Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thoughts About Blogging: Part II

Taghrid, Red Tailed Hawk
a permanent resident at CLAWS

I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately, specifically about this blog, where it fits in the greater world of unpublished writers blogging about being an unpublished writer, and what this blog's greater purpose is.

Here's the second of three posts about this:

Lately I've read several books on advertising, platform building, and marketing.  Michael Hyatt's book Platform refers to Seth Godin's book Purple Cow to highlight the idea that each player in a crowded field needs to have a certain wow factor to get noticed.  Take cell phones for example.  When Godin published Purple Cow in 2003 he said that innovation and wow was completely missing from cell phones.  "The sad truth, though, is that it may be quite a while before the market generates the attention it did five years ago...and there's not a lot the cell phone companies can do about it" he wrote. (p. 93)  Five years later, in January 2007, Apple introduced the first iPhone.  The wow had just come back to the cell phone industry in a big, big way.

The goal then is to give the public something they need or want with enough of a wow factor that they'll act upon that need or want.  In the case of a book, it's a purchase.  With a politician, it's a vote.

In case of a blog, it's a follow/subscription and leaving comments.  It's getting readers engaged in your entries and leaving comments to transform a blog posting from a monologue into the start of a conversation.

Last week Justine Musk wrote a blog post titled "if you’re a fiction writer just starting to blog".  Her encouraging advice comes down to something I've read in several of the blogging/marketing books: carve yourself a niche you're passionate about and use it to discover your blogging voice and audience.  (My words, not hers)

I agree that the world truly does not need another "My Journey To Publication" blog.  There are far too many of them out there in the blogosphere and (in my jaundiced view) they are only read by friends or other writers with their own "My Journey To Publication" blogs.  They add nothing new to the discussion and could be written by an automated program from templates.

However, I'm not completely sold on the idea of digging yourself a niche as a fiction writer and then branding yourself with that niche.  It's great to be an expert, but unless you're willing to write fiction only about that one area of expertise, you're misleading your followers (and therefore likely to lose them).  As a unpublished writer you have no area of writing expertise.  And even if you carve out that niche, how will that niche translate into a Published Author's blog when you become published?

So, what's this unpublished writer to blog about?  Well, that's what I'll write about in Part III.

- Tom