Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to Keep a Sustainable Blog

Posts about how to have a "successful" book blog are all the rage. They pop up here and there and everywhere. My only problem with those posts is the subjectivity of them, and the fact that many "successful blog" posts hinge on stats and ARCs.

I left most ARCs behind long ago, and I take stats with a mighty big grain of salt, so I'm here with my experience writing a SUSTAINABLE blog. Also subjective, surely, but after 9 years (in February), I want to share and encourage.

1. Make your blog work for you. 
This is a big one. There are no "have to" rules in the book blogging community. No matter what genres you like, whether you prefer backlist or frontlist, you have to make your blog your own. Your voice. Your tastes. Your happy place. 

2. Be as consistent as possible but don't be afraid to take a break. 
You might post once per week. You might post every day. Again, see #1 and "make your blog work for you." But it seems to be the case that some consistency can help us stay interested and motivated to keep a blog. For years. There will be blips. There will be slumps. But it comes with the territory. You'll find your way every time. Even if what constitutes "consistency" changes over time.

3. Read!
It's easy to run out of stuff to say if you're not reading! That's why you started your blog (probably, if your'e reading this). Don't get overwhelmed to the point that your reading suffers. I know many of us have fallen into this at some point. Don't be afraid to hit the reset button on your reading. That stuff makes great blog post fodder, too!

4. Write your passion.
Whatever you're passionate about writing is what you should write. For me, it's mostly books. However, there have been many times over the years that I've chosen to write about family, my profession, weight loss, cooking, decorating, and a host of other topics. They key to sustaining a blog is being passionate, so give yourself some wiggle room.

5. Accept that things change. 
Your schedule will change. Your lifestyle might change. Jobs change, families grow, even reading tastes and amplitude change. Go with the flow because if you blog for an extended period of time, you will experience periods of "new normal." It's ok!

6. Engage with the community. 
Not only does engaging with the community grow your readership--which in turn can help motivate you to read and write--it's fun! I can't tell you how many friends I've made through blogging. Some of them I've known for more than 12 years. And one of them will be my matron of honor in March!

I'd love to know any tips you have for maintaining a sustainable blog. Let 'er rip!

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