Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blog, Slog and Slag

The Game of Skittles,
Pieter de Hooch,
oil on canvas, c.1665.
Versions in the Cincinnati Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, and the Rothschild Collection.

A week or two ago, our beloved physician, Miss Snark ( see sidebar) advised we should stop wasting our time on blogs and do our job - write.

I do hope she meant to stop aimless surfing and to avoid attractive nuisances like games and Utubes and brain-rotting activities of that sort.

Certainly, we've all chanced upon blogs and bloggers whose sole obsession in life seems to be their hits, their stats and rankings, in competition for numbers. I mentally file those under Case of Tail Wagging Dog.

On the other hand, one reads that many agents advise their clients to begin a blog as part of promotion. Serious arguments ensue over the timing and content of such plogs.

Agent Obscura posted a tip sheet for her clients about blogging Do's and Don'ts. Scroll down to March 20 entry.

The main mistake, the absolute no-no-never, most often mentioned is slagging the industry - specifically, an individual agent, editor or house - generally, whining and bitching in constant negatives. In effect, blogging as therapy. All those acid-laced "inner demons."

I don't think the best way to validate oneself as a writer is by projecting the role of an angst-driven tortured soul. With the internet hand constantly on the forehead. Who would want to work with someone like that?

What is the dumbest blogger mistake you've encountered?


James Goodman said...

i would have to say, and this happens fairly frequently, so I won't cite a specific example, but posting wthout tinking of how the wording of the content will affect one's normal readers.

Bernita said...

Affect them in what way, James?

Sam said...

Worst blog mistake? Hmmm. There are so many...
Just kidding. I always seem to miss them. I'll read that 'so-and-so' wrote something absolutely awful over at such-and-such a blog, and when I go, the post has been deleted, or the blogger closed shop, or it wasn't as awful as I thought...
I haven't stumbled on the blogger who vents his/her venom to his/her detriment... yet. I suppose it's just a matter of time.
And when I do, I promise, I won't tell anyone, because I believe everyone has the right to make a mistake or two in life.

Bernita said...

They do say the internet is forever and google tells all, Sam, but I sometimes have difficulty thinking people would always search with assiduity.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

A blog fight--akin to a chick fight without the nails--between your quintessential pity party blog and a couple of people who said "QUIT WHINING, ALREADY." Nasty, nasty things were said. I lurked, but did not speak.

Finally, someone asked, "Do you guys actually KNOW each other?"

They didn't.

Robyn said...

I suppose my real beef isn't with book promotion on the author's own blog, but authors who leave comments on dozens of other blogs that inevitably end with, "...and that's just the sort of thing I wrote about in MY new book, THE BEST THING EVAH, coming out in March from DarnGood Publishing. You can pre-order it on Amazon Friday."

Sharing good news between friends in comments is fine, but hijackers annoy me.

Bernita said...

There's a fascination in that sort of cat-fight, SS.

Eh, Robyn, the stupidest blog thing ( I think)) I ever did was tell someone on another blog they were rude and to quit the hijacking. Made an enemy for life, because it was all about "sharing," you know!

December Quinn said...

Oh, dear, I bitch about the industry all the time! I do try to keep it general...

The worst one I saw was a writer posting about how she'd bought some books from a particular house and they weren't good, and no wonder people think these books stink if this is what's being publishedor whatever she said. Then in the next paragraph she mentioned that she's submitted a book to them. I thought, "You don't think they might google you and read this?"

Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought that either, because after she got rejected somebody swooped in and left an anonymous reply expressing their non-surprise. I've wondered if it wasn't an editor or something, giving her a tip for the future. Don't go on the record as saying "House X publishes crap" when you're submitting to House X, duh!

Bonnie Calhoun said... many hour do you have? As a Google certified Blog*Star 2007, on the Google/Blogger help boards where I dispense advice on BLogger problems, I have encountered...

1.) People who have told their deepest darkest secrets to the internet and now their boss has been clued into their blog, and they need it to disappear immmediately...*snort*...cached pages don't go away at the click of a mouse!

2.) People who have bad-mouthed someone who has no sense of humor and it now stalking them...even down to finding where they live.

3.) People who have been sued about things they have spouted off about others, and now can't get the posts to disappear......

LOL...and it goes on and on.

I am truly amazed at the stupid stuff people say on the internet! Things that they would never say in person!

Oh...and a sidenote...with my Google Adsense program, I have earned enough to be able to afford to go to another Writers Conference this summer...Wahoo!

Bernita said...

