Saturday, February 15, 2014

How To Write A Best-Selling Blog (Not Really)

  I was on the verge of pulling a  really mean trick on my readers, almost by accident. The original  title of this post was going to be 'How to Write A Best-Selling Blog', but that wasn't going to be  the real  subject. It occurred to me that  my attempt at ironic humor might not go over as well as I'd hoped, so I modified the title. Let me explain.
  In this  new electronic world we  live in, everybody is an expert, which is another way of saying that nobody is.  Any semi-literate monkey can, and does have a blog or webpage or youtube channel or whatever.  I am proof positive that  literally anybody can do this. Everybody wants to be  heard, but nobody is  really that certain as to how. So in come the experts to rescue you, hapless blogger guy. If you run  a search on 'how to  drive blog traffic' or 'how to sell e-books', you'll see what I mean.  There is an  entire industry out there writing what everybody already knows. By this I mean  stuff you would have learned in the  first 5 minutes of  your 6th grade creative writing class.
 A lot of the people that  read my stuff also write their own stuff  (and usually do a better job of it), so you  probably know exactly what I mean. If you peruse the  'experts' who write  very generic 'how-to' articles for  this website or that one, you'll find real pearls of wisdom like 'write things that are interesting to your readers'. Really? How profound!  I thought the  idea was to write stuff everybody hated! Wow, thank you, Mr. Expert!
  The experts also give you very vague information that is of no use whatsoever to you  because of its vagueness.  For example they will say "Use social media to its fullest." Ah yes, social media. Hmm...This advice is akin to  writing a gardening article and  proclaiming that 'plants grow better outside'.  Some of us have gone the social media route, and  it has not been the bonanza gold mine that  it's peddlers would tell you.  It's better than nothing, but anybody that says throw a web site up and tomorrow you'll be famous has no idea what they are talking about. If  the viral-ness ( maybe not a word)  of a video was predictable or controllable, everybody would do it.  So that video of your chihuahua yelping the Star Spangled Banner might be a big hit, or it might not.
  Of course there is an angle to all this that falls under the 'mean trick' category of irony.  If you write an article  about how to become a big hit , people desperate to learn something might flock to that  article, and the  article then becomes a big hit.  Despite having added nothing of any real substance to the discussion, you are now a high-traffic  internet writer guy.  You  might sell a lot of books telling people how to sell more books.  I'm sure there's a business school term for that besides 'crazy'.
  It's sort of like the televangelist who says "if you send me 100 dollars, God will give you 1000" when the truth is that if "you send me 20 dollars , I'll be at least 20 dollars richer". If it really worked that way,  it seems to be that Benny Hinn would be  sending out 100 dollar bills as fast as he could so that HE could get the  $1000 from God. But what do I know? I'm just a street preacher.
  My solution to all this is  just to write what I want.I can't tell what you're interested in, so I write about what I'm interested in. I write in spurts, something else the experts  speak against. I write compulsively. I write about Bible stuff, and family stuff, and economic stuff, and art and  church history and science and politics. I write about weird people that I bring  home and issues with  my kids. In all of it, despite being a solitary individual, I try to be very genuine, just like when I preach. Some stuff gets a lot of attention, some  gets absolutely ignored. I  have found I cannot even predict which  category anything will fall into.  Therefore, I don't try.
  Somehow, that works. Lots of people read this. Good thing I'm not an expert.
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