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Tag Archives: bloggers

The person behind the words

I know, I’ve been inexplicably missing. WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING WHERE HAVE I BEEN AM I OK?

Yep, I’m ok. Busy few days, yo.

There was the wedding of panic-attacks (I did end up leaving right after the ceremony; thank you all for your kind comments. The ceremony was beautiful. Utterly gorgeous. I’m so glad I made myself go to that part, at least. I was sobbing throughout – but it was only maybe 50% panic-attack crying. The other 50% was seeing two people I love so, so much marrying one another; making that leap into the forever with each other. I’ve known the bride for almost a decade now, the groom for three years, and I don’t know if I know two people who are more well-matched. The universe got it right when it put the two of them in the same place at the same time that day three years ago so they could meet. Sincerely.)

Then there was work on Saturday, which wasn’t INSANE, just BUSY (usually it’s so bad I want to collapse and weep after, so that was ok.) I then ran home and made ALL THE COOKIES.

Why, do you think, did I make all the cookies? I mean, it’s not like a single person could eat all these cookies alone, could they? So what, exactly, could have been my impetus for ALL THIS BAKING?

(Yes, they were as good as they looked, thank you very much. I’m an EXCELLENT baker. I kind of half-ass everything else, but I take my baking VERY seriously. Ghirardelli chocolate chips and EVERYTHING, you guys. I’m not screwing around with my cookies. That’s not a euphemism.)

Well! I made all these cookies for a VERY GOOD REASON:

SUNDAY WAS LAURA DAY!

Laura is one of my fellow Booksluts. We’ve known each other for a while, and I knew she lived in New York, but it was kind of just a thing I KNEW, not something I was all ABOUT. (I’m easily distracted, leave me alone.) Well, Laura is moving away soon, and we started talking about it, and I realized…well, shit. Laura lives two hours from me. When she moves, she’ll be STATES away from me. It’d be FOOLISH not to take a drive on a lovely summer day for a couple of hours to meet someone I very much wanted to meet and talk to face-to-face, right?

Let me talk to you a little about Laura. Laura is a brilliant writer. Not just her reviews, but her creative writing. Listen, you guys – she’s about to blow UP. Give it a year or two? You’re going to be like “Oh, Laura? From the Booksluts? The one who has an award-winning short-fiction collection out? Yeah, I knew her when.” I know that sounds really over-the-top (and I’m a total exaggerator) but in this case, I’m not exaggerating in the least. The woman can WRITE. She has these words and phrases in her that are so bright and so crisp and so fresh – I can’t even tell you. Here, read one for yourself. You’ll see. She has a head full of poetry and words and light and shadow and explosions of wonder.

She’s also funny as hell, quick-witted, kind, and so intelligent that it just makes you so, so happy to talk to her. She’s a total find.

So into the car with the cookies and some beverages for the drive! Off I went to the wild, wild west of New York (where I had never been, actually! Well, I’d been in the area, but not on my own, and not for years, and not from this direction, so it was all new!)

It was a very pretty drive. Very green. There was a river to watch for a lot of it with these weird bridgey things in it that I asked Dad about and he was like, “Those are parts of the old canal system, I think. Cool, right?” and he was so jazzed I’d noticed them. There were funny signs to notice like the signs for things at the rest stops, like the one that touted “FRESH FUDGE!” (as opposed to old, decrepit fudge? Who pulls off the highway for fudge? Good grief, fudge is like the easiest thing to make ever) and another one that said “HISTORY HAPPENED HERE!” (here…at the rest stop? What history could have happened at the rest stop, someone famous peed on the seat? I told Dad that, and he said, “History happened in the AREA, Amy. Not at the REST STOP. You’d be so wacky to go on a trip with. You’re way too literal.”)

(It was PROBABLY something like this, but my imagination likes to go in other directions.)

(It was PROBABLY something like this, but my imagination likes to go in other directions.)

I pulled off at a rest stop and nervous-peed (I wonder if, when I’m famous, I’ll get a “HISTORY HAPPENED HERE” sign?) and then I was in Laura’s area! Which is kind of gritty and cool and working-class and I totally want to go back and have an adventure there. (And there’s a ZOO there. You KNOW how I feel about zoos!) And then I was into Laura’s little town! AND THEN I WAS AT LAURA’S HOUSE!

