“Last year I was asked to contribute to an article for The CWA monthly magzine RED HERRINGS, about Blogs and Writers. Naturally one of my first choices was to ask Elaine Flinn as I loved her ‘On The Bubble’. The essay was great but due to a conflict in schedules the commissioned piece was cancelled hence I never got to use Elaine’s essay. This week, I have been thinking about Elaine a great deal and of course I remembered the essay. So I thought it apt to pass it back to Murderati where she was one of the co-founders
– Ali Karim
TO BLOG – OR NOT TO BLOG – THAT IS THE QUESTION…
by Elaine Flinn
And it was a major question for me when Pari Noskin Taichert invited me to join Murderati. I was hesitant to take the plunge. I mean, the net was already burgeoning with author blogs. Could readers be interested in yet another one? I’m not an essayist, nor am I a short story writer. Hell, I can’t even write a short email. And anything I might have to say about the writing life, the publishing world or marketing – has been said umpteen times by others more eloquent. So what was left for me to offer? Not a damn thing, I quickly thought.
But I was intrigued, and knew that being on a blog was a great way to meet new readers and maybe get a gleaning of what they liked, or didn’t like. Pari had rounded up an interesting mix I thought might be unique. Her series has a quirky protag who promoted New Mexico, Naomi Hirahara had an ethnic protag, J.T. Ellison was newly agented, but unpublished, Jeff Cohen and Deni Dietz wrote humor, and Simon Wood was a hopeful horror writer. And moi? I have an antiques dealer who can’t stay out of trouble. But still, I was wary. I’m not presumptuous enough to think I had anything profound to say. While I’ve been fortunate to have garnered four nominations and the Barry Award for my mystery series, I still didn’t feel like an old salt or qualified to offer advice to anyone.
My Eureka moment arrived one night while I was watching David Rose. Interviews! Yes! That’s what I’ll do. I can’t make a fool of myself asking questions, right? I’ll interview writers. But I decided not to ask the same boring questions; how do you come up with plots?, what’s your writing schedule like?, etc, etc. I’ll mix it up – make it tongue-in-cheek – maybe throw in a serious one now and then. Thus, ON THE BUBBLE was born. So I signed on for a year. The fact that I had to come up with fifty-two author interviews hadn’t crossed my addled mind at that point.
Attracting readers for a blog is a slow process, but we trudged on hoping to increase our ‘hits’ and hoping like hell we’d accumulate more comments each day. I mean, we all supported each other on a daily basis, but comments from our fellow blog mates praising each other’s contributions was not what we were after. After about three or four months, we made great leaps and attracted more and more readers. Whew.
I like to think of the writing world as being organic. Change is constant – new sub-genres evolve, scores of new writers debut, some favorites fade away, certain plot themes are suddenly all the rage, and then quickly die. Blogs are susceptible as well to the evolving moods and interests of writers and readers. We experienced changes at Murderati which introduced new voices and new perspectives. When Paul Guyot joined us, that change was immediately apparent. His incredibly popular former blog – ‘Inkslinger’ – daily produced one of the highest traffic counts ever on the web. His legion of fans and friends were quick to engage him again at Murderati. And when Alexandra Sokoloff and Louise Ure came on board, we attracted yet another new set of readers. All great writers with singular voices sharing their world and how they view it. And that is – without doubt –the raison d’etre of a blog.
But I’ve mentioned change, have I not? And blogs – like the writing world – as being organic? Now, I too am part of that swinging door of evolution. I’ve left Murderati, and so has Paul Guyot. Why? Simple. Blogs, dear readers, are hungry beasts leaving few hours in the day to devote to OUR raison d’etre. Paul and I both knew that every minute blogging – was a minute lost writing.
My protag, Molly Doyle is an antiques dealer – and her word of caution to readers is – Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware.
So – To Blog – Or Not To Blog? Writer Beware!