Why Blog?

Rabbit - playBlogging about blogging. Talk about circular logic. But there is a reason: Jonathan Crossfield has just released the latest Top 50 Australian Blogs for Writers. While I didn’t make the top 50 list, my blog debuted at #68. The rabbits and I are pretty happy with that. It made me think back to December last year, when I first decided to create this blog. My sole reason was to create a place to talk about writing (and to give my poor fiance’s ears a break). Back then I didn’t realise just how valuable a blog could be.

I’m often asked whether I think writers should blog. My short answer is ‘yes’. My long answer? These are the unexpected gifts my blog has given me:

  1. Networking: I met a number of the people currently in my face to face writing network through this blog. Some of them are bloggers. Others found me through the winding corridors of internet links. But all came to me through a shared love of writing and literature. So much for the stereotype of the isolated writer – I don’t think I’ve ever felt so connected.
  2. Opportunities: This surprised me the most. When I started this blog, I imagined only my family, long-suffering friends or dog would read it. If I was lucky. But I’ve had all sorts of publishing people contact me through it. I’m still not really sure how they found me, but it became really valuable when my agent was submitting my first manuscript. Several of the editors had already come across my blog, and others found it afterwards and requested to see more of my work based on what I’d discussed on here. It still freaks me out every time I realise someone ‘important’ has found me here, and I have to reread the last 10 posts to make sure I sound pseudo-intelligent and sane.
  3. Voice: Blogging has helped me to develop a narrative about the way I write – to gather my thoughts and reflect on the things I’ve learnt along the way. While I share that here, I’ve also been able to adapt several posts and sell them as articles to magazines. The statistics feature on my blog gives me instant feedback on the posts that have most connected with people, which is what first gave me the idea.
  4. Self-Esteem: It still makes me feel great each time someone leaves a comment. On the bad days, the rejection days, the ‘I can’t write’ days, this blog and the people who visit me here are a wonderful fountain of support and joy.
  5. Confidence: This blog has been part of the ladder that’s lead me to being able to say, in public, that I’m a writer and illustrator. I no longer apologise for the fact. Or give my old job title because it’s just easier. I’m a writer. And an illustrator. And I love it.

So I’m obviously pro blogging, but realise it’s not for everyone. You have to have some internal desire to be heard, which I think most writers have anyway. If you do decide to take the plunge, keep in mind the following:

  1. No matter what you may think, people WILL read it. So consider what you say and don’t post too hastily.
  2. Authors are public figures. If you set-up a blog as a writer/illustrator, only put up things that represent you well. The blog will become part of your brand (and you never know when an agent or editor might find it)
  3. Be upfront about how often you plan to post and try to stick to it. This way, when you build up a readership, they’ll know how often to stop by.

What have others learnt about blogging? Any surprises or unexpected benefits / negatives? Anyone else as addicted to blogging as I am?

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20 Responses to “Why Blog?”


  1. 1 Debbie Johansson October 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Katherine,

    Did I inspire you to write this? Either way, you have inspired me to get back into blogging again. Congratulations on debuting at No.68 on the list – yet another incentive to blog!

    Debbie

  2. 2 Katherine Battersby October 6, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Debbie, you absolutely did! I remember feeling exactly the way you did before I began, but I’m now really passionate about blogging and what it can bring you, so wanted to write up my thoughts properly.

    I was going to tell you about this post but you found it for yourself! I look forward to popping in on your blog one day…

  3. 3 Keyboard Cafe October 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Katherine

    A few of us have spent the past few days exploring early blogging issues and trying one out. This is very topical right now.

    Love your blog

    Jan

  4. 4 kathleen noud October 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Hey bunny rabbit!

    I’ve been suprised by the people who contact me through my blog. And yes, everytime I get one of those messages I flick through my old posts to see what I’ve been talking about.

    But personally, I don’t believe that people should get into blogging believing that it will get them published. It’s supposed to be fun. Earlier this year, I searched for a favourite author’s blog only to discover it was promotional drivel. There was nothing fun or personal about it at all, and every post was about a publication date or a book signing. Boring!

    My blog started off as a personal test, to see if I could do it. Now it’s like part of my writing and I get cranky if I don’t get my thoughts out in good time but it’s also a little side project for my own amusement. I guess that counts as an addiction.

  5. 5 Karen Tyrrell October 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I BLOG because I MUST!… I’m Totally addicted to it. The Writing, the Editing, the Posting up and Checking for comments.
    Its the high-lite of my week …Excuse me while I check my Website.