Laura was sitting outside and she was ADORABLE! She was so excited to see me even though I almost butted right into someone’s car when I was parking because I’m awkward, yo. And (this is totally strange) usually, I’m petrified of meeting new people? Even knew people I adore? Like, I almost ran away before meeting Andreas, and we’d been emailing a billion times daily for MONTHS? But I was not the most nervous to meet Laura. I don’t know if it was because I’d used up all my panic from the wedding earlier in the week, or I’m calming down as a human (yeah, right) but I was only a LITTLE nervous. Which was nice. That seemed normal. Who’s not a little nervous when meeting a new person whose writing you admire so, so much and who seems so awesome?

Laura is this…she’s this force of nature. I don’t even know how else to describe her. She’s got this awesome retro look to her, all bobbed hair and red lipstick…but also this rockabilly look that doesn’t even dip a toe into hipster douchebaggery. It’s all Laura. It’s totally original and amazing and she’s so confident in her skin. I was just in utter awe of her. She shines like the sun, you guys. I can’t imagine people NOT wanting to be around her. I would think she would pull people to her like she was the center of the universe and they were all just orbiting her in amazement. You know how people say someone’s an original, and people are all “Yeah, yeah. WHATEVS?” Nope. Laura IS. She’s got this mind that just comes UP with things. And they are FILLED WITH AWESOME. Awesome that shoots off RAINBOW BEAMS. I can’t even describe.

And all of that…it sounds kind of scary, like “ZOMG I WOULD BE DAUNTED BY THIS PERSON!” but NO. Like, the OPPOSITE. She makes you feel immediately welcomed and loved and important and comfortable. The comfort level is IMMEDIATE.

In a sentence – Laura: I liked her very much.

Laura and I met up at about 11. We spent the day talking. We did eat at one point (in-between talking – she is an AMAZING cook, and the cookies were a hit!) but mostly? We talked. We talked until we got gravelly-voiced with it and then we talked more. We talked about books and writing and people we both know and people we didn’t know; we talked about both problems and things we were rejoicing in; we talked about huge things, and we talked about tiny things. We talked, which led to more talking, and that would lead to another thread of talking, and we’d be off on ANOTHER thread of talking. We’d talk until we were like “OMG I HAVE GOT TO PEE” and then run off to alternate bathrooms and pee and then meet back up for MORE talking.

I was planning on leaving around 3. Then 3 came and went, so I planned on 4. Then 4 came and went. At 4:45, I was like “ZOMG I HAVE TO GO!” because poor Laura had a party to throw AT HER HOUSE and I was taking up ALL HER TIME. But the talking. SO MUCH TALKING. Like, important talking. The kind where you have your heavy load, and the other person also has theirs? And you say, “Hey, I’ll help you carry yours, if you help me with mine, you cool with that?” and when you each shoulder the other person’s load, it’s like that load, it’s so, so light now. It’s like it’s almost not there anymore. That kind of talking…that kind of person…how often does that happen?

(Totally stole this from Laura. We didn't take enough photos. SO MUCH TALKING!)

(Totally stole this from Laura. We didn’t take enough photos. SO MUCH TALKING!)

(Also, Laura lives in an awesome old house that has the best energy ever, and people were in and out and there was so much love in that house and it was so safe and so warm. It was home. That was a home. I was just beaming the whole time. Oh, AND? I wore a skirt. ON PURPOSE. And you know what? I LIKED IT. I think more skirts and/or dresses will be worn by me in the future of my life.)

Leaving was very sad. Because – well, listen. A lot of you are internet people. How often do you click with other internet people? Or with ANY new people? As you get older, it’s harder to get that click. When we’re young, we make friends left and right…but when we grow up, we get shut off. Our hearts die, you know? The Breakfast Club got that part right. We don’t trust as readily. We see people as competition, not potential allies, or even friends.

Laura was a click. Laura was a TOTAL click. A big old click, and it was so sad to leave.

However, I will see her soon; she’s coming to see ME, for a whole WEEKEND, and we’re having a huge Albany adventure. Shopping and theater and all the food and I’m going to tour her around Albany until she either falls in love with it, or is all, “Amy. YOU ARE OBNOXIOUS. STOP.”

I then drove home and marvelled at the pretty drive again and then I was here and Laura wrote this very nice post about me HERE, which made me a little weepy, and Andreas’ comment made me even MORE weepy, and how do I know the best people ever? How is this even a thing? I don’t deserve this at all.

