Blogs, Author Platforms, Connecting (Pt. 2)

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Last time, we talked about what to include in your content.  And, while the list seemed fairly long, there are some things that you need to consider when putting your content together.  One of the biggest, especially for an author – what NOT to include in your blog content.  Remember:  What gets posted to the internet is permanently on the internet.

There’s always the etiquette issues you want to follow:

  • Be professional
  • Be honest
  • Be kind
  • “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”

That type.  All good things to keep in mind.  But, what do you do for those days when nothing is going right, it seems everyone and their dog is screaming “when will you have the next installment out?”, and life has given you a bowl of lemons you can’t even make lemonade out of?

That’s where the subject of this post comes into play.

Rants

I know, I know.  How many people get on a soapbox and tell you don’t do it?  I’m actually going to say something radically against the rules here.  Feel free to rant and rave all you want.  If it’s story related, it’s fair game.  However, be aware of how your rants come across to your readers.  Often, they can seem like you are a whiny, needing little so-and-so who just needs to put on their big kids undies and suck it up.

That may or may not be true.  I have seen rants in which the person throwing the fit kept it on a professional level, explained what the core of the problem was (and that they couldn’t do anything about it), before they tore a strip out of the air in frustration.  However….

  • Never, never, NEVER put the rant together in such a way that it identifies who it is about.
    • Never rant about a reviewer
    • Never rant about a publisher
    • Never rant about an editor
    • Never rant about your ex-friend
    • Never rant about your ex-spouse

Yes, you can rant all you want, but if anyone can identify themselves in your rant, your credibility was just destroyed.  Even if you’re ranting about your ex-spouse’s ex-daughter-in-law five times removed dog Fido.  Do not make anyone in that chain identifiable.

Ranting about how the weather has you down, how an illness has set you back, how you’ve over scheduled yourself, about how unfair life is… sure.  That can be an interesting piece of who you are.  (I’ve actually had a few of these myself.)  Even when you’re writing these, there will be times when it’s tempting to add in something like, “And to top it off, [add name/relative] decided that I had to do XYZ!  Just what I needed when I’m already having a bad day!”  THAT is what you want to avoid at all costs.  Word gets back to those you’ve identified.  Faster than you can imagine.

If you just have to include something like that, leave it vague:  “And to top it off, I had more heaped on my plate.  Now, I’ve got to do XYZ along with everything else.  Talk about adding insult to injury!”

Personal Information

Oh, dear lord, help us please!  How many times have you been on a social media platform, and come across someone who’s put  all of their personal information out for the world to see?  I’m not talking about a phone number (Though, that can be bad enough), I’m talking about where they live, the name of their kids, where they, the kids go every day.  Stuff that makes it super easy for kidnappers or stalkers to get the information to use.

For a personal blog, posting the youngster’s name is questionable.  If you don’t post their school, or any other information, you can probably get away with it.  (Remember, the blog posts hang around for a very, very long time.)  However, even if the kids are an inspiration for your books or a character, it’s always smarter to give them some constant nickname.  Give them an extra layer of anonymity.

Money Requests

Unless you are posting a fundraiser, this is the last thing you should talk about.  Sure, you can monetize your blog – put the “donate here” button somewhere visible, mention it once, and  then DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT!  

One, it makes you sound desperate.

Two, it makes you look unprofessional.

Three, it’s just flat out annoying.

Four, it’s actually worse (in my opinion) than screaming “buy my book!”  all the time.

There is no way to really spin this into something positive, so it’s best if you stay out of the territory where you might slide into the trap.

Now that you know what you should and should not have for your content, we’ll finally get around to talking about setting up your blog to serve as the foundation for your author’s platform in the next installment.

If you’ve missed the previous installment of the series, you can find it Here and the entire series Here

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