General

Thanks For (Giving) The Advice

Blogging appeared first about two decades ago primarily as a hobby in which the “web-logger” responded to online articles and highlighted errors or misleading (in a “web-logger’s” opinion) statements. It has changed, of course, and blogging may now be a job and/or promotes oh, (a similar terrible word) businesses and products such as an, uh, author like me doing so. My blog here has since its beginning in December 2013 been central in readers finding me online; and it has proven indispensable: I would have probably almost no readers (beyond in person friends/family) without it.

With that evolution, business blogging “gurus” have naturally arisen. As with authoring itself, we now get all manner of thoughts about “best blogging” practices. Advice is all around us:

Intrigued by that clickbait tweet of someone/ somebot/ some…whatever I had never before heard of that was retweeted into my timeline, I decided to have a peek. I felt it would be useful to see what I have been doing wrong all of these years. I also screen captured the “10 points” headers (so you know I’m not making this up):

[Screen capture, Just Publishing. November 27, 2019.]

It being Thanksgiving today in the United States, I suspect my US readership is likely to be down. So, I thought, I would return somewhat – but not entirely – lightheartedly for this post to blogging again much like it was in ye olden days of “2000,” offering point by point replies to what I was being “told.” And here we go:

1. You Donโ€™t Spend Enough Time Researching Your Blog Post Titles

I thought about this one for about 30 seconds. I think it sums up the post, exactly how I feel as I write it, and that readers catch both immediately courtesy of it. And I even got in a little nod to Thanksgiving today too.

“Thanks… (Giving).” Uh, get it? LOL!

2. You Love Big Paragraphs, But Blog Readers Hate Them

Here, I’m being serious.

I have no bias towards big paragraphs or small. The suggestion made in the follow up text at that publishing blog is to keep blog paragraphs to two sentences. We are also told a blog is not a book – an observation that was obviously critical… if one had been under the mistaken impression a blog post was a book.

I blog here for those who like to read (or I hope will want to read) my novels, and unless they have found me first through Instagram, and more lately, Twitter, this site is their introduction to me as an author. They may quickly notice that on here I prefer – when possible – to use THREE sentence paragraphs. I try to in my novels as well because I feel that in our Insta-“short attention span” reading world, three sentence paragraphs in a novel’s narrator – dialogue is another matter – tend to bounce a modern reader pleasantly along and keeps them turning pages thanks to the sneaky mind-controlling cadence it supplies.

Meaning three sentences may cause us subconsciously to figuratively hum or waltz… 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. That may gently direct us forward with the reading. Notice how Biblical Psalms, for example, are structured, as are stanzas of types of poetry. Also Japanese haiku:

the wind of Fuji
I’ve brought on my fan
a gift from Edo

That is decidedly unlike, uh, well, this sort of paragraph:

[Paragraphs once were much longer. One from The Europeans, paperback, by Henry James, 1878. Photo by me, 2019.]

That lack of paragraphing is old-fashioned writing. I would say, between the two choices for a blog at least, two sentence paragraphs are certainly better. But to me 1, 2, 3, is even better for a blog as well as a book.

A blog, to me, is like a full-length music album. In comparison, Twitter and Instagram are like singles. Different platforms for different aims.

[Excerpt from Tomorrow The Grace. Paperback version. Copyright, 2019. Click to expand.]

Note that opening paragraph above is three sentences. By the way, while it appears in my most recent two books, I don’t usually use a dated 18th century language style on my blog here. (Although I have lightheartedly a couple of times, as you may recall.) Nor do I use it of course in my earlier books set in our “modern” times:

[Excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997, Copyright 2015. Paperback. Click to expand.]

Again, note the opening narrative paragraph. It is three sentences. 1, 2, 3… bounce to next paragraph.

I apologize for posting all of those sentences and their mass of verbiage. This being a novelist’s blog I suppose you are shocked to see that. I hope you are not put off by it.

Back to the more lighthearted…

3. You Donโ€™t Use Enough Images

The World Is Not Enough.” Enough is enough. What is enough?