(At one point in our day of fantasticness, Laura was all serious-faced “Listen, and ABSORB this: YOU ARE KIND OF A BIG DEAL.” And that made me be all “Nah.” Then I was all “blush.” Then I was all “Nah” again. Because who can’t take a compliment? That’d be me. But my dearest Laura: I promise, even if it hasn’t sunk in yet, it is in my head. It is not forgotten.)

Also stolen from Laura. These are all the photos we took. Are we not lovely? I ADORE these photos.

Also stolen from Laura. These are all the photos we took. Are we not lovely? I ADORE these photos.

Counting the days til I see you again, Laura. You are magic and wonder and joy and fantasticness and light, and I am so, so happy I know the person behind the beautiful words now. Because the person behind the words? Is more beautiful than the words are. And those words are pretty damn beautiful, so how beautiful does that make that person? Thank you for an amazing day. Thank you so, so much.

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Royal Rumpus, Day Four: Livin’ in Beverly Hills on your blogging millions. Also, thanks, you guys.

OK, I have to be quick like a bunny tonight. I went shopping and took WAY TOO LONG in the craft store. Like, insanely long. I’m a goofball. See, I had to buy craft supplies for the thing I’m doing for the Zombiecorn fiction contest? Which you’re all going to totally enter, because you want a piece of artwork by me in your home, correct? And then I’d get distracted by things like this…

I think this is for scrapbooking? Or maybe for a bumper sticker, I don’t know. Why’s it so huge? There were a lot of God things. I was just informed that religious people own Hobby Lobby. I only went there because it’s new and really big and I thought it might have a better selection of unicorns and zombies and skulls and rainbows. The answer is, it had none of those things (no, I take that back, it had some awesome skull stickers that I snatched up), but I found a workaround, so whoever wins this prize is really going to be super-impressed and they’d better put a photo of the most epic piece of artwork ever to grace their home on the interwebs, is all that I’m saying.

ANYWAY, today is day FOUR of the seven-day bloggiversary extravaganza, and my head’s not really in the game today. I’ll try to shake it around a little for you like a Magic 8-Ball or something. TRY AGAIN LATER, says Amy’s brain! Dammit.

I feel like a lot of days are Outlook Not So Good days, to be honest. I should probably get a tattoo of this somewhere.

I feel like a lot of days are Outlook Not So Good days, to be honest. I should probably get a tattoo of this somewhere.

What will we talk about today? You will be pleased to know I actually wrote down some ideas here on a post-it for what to discuss. You will be less pleased to know I spilled frozen dinner on it tonight so it’s sticky. Gravy, if you must know. I spilled gravy on it. I never said I was a gourmet chef, and I was in a hurry. ALSO, I was totally going to treat myself to new shoes tonight but my shoe store I always go to closed. Dammit. I think that’s because no one ever went there but me and I buy shoes every three years or so. But that’s why I LIKED it. Because it was always QUIET and I could shop in PEACE. Sigh. Now I have to go to the damn mall and I hate the mall.

Today, in our continuing series of things I have learned in the last almost 730 days of my life (that’s two years, aren’t you so proud I figured that out all on my own?) of blogging, is…

Don’t quit your day job, jellybean. (Although you might get fired from your day job.)

Blogging’s not going to make you your millions. I was recently reading the blog of a woman who purported to have been able to quit her job (come to find out she was downsized out of it) and makes a living blogging. But a little digging (I’m a digger, me, I think I have some mole in my bloodline) led me to find out that she’s not making a living just BLOGGING. She also freelances, sells a bunch of shady ads, solicits endlessly for donations (begging “please, if you like what you see, Paypal me some money!”), writes “books” (I say that in quotes because they’re not very good so they’re really, in my estimation, only books in that they have pages and words on them; they seem to be a self-help series that she wrote in about a week, and it shows)…it’s not like she magically started getting a paycheck for blogging. (I unfollowed her blog. It was a lot like reading a sales pitch every day. It was off-putting.)

It's ME, you guys! I AM THE PRODUCT BUY ME LOVE MEEEEEE! *unfollow*

It’s ME, you guys! I AM THE PRODUCT BUY ME LOVE MEEEEEE! *unfollow*

Yes, some people get paid for blogging. Again, I’ll invoke The Bloggess. She makes money blogging. By selling ads, mostly, I think. But she also wrote a best-selling book, and writes freelance articles, and does a lot of other things on the side, and I think that’s all part of her “blogging” paycheck. I think Dooce makes a living blogging now, I don’t read her blog, but someone recently bemoaned the fact that her blog’s nothing but ads and shilling. I never much liked her writing, so I can neither confirm or deny that, and I don’t care enough to research it. If she’s making a living blogging, it sounds about right.

