Friday, April 21, 2006

Why Blog?

I went over to slate today where I found This Is My Last Entry: Why I shut down my blog by Sarah Hepola. Sarah Hepola isn't a children's author, but I have a hard time resisting an article on blogging so I didn't even try.

Hepola would like to write a novel and has been contacted by agents and editors who had noticed her because of her blog and work she did for an online magazine. "The e-mails were flattering, but, ultimately, they all asked the same annoying question: Have you written a book? Apparently, this was a requirement. When I told them I hadn't, they moved on to the next blogger with potential..." While the blog was originally good for her writing, she shut it down because she now feels it's keeping her from writing. Maybe writing that book.

This got me thinking about the various reasons for keeping a blog, especially if you're already a writer.

Websites, as I've said before, are very static and require some work to update. Some writers use blogs in addition to their websites because blogs are easier, quicker, and cheaper (you can do the work yourself) to change when you have information that changes frequently. I learned through Big A little a that Lois Lowry has recently started a blog for that purpose. She calls it an experiment, a way to "update readers to news about new books, signings, speaking engagements, and the ever-changing world of movie-making."

Some writers may be using blogs instead of websites, again, because they're easy, quick, and cheap. I can't find any examples of that, though.

Maintaining a weblog and updating it frequently so that readers/fans will stay in touch keeps your name in front of them, so therefore it can be a marketing tool.

Actually, all the above reasons can be said to be marketing tools.

For me, though, the blog is an opportunity to talk about books and things that are going on in kidlit world and pretend someone is listening. I have a need to communicate. This stuff that I'm communicating doesn't distract from my regular writing because...well, that's different. I was also worried that my website was boring because it didn't change often, and I hoped that a blog would juice it up. There's nothing, absolutely nothing, worse for a writer than being boring.

Here's Something I Feel Compelled To Communicate

We're reading Daisy Miller by Henry James at Readerville. Because I've been reading those rich-girls-gone-bad series, I can't help but make a connection. If things had gone differently for Daisy, she could have been the great-great-grandmother of one of the girls in The Gossip Girl.

I've never been a big Henry James fan, but Daisy Miller is so much better than the series books I've been reading.

And, Finally, A Little Marketing Talk

I meant to remind everyone yesterday that May 18th was exactly four weeks away, but by the time I finished writing about The A-List, I thought we'd all had quite enough. That means the Publication Day Giveaway is four weeks from yesterday. My computer guy has created a special directory for receiving the e-mail entries, and he says he's writing a little program to randomly select the winners.

Does that seem like a lot of work to anyone else?

By the way, I'm not making people write "Congratulations, Gail" in the subject line just because I'm vain and crave attention. I'm also trying to keep these e-mails separate from all those I receive from people trying to sell me pharmaceutical products and stock.

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