Finally got everything for my new book turned in. As it stands, it looks like Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer will be out in mid-May. Yipeeee! Been super-busy getting that in to the publisher, so the Mash-Up of Awesomeness will resume next week. Last week I did some Sacred Cow-Tipping and pushed over the pen name. Pen names can make us crazy and hurt our brand if not executed…(Freudian slip)…I meant executed properly. As in on it’s knees blindfolded. OKAY! I will stop picking on the pen name!
In the spirit of Sacred Cow-Tipping, I gotta say, Kristen Lamb needs more cowbell. Yes, I am going there. The readers, the fans—trust me—are gonna want more cowbell.
(For those of you who are confused, the clip is below).
And the rest of you? Pick yourself off the floor and stop giggling. We need more Blogging Cowbell. What is Blogging Cowbell? Blogging Cowbell is that passion, interest, or idea that makes you distinct. It makes you stand out. It is that distinctive essence that makes YOU…YOU. Most of the time, it is the one thing you believe others really won’t care to hear.
I have heard whispers in the trees that blogging is dying. Blogging will never die so long as humans are still on the planet and have use of computers and an Internet. Blogging might change form, but it won’t go away.
We as the reading audience just get a lot less excited when someone says they blog. In the 90s, if you blogged, you probably had a computer science degree, worked in software, or were a hacker. The rest of us were just trying to figure out how to open our e-mail without letting in a virus that blue-screen-crashed our computer that we’d traded a left kidney to buy. Back in the day? If you had a blog about ANYTHING, we were instantly impressed. Now? You need to be more creative.
Writers crack me up in that they seem to lose all creativity when it comes to blogging. We have the imagination to create entirely new worlds and yet when it comes to blogging, we lock up like a deer in the headlights. We start blogs about writing. Wow. Creative. Or we have an on-line journal. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….
…where was I?
In this longing to have something to say, we risk saying nothing. Or worse, we say the same things everyone else does.
In the olden days of traditional marketing, the only platform an author could build was a successful book. If the author collected mortician tools, or knitted or was a gourmet chef, that extra information meant zip nada. No one cared if the writer loved to garden, do Yoga, collect comic books, or play D&D. The readers only cared if we wrote a great book.
It is this old way of thinking that has many hopeful novelists posting chapters of their future novels as their blog. Bad idea! Here is why.
Chapters of our book cannot connect with people, and the whole point of blogging when boiled down to its essence is…to make friends. Blog about your passions and people will gather at your blog to have community and to feel as if they contribute. Blogging, in a sense, is a club.
What kind of club do you desire to create?
Ten years ago, no one cared about the writer as a person (unless you were a mega-author and we wanted to know you were human). Now? That is part of your brand. Too many writers get on a blog and they go to one extreme or the other. Either we are ALL THINGS AUTHORLY AND WRITING or we swing over to the THIS BLOG IS MY PERSONAL LIFE AND SHHHHHHH…. I happen to be kind of sort of maybe a writer sometimes in my free time after my work and chores are all done when all the lights are out and I hide under the blankets.
Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.
One thing or another is our Blogging Cowbell. If all we are talking about is writing, writing, writing, we might think people don’t care about us, our lives, our passions (other than writing) or our hobbies. They do! It is just that too many writers, when they write about themselves, write FOR themselves. They fail to write in such a way that encourages dialogue and gets people to contribute.
If your blog is all about your hobbies, and garden and Beanie Baby collection, then your Blogging Cowbell is your identity as an author. Tether that writing identity to your passions. No, we don’t have to have a blog on writing. In fact, that is actually a fairly limited blog. If you want a blog that has hundreds of thousands of followers, blog on celebrities, television, movies, beer…but not writing.
Our goal as bloggers is to have more cowbell.
Balance your identity–personal and professional. Since I encourage blogging multiple times a week, this is very doable. Just be mindful to tie everything to your identity as a writer. Hey, I had a post on junk drawers that I managed to tie to Kristen Lamb Author. Go check it out.
I talked about how I fight clutter and always lose, but what that means to the writing experience. This was a great post that had people laughing and commiserating and sharing horror stories of their own. And, it is WAY better than when I first started blogging and all I did was teach and lecture. But, it required that I get vulnerable.
I wasn’t lecturing about plot points or Facebook privacy settings. I was sharing a little bit of me, then lashing it to who I am as a writer. I was sharing a little bit of Kristen Lamb Normal Person.
Now? Kristen Lamb Social Media Expert needs you to give me more Blogging Cowbell. The readers are gonna want more cowbell.
Take some time to think about your own Blogging Cowbell. Hey, share your ideas here. Tell us if you have found your cowbell. It might inspire us, or get us thinking deeper. What makes you afraid or shy about your Blogging Cowbell?
I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end on March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.
Until next time…
In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.