If you go into blogging expecting a fat paycheck…well, you’re going to either get really hungry or really depressed, depending on whether or not you quit your job. There are ways to make a LITTLE money from blogging, but they take work, and not all of them leave a good taste in your mouth. (Ew. I just realized I made it sound like you have to give blow jobs in order to make money from blogging. Please know that was not an intentional euphemism, although it is a very funny and a very good one, and that I don’t advocate you prostituting yourself for blogging revenue.)

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, sell yourself to this guy for blogging revenue. You just know he'd pay you in shoe insoles or old shrimp or something weird.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, sell yourself to this guy for blogging revenue. You just know he’d pay you in shoe insoles or old shrimp or something weird.

I’ve been blogging for two years. Over those years, I’ve made…drumroll…$125. I’ve spent probably $100-ish on the domain and the custom blogging package and what-have-you, so really I only made $25 and I spent that almost immediately on my cell phone bill. Oh, shit, and then I did a giveaway and there was postage so, yeah. I’m in the red. IN. THE. RED. (I have a friend that can’t remember if “in the red” is good or bad and always has to ask me so the other day I told her “it’s like a stop light. You don’t drive when it’s red, right? Because red is bad. Also if a teacher gives you a test all marked up, what color do they use? Red” and she was super-impressed with my helpfulness.)

Well, bloggers, anyway, I think. Not ALL of us. Some of you might have some money, what do I know?

Well, bloggers, anyway, I think. Not ALL of us. Some of you might have some money, what do I know?

How did I make that money? Ads. Those ads you see at the top (and I think bottom? or side? I don’t know, I have an ad blocker, and I recommend everyone get one, even though it cuts down on my revenue, it’s the best) of my blog get me a few pennies every time you open my homepage (and a few MORE pennies every time you click on them.) Once I get to $100 or more, WordPress Paypals me the money. It took almost two years to get that money. Yep. I know. I’m fancy.

There are ways to get more money, however. And goods. And services. I do get free books/ebooks for book blogging (but one could argue I’m doing them a service, so it’s not so much a gift, but a trade – their book, my writing about it.) I’ve also gotten numerous shady emails from companies that want me to do sponsored posts. They’ll send me goods, I write about how much I love the goods. They never say, “You try the goods and write an unbiased review,” like publishers do. It’s always, “We’ll send you the goods in exchange for a sponsored post telling your readers how much you love them.” So far, I’ve been offered free sunglasses (which I can’t wear, as I wear glasses); free bumper stickers (I don’t approve of putting propaganda on my car); free business cards (fine, but you can buy those for like $6, and I think my soul is worth more than that); and, my most favorite, SOMETHING I WAS NOT INFORMED ABOUT. She was from a travel company and wanted me to work with her client but said “please note, we are not offering free travel.” Well, shit, what ARE you offering? I’d totally travel and blog about it for you if you were offering, but if it’s NOT free travel, what, you want me to pay for my travel and THEN write about how much I like your client? I don’t see that there’s a win for me here.

(Except not. Not at all free.)

(Except not. Not at all free.)

Otherwise, I hear you. “BUT AMY!” you’re asking. “HOW CAN I MAKE MY BLOGGING MILLIONS?”

Well, first, I think you either have to have a husband or wife with a lot of money to support you while you don’t have a revenue stream for a while, or at least a fat bank account. Do you have that? What? No? Hmm. This is going to be tough.

Then I think you have to get a massive following, because you’re going to market to these people. I don’t care how you get it. Write posts that you know will get in readers. Don’t believe in anything you say. Never write anything that will piss anyone off! You can’t afford to lose a single one of those potential consumers! Write things that are middle-of-the-road and that everyone can relate to. Read up on search engine optimization. You see a lot of things about SEO, right? DO THAT. Write about shit everyone’s searching for that day, even if you find it personally repugnant. Do you think same sex marriage should be legal? Well, you’ll get a lot more hits if you say it should be ILLEGAL! So you know which one you need to do! YOU NEED THOSE HITS! Be #teamfollowback on Twitter, that seems to bring a lot of people in, I mean, it’s not like you care about quality.

I know, it's going to be tough, but you're the one who wants to make blogging millions, so step it up, buckaroo!

I know, it’s going to be tough, but you’re the one who wants to make blogging millions, so step it up, buckaroo!

