R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

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What makes a good author blog?

I've been thinking about authors I love and author blogs I love, and how surprisingly little overlap there seems to be between the two.

When I look at the list of the (many) author blogs I follow, not all of them are written by authors whose books I've enjoyed. Some are written by authors whose books I've never read; others are written by authors whose books I found disappointing or even outright disliked. Nevertheless, I find their blogs to be engaging, interesting, funny or otherwise enjoyable, so I keep following them.

Here are some positive qualities I've noticed in the author blogs I follow:

- A great sense of humor.

- Links to other sites and articles of interest.

- Thoughtful posts about the writing and reading processes which are not just limited to the author's own work.

- Evidence that this author is part of a larger creative community -- they're responding to blogs written by others, and sincerely recommending, reviewing and promoting other authors' work even when it obviously isn't going to benefit them personally.

- Interaction with commenters -- proving that the author is actually interested in some social and intellectual give-and-take, rather than just standing on a soapbox.

On the other hand, there have been a few occasions where I discovered a much-loved author blogging and have leaped to add them to my reading list -- only to change my mind a few months later and take them off again because their blogging style and content were so tedious that it was spoiling my enjoyment of their books.

Here are some of the reasons I've taken author blogs off my list:

- Entry after entry describing routine events in their day, usually in mind-numbing detail ("So I got up and had breakfast, and then I took the dog out for a walk, and then I came home and cleaned the toilet...")

- At least 50% of the posts are about their pets and/or their children, and they're written in a way which is neither funny nor otherwise creative. Sorry, I like kids and animals as much as the next person, but I am really not that interested in hearing about the cute little booties you bought for your poodle, or how you put a bandage on Little Johnny's scraped knee.

- The majority of posts are political. Some people consider this a feature; for me, it's a bug. I don't even care which side of the political arena you're on, I'm just not interested.

- The blog is mainly self-promotion -- just keeping a record of their own accomplishments, awards, and public appearances, as opposed to any content which might be of interest to writers and readers generally.

- They write incredibly long, rambling posts with terrible formatting, and never use cut tags.

I'm not objecting to occasional mentions of daily life or pets or kids or politics or self-promo stuff. All these things are perfectly legit in small doses, but if any or all of them become the dominant trend, I'm out of there.

What about you? What do you like/not like to see in an author's blog? And what author blogs are your personal favorites?
Tags: authors, blogs
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