Cassie’s recent vlog about showing more of her true self has got me thinking.
I’ve long debated what to post on this blog.
When I shut down quillsandzebras, I wondered whether to transfer my book reviews over. I didn’t because some of my reviews are negative; an author (politely) bashing other authors’ work wasn’t the image I wanted to portray.
I’ve wondered whether to post about food and recipes (I’m a huge foodie). But I haven’t, because I figured it was irrelevant and it might dilute my brand.
The point is that I’m constantly worrying about what’s right to post on an author’s website.
There’s so much conflicting advice. Some say every single post should tie back to writing or reading (without tooting your own horn). Others say you should write about everything BUT writing, to give people a sense of who you are. Other others say it depends on your genre.
I opted for the simplest approach: write the content I read.
I read a lot of writing advice, which is why I often ramble about writing here. But Cassie’s post made me suddenly think: is that what YOU want to read from me?
I struggle to name the blogs whose writing advice I’ve read. I Google search and skip through sites, sifting for content. I build no personal connection with the author of that advice.
The blogs I can name off the top of my head — Cassie, Meryl Stenhouse, John Wiswell — are the ones to which I feel a personal connection. I like the people behind them. Wouldn’t I rather people feel that for me?
The issue is that I’m by nature a private person, and that, as much as I like reading about other people’s lives, it feels self-indulgent to witter on about my own.
Perhaps I’m merely having a pre-lunch existential crisis.
What do you reckon?
Nothing wrong with a good pre-lunch existential crisis ;-)
I think it’s a really valid question to mull over, and one which can take time. You could start by looking at those blogs you mentioned you felt a connection to, to try and figure out what it is that makes you feel that way about those blogs and not others.
I sometimes feel like I witter on about myself… but, actually, it’s more of a conversation. While there aren’t a lot of comments on my blog, people do connect with me via FB/messenger, email, or twitter. I’m not always conversing with someone in particular, but with the world, or ideas, or sometimes myself. And so I’m okay with that :-)
Regarding privacy, I think most people completely respect that. So pick the bits you feel comfortable sharing (as you’ll know, I go between sharing a lot, and sharing a little, it’s more down to what I feel okay about on the day).
Maybe it comes back to the purpose of your blog – what are you writing it for? What do you want to share with the world, or generate from the time and energy you put into this? It’s your space, so you ge to define the parameters, and I think as long as you’re being you, you’ll be fine :-) You’re pretty awesome!
I guess there’s so much focus and pressure on your blog being a marketing tool, so many “rules” to follow, that it becomes overwhelming. But you’re right – if I decide what I want this blog to do, it would guide which rules to follow.
I suppose what I want is to connect with others. Twitter is so sporadic that I don’t feel like I have proper conversations with people on there. (Not to mention my feed is a series of author marketing spam…)
Which brings me back to: what do I want others to see of me, and what are they interested in? Only “author-Anna” or more?
Yes – I probably overthink things :-D
People are always interested in more :-) I’ve had a number of experiences in the last year which really showed me that people want to know you as a person, not just as an author – that connection helps them invest in you, because you’re investing in a connection as well. And sometimes you need to give a little more of yourself than you’d like, but it’s like that with any relationship really. I am so over reading about brand. I’m a person, before anything else, and as a person, I want to connect with other persons.
I don’t think it’s overthinking, I think it’s thinking just enough ;-)
I hate rules, so I post whatever suits me on my blog. Being a writer who loves travel and also paints a bit, I mix up my blogs and write on all those topics. This seems to save me getting stale and running out of ideas (yet!) and also seems to get me a wider readership. Hope that is of help!
Good point – I do sometimes struggle to decide what to write about. It would certainly open up avenues if I wasn’t so cautious!
Hm. Right yesterday over at the WDG someone posted exactly that: an author should blog about anything but her work. That way people get to know you as a person. I don’t think I can agree. After all, my online persona is not “me”, no matter how hard I try. For instance, I’ve learned the hard way (really hard) that prudence online pays off. Here, I can read what I write in answer to someone, and ask myself: “Is this relevant?” or “Am I helping?” or “Am I feeding the trolls?” and act accordingly; in Real Life that’s a luxury I don’t have, and I make mistakes. *That* is a RL personality trait (and a convoluted example) that doesn’t translate into my online personality. So, the part about showing your life really means showing the parts of your life you want to show, parts that a potential audinec may or may not like.
I’ve seen lots of different author sites. and some people take that path. But most make a mix, and I think that’s the approach I prefer as a reader. There are sections about published works, perhaps work in progress, free fiction, whatever. And then, there’s the blog -the magic word. Here the author will talk about whatever she feels like, be it her books, her writing process, nanowrimo or Scrivener. But also about food, pets, gaming or bungee jumping. Because it’s *her* blog. And then she may choose not to talk at all about family or friends. Or perhaps she will.
What we lack is the connection recipe, which I’m afraid I ignore as well. I don’t know how to create engaging, cool content that will make people flock to my Twitter, FB, G+ or medium (my most popular medium publication ever, with more than 150 views, is a comment about Ubuntu and Linux Mint on another author’s article). In the meantime, I guess we make do.
But lo! There to my left are your sections, where I can find references about your books, your stories, your “whatevers”, plus your blog, where I expect your rants, your ideas, your questions, or the thing that crosses your mind, because, after all, it’s your blog. And I’m happy with it. To me, you’re doing well!
I didn’t notice you making mistakes when we met ;-)
I suppose you could also say that part of me IS my writing, so it’d be weird not to talk about writing when I’m trying to show people who I am.
It’s reassuring to know that I’m not crazy when I think about this stuff. Now, to decide what part of me to show next….
Oh, believe me. I make them. Often. *Very* often.