  6. 6 Lynn Priestley October 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I remember my first blog – I was terrified putting myself out there into the great unknown. Now I look forward to sharing news and views and being able to express myself in any way, shape or form. I think it’s cathartic and it’s also a wonderful way to connect with people who are as passionate about writing as I am. Equally, I love to visit other people’s blogs. It’s great to offer support in this writing world and doing it via a blog is a fabulous way to give encouragement, offer congratulations or just be connected to other writers. I agree, Kath. Blogging has made me fell incredibly connected in this so called isolated world. It’ become an important part of my writing life.

  7. 7 Lyn October 6, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Another thought-provoking, refreshingly honest blog, Katherine. Your positive attitude towards the often difficult life of the writer is inspiring for all of us who toil alone daily at our computers.

    Well done!

  8. 8 Katherine Battersby October 6, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Jan – thanks for stopping by. I’m sure you’ll all be seasoned bloggers in no time!

    Kathleen – I absolutely know what you mean about only blogging if you have things to say, rather than with a goal to get published. And I too have been disappointed by favourite author blogs who only use them as news columns.

    Karen – we might need to start up an anonymous support group if we keep going this way. ‘Hi, my name’s Katherine, and I’m a blog addict.’

    Lynn – I remember feeling terror too, mainly at the thought that no one would care about what I wrote! But luckily that’s gone now. Blogging is quite cathartic, isn’t it?

    Lyn – thanks for your kind words. Your comment is a perfect example of the self-esteem I get from blogging!

  9. 9 Jackie Hosking October 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I love your blog too Katherine – I especially love your avatar! I like to blog for many of the reasons you mention and am especially thrilled when someone leaves a comment. I’ve recently created a blog where I hope to talk about all things that rhyme – it’s a great way to share and learn and a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people. I’d love it if you’d include my blog on your blog roll – it’s http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com

    Cheers,

    Jackie

  10. 10 Karen Tyrrell October 7, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Katherine love your Blog too!
    I started Blogging in May feeling “Naked to the World” exposing my inner Motivations on Writing a very personal Memoir, ME AND HER. Each week, I grew in confidence and bravado, responding to my Readers feedback.
    Could you please ADD me to your Blog Roll? I’ve just added you. http://www.karentyrrell.com

  11. 11 tara October 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Very cool news about your debut ranking!

    I started blogging for fun and now think it’s a necessity for a writer/author. There’s a great sense of community and much to learn from other writers.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

  12. 12 JJ Cooper October 7, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I made a point of keeping my blog professional from day one (I’m sure our agent prefers it that way). When my aquisition editor pitched my novel to the publishing board, the statcounter hit new heights: it’s not just editors and agents reading our blogs.

    Also, be mindful of ‘Google Alerts’. When I landed a deal I jokingly suggested all I needed was for Lee Child to blurb my book. He commented on my post, we exchanged emails and his blurb now appears on my cover. Those alerts work both ways if you say something nasty.

    I agree with all of your points regarding blogging, Katherine. I’d love to be able to spend more time on mine – just don’t seem to find as musch time anymore.

    Cheers,

    JJ

  13. 13 Katherine Battersby October 7, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Jackie and Karen – done and done!

    Thanks Tara – I’m still a regular at your wonderful blog.

    JJ – that’s an incredible story with Lee Child! Wow. Shows you just how linked in the internet is. People can forget that while blogging. And I know what you mean about needing more time…

  14. 14 JJ Cooper October 7, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Just went and re-read that post of mine, Katherine – http://jjcooperaus.blogspot.com/2008/05/two-book-deal-with-random-house.html – seems so long ago.

    JJ

  15. 15 Katherine Battersby October 7, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    He was even the first to comment! You must have been stunned to think he’d found and read your blog. Your journey has been quite an incredible one – a testament to the kind of writer you are and the great things that are yet to come.

  16. 16 JJ Cooper October 7, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    I actually thought it was someone playing around for a bit until I sent an email to Lee’s webmaster asking if it was him. Felt like a dill doing it, but it seems Lee is very active on the web surfing and is super supportive of new authors.

    Yep, I’ve had an incredible journey to date and I really appreciate your support and kind comments, Katherine. I certainly look forward to following your journey – it’s gonna be a blast.

    JJ

  17. 17 Sandy Fussell October 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Ditto (rabbit ears that is!!!!) to everything you said. Blogging is heaps of fun.

  18. 18 Katherine Battersby October 9, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Sandy, I can tell that you enjoy blogging – I love stopping by your corner of the blogosphere.

  19. 19 Sheryl Gwyther October 17, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Hey, Kath, you’re so right – it can become addictive, too. I can’t even stop doing it when I’m out of the country. Enjoy reading what you’re up too, my friend. :)

  20. 20 Katherine Battersby October 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve noticed that you’ve had trouble taking true time off, Sheryl! I can imagine, even while on the other side of the world, Ross still saying to you ‘You’re not on the computer again, are you?’


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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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