Wednesday, February 29, 2012

IS BLOGGING RIGHT FOR WRITERS?


Today, the terms blog, blogging, blogger are as common as Dunkin Donuts.  Literally hundreds of blogs are popping up daily with topics ranging from cooking recipes, traveling tips, to coin collecting and book publishing.  Just in case you’ve been hiding under a down comforter, a blog, basically, is a journal that is published for the world to see via the web.

Blog posts have sky-rocketed with hundreds popping up daily!  This is largely due to the opened doors for non-techno-savvy folks, which allows them to publish their work without biting their lip over the lack of comprehension for HTML and FTP.  But is blogging right for you, the author?  Does it hurt or help your reputation?  

We all know that with every good thing, there is a downside.  According to Broc Romanek, “The Downside of Blogging: Journalists Are ‘Out there’” http://www.thecorporatecounsel.net/ , he says, “. . . you become a journalist whether you realize it or not—and with that, you open yourself to the world.  It comes with the territory.

“The red-headed stepchild rocks mid-life” http://croneandbearit.wordpress.com, also brings up the downside to blogging and getting backlashed for making a negative comment about JuJu’s name.  For that, she states, “. . . the hate-filled comments sent to me calling me a racist . . .” 


Blogging brings to the forefront the hard truth about our constitutional right:  freedom of speech is not necessarily free from consequences; however, before you re-cycle your blog post outline for your grocery list, consider the advantages of having one:

1)    You can start a blog for free.  It is user friendly and can be done in a three-step process such as blogspot.com.

2)    Showcasing your talents and/or business is a great advertising tool.

3)    It’s a platform for healthy debate.

4)    It’s unlimited space.  You don’t have to concern yourself with condensing material.

5)    You can develop a following.  Who doesn’t enjoy gaining popularity for their craft?

6)    You can make money.  Enough said.

Angel Laws, who is just 27 years old, makes approximately a quarter of a million dollars for her award winning blog: Concrete Loop.  http://concreteloop.com.  In addition to becoming a successful entrepreneur, she is an author, photographer, graphic designer and trend setter.


Her advice to bloggers: Be motivated, organized and consistent.  Check out her interview with Pam Perry, renowned PR coach, on blog talk radio: http://tobtr.com/s/2895981 

Once you define your audience, set up your blog design and content accordingly.  Put quality time and thought into each post.  Above all, stay true to the subject you enjoy writing about.  You never know how far it can take you!




Monday, February 13, 2012

Writing Dreams, Rejection Nightmares


Most writers spend countless hours toiling over their work, not to mention time spent on characterization, scene revisions, research and editing.   Somehow, it’s all worth it when the literary audience becomes enthusiastically engaged in the world-of-words you’ve created. They eagerly rush to their breaks or steal away from the family, anticipating the outcome of your novel.  Most writers, if not all, dream of having a bestseller, but not all are equipped with handling the nightmare of rejection.


I have yet to encounter an individual who states rejection feels divine!  No, it hurts!  Friends throw in their two-cents about the direction of your plot; your writers’ group relentlessly slashes your entire scene; on top of it all, you’ve received over sixty rejections from agents and publishers and that’s just from the first month of querying.  You start to scratch your head in contemplation and question whether you truly have what it takes to be a published author.  However, there is a lesson or two you can learn from rejection:


Friends and family.

You take pride in your work and freely hand over your manuscript to sweet Cousin Thelma when she asks, “Oh, please, can I read it?” Upon receiving it back, it’s as though she’s turned into another person.  She’s tossed her “readers” hat and strapped on her “editor-in-chief” hard hat, marking up your pages with her RED Bic Ultra Round Stic Grip pen.  Take into consideration whether Cousin Thelma is an English teacher or has experience in editing.  Is she a proficient reader?  If your answer is yes, her opinion can be valuable.  Consider whether she represents your targeted reading audience.  Ask her questions about your novel.  Did the book hold her interest?  Were there any unanswered questions?  Was it paced appropriately?  Were the characters believable? 


Writer’s Groups.

All writing groups are not created equal.  Some deliberately take delight in relentless slaughter.  They fail to show a more conducive direction with your work and they never acknowledge what works well with the piece.  If you are affiliated with a group with varying expertise, and they exercise fairness and a willingness to review writing flaws as well as strengths, then, by all means, try to remain receptive to their critiques.  You will gain much editing experience as well, through the process.


Agents/Publishers.

Every writer has experienced rejection at some point in his/her career. If you’re lucky enough to get feedback, consider it golden and take heed to the criticism. (You don’t necessarily have to agree with everything.)  Literary Agent, Rachelle Gardner, http://www.rachellegardner.com/, talks candidly in her blog posts about the business of being an agent and pitching books: “When Agents Pitch to Editors” and “It Doesn’t have to be Hot to Sell.”  There are times when an agent may like your manuscript; however, its marketability has to be taken into consideration.


Know that rejection can oftentimes prove valuable.  The ability to create changes based on the insight you receive can make the difference between your manuscript sitting in the closet collecting dust-bunnies, to becoming a bestselling author.  Stay encouraged and be persistent.  Continue striving to educate yourself about the business of writing.  Attend conferences and writing seminars.  Stay in contact with other authors.  And above all, don’t give up!


ASSIGNMENT:

The next time your work is critiqued, take notes on the feedback.  Look for consistencies from prior work.  This will help you pinpoint problem-areas and allow you to alleviate them altogether.