Saturday, January 21, 2012

On Defining One’s Blog (Er, That Would Be My Blog) In Order Not to be Creeped Out by Said Blog

Anyone who's been on my blog in the past few days knows that there was a blog post here about a preorder giveaway I'm doing for Where It Began. Which is no longer here. Which now exists only in a word fine in my laptop. (The blog post, not the contest.)

Only three days on the blog, and the damned thing was creeping me out to such an extent that it just had to go.

All right, there is a certain shameless aspect of blogging; one (that would be me) reveals one’s strange, sick obsessive relationship with goodreads; one gets sappy about how powerful birthdays can be after cancer, which doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot to do with writing but, hey, it was on my mind; one generally exposes unattractive quirks and how and no doubt lapses deep deep into the realm of TMI.

Possibly way TMI.

But despite the fact that, in the realm of TMI, I had a swell time picking out all the stuff for the giveaway, and I’m perfectly happy to have it on a very nice page on my website, complete with attractive photos and funny descriptions, and it makes me kind of happy to tweet about it from time to time (I swear not spammily), just seeing it here in the body of the blog depressed me.
Because the blogging wasn’t supposed to be stealth marketing. (Or in the case of the poor, deleted entry, pretty damned direct marketing.)

I wish I had a really good definition of what the blog is supposed to be, the parameters, the artistic intention, the deeply deeply meaningful semi-literary whatsit in which I plan to wallow here. And perhaps one day I’ll have a sudden impulse to inveigh all blog readers to wear sandwich boards with the cover of Where It Began plastered front and back.

But that day isn’t today.


  1. Good for you, Ann. There are waaaay too many blog contests as it is and I wonder, sometimes, if they're only reaching other writers, not necessarily the teen readers who are going to make or break your book. Plus, you've just saved yourself a bunch of trips to the post office in the bargain.

    Me, I like the community aspect of blogging for other writers; it keeps me connected and I've learned a LOT from blogs like Cynthia Lord's and John Scalzi's (to name two that are very different!) and several Blueboarders. I just subscribed to yours.

    1. So glad you've subscribed, and I'm with you in loving other writers' blogs, and YA bloggers in general. Also (and I do hope this doesn't send you straight to the unsubscribe button) the contest is still there on its own page on the website & I do hope teen readers find it. But I'm thinking of it more as a thank you for folks who are already pre-ordering as opposed to the center of my cyber-universe.

  2. Kudos for principles - and personally, there are so many times I question what I put out there in blog land. It's a fine line between interesting and TMI for sure.

    1. Yeah, I'm so happy that it's possible to edit endlessly and to delete, as sometimes it's hard to actually see that thin line until the thing is up and I go, Oh my God!

  3. Kids and teens, I've been told by mine, don't read blogs.
    I hope they read books, which many don't either. But we write books, so we can hope.
    Writers and other curious folks do read blogs. At least some do. Like you, Anne, I'm still sorting out this blogging thing. I avoided it for ages because I feared it would take away from the real thing: the writing of fiction. I decided to try blogging because my publisher encouraged it. I'm still in the trying phase.
    But the surprising bonus of finding blogs like yours has been the most rewarding part of it.
    Maybe if you find and refine what part of it is working for you, you'll stave off the creepers. One step at a time.

  4. Mirka, you are such a sweetie. Always.

  5. Bravo for reconsidering and taking action. I think most of us find that our blogs take on a life of their own at some point. It's impressive that you recognized it, and were honest enough with yourself to admit that it's creeping you out, so you took action.

    AND, you came back to the blog and admitted it to all of your readers. Bravery!

    I'm so happy I found your blog, and I agree with Anne Bingham that the community aspect of blogging is by far the most appealing for me. I started my current blog as an attempt to reach out to my students, and I've found a much larger community in the process. What a bonus.

  6. Lori, thank you so much. (Although I can't actually wear the bravery medal as it would clash with the "Buy Where It Began" tattoo attractively displayed across my forehead.) I actually entered cyber world as an utter tourist, with some trepidation, but I am constantly pleasantly surprised by the sense of community, especially among kidlit, reading and writing people.

  7. I'm sad that you took your giveaway off your blog, because it's one of the coolest giveaways out there, and it actually ties in with the book to give it life instead of just being meaningless swag. These days, we HAVE to promote our own books. There's nothing wrong with sales if you're classy about it, and I think you were.

    Blogging for other writers is great for community support, but we're a pretty small group, so sadly we can't make much of a dent in your sales numbers (sorry)! Kristin Lamb says to blog for your target audience, which makes a lot of sense, but she doesn't write YA and I suspect Mirka may be right about teens not reading blogs.

    In the end, you have to be true to yourself. So follow your heart but remember, self-promotion does not necessarily give you a big scarlet A!

    1. Hi Tad,

      I should clarify, to the extent that I'm clear on this, which isn't very. I hugely appreciate that you like the contest & think it's cool. In fact, I love this giveaway; I actually got all stuff that I like and that connects to the different characters, and I'll be so thrilled with pre-orders that I'll happily ship it the stuff to Outer Mongolia.

      The thing is, while I feel very happy with a page about it on the website ( if anybody wants to check out what all my hoo-ha is about), it just felt creepy in the body of the blog. Like one day I'm going, oh yes, birthdays after cancer have a special significance and a couple of weeks later, I'm going, Hey, buy my book right away and win a stuffed baby mole. They were just too generically different to be in the same place.

      Maybe straightforward promotion, as in, "Hey gang, here's my pre-order contest, get over there," would have felt more comfortable. But talking about it in the form of a blog post felt kind of sly-ish. I do have the book club thing sitting in the margin of the blog and maybe that's what I should have done with the contest. Maybe I'll stick it up there and see how it feels.

      In any case, I'm in no way putting down promotion or writers who promote, and thank you so much for the feedback.