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Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Bloggers! Don't Quit - Keep Writing - Followers Ahead!

Aloha,

All this week, I tried valiantly – but unsuccessfully – to personally respond to the 171 comments stemming from my recent D-Day post.

I ground to a halt and my mindset shifted gears when Lily Eva Blake replied to my comments and said she was “honored” that I stopped by to comment on her “baby blog.”

While I appreciated her very kind words, it shouldn’t be an honor to receive a comment and a new blog is only a Alex J. Cavanaugh-type blog in waiting.

My point is that I am no one special and there no magic tricks to the (perceived) success of my blog, so anyone starting off needs not to feel worry, but excitement.

I wrote my first post on 9/11/11 – but only because I’d been struggling to find a topic to write about.

And on the 10th anniversary of the worst attacks on our soil, I knew I felt passionate enough to share my feelings.

I wrote, rewrote, edited, sat on it, rewrote it and sat back with a satisfied sigh.

I garnered one comment – from my pastor.

Point: I didn’t know what to write about – and I still don’t sometimes – just look at my labels, but the point is to be just YOU.

It cracks me up no end to see all the different direction I have gone with this blog and that’s fine.

MY point is your online “voice” has to be the same as your real voice. As in real life, we all have a unique voice, so have a conversation with us – don’t share your thesis.

These days, my “writing” blog seems to be much more about Parenting and Patriotism than Prose and Parenthesis, and again that’s OK. It’s working for me.

PS. And, be patient – pay your dues.

I’ve been blogging nearly three years and have just recently finished WIP#1.

I have no agent and my book isn’t published – but boy what a wonderful internship I’ve had here in what I jokingly call the Blogisfear.

So, comment on other blogs, promote a cover reveal, enter a bloghop or tweet a new release. Keep doing things like this, and we will find you ;)

Finally, never, EVER give up.

IF writing is your dream – don’t quit – there is no age limit to being a published author.

Remember… Failure is not an option – it’s a choice.

Can anyone add to what I’ve mentioned and share any other tips with new bloggers?



39 comments:

Mark Means said...

I think you summed things up very nicely here....the main point being...'Don't Quit'.

That, to me, is the most important aspect of the writing game. Sticking with it and molding your voice. It can take a while. Sometimes, it can take a long while, which is why we have to be patient.

One thing that helped me, as a blogger (am I a 'blogger' or just a guy who likes to blog? I dunno)was to visit other people's blogs. Not only visit, but read, invest some time, and leave a comment or two.

Again, like you said Mark, "pay your dues". Great advice :)

Elise Fallson said...

Excellent post my Irish friend. (:
Looking over my past blog posts I realize mine are all over the place too, lol! Direction? I have none. :D
As for blogging, you get out what you put in. It's that simple.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Great post, you summed it up so well. I try to restrict my posts to writing related topics.

Suzanne Furness said...

Good advice, Mark. We all started with that first post that more than likely went unread!

farawayeyes said...

While I agree with your sentiments here and hope no one ever give up, I have to admit that I do feel every single comment on my blog is an honor.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Excellent advice and I say to new bloggers don't quit. My earliest posts had a lot of 0 comments but now most are in the double digits. And even if they're not I still have fun blogging and visiting fellow bloggers. Thanks for posting this Mark, I truly believe a new blogger somewhere will feel or get encouragement through this.

Mark Koopmans said...

@farawayees: Oh, I agree, each comment is appreciated - I just don't think *my* leaving a comment should be considered an honor. (I'm nobody special:)

JJ said...

Parenting and Patriotism works for me. It is a pleasure to read your blog.

M Pax said...

It does take awhile and a lot of work to get a blog going. The payoffs are worth it, though. I'd not be selling any books at all if not for the initial push and support this network gave me. So yeah, newbies don't give up.

The Words Crafter said...

Really, there's nothing I can think of to add to this. Great advice to anyone: new, renewed, or long time bloggers. And unless I'm planning to participate in a fest, I write about pretty much anything. Although my job does provide entertaining ideas...

Great post!

Al Diaz said...

I think the most important one you already covered it. Be yourself. I am amazed by the response I got in my blog and I only started 6 months ago and had absolutely no idea what I was doing, what was a bloghop and what was the etiquette and protocol of blogging. Yet, everybody say they love the honesty in my voice. That's what I have and that's what I gave and I think, that's the best everyone can give. Still I also felt honored when you commented for the first time at the cave, hahahaha.

Morgan said...

I'm surprised you added a link to Alex's name ;-)

Mark, I love your blog because it's so YOU. Whether you're being funny, patriotic, or inspiring, it's beautiful. I definitely echo the not giving up sentiment--it seems so simple, but it's actually a very difficult thing to do.

Morgan said...

I'm also trying to remember when we first connected! I seriously can't remember!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Al's so modest!
What do you mean you can't reply to that many comments?
You are so right about the voice. It's finding one's groove, and that groove can change. But whatever it becomes, it still needs to be you. It needs to be honest.
And I'm jealous - my first post gathered no comments! (It was dorky anyway.)

