I wanted to title this “Will blog for food” but naturally that clever phrase has already been used before many times over elsewhere and I really don’t feel like coming up with something original just at this moment

I see blogs that go on for years with hardly any comments, likes, etcetera. I don’t get it. How is someone motivated to keep churning out posts with scant evidence of readers? I do consider that perhaps the blogger has an extensive email list of interested readers and if not extensive, just an email list. That is, they have readers but it’s just not obvious to a casual observer. Yes, you could argue that I am a reader if I’m there looking at their blog but in most cases I’m merely passing by.

Bloggers talk a lot about how to build their blogs, how to attract and keep readers. They share good advice and thoughts. Some people want hundreds and thousands of readers. Others will say they enjoy having a small but devoted following; that the interaction with readers is the important thing, and I concur. Having been blogging for just over a year, I’ve had time to give this thought.

Self-promotion has never been my strong suit. I was raised in another time and it was backward even for that time [insert unhappy face]. Good girls kept their yaps shut. They didn’t brag or show off or draw attention to themselves unless they were on a stage. At home, when one of us received attention, praise or accolades from outside the family, my mother would snidely remark, “How do you rate?” While it was an odd phrase and clearly more statement than question, its uncharitable message was clear.

Still, I DID in fact go on to draw attention to myself, primarily of the scholarly achievement type, but also for creative endeavors and although fewer, athletic ones. I wanted the goodies that were out there to be had: high grades, ribbons, cash prizes, and getting one’s name in the local paper. Those kinds of perks told me I had something to offer that could be desired and rewarded. (Side note: while still young, I would proudly return home with evidence of my success, only to mostly be treated to either family indifference or commentary intended to cut me down to size. I wised up. It’s kind of like that old saying about the travelers and the broken wagon, which I’ll paraphrase: Them that’s goin’ on ahead with us, get out and push. Them that ain’t, get out the way. Which is to say, if someone was going to be a hindrance to my forward progress, I’d rather they just got out of my way.)

By the time I decided to start this blog, I’d come quite a distance in my willingness and ability to self-promote. (If I can stretch the wagon metaphor a leeeeetle bit further: Them that’s not willing or able to self-promote in life, are going to get run over. Unless they’re brilliant and have a skill or talent people clamor for and need do nothing to promote it. Which sounds rare and unlikely.) The meek may inherit the earth but frankly, I’d like my share of the goodies, perks and prizes in the here and now, thanks ever so.

As something of a lone wolf, albeit an extroverted lone wolf – yes, I realize that sounds potentially contradictory but there you go – I didn’t have a wide “network” to draw upon for the blog. I personally told a good handful of people who I thought might be interested but was reluctant to use all of the channels I might have to self-promote. I know how I feel when another person jumps in somewhere they haven’t previously been very present solely to hawk their interests. I wouldn’t call it unethical so much as questionable; i.e., why should WE care what YOU want? What’s in it for us?

I’ve been in my community a long time and my name is known to a fair number of people. My writing has appeared in local papers and I’d been a regular commenter on a community Yahoo group, so I did, in the early months of the blog, post a couple links to humor or community-relevant posts. I picked up a few readers that way. I even spent a couple dollars to advertise the blog in the local paper but I think almost nothing came of that. I’d probably have to run the notice regularly for awhile to have it pick up steam and I really can’t see my way to spending money on a free blog.

Finally, I made hand notices to put on local bulletin boards. I stuck with it on the most popular board, managing to keep a notice up most of the year (every month the board is cleared so I need to make a new notice and trot it down there). I know I could do something fancier and more high-tech and I DO think about that, but just haven’t. I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble. Anyway, here’s the notice I had on the board during May.
P_20150401_145237

I have no way of knowing if my hand-written notice brings in readers, or reader as it were. I hope so. I know that I would be curious about such a notice but then I love bulletin boards and am curious about things like that. You never know what you’ll find on a bulletin board! For all I know, many people have noticed my ad – I always put it in the same spot. My community is such that should I keep it up long enough – years – I’ll be known as the person who “always has an ad for their blog” on the bulletin board. Mind you, that doesn’t mean anybody will consequently go read the blog.

