Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who's the first person who has to take your blog seriously? YOU!

Blogging is this amazing opportunity to show the world that YOU are a professional. That beyond your passion, you have a commitment to your voice and your world.

Getting visitors, and interviews, and other opportunities all stem from YOU taking your blog seriously.

Have a schedule - and keep to it. (Even if it's only one post a week - or a month.)

Follow through on your stated intentions. (If you have a survey for your readers, post the results!)

Be the kind of employee of your blog that you'd hire (Remember, in a one-person blog operation, you're the boss and the worker!)

And remember that if you act like a professional, you're on your way. After all, the first person you need to convince that you're serious is yourself.

On my journey, I blogged for more than a year at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read? before the tide started to shift and other people saw me as a professional, too.

And now, I get to blog professionally, as part of the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrator's SCBWI Team Blog. (I'll be leaping into action once again starting tomorrow when the 2010 SCBWI Summer Conference begins! Check out all the fun at the Official Conference Blog here.)

That's pretty awesome. And it all started because I believed in myself and my blog, first.

So Believe In Yourself.

...and Keep it Zen.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who Can You Interview? Another Secret To Build Your Blog Expertise and Audience

Think about the world that you explore in your blog.

Now think about who you might interview from that world.

Make sure to read their previous interviews (and know their work well) so you can make your interview questions (and the whole interview) really stand out.

One of the coolest things I've been able to do on my main blog, I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?, as part of the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators TEAM BLOG is interview luminaries in the world of Children's Literature.

From literary agents like my recent interview with Josh Adams, to Newbery Medal-Winning Authors like Paul Fleischman, to tomorrow's interview with the incredibly successful and funny author M.T. Anderson, my interviews add to the cool unique stuff people can only find on my blog.

As much as they've built my expertise and brought me additional traffic, these interviews have been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn and grow as a writer - and connect with some fantastically kind and gifted professionals in my world.

So, consider the question: Who can you interview for your blog?

Do your homework, and then send them an e-mail...

Who knows what you'll learn?

Namaste, and Remember to Keep it Zen,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This Week's Blogging Secret: Be Helpful

One of the ways to make your blog successful is to figure out how you can be helpful to your readers - is there something you can do for your community that could make your site a resource for others?

A great example of a blog that does this beautifully is Author Casey McCormick's blog, Literary Rambles.

Casey has an Agent Spotlight series covering literary agents that represent Children's book authors. What Casey has done so well is that she's compiled much of the available interviews and internet sources on the agents and then made them available as a resource on her blog - making her blog one of the first places writers go when researching agents. Casey has done other writer's homework for us, and by providing this service, she's created enormous good will (in addition to traffic and platform and stature) for herself.

On my own "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" Blog, I've made being a comprehensive listing and source of information on all the GLBTQ Teen novels one of the major pillars of my blog (the entire left hand column) - and it's made my blog a unique resource for Teen readers, Librarians, and everyone else with an interest in GLBTQ Teen fiction.

So take it as a challenge: Is there a way you can provide a resource on your blog for the members of your community?

Namaste, and Remember to Keep it Zen,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Short and Sweety or Deep and Meaty? How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

There are two ends of the spectrum:

Super-short, like Claudia Harrington's blog

of inspirational short quotes from professionals in the world of Children's literature are like inspirational tapas - just little tastes, and don't take a lot of time to either create or read.

Super-in-depth and thorough posts that are almost like great magazine articles. A number of bloggers take this approach, and Colleen Mondor at her Chasing Ray blog does a lot of this -

a great example is her blog post series called "What A Girl Wants" which asks the same question of a number of female authors - and is fascinating reading. These posts take more time to read, have more substance - and often inspire more comments.

Certainly not every post on your blog needs to be the same length - and in fact, variety is kind of nice. But whether it's short or long - make sure you're offering something of value to your readers. Inspiration. Thought-provoking analysis. Resources. Something you care about and offer to share that no one else does in the same way. That's what makes for good reading - of a blog or anything else for that matter!

Remember to have fun, and keep it Zen.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

How To Make Your Blog Stand Out And Be Noticed? Be Quirky, Fabulous YOU.

So I was talking with my friend David this week about his so-far pretty serious Men's Family Law blog, and separately, he told me this funny story about how he had put out a press release with an offer of a free prenuptual and eventual free divorce to Raiders Quarterback Kyle Boller - given that on July 2nd Boller is set to marry Carrie Prejean, the anti-gay marriage-ousted-Miss-California who wasn't quite able to keep up the "traditional" values she spouted about...

SANTA MONICA, CA – Internationally recognized family law attorney and gay rights activist David Pisarra, who specializes in representing Husbands and Fathers ( in divorce and custody hearings, is offering to provide Raiders Quarterback Kyle Boller a free prenuptial agreement, and to represent him throughout any divorce proceedings from his betrothed, the infamous Carrie Prejean who lost her Miss California crown for breach of her duties.

I thought the press release was LOL funny, and I asked him if it was something he'd put on his blog.

He hadn't... But happily, he has now.

And it IS funny. Go read it, and come on back!

What I learned from our conversation is that the quirkier and more unique we allow our blogs to be - the more they reflect who we are - and the more appealing our blogs will be to our readers.

So David, congrats on putting the free divorce offer story up on your blog!

And for the rest of us - let's remember to be our quirky, funny, selves. It makes for great reading, and fabulous blogging!