Thursday, 18 June 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog

If you've been paying attention you may have noticed there has been a large gap in my posts, somewhere around all of 2008. I could say it was because I was locked away in my study (converted garage and just as cold as ever it was) editing my novel but in truth it's because it's not all that easy to keep updating a blog. Well, yes, it's easy in that I just type words, then press a button to publish, but finding anything to say is the difficult bit.

Unless your life is as dull as mine and you really, really want to know that today I went to the recycling bank with a bin bag full of empty gin bottles...er I mean cola bottles, what's the point in blogging?

I'll tell you why...because like having a website (shameless plug - www.suehoughton.co.uk)it raises my writing profile. That, in theory, is a good thing. If it's done well. The infamous Miss Snark covered this on her blog and made the point that there were many crappy blogs out there and a few that were downright damaging to an author's public face. Yikes!

Do agents troll the blogosphere looking up a writer's blog when they're interested in a submission? Do they google hot prospects? Yes, they do! I know because I have a site meter on my website and can tell who's been peeking, so when I send off the ms to an agent I often sneak a look to see if they've been sneaking a look too. And yes, I've caught one or two checking me out. Did they like what they saw? I'll never know the answer to that.

So what should a blog/website contain? Here's what I think makes a blog work well:

1. Lots of pretty pictures/photos. A reader likes to know what you look like. It also gives them something to look at so they don't notice how dull the rest of the content is.

2. Keep it humorous. Unless you write misery lit, obviously. This could confuse readers.

3. Pack it with info. Post links to other writers' sites (but only ones you think are crappier than yours.) And be aware that if you give out women's magazine guidelines, you'll unleash a demon. The editors will be deluged with subs and you wont get a look in.

4. Give the visitor a peek into your life outside of a writer. Make it up if you want. Chances are you'll never hit the big time and wont be found out. Have you noticed how many writers claim to live in converted barns on Scottish Isles. Usually with a rescue dog or two.

Happy blogging!

PS One of the prettiest/most informative writer's website I've come across belongs to the lovely Milly Johnson.

8 comments:

Happy Writer said...

Good to see you blogging again, I'll definitely be popping here regularly.

Glynis Scrivens said...

Hi Sue, I didn't even know you had a blog till I stumbled on this link from your website. Nice to find you. I was surprised when I saw your photo - for some reason I've always assumed you're a blonde. don't ask - it's like when you read a novel and form your own image of the hero and then an actor is chosen who looks quite different to the Darcy etc in your mind. Anyway I've bookmarked you and will read your blog with interest

Sue Houghton said...

Yup, know what you mean, Glynis and I have been blonde. In fact I was blonde up until a couple of years ago. Also been auburn, plum, mousey and now the brunette with highlights. Never tried black but I never say never!

Sheila said...

Hi Sue,

I'm full of admiration for bloggers, don't know how they find the time. That's because I guess I'm basically lazy, but I think your blog is fun and I enjoy reading it.
Cheers
Sheila

Caroline said...

4. Give the visitor a peek into your life outside of a writer. Make it up if you want. Chances are you'll never hit the big time and wont be found out. Have you noticed how many writers claim to live in converted barns on Scottish Isles. Usually with a rescue dog or two.

Oi, I resemble that remark!!!!!

;o)

Good to see you blogging again, I've added you into my Google Reader so won't miss out from now on :o)

Sue Houghton said...

LOL - yes, Caroline, but I know you aren't telling fibs. Suffering a bad dose of farmhouse envy!

womagwriter said...

'Don't give out women's magazine guidelines or you'll unleash a demon'.

Whoops.

Sue Houghton said...

Haha - know what you mean womagwriter! And well done on the Norah sale, by the way!