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