[A view of President Martin van Buren’s Columbia County, New York home. Photo by me, 2014.]
[A empty bottle of 1995 Cabernet Port on a dining room shelf. We kept it as a memento. In the late 1990s, my future Mrs. and I drank the whole thing in one evening. I drank more of it than she did. Photo by me, Potton, England, 2019.]
[A Potton, England footpath. Photo by me, November 2019.]

There. Uh, are those enough photos?

This is an author’s book(s) blog, not a photo blog… which I think most of you already know.

If not, well, as I’ve said, I also do Instagram. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. You Talk About You Too Much

What? Well, uh, I suppose so. But this after all is a blog that exists because my writing exists:

View this post on Instagram

I had accidental feedback recently that indicated I may not, uh, โ€œtootโ€ my own writing horn on here enough.๐Ÿค”๐Ÿฅณ (If so I suppose I donโ€™t because – probably like you – I get tired pretty quickly of horn tooters.๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿ˜‚) . So Iโ€™m sure you will allow me this brief Monday morning โ€œtoot.โ€๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ป I have written five novels since 2013. The first three are โ€œnew adultโ€ travel stories; the more recent two are massive historical romances.๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง My latest is the top one above.๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ˜ . โ€œTootโ€ concluded now. Thank you very much for your attention.๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜Š . #authors #writing #novels #novelists #Kindle #paperback #writers #writersofinstagram #authorsofinstagram #bookstagram #readingtime #romantic #fiction #expats #England

A post shared by R. J. Nello (@rjnello) on

Oh, and, err, speaking again of Instagram.

5. Your Content Is Not Helping Your Readers

I apologize if any of you feel so. If true I’m not really sure what I might do about that. At some point, maybe I will post videos on installing a dishwasher and how to clean out roof gutters?

But, let’s be clear, there won’t be yoga videos.

6. You Blog Is Not Focussed

“You(r) Blog Is Not Focused.”

There, I corrected that (r) typo.

For American readers, “focussed” is a British version of “focused,” so it is not a mispelling. I’m an American, so I prefer to write “focused.”

Example used in a sentence: “I am focused enough when I am blogging that I will notice typos.”

7. Youโ€™re Old News Too Fast

Okay, fine, I understand. We want posts that are not dated a week after being written.

[Back cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Divide.” Photo by me, 2019.]

How about a pic of the back of an Ed Sheeran CD? He’ll be big probably for his whole life. We just know he will be age “75” and still singing “Shape Of You” to adoring similarly aged fans who remember him from “back in 2017.”

8. You Have Few Or No Headings

I consider an entire post one heading under its title, but I know if a post is long and varied breaking it up is helpful to the eye for a reader – and I do that when necessary.

Still, why bother? We live in a global dystopia and there is chaos and the end of civilization all around us. And we’re actually worried about blog subheaders?

I’m guessing you figured out the paragraph immediately above isn’t all that serious.

Or maybe it is?

9. You Donโ€™t Add Internal Links To Your Other Articles

I do when appropriate as you see above in places. I don’t when it isn’t because linking too much looks like sp*m. There is no link in this three sentence paragraph because nothing in my mind requires me here to link to another article within my blog.

So you know, that was a serious reply.

10. You Donโ€™t Make You Articles Easy To Share

You(r) Articles.” For cryin’ out loud. If I’m going to be lectured to use subheadings, avoiding repeated typos while doing so is a pretty good idea.

About the actual suggestion. I think I do make my posts easy to share by having a bunch of those “sharing” buttons for Twitter and, uh, services I’ve never used and don’t know what they are. (I’m guessing Reddit has nothing to do with Redditch?) If you are in a sharing mood today, well, it is Thanksgiving in the USA after all, so feel free to share.

[Who’s that guy with the glasses in the middle next to the picnic table and beside the chickens? Thanksgiving Day, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, November 22, 2001. Before selfies.]

And have a good day, wherever you are. ๐Ÿ™‚

3 thoughts on “Thanks For (Giving) The Advice”

  1. What a conclusion might we make after having read this post, dear Robert? Stop wasting your time for these “10 reasons why not”. Big quantity never means the Quality! Thanks Reader-Giving day to you! Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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