Then, once you’ve hook, line, and sinkered those people in, start marketing to them. Sell so many ads that you barely have room on your blog for text. Because listen, text’s not paying the rent. Put a huge, egregious Paypal donate button on your blog. Not one that you have there because you’re raising money for a charity or for a crisis; one that you’re relying on to pay your rent. Beseech your readers constantly to give you money. Partner with a lot of shady companies and write sponsored posts about how much you like Cream of Wheat, vibrators, and Polident (or all three at once, what the hell.)

The money’s going to start ROLLING IN. You can just backstroke along on it like Scrooge McDuck.

What? What’s that? You don’t want to do this because you think it sounds cheap and dirty and like you’re whoring yourself out and no one will take you seriously and you’d lose both cred and friends?

WHAT DID I TELL YOU AT THE TOP OF THIS SECTION.

You’re not going to make a living from blogging. Not and be happy about the result. Yes, Dooce and The Bloggess might have, but think of all the bloggers there are out there, and I can only think of two who’ve really made a living from it (and I’m pretty sure Jennie works her ass off with all of her projects – I don’t know anything about Dooce, but I can’t imagine she sits around all day and eats bonbons.)

You write because you love it, because you love the community you’ve created, and because you can’t NOT write. And that’s that. If you make a little money from it here and there – well, that’s just a happy side-effect, is all. Buy yourself a happy new hat or something.

(Also, you can get fired for blogging. Dooce did. I did – although I’m pretty sure they wanted me gone and saying it was for blogging was just the excuse they decided to go with because “we hate you, you hate it here, and this is obviously a terrible fit for all of us” isn’t really the way you fire someone, not unless you want to pay unemployment – and I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there with similar stories. I don’t do anything blog-wise from work anymore; I barely mention my job on here anymore. Did I wise up? Eh. I don’t know if I so much “wised up” as I like my job now and would like to keep it a good long time. I was kind of purposely sabotaging myself at the old one, I think, because I knew I’d never have the courage to quit. Nice job, subconscious! So if you blog, and you do it about/from work? BE CAREFUL MY LITTLE LADYBUGS!)

FIRED! Be cautious, unless you want to eat popcorn and water for dinner for a while. What? Is there butter on the popcorn? NO OF COURSE THERE ISN'T!!! You can't afford BUTTER!

FIRED! Be cautious, unless you want to eat popcorn and water for dinner for a while. What? Is there butter on the popcorn? NO OF COURSE THERE ISN’T!!! You can’t afford BUTTER!

OK, this is getting ranty-long. So before I fall asleep and/or you lose all interest, let’s talk about my FOURTH-MOST POPULAR POST OF ALL TIME!

Guesses? This one makes me proud as hell of you guys.

Fourth-most-popular post, with 807 views in just three months (you all shared the hell out of this one, and I appreciate that)…is…

An Open Letter to Jane Doe, the Victim of the Steubenville Rape Case (Trigger Warning)

It took me longer than it should to get to the point where I could write this post. A lot of other people had already written posts about this. A lot of other people had already written AMAZING posts about this. But I just couldn’t let it go. I saved an article from the New York Times when the story first broke for the longest time, trying to build up the courage to write the post. I drafted it in my head a number of times. I talked myself into, then out of, writing it, over and over.

But when the verdict came down, and it seemed that the loudest voices were not supporting the victim, but bemoaning the lack of a bright potential future for the convicted rapists…

Well, there are things I keep quiet about because I don’t think I’ll do them justice, or because I think they’ve been done to death, or because I tend to jump on the bandwagon once it’s already full and I tumble right off the back. But this girl. This brave girl. We were doing a disservice to her. She stood against an entire town, amidst death threats, and told what she remembered to have happened to her; I at least owed her a post. It was the least I could do.

And your response was more than I could have hoped for. I thank you all so much for that. Every comment, every share, every private message about it – thank you. It’s a subject very near to my heart, and I can’t thank you all enough.

OK. To bed with me. It’s Friday! And I get the whole weekend off! Because Saturday I’m going to a wedding shower so therefore I can’t work and that means I actually get a weekend this week! OMG IT IS UTTER INSANITY!!!

Happy Friday, everyone. And if any of you DO make your blogging millions, and you want to throw a little my way, I wouldn’t turn you down. I could use some new shoes, and the really fancy chocolate, you know, the kind that even TASTES expensive? Yum.


Blogging etiquette. Should that be blogiquette? Maybe. Kids today, with their words and such.

I think we need to have a chat about blogging etiquette, my most lovely readers.