December, you're witty, not whiney-my-life-is-full-of-woe, and you raise interesting issues.
That one boggles.
I suppose she figures her rejection validates her claim - the house can't recognize "quality."

Those people need a clue CANNON, Bonnie!

raine said...

What is the dumbest blogger mistake you've encountered?


There have been a few.
As mentioned before, there's the hijacking thing. Kind of tacky and tasteless, I think--nothing to get upset about, but would definitely deter me from visiting that other person's blog.

There was one author who hinted in a response to a post that the reason readers complained about a certain aspect of her book was that they were not intelligent enough to understand the oh-so-subtle nuances. (Ack!).

And there are all the 'authors behaving badly' examples, but one wonders if that was deliberate anyway...any publicity is good publicity?

And to be honest, I sort of basted an editor in an interview once. Very naive at the time, and I mentioned neither name nor publishing house.
Fortunately, I'm quite the professional now (lmao!), and understand how difficult the business can be from all sides.

But was the basting deserved?


Rick said...

Boy is this timely - I finally broke down and started a blog just a couple of days ago. (Click my name!)

I don't really recall encountering any notably dumb blogger blunders, perhaps because general lameness makes my click-on-by finger itchy before I can stumble on any real howlers.

Bernita said...

Insulting your readers is definitely stupid,Raine!

I'm not sure, really, that hijacking is stupid, now that I think about it. I avoid those bad-breath me-me's - but many people don't see anything wrong with it.

Bernita said...

Rick, I am so glad!
Have immediately put you on my favourites list.
It was really frustrating when you didn't have a blog.

Rick said...

Bernita - thanks! It's taken me a while, hasn't it?

Rocketpunk Manifesto won't be all SF related, by the way - my intent is to talk about Romance, in the broad original sense of that word - which I suspect is what at least half the regulars here are writing, even if they don't know it yet.

Gabriele C. said...

There's a reason I don't give away any personal information about me besides the town I live in, and never bitch about my SiL on my blog. For one, yes, the wrong people could read it, and second, blogs with lots of whining and bitching get boring fast. That includes whining about the Oh So
Evil Publishing business.

Bernita said...

Giving out specific personal information is inviting every nutcase in the planet to come visit.

Some people seems to have a perpetual headache, Gabriele!

Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

I’d have to vote for bloggers who waste so much time being openly spiteful or envious of others’ success they have little time left to do what might bring them their own measure of success, happiness and personal fulfillment.

Not only would I not want to work with such people, Bernita, I wouldn’t want to sit over a cup of coffee with them either. The upside to such bloggers is that, through their eye-opening posts, readers are usually able to get a clear, concise view of the individual’s character.

Bernita said...

Rick, I'm sure it will be as interesting as your posts always are.

So true, Daisy.

Having a cup of coffee with you would be one glorious hoot!

Scott from Oregon said...

Taking yourself too seriously would be high on the list.

I mean, self-publishing ought to be an enjoyable new past time, full of irreverance and mischief.

Leave the serious stuff for those trying to make a living out of it, I suppose...

LadyBronco said...

I have to laugh at folks who obsess over how many people visit their blogs.

I got one of those counter thingies because I wanted to see where people came from when they decide to visit - I think it's neat that someone clear across the globe can read what little I might have to say and want to come back. :0)

Bernita said...

I'm having a bit of a disconnect with the term "self-publishing," Scott.
Blogging isn't just a hobby for everyone - but if it is, then yes, it should be taken lightly.

Depends on their purpose for blogging, I suppose, Lady B.
Some "hits" only mean some innocent/guilty word in a post has shown up on a goggle search!

Scott from Oregon said...

Disconnect? Hmmm...

Two kinds of blog writers. Mostly amatuers who should be more focused on enjoying the experience than on high marks and major successes.

And then, of course, the "serious" writers.

I am/was mostly talking about and to those out there who are just "bloggers". I say, your biggest mistake is to not have fun with it and take it all too seriously.

Of course there are those (like yourself) who have a writing gift and I say by all means be serious and take your gifts to the top of the mountain if you can.

For most of us, just have a good time with sharing words and stories because you can. Don't take it all too seriously...

Is that better, I hope?

Bernita said...

Yes, thank you, Scott.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Woo, Bernita, I'm coming to you straight from "Delicious Domingo, thanks to April. You should check her out!

I think the worst blogger mistake is taking a break from blogging, because you lose all the momentum you've built up.

But if you need a break, you need a break. No way around that, mistake or not.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Bonnie, will check her out!.
R & R is not a "mistake" it's a necessity, but we do miss you.