Tammy Theriault said...

The voice of your blog should definitely reflect. Yes yes yes!!!

Melissa said...

Aw, you're Maxi Mark, and you know it. *grin*

Kidding. Great post.
I think the best thing you can do is be real and just be yourself.

Zoe Byrd said...

It is a lot of work to keep the blog going. I often lack topics and for those times I make sure to join in some blog event. I will stray from it when I have material to write but when I don't I always have a topic. Your post was really encouraging because I often find myself wondering why I am doing this and I have to recall its for me and I enjoy it!

Julie Luek said...

I keep giving thought to the time-investment of both writing and reading blogs and feel I might be morphing again in terms of what and how much I do. It's a lot. I do enjoy knowing so many other writers though:)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Wonderful post, Mark! It takes a LONG time to build a following, and while it can be discouraging to post and fear that no one will ever see it ... you can't build your blog if you don't post!

(Besides, someday you can recycle those posts that no one saw!)

The other key to building followers is to get out there and comment on other blogs. And no, the people might not reciprocate immediately. But most of them will eventually.

My bestest friends are bloggers now. When I have good news to share, I email the friends I met through blogging FIRST. Then I call my mom.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I completely agree about followers etc. My blog was about 10 months old before I started getting readers, let alone comments! Blog hops and challenges are a great device for finding blogs to follow, and be followed by. And visiting other blogs is my number one tip - you can't just assume people will discover you!

I do agree with the blogger who called it an honour to be visited by you though. When I was a baby-blogger it was akin to being visited by a celebrity - I assumed prolific bloggers when 100s of followers would have better things to do than comment on my little old blog.

Mark Koopmans said...

@Annalisa: See, I disagree (oh, look Ma, they're having a debate in the comments section :)

Again, while I humbly and *sincerely* appreciate your kind words, I don't think a visit by me, or even Alex, is an honor.

I'm horrible at accepting compliments, and am obviously hung up on this "honor" word.

I can't speak for Alex of course, but I am confident that he would agree when I say all I'm doing is "paying it forward."

I *do* remember how awesome it was when someone (who was not a relative by blood or marriage) followed me.

Yes that was - and is still - special.

Sending a written "attaboy" by way of a comment is my main goal, but I imagine many "older" bloggers stop by to comment on "baby blogs"
because we enjoyed the post - at least that's what I do.

J.L. Murphey said...

I'm reminded of the old saying ...quitters never succeed.

Your post is write/right on.

Annalisa Crawford said...

@ Mark - I don't think you're allowed to disagree with a compliment :-)

Richard Hughes said...

IF your blog changes direction, it means you are changing direction. You're probably growing as a person and as a blogger.

Debra McKellan said...

Beautifully said!

I'd also like to think that even though we don't have too many comments, one day when we're famous, it will be flooded! :D

Carrie-Anne said...

For a long time, my posts got no comments, or only had comments few and far between. A lot of my early posts routinely ran several thousand words, and it's only been in the last year or so I've brought my average post down to under 1,000 words. I still don't get many comments, esp. if I'm not participating in a bloghop or other type of contest, but maybe eventually I'll regularly get at least 5-10 comments on every post.

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

Such good advice, Mark. We all start at the beginning. I can personally attest to the fact that we must follow our dreams, even when the odds are not stacked in our favor. The only way to succeed is to persevere. The difficult times make the victory that much more special.

Ann Carbine Best said...

June 7th you posted this on my blog: I've seen your name around the "Blogisfear", as I call it and I was intrigued - having just finished co-writing a memoir. What an amazing daughter Jen is, and she obviously has an *amazing* Mom. Congrats on the grandchildren, too and continued success with your book writing:)
***Thank you, Mark. I don't really blog anymore (I just put a disclaimer on my blog header just now to this effect. I can't be immersed anymore in social media as my disabled daughter needs more care now, and I'm getting older :). But I haven't given up my blogger friends; never will, and occasionally comment to one of them. Thus this brief note on YOUR blog. Thanks for your kind words. And I do hope I will some day get to read the memoir you say you co-authored. I keep wanting to write another one, and then my energy level says no. Ah, you live in Hawaii. This wasn't in my memoir, but was part of the time frame, i.e., my first husband and our four children and I lived in Laie from 1975-1976. My brain injured daughter was in fifth grade at the time. There are stories there ... Aloha back to you! How I loved that year on Oahu!!! And all the best to you--in your writing. And especially with your family. Being a good parent is better than anything else IMHO.

Meradeth Houston said...

Wise words! I definitely think that commenting on other's blogs helps a lot. It's also possible to see what works elsewhere, and how to integrate it into your own blog. That, and don't freak out about it--it's a blog. It should be kind of fun, and not something to constantly worry over :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

I do believe you got the main points down.