What? Who does Amy think she is, Emily Effing Post? Nope. I never know which fork to use, and I don’t understand the white-after-Labor-Day rule, so I don’t wear white at all. (That’s actually not that hard, since I only own one white thing, and that’s a white teeshirt, and it has crazy pitstains, so I can only wear it under things now. TMI? Yep. So now you can see I am SO not Emily Post. I don’t even play her on teevee.)

Oh, screw this, I know nothing about this crap.

Oh, screw this, I know nothing about this crap.

There are a lot of bloggers in the world. How many? Don’t know. This pretty infographic tells us about the state of blogging in Merka:

The most important thing you can learn from this? Other than I couldn’t find one for the world (sorry, world)?

There are a LOT OF BLOGGERS. You are one of MILLIONS.

Also, odds that you’re going to make your fortune as a blogger? Slim to none, sunshine. Sorry to burst your bubble. I have made $25 from blogging in the past year and a half. It’s not something you do because you want to make a lot of money. (Well, it might be, but you’re going to be disappointed pretty damn quickly. Or unable to pay your rent. Or eat. Or feed your cats. Dumbcat disapproves of this plan. He likes to eat quite a bit.)

So, because there are so many bloggers, I think it might be time that we mention some of the general rules of blogging.

I know! You’re all, “What? There are RULES?” and no. No, there aren’t, not really. But there is etiquette. And a lot of people aren’t being polite. And it’s bothersome. You want to be polite, don’t you? Sure you do.

Now, I’m not the queen of polite. I mean, I TRY to be, but I’m sure some people think I’m the rudest person to ever rude it up. I’m cool with that. I do my best. I can sleep at night. But some people…well, I think it’s one of two things. Either you’re new to the blogosphere, so you don’t know the ropes, or you just don’t care. Either way, let’s have a chat, ok? Cool.

Now, remember how up there I said there weren’t really rules to blogging? I lied. There’s one.

Here’s the one, which I will center and make all-caps and bold with stars because it’s just that important:

***HAVE FUN***

There. That’s it. That’s the number one rule. That is THE rule. Don’t do it to make money, or to become the most famous blogger EVAH, or for whatever other weird reasons might compel you to blog. Do it because you like writing, and because you have something to say, and it seems like it might be fun. And if it continues to be fun? And if you meet amazing people? Well, good. That means you’re doing it right. And if it stops being fun? Well, it’s something you should stop doing. I mean, listen. Work’s not fun, but if you quit doing it, you couldn’t pay your bills. Paying your bills isn’t fun, but if you quit doing it, you would have no power. Or water. Or home. But if you aren’t having fun blogging – well, why the hell are you still doing it? It’s an extracurricular. So quit it. It might not be your thing. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re broken. I mean, soccer isn’t my thing, but that doesn’t mean I’m broken. Just uncoordinated. You’re still ok. You’ll find something. Promise.

ANYWAY. Let’s talk about etiquette, ok? Because it’s necessary.

Write good posts with actual information in them. So! You’ve started a blog. Great! Now, what to write about? That’s up to you. What do you like? What are you good at? Are you funny? Are you serious? Do you want to talk about your kids? Tell stories? There are a million things you can blog about. Only you can decide what you’d be best at. What not to do? Write one or two sentences (too often – once and a while, sure. Shake things up.) Reblog other people’s posts and do nothing but reblog other people’s posts – again, once and a while is ok, but if it’s all you do, how are you going to develop your own voice? I promise, people want to get to know you, not just see what other people are saying. If they wanted to see what other people were saying, they’d follow them. Just be YOU. Seriously. If you don’t know who you are? Figure it out. Sometimes it takes a little while to find your footing. That’s fine. You’ll find it.

Don’t steal. You saw what happened to Jean Valjean, right? Right. OK, so you’re new to blogging, you’re reading a lot of other blogs, they seem SO COOL…so, they wouldn’t mind if you took their post ideas, right? I mean, they have a lot of followers, and you WANT a lot of followers, so if they’re doing this neat thing like they’re recapping an episode of Game of Thrones using X-Files action figures or something, well, that’s a cool idea! Yank that right off of there! It’s not like stealing from a store, right? WRONG. It’s WORSE. It’s intellectual property. That person worked hard on that. They worked hard on the post; they worked hard on getting those followers. But AMY! What if I steal the idea but TWEAK it a little? NO. Us bloggers, we are a savvy bunch. We know when you’re yanking our ideas. We know when you’re stealing the way we talk, our blog designs, a cool idea we worked weeks on developing. And here’s the thing: a., can you really sleep, knowing your cool idea was just stolen from someone else? and b., any followers you get are eventually going to figure this shit out, you know. You’re not fooling anyone, not for long. (Also, this goes for the big blogs, too. I won’t name names, but there’s a big-name genre blog that steals from the smaller bloggers within that genre ALL. THE. TIME. It’s a shady-ass blog, and it’s getting tons of followers and hits on the hard work that the smaller bloggers are doing. I’ve got my eye on you, big blog. And someday, you’re going to get yours. Seriously. I believe very strongly in karma being a bitch.)

