Being a writer is creative. Being a published author is a business. A website and the blog are the public face of that business.
I get it. This blog is all that most people will ever “see” of me. As you all know, I’m out here at least once a week talking about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I had to make a couple primary decisions when I began about what I would and would not talk about on my blog. Dean (God of all things technical) encouraged me to look at other author blogs and determine what it was that I’d be comfortable doing and then he’d create a site for me. He reminded me that the website would be my public face and I should choose carefully. Blah, blah, blah. Big whoop! Or so I thought!
That was a couple of damned interesting days. Talk about having your eyes opened! Some author sites were very cool, some were lousy, some were downright obnoxious, some were so narcissistic it was scary, some were sluttish, and some were just too stupid for words. Some were nothing more than a page with links to their books, and some were like a flashing neon sign of desperation, “Hey, look at me and my ‘fabulous’ life.” More than one appeared to be operated by people other than the author.
There were times when I wasn’t sure what the hell some of these people were selling. Is this about your books, your kids, or just a pathetic cover for an escort service? There were several times when I wasn’t sure if I was reading an author blog or a private journal. (There was more than one person who desperately needs to spend time with a professional therapist. Just sayin’.) Based on the images some of these supposedly professional folks put up, I sometimes wasn’t sure if I’d wandered into some teenage girl’s fantasy, an ad for a travel agency, a cat sanctuary, a day care, or a place for some drunk with nothing better to do than post pictures of his/her booze. There were way too many instances of pictures and commentary that made me seriously question to what exact purpose were those sheep being used.
Never mind. After all those years in the military, I know better than to ask a question that I really don’t want an answer to.
By the fourth day, I had determined that I was terribly normal and boring and decided on the following things:
No personal photos. I’m not very photogenic and don’t feel a need to plaster my website with pictures of me, Mr. Scott, or my pets. Although, the pets are very cute and photograph well, neither they nor Mr. Scott write.
No discussions of politics or religion: I’m sort of old school – it’s not a polite subject. Your politics and religious views are much like a stranger’s penis being waved in a parking lot – unsolicited and unwelcome!
Images of people I don’t know. I’d be okay with using the image of someone to illustrate a point, but you won’t be seeing a fan picture of the latest hunka, hunka, burnin’ love who’s gracing the big screen. I don’t have a problem with others posting that stuff. I like to look at a little eye candy too. But it’s not me. If I were to post an image, I’m more likely to share a photo of the newest rifle approved for use by the USMC.
Images as illustration. As I said, I don’t mind an image to make a point, but I’m not writing graphic novels, so you won’t see a graphic blog.
Advertising for others. I personally find it a little annoying to visit an author’s site and find nothing but a damn advertisement for someone else. Post after post about who has a new book out. One every once in a while doesn’t bother me, but a continuous stream makes me think that this person is now reading instead of writing.
One of the upsides to self-publishing is that my publisher doesn’t require me to promote other authors from the stable. I am the other author.
Speaking of other authors. I mention other writers when their words have bearing on what I’m doing. I recently mentioned author Heather Rae Scott in a blog about getting the words down on the page. I’ll be sharing what other authors are saying about certain topics that are pertinent to the discussion. Otherwise – not so much. I don’t need to impress you with who I’m reading or corresponding with.
Off topic subjects. I will occasionally stray off the writing subject to tell you what’s on my mind. For those who read my blog, you already know that I occasionally rant. I’ve been encouraged to do that more often, but I’m actually trying to rant less in life. No really – I am! Stop giggling and pointing. Of course, if you think about it, this whole series is just a rant about the elements of self-promotion, so maybe I haven’t cut back.
The reality is that I’m not going to give you a blow-by-blow of my life. I’m not going to blog about my fantasies – that’s what my books are for. Well, that and I wouldn’t get anything done. And, I’m not going to share the other intimate details of my personal life. I’ll talk about my learning experiences with writing and publishing, and the things that most move me.
But you should keep your expectations of me low, thus avoiding future disappointment.
Oh, just to be fair, Dean was absolutely right about the website and blog. Make sure it fits you and your needs. And, please… no more sheep!