What’s it all about, blogging?

Order from Amazon or www.virtualbookworm.com

Order from Amazon or http://www.virtualbookworm.com

I began blogging with the goal of selling my mystery novels, but reviewing my posts over the past 40 days, it seems I’ve been writing about everything but my books. And I may well continue the same way, posting about whatever strikes my fancy. Nonetheless, in an effort to focus more attention on my books, today I’m featuring the cover for my first mystery, Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders. I not only wrote the book; I did the cover illustration. More about that below, in what’s becoming my customary purple addendum.

For me, blogging is becoming an all-consuming creative challenge. I love the multidimensional possibilities of reaching an audience through varied media, both verbal and visual. And I love the immediate feedback – getting and responding to comments, studying the jazzy graph that charts my hits per day, watching my numbers climb. 

But this isn’t just about me. What do you look for when you click on someone’s site? What makes you keep coming back? Is it the quality of the writing, the usefulness of the links, the relevance to your own genre? Probably all of these and more. In terms of the Blog Book Tour folks, what draws me most is the sense of an individual personality coming through, especially if it’s someone I’d like to know better. Yes, I like the links to agents or pertinent articles, but often, if I don’t have time to check them out immediately, I tend to forget about them. Sometimes I make notes on posts I’d like to revisit, but then the notes get buried on my desk and I never get around to it.

What draws me back to certain blogs is the sense of a compelling personal voice. Please let me know: what draws you back? I’ll summarize the results (including your links, of course) in a future blog.

My illustration for Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders dates from 2006, the same year I published the book. It’s a pastel, measuring about 18″ x 27,” and it depicts Erika Norgren clinging to her beloved shepherd-mix dog Rishi as she discovers the body of a gifted young artist on the front steps of WellSpring, the East Village social club for adults with mental illness. Erika is the club’s director, and like many of the consumers who frequent the club, she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I was a painter long before I began to write mysteries. I received my MFA from Columbia University and exhibited at the Woodstock Festival of Music and Art in 1969. But that’s a story for another day.

17 thoughts on “What’s it all about, blogging?

  1. Julie — I like reading your blog for these reasons–
    1) yes, compelling voice : intelligent, opinionated, textured
    2) attractive, easy-to-read blog page and graphics (I won’t return to a blog which is too dark, too messy, too kinetic, too ugly).
    3) well-written prose in a serious vein (not some Valley Speak about trivia, with too many usages of “incredible”)
    4) technologically up-to-date, but not too many bells & whistles (I’m impressed by all your blog’s sidebar options presented in neat format)
    5) daily (or almost daily) entries (a blog is supposed to keep up to the minute)

  2. Thanks, Therese. That’s a high compliment, coming from you. I still have more bells and whistles to add, though.

  3. Hi, Julie — I like different blogs for different reasons, some for information, some for inspiration. I do like the feeling the blogger is trying to give me something, whether it’s an idea for a novel, a sharing of her personality, a new way to use Twitter, a new author or book to read, or a good laugh to make my day go better. I have been enlightened by your personal blogs, and and would enjoy seeing more of your art.

  4. Thanks, Patricia, Alexis and Nancy,
    You three are some of my most regular visitors who leave comments, so I know I must be doing something right to lure you back. Now if only I could hear from some of the lurkers . . .

  5. Mood swings? Bi-polar disorders? I’m scared already. Horrified. Terrified. I like the psychological / hormonal / head injury / emotional scars as elements of the antagonist of a good story. I certainly don’t want to make light of people with unfortunate conditions, but they sure do help define an awesome and scary villain.

    Like Patricia, I like a mixture of blogs that fluctuate back and forth from inspirational to informational. A reader needs to read both from your site.

    – Steve Tremp
    http://stephentremp.blogspot.com/

    • Hi Stephen,
      Mental illnesses are usually far more frightening to the people who suffer from them than to the population at large. Statistically, people with mental illness are less likely to commit violent acts than supposedly sane people.

      Unfortunately, media reports of the occasional criminal acts committed by people with mental illness contribute to stereotyping and stigma. That’s a large part of what my novel Mood Swing is about.

      Thanks for raising some challenging issues!

  6. Hi Julie,
    What brings me back to blogs is if it’s someone I feel as if I’d like to know and I also come to care about them. Then I really come back to find out what’s happening in their life. The information is secondary, but I love learning new things and have enjoyed everything I’ve learned from the blog tour classmates. I love your art. I love your honesty. I love your writing. And I definitely want to keep abreast of your progress with everything you are working on.
    Karen Walker

  7. This is my first visit to your blog. I like that you engage the visitor with questions and you have interesting things to say. Plus, you talk about books.

    I love the cover. It’s beautiful.

    I wonder, do you ever decide you don’t like something you’ve painted? I ask because my sister in law recently visited. We have quite a few of her paintings she’s sent us over the years. When she saw one I have hanging in my office, she wanted me to take it down, saying it was one of her earlier ones and not very good.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

    • Hi Helen,
      I’m glad you visited and I hope you stop back again.

      Thanks for the compliment about my cover illustration. Yes, I frequently decide I don’t like something I’ve painted. Over the years, I’ve probably thrown out dozens of paintings. For some reason, I’m less critical of my own writing – maybe the shortcomings are less glaringly obvious.

  8. Facebook, blog, twitter, news groups. all useful and even vital in helping promote and build fan bases. But there must be balance. Are you a blogger or an author? Blog every day? I think not. A useful exercise to teach deadline meeting–been there, done that–but not permanent. Please. Then there is the other aspect to all this typing–reading blogs. More time, not in a bottle.

    Ask yourself are you an author, a writer, or a blogger? If the answer is both, then you need balance. I return to blogs that are provocative, have something to say other than just about the writer and her books, and are easy to read.

    Nice covers, BTW.

    • Interesting comment, Carl. For me, being an author, a writer and a blogger are one and the same, at least for now. But I agree it’s hard to strike a decent balance. I’m not big on multitasking, and time spent blogging definitely distracts me from writing fiction.

      Writing new posts feels exciting and creative. Answering everyone’s comments, though – that’s something else again! And I haven’t even begun to master Twitter yet. Not enough hours in the day.

  9. Sometimes its easier to figure out what I don’t like than what I do like. Blogs that are blatantly trying to sell me something, i.e. Internet marketing gurus. Long posts which I don’t have time to read.

    But I do agree that it is the personality of the writer, usually with a sense of humor, probably because I seem to lack one. Also I really love lots of graphics. The Evolution of Vampires in Popular Media broke the rule by being over long, but the pictures and the humor kept me reading. If it is a long Blog, it definitely need a clear order, headers, outline.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Now, the question is – how long is too long? My answer to that changes day to day – and according to which blog I’m reading.

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