Do you really want to be the kind of jerk who swipes? Well? DO YOU? Dora would totally shout at you if you did.

Do you really want to be the kind of jerk who swipes? Well? DO YOU? Dora would totally shout at you if you did.

Read and comment on other blogs. Now you have a blog, and you’re writing (hopefully non-stolen) posts that are awesome and full of kitten-rainbows. You want people to read your stuff! And your best bet? Other bloggers. Listen, I just counted, and I am subscribed to 191 blogs. And I add more every day. And I’m SELECTIVE about the ones I subscribe to, mostly because I don’t have time to read the ones I DO read, so I have to be careful about adding new ones. Now, not all of those update daily, but some update MULTIPLE times a day. I read them all. I comment when I am moved to do so and if it’s a WordPress blog, I hit the like button when I’m moved to do so. A lot of bloggers are very engaged with other bloggers, more so than most readers, I’d dare to say. Because we write, and we love to read what others are writing. You need to engage with other bloggers. Follow their blogs; learn from them (but do not, per the last paragraph, STEAL from them. There’s a fine line between inspiration and thievery.) Comment, and comment thoughtfully, if you are moved enough by their post to do so. If you like their blog, RSS it, or get the new posts emailed to you. This is your community now. Dive right into the pool.

Dive right in there. Wear floaties if you have to. No one will judge. Promise.

Dive right in there. Wear floaties if you have to. No one will judge. Promise.

BUT, don’t comment with nonsense. NOW! You’ve read a post. This blog has a lot of followers! You know if you comment on it, your name and a link to your blog will be in the comments! THEN ALL THOSE PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW YOU AND YOU WILL BE FAY-MUSS! Well, you might get a click or two from those comments, sure. I’ve gotten some wonderful followers from comments I’ve made, both the bloggers and others who follow that blogger. HOWEVER! Here is a tip. Do not just comment with the following, or a combination of the following: “LOL good post”/”Ha ha this was funny”/”I read this, good”/”Good writing”/”Thank you”. Why would you even comment with such a thing? Please put content of some sort in your comment. I mean, yes, comments are awesome, and bloggers love them? But we don’t know much about what to do with that kind of comment. Do we respond to it? Ignore it? Also, we’re aware you’re here to draw attention to yourself and your blog. YOU ARE NOT FOOLING US, SLAPPY.

And, don’t link-spam. If you’ve commented correctly, your name and a link to your blog will neatly show up in to the left of your comment. You do not need to put a link to your blog IN the comment. That’s overkill. And it’s rude. It’s one of those unspoken rude things. Don’t do that. Also, and I don’t know when this became a thing, and I blame WordPress, but apparently there’s a setting now where you can blanket-spam a bunch of people with a link to your blog. I’ve gotten a ton of these in the past couple of weeks. “Check out my blog!” “Read my blog!” “I follow you, now you follow me back!” And – my personal favorite, and if you’re reading, whoever did this, yes, I’m totally talking about you – “Send this to 21 more people now.” And that was all. IT WAS A BOSSY BLOGSPAM CHAIN LETTER. Let me tell you something. I delete these when I get them. I don’t even click the link. If you’ve commented on my blog, I’ve checked out your blog. I promise. I’m diligent about such things. You don’t need to link-spam me. I might be reading; I might not. As I said, I can’t read every blog in the world. I have to be selective.

I can only assume you don't want to be a processed meat-like product, so cut that out, you.

I can only assume you don’t want to be a processed meat-like product, so cut that out, you.

