During my forties, I made an appointment with a dermatologist in order to rid my face of dark spots caused by too much sun exposure on the golf course. At the doctor's office, I pointed out these unsightly spots I wanted removed. He whipped out his aluminum nitrogen bottle, told me to hold still, and begin to blast each one. When he finished my face, he moved on to my neck. Zap! Zap, zap, zap! Before I could utter a sound, he began on my forearms and the backs of my hands.
Within ten minutes, I had burn spots covering all exposed skin. I said, "I only wanted my face done." His reply: "But I like perfection."
Decades later—just a few, mind you—all my exposed skin is still free of those spots. It's not exactly perfection, but I like it.
This soliloquy is to describe "The Perfect Blog," a sequel to "The Perfect Excerpt" I wrote for "1st Turning Point."
A blog may be very good, but none is perfect. The opinion is all in the eye of the beholder. Each one is unique, and if it's a good one, it showcases the author. In other words, a good blog really is about The Author and Personality. Since authors are the best source of material, I asked several to describe the parts of a blog they liked, and parts that did not seem to fit. Here's a summary of their excellent points.
1. Cater to your audience. If you write fiction, then write to your readers, even if many are writers, too. Readers generally enjoy personal posts, and since you are a writer, be creative! Use photos from your recent vacation; recipes connected to your book or to your region; tales about your dog; tales about your cat; an anecdote about your childhood; an anecdote about an unusual experience; the worst manuscript you ever wrote. Entertain your audience.
2. Don't do too many writer-based posts, because most of your audience doesn't care about POV, Show-Don't Tell, or Grammar Errors.
3. However, if you are an editor or publisher, write posts that teach or can launch a discussion.
4. Find a balance that fits you and your audience. (Too often vs. Just right?)
5. Try not to make any post too long. Trust me—you will lose your audience.
6. If you use photos, make sure they are good quality.
7. Reply to each comment. Many readers return to see what you said about her comment.
8. Forget that you are not the Center of the Universe. Yes, the blog is about you…but somehow learn to make your readers feel important and wanted.
9. Have an easy sign-in to comment. If a reader must go through too many hoops, they'll turn away. (If you get a bad comment, you can always use that little Trash Can and delete it.)
10. Keep your entire blog page clean. Too many items on both sides of the text is distracting and sometimes annoying. Find a pleasing visual balance. Ask a few friends to critique the appearance.
11. Create a tagline that describes you and your books. I changed mine several times until a reader suggested that I should keep my blog "all Texas." I try, and my tagline became: "Celia Yeary…Romance, and little bit of Texas."
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