Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Writer as Entertainer

A most effective method to get attention for your work (and sales for your published books) is to establish an online presence. The modern art form called by the unfortunate name of blog is well-suited for this purpose.

But, because it's so deceptively easy, writers need to be on guard!

A writer's blog should never be boring, because there's a good chance if the blog posts are dull, the book will be too. Or at least people will think so.

Scary thought, isn't it? A little too much pressure?

The writer blogs for a variety of reasons--to connect with others in the business, or reach the book's demographic, or to establish a platform and online presence. Or maybe just for fun.

Whatever reason, it's a career move for the writer whether he realizes it or not. A writer--a storyteller-- is an entertainer. So one who blogs had better be entertaining, interesting, thoughtful, wise, informative, or some combination of fascinating.

And please choose your words with care. Because people are watching. Or reading. You hope.

A writer can be many things online but never dull. Better to be absent than dull. Take plenty of time to think about your posts, to edit them as you would a published work before you click that much too easy publish button.

Your career may depend on it.

24 comments:

  1. In some ways, I think Facebook and Twitter (in particular) are better mediums for individual entertainers. To be entertaining, blogs require content, and not many people have enough content on their own to fill up a blog post 3-4 days a week. That's why we see so many blogfests, guest posts, etc. I think.

    Facebook, Pintrest, Twitter, etc. are designed to share content in a simple fashion, and in a way that most authors can wrap their heads around. You share links, not stories/articles.

    Don't get me wrong, I love blogging. Mostly because it lets me connect with fine people (like yourself!) on a more intimate level than those other things. But when I compare most writing blogs with professional blogs, I'm just not sure many of us are very good at it. :-D

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    1. "But when I compare most writing blogs with professional blogs, I'm just not sure many of us are very good at it. :-D"

      E.J., And yet we should be because we're writers. And I think we can, but there's the temptation to just throw something out without thinking, or without careful review. I know I've done it many times. I go back to some of my posts and just cringe LOL.

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  2. This is something I feel very strongly about, and I wonder if a lot of people get it. Writing is entertainment. Even blog writing. If you have to be silly, naughty, introspective, or informative, whatever, you have to write something people will be entertained by. It isn't enough to blog about what you had for breakfast -- unless it's a really funny story. :)

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    1. L.G., Yes indeed! It's easy enough to announce to the world that one is a writer, just published a book, etc etc, but it should be followed up on the blog posts with the kind of content that encourages readers to want to read the book.

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  3. Very true. I do try to vary the content of my blog and I hope I manage to make it interesting. Actually the blog posts I like best are the one with links on them to places of writerly interest that I might not have found otherwise.

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    1. Susan, I've found that Twitter is also an excellent resource for getting informative links. I like blog posts that make me think, that make me smile, that share something of the writer to create a connection.

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  4. I am so with you on this, Karen. We're in the entertainment business, so priority 1 is to entertain. If we can't do that, we're never going to make it.

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  5. I just realised you have a new pic/avatar!! Yay!!!

    Take care
    x

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    1. Old Kitty, Yes, I changed it but don't like it. I'll be changing back!

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  6. "Because people are watching. Or reading. You hope."

    It was a huge step for me to set up a website (before the blog) two plus years ago. I felt naked, exposed, and not private anymore. This is a big deal for a shy and very private person. I feared what creeps may come out of the wall... Maybe I've read too many scary stories.
    The funny thing is that a very experienced multi-published friend told me not to worry. "Hardly anyone will visit your site," she said. At that point this was a calming thought. :)
    So YES, here's to more visitors, more engagement, and never a dull moment. I may be up to that now.

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    1. "Hardly anyone will visit your site." LOL. I could say that about my website too, Mirka, haha. But I've made a strong effort to get blog followers in the past 4 years of being here. But have I made as much of an effort to keep them by posting only the very best content? Oh well, learn by doing, that's my motto. Or is it learn by making mistakes? That,too.

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  7. Hi Karen .. you know it's interesting isn't it - I was watching one of those chef shows where they're selecting people to go forward to the next round (how on earth they have the courage to enter - I'll never know!!) .. and they look so scared, or over confident ... and then I think of the professional chefs who've made it through the mill (they look relaxed) ... it's working our way up and being humble and ready to learn as we go.

    Commenting intelligently and interestingly too - is important ... because we all need that interaction ..

    Also as we progress we'll change our ways (well some will, some won't - but so be it) and move where our talent will take us - but no-one is interested if we talk about ourselves .... so let's get story telling ..

    We are entertainers of all sorts ... cheers Hilary

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    1. "Commenting intelligently and interestingly too - is important ... because we all need that interaction .."

      At times that's a real struggle too, isn't it Hilary? Like when Blogger says you don't follow anyone LOL.

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  8. Dear Karen, I first began to blog about one and a half years ago. Originally, I wanted to have a venue for selling "A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story." But fairly quickly I realized that I was making friends around the world through blogging. That has been the real gift of this ethernet experience.

    Of course, getting the word out about the books I've written depends somewhat on how many followers one has and I still have only a few, especially on my second blog, which is about writing: http://mywordcraftinglife.blogspot.com

    However, I'm so enjoying the experience of telling stories and having readers comment on how much they like them, that I've decided selling the books is simply the frosting on the cake. The real sustenance for me is the friendships I am forming. Peace.

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    1. Dee, Same here. I first began blogging as a published author because I thought it would help build an audience for my books. I rarely think about that anymore. My books will sell or they won't, it hardly matters. But I love blogging and being online and connecting with others who have become friends through the process.

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  9. I hope my posts are entertaining and informing. I aim to amuse!

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    1. Alex, You are doing it all extremely well, my friend.

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    2. Alex, you kick butt as a blogger.

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  10. Darn, I'd better start sharing chocolate on my blog. I don't know if I'm entertaining! Excellent points, Karen.

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  11. I'd agree with that. I read blog posts partly as an escape from the definitely-not-entertaining scholarly articles and books I have to read for grad school. So that's why I like blogs to be entertaining.

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  12. Interesting post, Karen. I think boredom is also subjective. Some blog posts may be entertaining for some people and boring for others. It can be a matter of personal taste and motivations.

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  13. I seem to have connected with many writers thanks to you and that second A to Z Challenge. I have always been a reader and I always wrote too, but just for me. Now I'm getting braver and writing some stories on my blog. But I never, all these years, gave a second thought to how difficult it is for writers to get published, to promote their books, to sell their books and so on. Not only must it be difficult to write a book to begin with, but after you have accomplished that, then you have to go through all that other stuff. I do admire the tenacity and belief in themselves that authors must possess.

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  14. You are so right about this. Fiction is definitely an entertainment form, but even non-fiction writers need to grasp the value of entertainment in their writing. After all if one is trying to convey an idea they don't want the reader to fall asleep. All writers have to entertain at some level.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Lee, Basically I think keeping our audience in mind, regardless of what we write, brings its own rewards. Sometimes it's easy to forget that there really is an audience out there in the invisible Internet.

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