Somehow, I always trusted the right people would find me. Whether they were other bloggers or people from my community. And by right, I mean those my words would have resonance with, who would want to hear what I’ve got to say, without a lot of coaxing. I still believe that.

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47 thoughts on “I wanted to title this “Will blog for food” but naturally that clever phrase has already been used before many times over elsewhere and I really don’t feel like coming up with something original just at this moment

  1. Kate Crimmins

    While it’s nice to have thousands of readers, I prefer to have good commenters to get thoughts flowing. To get commenters you have to be one. I’m not so good at self promotion either so I focus on writing, both posts and comments that someone, somewhere might find interesting. I was freshly pressed early on and that was a boost. I have found that there is a lifespan to many bloggers. They will be very active for a few years and then drift off so I’m always interested in new bloggers. There are some very good writers out there. Congrats on your blogiversary. It’s a great accomplishment and I am impressed that you have posted your blog address on boards.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Kate, being Freshly Pressed seems like the blogging equivalent of a Golden Ticket. It’d be nice but I’m not “quitting my day job” and packing my bags to move into The Chocolate Factory! My personal view on commenting on others’ blogs is that it stems of genuine interest and is a purpose unto itself; I do it because it’s fun & stimulating. Makes you feel like you’re part of something. Thanks for commenting and the well wishes! –Colette

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  2. C.E.Robinson

    Colette, I’m one of those “right people.” I love your blog and you’re one blogger friend that I follow & read! As far as self-promotion, I’m in your camp. A certain amount okay, but to hit power-blogger status just to get hundreds/thousands of followers…not okay. How would I be able to keep up, to read, like or comment on their posts everyday? Sounds as if you have a friendly, trusting community that you feel comfortable promoting your blog on a bulletin board! Lucky you!
    Christine

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Thank you so much Christine!! That means a lot. I would feel foolish to be wildly self-promoting ANYwhere; it seems so transparent! (Early lessons = hard to shake.) I agree with you. When I look at blogs that get hundreds of comments, I imagine it would be very difficult and time consuming to keep up properly, and be at the risk of the personal touch (although I do know the hope in some cases is to get big and attract the attention of fee-paying advertisers or book publishers, thus making it all profitably worthwhile).

      My community? Welllll. I haven’t written much about it but have said this! I just decided I didn’t care who read the blog even if that opened me to the possibility of attracting whacknuts. There aren’t many bloggers in my immediate community, at least not who advertise, so I thought that might be in my favor. Where do you look for readers?

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      1. C.E.Robinson

        Colette, funny thing, I don’t look for readers! When I follow a blogger, it’s because I like what they write, and they don’t have to follow back! Some follow me, and I don’t follow back…either lack of interest in their theme, or I just know they are pushing up their blog “stats.” I can tell this because when I do post (periodically) those that really follow me, make a comment or at least click a like. I’m happy with my limited community of blogger friends! Christine

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        1. writerinsoul Post author

          Oh yes I have no confidence in the “follower” count. I judge how things are going by likes, comments and Stats. I do “look” for readers but I mean in my community via personal contact or my little ads, never by trolling or random following on WordPress. Look is probably the wrong word. Hope?

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          1. C.E.Robinson

            I like “hope.” I kinda knew that’s what you meant. Making a community connection to you by way of your blog! Wish I had a community to do that! Not going to happen in this big, disconnected city! Christine

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  3. John Callaghan

    Lots to think about in this post. I still consider myself fairly new to blogging and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want. I love the comments on my blog and love commenting on other blogs but the time commitment to do this properly is significant. I know if I posted every day I’d attract many more readers but I just don’t have that in me. Not at the present anyway.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Ah, so your infrequent postings are cagily planned, are they? Funny, you think of yourself as new. After I started I learned that most blogs (courtesy Google) don’t make it past 3 months – we are old hands! I made myself a deal I’ve kept: I’d write when I felt compelled to (WANT to) and let the chips fall, etcetera. I also don’t know exactly what I want so I keep coming back to what I just wrote. I tell myself “this is not a job.” I do love my blog, though, and consider it a good, positive force/outlet in my life. And — it keeps me interacting with people like you. I’d be happy if you posted more but would never suggest you do that. I figure it’s your business.

