So a number of things have happened in the past few weeks/days that have got me thinking about this blog (No, relax. This is NOT a “I’m not blogging anymore” post). One, my decision to let the set schedule go. I’ve actually enjoyed blogging more lately, and if you notice, I’m still doing about two posts a week. The difference for me is I can now blog when something strikes me, and not hold back until it’s Blog Day or whatever. So I kind of feel rejuvenated as a blogger, if that makes any sense. I’m having fun with it again, and that feels great. So I thought this would be a good time to kind of renew my thoughts on the blog, and what its purpose is, and what I think about it.
I’ve seen a few times online in the last month or two people–people who should fucking know better, IMO–running contests where one of the ways to enter the contest is to post about the contest on blogs or message boards. In other words, don’t just promote the contest on your own blog or Twitter feed, but post about it on various message boards or in comments on other people’s blogs.
This is spam. It is spam, spam, spam. It is tacky and it is rude, and just as a general FYI–although I know none of you would ever do such a thing–it will not be tolerated here. I can ban IPs from this site, and I will do it.
Here’s the thing. This is MY blog. It’s MY website. And while I follow certain rules–which I’ll get to in a minute–the fact remains that at its most basic level, this site and blog are here to promote me and my books. Along with, of course, the books of anyone I mention in posts or invite to come do a guest post here. To “walk” into my blog and start dropping your own promo is the height of rudeness, akin to walking into my home and starting to redecorate without being asked. I don’t care what it’s for. Don’t do it. It’s rude to me and it’s rude to you guys, the readers of this blog, who do not deserve to be treated like rubes or fish in a barrel, just waiting to be led around by the nose.
As of this writing the blog gets anywhere from 200-600 hits a day, every day. On days when I post the numbers go up; no-post days, of course, have lower numbers (and some posts got much, much higher numbers, but those are obvious anomalies). And I’m aware that’s nowhere near the kinds of hits really popular blogs, really popular names, get. But they’re still MY numbers; you’re MY readers, and I’ve worked hard over the years to attract you and entertain you and get to know you a bit, even, and let you get to know me, and you and that work mean a lot to me.
If you have something to promote–be it a book or a charity–email me about it. There’s a good chance that I’ll invite you to guest post about it, or I’ll mention it. And if I don’t, it’s probably because I don’t think my readers would be that interested in it, frankly. And you know what? That’s up to me. because, again, MY BLOG. MY READERS. I owe them–I owe you guys–the respect of not being treated like some nameless, faceless gaggle of wallets.
Which brings me to the other thing. A long time ago now I did a post about why I don’t blog about politics, and the gist of it was, because I respect you all and think you’re capable of making your own decisions without my input. This is still true. But, as I believe I said in a follow-up post at some point, which I’m too lazy to hunt around for–there’s another reason, too.
What made me think of it is, I was discussing blogging with a pal of mine a couple of days ago, and she mentioned how she keeps to certain “rules” on her blog. I replied that I do too, and that it’s because I want my blog to be a place where everyone is welcome. Where everyone feels valued and included. To use politics as an example again, I know I have a few very conservative readers. I know I have a few very liberal readers. But I don’t believe I have ever had a situation where those readers got into an argument; I wouldn’t allow it to happen, but it’s never even shown an inkling of happening. And that, I think, is largely due to you, and what great, smart people you are, but I like to take some of the credit as well, for setting a tone here and sticking to it. A tone of respect and open-mindedness and willingness to learn, and of accepting everyone and their opinions.
That’s hugely important to me. And since it’s been a while since we discussed this I thought I’d bring it up again, and lay it out for any newcomers now and in future.
We respect each other here. If we disagree we do it politely. I’ve posted some…not inflammatory posts, but I’m a very opinionated girl, especially when it comes to publishing, and I will express those opinions, at least up to a point. I’m passionate about publishing, and have strong opinions, and will voice them–again, to a point. And people have come along and disagreed with me in comments, and some interesting discussion have been had. I’d certainly like to think I was respectful in my replies, even when, as happened once, the person leaving the comment was not particularly respectful to me.
The thing is, I want people to enjoy it here. I want you guys to feel like, even if you disagree with everything I say, you’re still valued (although if you disagree with everything I say I do kind of wonder why you keep reading here, but hey, far be it from me to spoil your fun). I want this blog to be a FUN place. I want it to be a place where discussions are had, and everyone walks away from it feeling like, even if they didn’t change anyone’s mind, they still had an enjoyable discussion. I don’t ever want someone to click away from this blog regretting that they even bothered to speak up, or feeling lousy about themselves, or like all they succeeded in doing was angering themselves and other people.
Yes, as I said in the politics post, I could probably win some readers if I started being politically outspoken (I’d probably lose some, too, but who knows?) But I don’t want the reading of my blog or the buying of my books to become a political act. I want the reading of my blog or the buying of my books to be about enjoying the posts on the blog and the stories in the books.
I have some general idea who some of you are. You regular commenters, I know some of you fairly well. But there are a lot of lurkers, too. I’d like to encourage them to comment, and one of the ways I try to do that is by not insulting them. If you choose to lurk, that’s entirely your choice, and you’re welcome to do so. But I don’t ever want someone to feel like they CAN’T comment because they’ll get beaten down or belittled for it. You’re entitled to your opinion, and whether or not to share it is up to you, but you have my promise that I will never belittle you for your opinion, and neither will anyone else here. And I hope everyone who reads here knows that, and feels that.
This is a fun place, at least I hope so. I hope it’s an interesting place, too. I hope everyone reading this knows how much I appreciate their reading, and feels welcome.
So that’s it. The rules of the blog. No spam, and be respectful. Neither of these have ever been a problem here. I intend to keep it that way.
And thanks, everyone, for reading. You mean more to me than you can imagine.