Excellent question. Here's my answer: even though I have nothing to promote yet, I expect to at some point. When that day comes, it would sure be nice if I weren't a rookie at the whole online presence thing. I started this blog for practice running a blog, as an outlet for my writing, and as a way to interact with and learn from other writers.
As I read Jane's article, it turns out these are all valid reasons. Am I lucky or innately shrewd? There's no way of knowing... or is there?
One of the latter parts of that article includes a list of suggestions for "What do you put on your site or blog when you have no book?" That's a decent set of metrics, so let's see if I've been doing this right, shall we?
* Do not write about the writing & publishing process, unless you have some very unique insights, or a very unusual spin/voice.Verdict: FAIL I'm just a guy trying to dish up an extra-large bucket of awesome prose, with an occasional side of equally-awesome poetry. However, part of what I do here is to talk about the writing process. When I get some more info on publishing, I'll probably talk about that too. Is any of it unique? Nope. My struggles with craft, motivation, finding time to write and overcoming fears and doubts are no different than yours.
I might sometimes wax eloquent on the basics of writing, but it's too much of a stretch to call my insights or spin unique or unusual.
* Unless you are the most boring person on earth, you have passions and interests that aren't tied to writing & publishing. These things might be witnessed in your written work (maybe you have a fascination with a historical period), or they might be complementary life pursuits to your writing (e.g., librarian or teacher). What perspective or insight can you offer related to these things?Verdict: FAILI have a lot of passions and things that are important to me. Do I write about them here? No. People don't come to this blog to hear my strongly held views on politics, religion, homeschooling, the designated hitter rule, forgiveness, the value of manned spaceflight, breastfeeding in public or Windows 7. That's why I have those other eight blogs and Twitter accounts.
* What do you know about, intimately, that no one else does (that you can still write about!)?Verdict: FAIL From the standpoint of purely technical, factual knowledge, I suppose my own constellation of knowledge is unique and distinct from anyone else's. I can tell you how to re-gap a spark plug, poach an egg, properly apply a tourniquet, tie a taught-line hitch, etc., etc. So what? Do I pour any or all of that into my writing deliberately? It would make for pretty clumsy blog posts, no? "Today on Landless: How to build a window-box solar collector for only $5!".
What about things that are not just technical knowledge? What about the emotional landscape of my life? Is that unique? In its specific snowflake-type arrangement, sure, but again, so what? A multitude of joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures, hopes and disappointments - I've had my share, more than some, fewer than most. I've seen children born, I've seen relatives, close friends and co-workers suffer and die. Can I claim to be unique in this?
No, I don't think so. The trick here is to express it all in a uniquely compelling style. I could get maudlin and pour out my pain, or get rhapsodic and bellow out my joy, but that would be biography, not fiction. Wouldn't you really rather hear all of that coming from the characters in my stories?
* What do people compliment you on constantly?Verdict: WIN A sense of humor. I like to think that people get a kick out of the humorous pieces of nonsense I put up here, such as that line about having eight other blogs and Twitter accounts (see above).
Come to think of it, though, sometimes the humor falls flat. Ah, well. You can't win 'em all.
* What types of media/materials/books are you always reading? Are there observations you can share? Snippets from your consumption?Verdict: FAIL I suppose I could share snippets and observations, but I'm not sure it would be anything outside of fantastic examples of marvelous prose. I'd have to preface it with, "See? See? Isn't this great? Now THAT's how to write a seduction scene!", and then I'm right back to the whole writing-about-writing thing.
* Would it be appropriate to review books?Verdict: FAIL Nope. I don't have time to review books on a regular basis. I know people who have done this successfully, but that's not me.
* How about interviewing people who interest you?Verdict: FAIL Hmmm, although I've been thinking of interviewing people, I haven't done it yet. So, FAIL.
* Is there content/media you can curate?Verdict: FAIL Not that belongs to me, no. This blog isn't an appropriate place for that, anyway.
So, how did I do?
Final score: FAIL, FAIL, FAIL, WIN, FAIL, FAIL, FAIL, FAIL
Ouch! Wow, does it suck in here, or is it just me?
Nah, I'm only kidding. I give myself a WIN on humor, and I know where I stand on all the rest of it. When the day comes that I have a product to promote, I'll do it here, or somewhere else. Either way, this is a good place to hang out.
What do you think? Am I doing this wrong? IS there a wrong way?
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