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  4. Deb

    Blogs only last three months, that’s an interesting statistic indeed and makes me wonder on the reason those bloggers began blogging in the first place…but then again I can turn just about anything into a study of social research so no need to go down that road. I’ve blogged about much the same topic at various points along the way. I think it might just be human nature to desire, even if we don’t admit it, that we would like to feel wanted, and read, and followed, but in the end as others have pointed out before me, that means keeping up and adding pressure to always be readable and wanted, and quite frankly I don’t have the inclination to pursue all that. Give me a nice core group of people I consider my blogging comrades and friends any day.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I think people start blogging for a lot of different reasons, just as the blogs themselves vary so much. I’ve seen blogs as I mention, that go on without much evidence of readers, so something else drives those bloggers. Being wanted and desired affects people by degrees; after all, anybody could start talking about sex to drive up their numbers, for example, or post racy pictures.

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  5. vanbytheriver

    Funny thing…it comes full circle. The lovely Christine Robinson was the first to notice and respond to my blog, which had gone silent for 2 years since I started and abruptly stopped it. (Health issues, false diagnosis of cancer, etc.) Christine was so supportive, and kept nominating me for awards, which I postponed, believing I really didn’t want/need a lot of followers. But they found me anyway. This week, amazingly, I passed 300 followers and wrote my 200th blog. And here is Christine above, commenting on yours.

    Now, the ethic might just be: “Will Blog for Comments” ! That’s where the good stuff lies, Colette. Thanks for being part of it. ❤️

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  6. mariezhuikov

    I hear you about not being encouraged to “show off” as a kid. I am a Facebook user, and promote my blog through it to my friends.. I receive more feedback that way and have more discussions than I do through WordPress itself.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      That’s great. I have not really gone the Facebook route (because I use Facebook in a sort of specific, limited way). I got the idea you had readers “out there.”

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  7. Anxious Mom

    I’ve only been at this for several months. I haven’t shared with any friends since it’s a personal blog. Prefer to just follow/comment on blogs I like and hope that my stuff is good enough for anyone who happens by to want to read more! So not a fan of networking, gives me a headache 😛

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Your stuff is clearly good enough to draw readers and you interact so well in comments which is a big part of it. I don’t even like the word “networking.” I am the woman on Facebook who refuses to have “friends!”

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      1. A.PROMPTreply

        Most interesting…..I had no idea! Thanks so much for ‘checking on me’ and yes, I seem to have some idea what I’m doing on here now….not always a good plan, but some idea of how it should go anyway!

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          1. A.PROMPTreply

            Wow. That was a while back! I think for a while on here I skipped around not realizing that visiting didn’t mean following and then I couldn’t find people again once I did figure that out. Anyway, am up to snuff now on how to follow people and as long as WP doesn’t knock you off my reader (as has happened with a few!) I’m in for the long haul!

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            1. writerinsoul Post author

              Thank you! Yes, people have been bounced off my followers list too. I have a couple tricks for “re-finding” people. I even had a lhand-written list for awhile when I was new (when everything seemed jumbled together).

