Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Playing With Numbers = Playing With Fire

When I first started the blog A Book, A Girl, A Journey, I had this vision in my head --a vision of mass numbers.

You see, I started blogging for a couple of reasons. A few years ago I was following this blog called Twilight Guy. It was a hilarious teenage boy who was reading twilight and blogging about it, chapter by chapter. He had thousands of followers who loved his posts, and he was also getting his middle grade series published. He didn't talk about his book much, but he did mention it. When the book went on pre-order it made the best selling list the first day.

I told myself that if I had that one I great idea that I knew could be an awesome novel, I would start a blog of my own. So that's what I did. Rest assured, that pipe dream of being on a bestseller list when the book is still on pre-order has been pulled back to reality, in fact, I really did not expect that to happen with A Book, A Girl, A Journey. However ...

The second reason I started blogging was becasue a high school friend of mine was running a very successful craft blog called Honey Bear Lane. I looked at her as an average person like me who had over 2,000 followers. I figured if she could do it, I could do it.

My blogging experience started out well, and I was focused completely on numbers. I hate to say it, but I was one of the new bloggers going to around to other blogs and saying "What a cute blog you have! Come find me at www....." shameful, I know.



About three months into the blogging experience, I realized something. I was following a whole bunch of blogs I wasn't interested in. In fact, I wasn't following a single writing or reading blog. Every blog I found was through my successful blogging friend. Every blog was about crafts, or clothing, or motherhood, and I wasn't making any connections becasue I wanted to talk about writing.

It took me a few more months and some writer friends to figure out the truth. Playing with numbers = Playing with fire. If all you want is numbers that's not hard to do, but if what you want is people who come to your blog faithfully, than you need to make friendships.

If all have you have is numbers you can expect your blog to crash and burn. But if you make real friendships and relationships you can expect your blog to flourish. And seriously, who doesn't want friendship? I know it's just about the only thing that's kept me sane this past year.

So I guess I'll end this post with a thank you to everyone who has become my friend, regardless of whether or not we have met in person. Thank you for being awesome and always coming back to hear my mindless dribble. Thank you for being there for me.

Why did you start blogging?

20 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

I went through a stage of checking all my stats, all the time. It was important. Once I made it past 100 followers I calmed down, and now that's not part of my thinking at all.

The main reason I started a blog was because I thought I ought to. So, it was trial and error to begin with, but I'm enjoying it now. And I've found some great friends and some great support along the way.

I'm the other way around, though - all the blogs I follow are about writing (plus a couple of fitness ones) and I'm thinking of branching out. Do people want a writer-follower though?

Jay Noel said...

It was 2005 and blogging was just about at its zenith and transitioning. Bloggers used to be teenagers, but they were discovering microposting (MySpace).

Writers and subject matter experts really started blogging a ton. And I had done some work for a semi-govt. information/scientific company. So I started to write about the funny wacky side of science.

I ended up doing that for about 5 and a half years. I had a HUGE following and it even led to a syndicated podcast.

But I got burned out, and I wanted so bad to be a real writer. So I started a whole new blog to focus on my writing.

Daisy Carter said...

I started blogging after I signed with my agent. I didn't have ANY social media whatever, and I knew it was time. I already had about a dozen writerly blogs bookmarked on my computer, so I thought maybe I'd give that a whirl.

I try not to worry about numbers, either, although it was nice to hit 100 followers. What's even better is when people come back to my blog regularly. I've already made so many great online friends!

Great post!

Cassie Mae said...

I honestly had no idea what I was getting into when I started blogging. I just stalked a whole bunch of writers and blabbed a bunch in the comment section and suddenly people were following me too. I find this bloggy world to be a bit of a social party and that's why I like it :)

Jessie Humphries said...

