just like in a crime book. Sure everybody likes the mystery and wants to solve the crime and shit, but what really gets them involved is the personal details of the characters. And once you start a blog, that's what you are. A character in the big movie called The Internet.

Dana King said...

Writing sex scenes is exactly like writing scenes of people eating dinner. Except their naked. And "finger lickin' good" has a whole different meaning.

I have two blogs, one for writing and one for whatever is on my mind at the time. I can probably count the readership on my fingers.

Maybe I need more sex scenes.

Dave White said...

I'm sure I can figure out how to write a sex scene. That's my point... there are about 1,000 different blogs out that there post this. Everyone does it. It seems to be a requirement in the blog community. But no one ever talks about the more mundane writing aspects. When you try to be shocking (how to write a sex scene? WHOA I have to read that) and then everyone follows suit... it's no longer shocking.