Don’t overpublicize. You don’t need to put up links to your most recent post a billion times. Once or twice on Twitter/Facebook/wherever else you publicize your stuff? Cool. Ten times? More? Tweeting it to a bunch of people asking them to read it? Spamming blog comments with it when the post has nothing to do with the post you’re publicizing? (I’m not saying NEVER put a link to your blog in someone’s comments. If you know the person, it’s ok. Or, I’ve put a link to someone ELSE’S blog in someone’s comments before. THAT’S ok. But don’t be a spammer, yo, see the paragraph above. It’s rude.) People are going to get sick of seeing all those links and they’re going to stop paying attention to you. Seriously. Trust me on this.

Be polite. Don’t be rude in people’s comments. That’s not your house. You want to be rude on your blog, cool. That’s your house! Someone else’s blog is not your house. So don’t walk all through there with muddy shoes. AGAIN, there’s an exception – if you know the blogger, and you have one of those jokey sarcastic relationships with them, go to it, jellybean. For example: I like to use SHOUTY ALL-CAPS and be very sarcastic. But I wouldn’t do that on someone’s blog I didn’t know well. I would do it on someone’s blog I’ve known a long time. If I didn’t, they might think I was sick. Otherwise, be polite. Your mom told you to be polite, and she wasn’t kidding about that.

I'm sorry, but this made me snort-laugh. I never said I had a high-brow sense of humor.

I’m sorry, but this made me snort-laugh. I never said I had a high-brow sense of humor.

Reply to your comments as much as you can. You have readers now! And they are commenting! Now, once you become a big old huge blogger, you might not have time to respond to all your comments. But are you The Bloggess? Are you Wil Wheaton? No. No, you are not. You are cutting off a dialogue between you and your readers if you don’t talk to them, and where can you talk to them? In your comments. Reply to them. Joke with them. Ask them things. Respond to their questions. And guess what? You might even make FRIENDS with some of them. I know! Shocking! Seriously. Try it.

Use social media, but do not abuse social media. You are a blogger! With followers! And commenters! A good thing to do is make a presence on social media. Twitter and Facebook are good. Some people have luck with Google Plus, Tumblr, things along those lines. Do what you’re comfortable with. Or what you’re NOT comfortable with, maybe. Go outside your comfort zone. It won’t bite you. Probably. Don’t abuse your social media presence, however. Don’t annoy people; don’t harass people; don’t post like a zillion links to weird stuff that isn’t even FUN or GOOD, don’t just retweet things. Think before you post. PAY ATTENTION. I can’t emphasize this one enough. If someone’s not talking about something? Probably don’t needle them about it. If someone seems sad, maybe ask them what’s wrong. If someone’s celebrating, congratulate them. Paying attention shows you’re a good listener, and potentially, someone people want to get to know. Also, don’t beg people to follow you. Ask them, nicely, a few times, but don’t constantly harass them. It makes me crazy when someone’s constantly in my face about following them. If I wanted to be, I would. I’m pretty savvy about the interwebs, dudes and dudettes. (SIDE NOTE! This is a me-thing and not an anyone-else thing, but I don’t use my personal Facebook for blog stuff. So while I appreciate people who have found out my REAL IDENTITY ZOMG and want to be my Facebook friend, odds are very good I will not approve your friend request. I’ve mentioned this in my FAQ’s, I think, but that’s where I keep my family and friends. I don’t invite strangers in there. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, and please feel so, so free to follow my blog Facebook page, or friend me on Twitter, where someday I might actually post shit again. But odds are very good you’re not going to be accepted on Facebook, and I’m sure you’re lovely, and not at all a stabmurderer. But, sorry. I have to have a certain level of knowledge of you, and trust, to let you onto my Facebook page. Thanks ever so for understanding.)

Be patient. Nothing good happens overnight. I know, it’s easy to look at some bloggers who have like 2,000 followers in 6 months, and be all, WHY NOT ME! I AM THE WORST! and freak out. I know. But keep doing what you’re doing. Have fun. Write what you know how to write. Make friends online. And if you get your 2,000 followers? Cool. And if you don’t? You know what? Not at all the end of the world. Don’t compare yourself to others. You’ll never measure up. You know why? You’re not them. And, there’s someone out there attempting to measure up to YOU and failing miserably. Just don’t. Measure your success against how happy you are. Are you happy today? Then you’ve succeeded. Are you sad? Then what are you going to do tomorrow to make it a better day?

OK, this is insanely long, and you know what? It stops being fun for me if I can’t get any sleep. So to bed I go. Have fun is the number one rule. And the number one etiquette rule? Well, it’s simple. Follow the golden rule. Treat others like you want to be treated.

Then take that, and your happiness, and go out into the world and CONQUER it. You’re invincible now. And who doesn’t want to be invincible?


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