I started blogging because Peggy Eddlemand made me. Seriously. But another reason was because Sara Megibow made me. Not seriously. What I mean is that she said she wouldnt even really consider an author if they didn't already have an established platform. So voila, I am here. Establishing :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I started blogging to find other writers like me! :) And it worked! And I couldn't be happier with my new friends. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I started blogging because my publisher told me to get my butt online and establish a platform. I went the direction of following other science fiction bloggers, but just wasn't making connections. Odd, but for some reason it wasn't working. Once I found the focus of my blog and started following a wider variety of blogs, things began to click. I've always said my followers were an eclectic group, but they are also my friends.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I wanted to find people who didn't give me weird looks when I talked about my characters as they are - real people. I found much much more than I ever thought I would.

Shallee said...

I think a lot of us go through the obsession-with-numbers stage. I started blogging because it's what writers are supposed to do these days. But I kept it up because I discovered I loved it! I love the people I've met, especially. :)

Angela Cothran said...

One thing I hate about social media is the numbers. It gives us a false sense of our popularity (or lack there of). For me blogging is about connections and being myself. If figure the numbers don't really matter. Love this post :)

cherie said...

If there's one thing I'm good at, it's ignoring the numbers. Don't get me wrong--I love my followers (and I follow them back, too. Well, most of them anyway, since there are a few whose blog links are missing and I don't know how to find them.) And I love getting comments because it means my senseless ramblings weren't so senseless after all. But I don't get hung up on the numbers. Look at Twitter for instance--it fluctuates week to week. I can't even tell you how many followers I have or how many I'm following. If someone is interesting, I follow them anyway, regardless of whether they follow me or not.

I think it really does help to have friends you know you can count on--that they'll come by your blog and visit, that they'll never unfollow you on a whim, and that they'll always have your back. As long as you have this support system, the numbers don't matter at all.

<3

Donna K. Weaver said...

My writing blog morphed from my personal one. I finally decided to split them up. They say numbers are important for marketing, but numbers just say people have stopped at your blog and clicked follow. It doesn't mean they ever come back.

I love the relationships. I just wish I had more time to pursue all of them.

Jenny S. Morris said...

I used this quote on someone else's blog this morning. Make friends not followers. ;0)

I started blogging so I could figure this whole publishing a book thing out and I have made friends with the BEST people.

Carolyn V said...

Excellent post! I started blogging for numbers too. It was awful. What a bad idea! Now I blog those who are my bloggy-writer friends (and a few others who are just friends). It makes it so much easier (on the reading and the emotions).

David P. King said...

Amazing how many writers there are trying to submit their books (huge statics) and yet fashion, food, review blogs seem to outnumber writer blogs. This could change, though. More writers are making new blogs all the time.

I can't stay I started out with numbers in mind. It was more of a "if an agent wants to look me up" insurance thing. :)

Krista McLaughlin said...

One of my friends suggested that I start a blog and since I'd never thought of it before... I signed up. :) I had a hard time getting into it until I realized that I couldn't just expect people to find me that I had to search for other writers. :) I've made a lot of new friends and I'm happy I did it. :)

JEFritz said...

Hey, if it's mindless drivel, it's good mindless drivel.

I started blogging to meet more writers and to learn more about writing. There sure is a lot of great bloggers out there :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I started blogging because I wanted to post. There's still evidence of that drive: My A-Z Challenge topic, science, is mostly me, since a majority of my audience is writers.

Perhaps that's not the best tactic for building a writing platform, but I originally started a blog for myself and while I treasure the people I've met, I still want to blog about what interests me.

Hope that doesn't come across as too narcissistic . . .


The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Jackson Porter said...

That kid is Kaleb Nation. He's published two books, and a third should be on its way soon.

Anyway, you followed my blog a long time ago, and I'm finally getting around to being a good blogger and following and commenting on other's blogs.

-Jackson

Leigh Covington said...

Love the honesty here Jennie. Wonderful. I got in, just to learn and figure out what I was supposed to do in order to publish a novel. I've been amazed at the relationships I've formed though. Those alone have been worth everything! :)