It Should Be Blogging, Not Blarg

I’ve been away from the computer lately, for vacationy stuff. It was refreshing and usually fun, and we even managed to get out of the area for a week—not exactly a relaxing kind of a trip, as I’ll detail later.

Sometimes fun is sitting on a beach with a good book; sometimes fun is clamboring into caves and hiking to waterfalls while researching a good book. Don’t worry, there’ll be photos.

I’ve been neglecting my blog terribly, which isn’t a good thing for a working writer. Recently I read writers should put a “selling” post on their blog and social media only once every six posts or so. That makes sense: Why read someone when all they ever talk about is how often you should read them? By the way, you should read me often.

Sometimes it’s hard to control that: Such as earlier this month, when I had a book signing, and later next month, when I have a new book release as well as some appearances. But ordinarily I think it’s a good idea, if you want people to think your writing is entertaining, to write entertaining stuff.

I’d look just like Captain Obvious if I was just a bit slimmer.

Some blogging experts (can you get a degree in that?) believe your blog should be narrowly focused. If you’re a tree frog expert and keep your posts all about tree frogs, you’ll soon be followed by hundreds, if not thousands, of tree-frog entheusiasts, right? And whether you submit your book about tree frogs to a publisher or go independent, having a following of tree-frog lovers ready to buy your book is a huge advantage.

Makes sense.

But I’m a person of eclectic, if low-brow, tastes. I don’t have one obsession alone unless it’s writing, and if I write only about writing doesn’t that bring me back to the original problem? The only thing my interests really have in common is humor, and sometimes not that.

So here’s an idea: rotating through various subjects, in addition to talking about the writer’s life. Not necessarily on a specific day, but mixing it up so there’s something for everyone, and when appropriate loading some humor into it. Some possible topics include entertainment (Hey, I still watch some TV) and the possibly related book/movie reviews; emergency services (‘cause I’ve got that firefighter/911 dispatcher thing going on); photography (pictures make everything better); history (we’re releasing a humorous history book next year, which will make my third history related project); local/Indiana stuff; politics (if I can stomach it); and … I don’t know. What else?

So what do you think? As always I have to think about what will sell the most books, but above all I have to be funny, or entertaining … or maybe the word is interesting. It turns out a proper blog is a lot of work.


  1. Replies
    1. That's probably the best advice I've ever gotten.

  2. As I have the attention span of a tree frog, my blogs tend to cover everything since I rarely even remember what day it is.

  3. Which is why I haven't been blogging lately.

    1. We shouldn't be blogging so much in summer anyway, we should be out enjoying it ... Well, in the northern states, anyway.

  4. I think you're on the right track, Mark. For all the blogging advice that's going around, it seems blog readership is down. Write to entertain, and keep the selling posts to a minimum. Readers are more likely to buy your books if they like you. Most people don't like hard-sell messages.

  5. I don't have a book to sell so my blog is set up (subject to change) Mondays about Tucson, Wednesday about Japan and Friday the most important day ever is about The Square Dogs.
    I think if you make the blog interesting and sometimes fun, mention you book here and there your good to go.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Square dogs? Remind me to tell you about the Woozy, someday ...

  6. I'm not sure what brilliant mind thought that your (ie anyone's) blog will sell more books. I kept seeing it in Writer's Digest, and such places. And my ex-publisher had me making posts on HIS blog. (You got the part about him being an ex-publisher, right?)

    But you know what I've found out? The reading public doesn't read blogs. Not many, anyway. Look at any of the blogs, including yours, mine, and count how many WRITERS are making comments. It's fine if they are your fans, and your whole purpose for writing a post, or having a blog at all is to entertain, give out trade secrets (or secrets in general), to other writers. But as far as making sales, I see maybe a couple of blips a month that might translate to sales.

    So, yeah. Put in the occasional dog episode or something to do with a strange neighbor, tornadoes, and pictures definitely gets people over to a blog.
    Have a good day, and enjoy your summer, Mark. That's what I'm gonna do!

  7. I've read lots of these 'blog experts' blogs'. I came to the conclusion, write what you want and when you want. All these 'rules' we're supposed to follow. lol What happened to the fun of blogging?