Recently I was interviewed by author and Cycon organizer Richard White about blogging and why or even if blogging is important.
You can watch that here
We were later joined by Leslie Conzatti, someone who is more professionally organized about her blog. I’m a scatterblogger. I blog about what’s on my mind, sometimes that’s beauty tips, sometimes that’s an exciting win in life or in writing and other times it’s a hard earned life lesson. Sometimes, it’s just something really cool I found out about (like that one about Lyndon B. Johnson and maybe the rest of the world knew about him playing with his junk, but it was news to me!)
It’s an interesting subject, because I don’t blog with any regularity but my blog gets a lot of views despite my neglect. I should blog more. I should do a lot of things 😉
I started my blog because everyone kept asking me for my author’s page when I did writing for them or submissions. I realized that it wasn’t a lot for them to ask for, essentially an online resume… oh, I can do that.
(Don’t look at my online about me… it’s hopelessly out of date, I promise I’m going to fix it! Now you’re going to look at it XD I know you are… d’oh!)
It seemed so simple. But then there came a time when I realized that people were actually interested in me and what I had to say. People were excited for new posts and were subscribing and checking out my new blogs. I guess I better get blogging.
I tried at first to delineate between my personal feelings and my professional ones. I felt like a tool. My personal feelings attracted interest, my professional feelings read like what they were, sales pitches. My personal feelings, ironically, were what made sales, unlike the sales pitches that tended to drive away subscribers. The reason was painfully obvious to me before I even posted for the first time, I wasn’t being authentic in my professional posts.
That’s what being professional is about, it’s about hiding our authentic selves and appearing as pristine and well pressed as possible. But it’s not the truth about us. No one is like that in their real life, and if they are, who wants to read what they have to say? They’re boring. We want to hear about the people who are passionate, we want to hear about the people who have a story to tell and who are fearless in telling their story. They want it to be authentic and they want to be as involved as possible without getting the messy parts of the story onto their own lives.
It’s just the way it is. Kinda messy, filled with sorrows and triumphs and reality.
That’s the importance of being bloggy. It’s the same as the famous play I’ve punned this blog after, it’s the importance of being earnest. It’s the importance of sharing yourself even when it hurts. It’s the importance of letting yourself be judged and standing up to those judges and bullies and saying, no, this is the way I am and I have a right to be that way.
I knew a woman who was a poet. She published with StarkLight Press but was told that her success hinged on whether or not she held up her end of things. That end included being public minded. Being seen. Doing book signings, all the things that authors and writers and artists need to do to form relationships with their audiences. She didn’t make any sales but she wrote some angry emails demanding that she be remunerated for sales… she also didn’t do the book signings, she didn’t have a blog, she didn’t do much. She then angrily unfriended me.
You can hire an agent, but if you don’t go to the places that you’ve been scheduled to go to, if you don’t do interviews, if you don’t do book signings, if you don’t let people into your world, why should they want to pay money to spend their time looking into your world?
A wise author friend told me that when someone buys your book, they aren’t just paying a bit of money for an item, they’re also committing a period of time, energy and of their creative energy and mind to the world you’ve made. It’s a huge thing for someone to do, a sign of trust in you as a human being as well as a writer. It isn’t an issue of, ‘a book costs the same as a latte, support local authors’, it’s an issue of you are asking for more than money. You are asking for the greatest comodity of the twenty-first century, people’s time.
I’ve been to quite a few book signings, on both ends of things. I remember going to one book signing at a large event where there were authors of varying levels of fame. Two of the authors were international celebrities, the rest were middling to first time published. The famous authors did a really good job of repelling me from their writing. I got my books signed by them, but I never read another book of theirs after that.
One of the first time published authors was in the washroom when I came out of one of the stalls. I had her book in my purse. It was an intense book, an excellent read named, ‘Gemma’. I thoroughly recommend it. I had been treated in a high handed way by the other authors and was about to give up and go home but she had read her work out loud and as we both washed our hands, I remembered the tears that sparked in her eyes during her reading.
We glanced at each other and I shyly asked her if she would sign something for me. She was surprised. She hadn’t had a lot of attention, despite the fact that, in my opinion, she was one of the most heartfelt and most stirring authors at the event. She said, “of course!”
I got her book out of my bag. It was dog eared and well loved, she stroked the cover and looked at it in surprise, “you’ve read it already.”
I nodded, “a few times.”
I recognized the nervous behavior of someone who wasn’t used to signing a book and gently guided her through, giving her my name and thanking her. We chatted for awhile and I told her how much of an impact her book had made on me.
This isn’t blogging, but it’s the same principal, it’s truthful giving of yourself. It’s conversations, ‘just between girls’ in the lady’s bathroom. It’s conversations around the table with a pizza and friends. It’s watching a movie or playing a game around a table in the basement with people you can tell anything to. It’s intimate and at the same time, anyone can read it, anyone at all.
When you blog, pretension will get you nowhere. People will be far more likely to trust you and want to hear more about you and your writing if you bleed in your blog the same way you do on the page.
I couldn’t ever get past the pretension I saw in those famous authors and I heard it ringing from their words the same as it had rang in their readings of their own work. Don’t be like that. Just be you. People will like you, and if they don’t, it was never meant to be.
That’s the importance of being bloggy.