I have guests for two of my pub dates. Mondays are my day to share my voice and believe me, there are times I don't have a clue what I'm going to write about. Just do it.

I enjoy your blog, Mark!

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Tony Laplume said...

Mark, your followers appreciate your humble approach, and the fact that you participate in hop events. Success is not guaranteed.

Bonnee Crawford said...

New bloggers definitely have to be patient, and we also have to be willing to give if we want to get. I still say 'we' because I still consider my blog a baby blog, although it's been over a year and 100 posts; blogging just still feels new to me. So you're absolutely right, Mark. There's no need to worry as long as we're willing to put ourselves out there to be found.

Thanks for sharing :)

Kirsten said...

Of course, being the insecure writer that I am, I was certain my blog was the worst blog ever when no one stopped by--much less commented--on my massively long posts. But, since I also possess a stubborn streak the size of the Mississippi River, I kept putting stuff up there. I actually think it's fun!
Getting comments is a thrill, but I think the most important advice I'd give a new blogger is to love what you put up there, even if no one seems to care. The cool thing about blogging is that your posts stay on the blog for as long as you do. You never know who will stop by! People do read old posts, and what a thrill it is when someone stops by and takes a look at a whole bunch of your writing all at once.
Also don't be a wallflower! Comment on other blogs. :) Blogging is like a party in that respect. It's hard to get noticed if you don't introduce yourself.

And let's face it, Mark, your comments always make me smile, so I'm always happy when you stop by. :)

Beverly Fox said...

Great points, all, and a topic I've spent quite a lot of time considering myself. I've had my blog going on 4 years now and no one outside of about 5 personal friends ever saw the thing until around 6 months ago. The biggest boost to comments, followers, and general discovery of my blog, for me, has been blog hops. The A to Z challenge was HUGE- I was getting new followers every single day. But the little ones- Heroes and Villains, Monster Madness and Celebrate the Small things every Friday have consistently introduced me to new people. And the rule for getting comments is to be an active commenter. Every time I leave a comment, that person swings by to return the favor. And when I miss commenting cause the day blew up on me (it happens sometimes, sadly)I don't get as many comments. It's pretty straightforward. All-in-all, though, the community tends to find these baby blogs and explode them because it's just that supportive of a place.
Oh- and BTW, I LOVE your voice.

klahanie said...

Greetings Mark,

Finally, yes finally, I've arrived to leave one of my highly collectable comments. Did I ever mention I'm humble or is it delusional....

You have summed up, most articulately and eloquently a lot of points I embrace.

Blogging is, of course, about balance. Personally, I do endeavour to comment back to each person that graces my site. It can be most difficult and time consuming. I may have to rethink it a bit because I'm blessed with a lot of comments. I could be spending more time on other sites commenting and perhaps leave more of a collective thank you on my site. We shall see..

Whatever works for you is what you have to go with. I like variety, but sticking to a particular genre is also great.

I have been discreetly interacting in the background, with little fanfare, for over six years. This suits my style.

What I would say to new bloggers is this. Remember that we are all different, all equal. Blogging is about learning, about embracing the diversity. Blogging is about verbalising, self-expression. Blogging is an email to the world.

You've been blogging for nearly three years? You should get some sleep! :)

Before I go, blog hops! Arggghhhhh!! Sorry, I feel better now :)

Well said, Mark. Life is about choices. I choose to be positive because the other place is somewhere I never want to visit again.

In peace and goodwill,

Gary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. you've said and your commenters have said it - it's finding our way through the blogging life - how to enjoy the process ourselves, while giving pleasure to our readers ...

Some people start out with a headstart in blogging life, as they do in normal life .. the rest of us totter along behind ...

... and if we're lucky enough to stumble upon a great group, with some fun blogging friends, an educational trip at various sites ... that's what I count lucky and such good news.

So I endorse really what you and Gary (Klahanie) say above ... let's keep on doing what we do, and writers write what they do ..

Happiness is ...........


Aloha! Cheers Hilary

Suzanne Lucas said...

Hear, hear! It's all about having fun. And being patient, although I get a little impatient myself sometimes. Then again, it's been less than 6 months.

Nevertheless, I enjoy writing which is why I can happily sit down at the computer for hours after a ten-hour day at work.

Keep up the great writing. It's a joy to read.

Samantha Jones said...

From a newbie in her third month of blogging, I sincerely thank you for this lovely pep-talk, Mark, it's much appreciated!
Cheers!
WriterlySam

lilicasplace said...

Hey Mark!

Wow, I can't believe my little baby-blog was the subject of one of your posts. :-D Now, I have to agree with Annalisa. It IS an honor to have a comment left by you! I follow your blog now, because I know that I will learn a lot of new and valuable things from you. I look at your history and your background and yes, it is like a celebrity has come to visit. And no, it does not appear that you take compliments very well. LOL. But it's all good. I'm still a happy camper. Have a great night Mark. :-)

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