              Liked by 1 person

  8. battlewagon13

    I definitely went through the “need as many people possible to read” stage and did all the recommended activities. Commented on posts, posted to social media, etc. and my readership didn’t really grow that much. I WAS able to connect to a few really good people though (like yourself) and now find myself blogging just for the sake of having my kids and grandkids read the stuff someday. I can’t wait for the day when my 17 year old son, who has never read a word of my stuff, just sits down and starts being amazed and appalled by what I’ve said. Hope I’m around to see that day.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Thanks Tim. You were the first person on WP I felt connected with – and we’re still here! I know we’ve talked about this. Remember I even sent a couple of your posts to Gene Weingarten on a lark (no, heard nothing). I understand where you’re at but still think you deserve/need a wider audience. Your son still hasn’t looked??

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  9. mltrautz@yahoo.com

    I agree. I would love to have a large number of followers, but it does not do any good if they just click on the follow button and never read what I write. I love the “conversations” I have even if it is just a few.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I learned very early to be skeptical about followers of the ilk that appeared to be hawking something on their own blog and/or never reappeared again. Now maybe a small contingent of followers is quietly out there reading and never liking or commenting but the motherload followed for reasons other than wanting to read my blog. And yes – conversations are bait and catnip! They keep me plugged in and stimulated.

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  10. Intuition Calling!

    I am one of your faithful follower’s albeit I do tend to forgo the laptop for sunnier days and cloudy afternoons that I chase with my trusty camera! Your story’s make me laugh and the world needs more of that Colette. When I started my blog I had intentions of showing other’s that they were not the only one’s and perhap’s there could be a learning experience in all that I go through. Keep on writing on my friend!!

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Thank you Gail!! It pleases me very much that I make you laugh! (Whenever you come around is great by me.) When I started the blog I purposely picked a “serious” name because I knew there were weighty subjects I wanted to talk about – and I have. But from the start, the word HUMOR has been the tag I’ve used most… which amuses me! There is something about your spirit, which seems genuine, light-hearted, unjaded, and progressive that comes through clear on your blog.

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  11. Andrew Davis

    It is often self-doubt that keeps us searching. For what drives us to create? The attention of others or the rush of creation itself? If you know what you want and are prepared for the attention, as part of the perk, maybe promotion comes easier. No matter how much we try, some of that attention will be unwanted. There is something to be said for having complete control of your creativity and watch its evolution occur naturally. But damn… some more readers and feedback would be nice! Your posts always challenge me, Colette.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Aw thanks, Andrew. I admit I waffle around about these matters (in my mind) regularly. Self-expression is a big drive in my life; the blog is one (big) outlet. I know I want to share what I create, be it words or something else. I get more joy and satisfaction when I share. Then again, your point is sound: the more we put ourselves “out there” in any endeavor, blog or not, the less control we have over where it goes and how it’s perceived. Cast a wide net and you never know what might hop in!

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      1. Andrew Davis

        I used to be afraid of the wide net and what critters may hop in. Now I’m afraid of the passive masses, casually interested. I want the passionate and fired up, either in agreement or disagreement. I want those who respond with integrity. And because I’m so choosy… my net is small. But like you, I have to create. It’s non-negotiable.

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        1. writerinsoul Post author

          How well said, especially “afraid of the passive masses.” You’re right; so many are just passing through (almost anywhere online). I was a frustrated writer before I started my blog. A year plus down the road, I am a less frustrated writer. Your comment makes me see that.

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          1. Andrew Davis

            Almost a year on my blog and I too am a less frustrated writer. Feeling closer than ever in starting my novel. It’s about time for a book on someone’s nightstand to be mine. In the meantime, this blog and support I receive from it act as lighter fluid.

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  12. JoAnne

    I guess some people just like to write for the sake of writing. I’m sorry your family so critical of your successes. It reminds me of the X boyfriend who said if you compliment people too much, they will become dependent on it. When some one complimented me on my singing he said, “Don’t tell her that, she’ll get a big head.” You can see why he is my X boyfriend and no longer in my life. I love knowing you (and I) pressed on regardless.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Thank you. I think the (general) argument usually goes that a person who starts a blog wants readers, otherwise they could just write privately, in a journal or on their PC. Agreed with you – I don’t have a lot of time or space for naysayers, having had my share early in life.

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