Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Do You Have a Dead End Blog?


I have a Google alert tuned to Science Fiction Romance and that often snags articles on the blogs of fellow SFR writers.  Recently, it alerted me to several whom I've never run across in Sci-Fi Rom circles and I would have loved to inquire about their work or invited them to a Skiffy Rommer community hub, but there was no means of contacting them via their blog.  The link to their profile has been deleted or not posted, comments were not allowed and the blogger had, for all practical purposes, made themselves invisible on the web.

Issues of privacy in this age of identity theft and abuse are a real threat, but on the other hand why would a writer invest the time and effort to create a blog and publish posts about their work or writer's journey only to make themselves completely anonymous?

For aspiring writers and authors, blogs are a wonderful tool to build a platform and develop a following of persons interested in their work. Bloggers such as John Scalzi and Lisa Shearin have built a large community of readers by utilizing their blogs to reach new fans.  That's not likely to happen if readers aren't able to establish some form of two-way conversation.  It's difficult enough to attract traffic to a blog; why wouldn’t a writer invite visitor feedback?

Concerns about spam or inappropriate comments can be handled on most blogs via options to moderate comments before they are posted or to have the submitter solve an encrypted code before the post will be accepted.  If bloggers are worrried about people accessing personal informtion in their profile, an easy way to avoid that is not to include anything sensitive, but still allow a way for readers to make contact, even if it's encoded [i.e. Lgreen 2162 (at) aol (dot) com].  That will filter out spam or bot attempts to snare the blogger's email address, but allow like-minded humans a way to connect.

My advice to authors/aspiring writers would be to to use your writing-related blogs to their full potential by allowing visitors a way to interact with you.  Also, if you have an informational website set up to promote you and your work that doesn’t feature some sort of contact method, be sure to link to your blog so readers can reach you.

5 comments:

  1. Good advice, Laurie! I have an actual email address on my site (not encoded) and *never* receive spam. (Knocks on bar top. Doh! It's laminate.)

    And let me give two real-life examples of why an email is important:

    1. Laurie contacted me for the first time that way, asking to interview me (FREE PUBLICITY).

    2. A senior editor once found my name on a contest list and contacted me via the email on my blog.

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  2. Yes, great advice, Laurie! My website host offers free email as part of the package so I set that addy up as my "professional" contact point. There's not a lot of traffic on it yet but ONE DAY!! I just have to remember to check the dang thing regularly!

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  3. Great examples, Sharon. LOL on the knock on laminate.

    Donna is there any way to "forward" your email to your usual account so you don't miss those emails?

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  4. Ya know . . .I'm sure there is. I should just do that, shouldn't I? Returning to the land of the dinosaurs now.

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  5. Glad I'm not the only one to run across these. Definitely a head scratching moment.

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