Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Monday Musing: Blogging for Fun and Profit – What Not To Write

Written By: Tracy - Jun• 13•11

Now that we’ve discussed how to get your blog up and running, let’s talk about hot button issues. Not too long ago there was a saying that one should never discuss three topics in polite society: sex, politics or religion.

But it seems that in the digital age, everyone has a blog and every topic is acceptable. And a lot of writers feel that their audience gives them a platform for discussing issues that they feel passionate about. But for every popular, post like the one John Scalzi wrote about what it really means to be poor, you have a post like the kind that Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card wrote about his thoughts on homosexuality and the Church of Latter Day Saints (which caused quite a few people to burn their copies of Card’s books).

Ask yourself this: What is your blog trying to accomplish? Are you trying to advance an agenda (yours or another person’s), or are you trying to sell books? If you are trying to build a readership then until you have that readership it is a good policy to remain true to your purpose and silent on hot-button issues.

Even after you have built your readership, it is still a good idea to think twice before you weigh in on an opinion that may run counter to the largest segment of your fan base. Anyone remember the Dixie Chicks? This was a country music group that spoke out against a former president while on stage in France. Many in their audience there may have agreed with them, but their core fan base at the time was largely American, conservative, and in favor of that president. As a result, they lost that core fan base and have had to rebuild their following.

I also have heard of more than one author who has been uninvited from a science fiction convention after posting something political online because their political opinions ran counter to that of the convention organizers.

A blog is a great way to make your potential audience feel like they know you. A lot of readers may be interested in your books because you are an interesting person. I know quite a few readers feel like they connect with author Jay Lake thanks to his blog posts on battling cancer. But if you are going to post an unpopular or particularly hurtful opinion, be prepared — the one person who you wouldn’t want to read that opinion probably will.

Releasing a blog post into the wild is not like putting a notice on a telephone post. If you are building your name as a brand, it’s more like standing in a public square with a megaphone and shouting it where everyone can see you.  If you happen to be talking about how your boss stinks, your boss probably will see it and may fire you over the post.

If you must talk about hot button issues, make a second blog for that — one that isn’t linked to your name brand. Your brand is the face that everyone will judge you on. You want to put your best face forward. Would you rather be right, or would you rather be rich?

Obligatory mention of my work: If you find these posts helpful and feel like showering me with money, just purchase one of my books. They are available in print form from Yard Dog Press, or in eBook from Baen Books

My other articles on blogging mechanics:

Part 1: Make a Plan

Part 2: To Self-Host or Not to Self-Host

Part 3: A Look At Blogging Platforms

Part 4: The Do’s And Dont’s of Social Media

Part 5:Winning the Search Engine Optimization Popularity Contest

Part 6: Backlinks, Spam and the Difference Between the Two

Part 7: Other Means of Promoting Your Blog

 

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