Here’s the thing. Blogging is basically self-publishing, with all of the advantages and disadvantages that come with it.
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So how do you stand out? Just as with self-publishing, it can help if you’ve already got an audience. When Frederick Pohl began blogging, a lot of people immediately added that blog to their reading lists, because … well, he’s Frederick Freaking Pohl. But for the rest of us, the secret seems to come down to two words:
Just as with fiction, you can get away with almost anything, as long as it keeps readers interested.
A lot of people have said they aren’t very good at blogging, that it feels awkward or uncomfortable or unnatural or whatever. And that’s fine. I don’t personally feel like writers have to do this.
But I also think blogging is a learned, practiced skill, just like fiction. My first short stories bit the waxed tadpole. So did my first blog posts. In both cases, I had to learn what I was doing. I had to practice, to study other examples, and to write a lot of crap. (I like to think that neither my fiction nor my blogging bite as much waxed tadpole these days, but I’ll leave it to others to judge whether that practice paid off.)
Be interesting. Be you. I’ve never met an uninteresting person. The trick, as I see it, is learning your own strengths. Your expertise, your passions, your experiences.
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To quote Neil Gaiman, “Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t ‘network’ or ‘promote.’ Just talk.”
It takes time. Like any self-published author, you’re probably not going to get 10,000 daily readers in your first month. Or even your first year. But if blogging is something you want to do, then trust yourself. Don’t worry about being Neil Gaiman. Be you. Because believe it or not, you’re every bit as interesting as Gaiman. (Okay, maybe you don’t have the accent, but that doesn’t come through online anyway.)
And try to have a little fun while you’re at it.
- Jim C. Hines, Science Fiction & Fantasy Novelists
Here is a link to Jim's blog post: The Secrets of Good Blogging. Thanks to @jazz2midnight for the link.