a guest post by Larry Brooks of Storyfix.com
10. This is a huge community. As in, ginormous. Literally four corners of the world, anyplace with digital cable and a Fed Ex partner.
Which means my frequently sarcastic American humor doesn’t always play places like Klagenfurt and rural Kirgizstan.
9. Online sarcasm is itself risky business. One writer’s sarcasm is another’s snarky… a word which probably doesn’t play in Kirgizstan, either.
8. Never write a post about the need to double and triple check for typos that has a typo in it.
One word: crucified. Still smarting from that one.
7. “Know Thy Audience” isn’t a cliché. It’s the natural law – the physics – of marketing.
I’m a blogger who posts about fiction writing and sells a few writing ebooks while I’m at it. The majority of readers here are online entrepreneurs who’d rather hear about blog-related marketing than how to write the next Salzburg Times bestseller.
Many of whom, by the way, have a story in them.
6. Darren Rowse really is the nicest guy on the internet. A total pro, too. I’ve tested this theory with a wide breadth of technical cluelessless and naiveté, and you can add patience to those first two.
He doesn’t just let anybody onto this site, which means you not only earn your admission ticket (lest you wonder, I was invited to post here twice a month), you earn your keep, too. And it’s all fair.
5. The company you keep defines you. Choose wisely.
In this case, being on Problogger has upped my online exposure and, merely by association, my chops in the online world. My brand. Which means, the pressure is on.
This, too, is natural law in the online world.
Because the same crowd that throws in on that count can slap you back to reality with one missed swing. (That being three metaphors in one sentence… don’t try this at home.)
4. It’s okay to get personal. And I’m not talking about dating or social media sites (getting too personal on those venues can also get you arrested).
A blog is usually an ancillary tool in an otherwise pointed branding and marketing strategy, which means it doesn’t need to exclusively spew bits and bytes (digi-speak for features and benefits) or self-serving bluster that doesn’t smack of commonality.
People are attracted to commiseration, empathy and the voyeuristic joy that comes from reading about the sheer misery of others in like-minded situations.
3. There’s one in every crowd. Try not to be that guy.
You could blog about the reliability of death, taxes and gravity and somebody will post a comment endeavoring to make you wrong (one self-proclaimed “blogging superstar” tried to refute my theories about writing and publishing contemporary fiction by quoting Cervantes, who published his last book in the year 1615 … but that’s another site).
That which doesn’t kill us either makes us stronger or simply pisses us off.
2. You, the blogger and the commenter, put the UNITY into community. That’s why this venue is unique in all of the history of human communications.
And the most valuable thing I’ve learned here on Problogger is…
1. I have a lot to learn. That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it?
One of the best ways to learn – albeit with a resource like Problogger on your daily to-do list – is to just keep writing. On your own site, and on others if they’ll have you.
And if that’s not common ground, perhaps we’re all in the wrong place.
Larry Brooks is the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional site for fiction writers and those who proof them.