Goals of blogging

Darren Rowse at Problogger (he of the "how to make money out of your blog")  has been posting some useful items over the past couple of weeks.

First, what is the goal of your blog? (Don’t ask me that!). Darren initiated a group writing project in which he asked his readers (other bloggers) to write a post on their blogging goals. "Be as creative as you’d like – take it in any direction you want from writing a long list of your own blogging goals, through to sharing just one or two of them. You can write it in any form you like (last time we had poems, rants, humorous posts etc)."  He has collected together links to all the results (I noted Minx’s and Pundy’s friend Tillerman among them) in three posts: post 1; post 2; and post 3. I haven’t read them yet (probably never will as it would take an age), but they could provide a psychological snapshot of the range of motivations that cause people to start up a blog. The post titles range from the businesslike to the bizarre.

Ever thought about an email newsletter as well as a blog? Darren has two posts on this topic. One, "How many emails get through?"  is a comparison of various service providers for sending bulk emails, with statistics about how many emails get through and how many rejected as spam by the recipient. Well my perspective (as a victim) is "I hope 100 per cent":  wrong mindset for "making money out of my blog", obviously. However, Darren’s next post is a bit more subtle, "Email newsletters more emotionally engaging than websites". As the study on which he reports discussed only emails and websites, and not blogs, I am not surprised at the conclusion. As well as discussing the study, Darren’s post contains "how to" information for email newsletters, including news feeds (rss) for those interested in exploring the medium.

Had enough of blogging? Want to kill your blog and get your life back? Well there is a good way and a bad way to do it, apparently. "How to kill your blog successfully: factors to consider" is worth a read before pulling the plug. If you’re still determined to do it after reading that, then go to "How to kill your blog successfully: the methods."

Assuming you are carrying on blogging ;-), does frequency of posting matter? This is a very good posting, listing 10 or so pros or cons to frequent posting. There are some very good points in here.

Two final posts on Problogger for today. One is called "Why bloggers blog", a topic of perennial interest in the blogosphere. Stimulated by articles in the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, Darren links to a number of his articles about getting started on blogging, what a blog is, how to make money from your blog, etc. And second, No-one links to the linkers. If your blog simply links to posts on other people’s without "adding value", you won’t get an audience, is the basic message. Self-evident, maybe, but I enjoyed reading the post.

Tribe’s silent films

The ultra-cool Tribe has been featuring a running commentary on the World Cup on his blog, which has been great for me because I have been venting about the whole thing in the comments. And he very graciously has said he doesn’t mind. He has been doing great on the commentaries, apart from one outburst of frustration at England for making heavy weather of it. I am not a football fan, but even I know that the whole point of English football, and indeed any sport involving an English team or player, is to make the absolute heaviest weather of it you can — if you want fluency, grace, power and style, watch Brazil (soccer), West Indies or Australia (cricket), anyone but us (tennis) etc. If you want agony, missed chances, unfulfilled potential — watch us. Playing badly enough for a 0-0 draw to look good and then scoring against Trinidad & Tobago in the 85th minute is just spot-on for England. Pity they blew it by scoring a second before the end. (They were both spiffing goals, actually.)

Tribe’s blog is more usually about film, zines, noir fiction and other stuff, including postings about his own writing and Mrs Tribe’s (she recently published a very good review of the movie Cars). For some reason, Tribe and Skint Writer remind me of each other when I read what they both write about the writing process; I wonder if they have ever encountered each other?

The main reason I am writing about Tribe’s blog today is to mention his post More Silents. I don’t suppose I will ever watch these movies, but just take a look at the wonderful posters that Tribe features. Fantastic art – decadent, menacing and lush. And if you like what you read (you probably will) click on the category "film" and read some of the other reviews there.

Tribe’s blog main page.

Crime fiction awards

Don’t you just love marketing and branding? You can now vote for "Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year" It used to be just "crime novel of the year" and it is billed as "the only British crime fiction award to be voted for by the crime-reading public". Last year’s winner was Lazybones by Mark Billingham. I’ve read it (and another one of his) and it is good. I haven’t read the other two or three of his because although they are well written and feature an interesting detective, they are a bit on the "dwelling lovingly on the gruesome for the sake of it" side (gruesome is fine with me, wallowing in it isn’t) and suffer from tremendous hype, possibly at least partly because the author is (apparently) a well-known comedian. I can’t remember which book I voted for last year (it wasn’t Lazybones) and can’t look it up as it was pre-blogging for me.

To this year’s award. You have until 14 July to vote at Ottakar’s website, and here is the shortlist of six:

Strange Blood by Lindsay Ashford

One Last Breath by Stephen Booth

The Coffin Trail by Martin Edwards

The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill

The Torment of Others by Val McDermid

Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin

Of these six, I have never heard of Ashford or Edwards, I bought the Susan Hill about a year ago but have not yet read it, and I’ve read the other three. Booth’s first two novels were excellent but he’s struggling now to keep it going I think. I’d find it hard to choose between McDermid and Rankin, they are both excellent writers. I think I would just go for Rankin out of these two, as "Torment" isn’t one of McDermid’s best, being let down somewhat by the denouement, and "Fleshmarket" is one of Rankin’s. But pretty much neck-and-neck in my view.

I must read the Hill book soon, especially as the author is a blogger (Susan Hill blog); her blog is an extremely interesting one to read and I do recommend it, as well as the rest of her site. Sadly her blog does not seem (so far as I can tell) to have an rss feed so I keep forgetting to check it out. Susan also leaves great comments (usually about bookselling) on other people’s blogs, notably CharkBlog and Grumpy Old Bookman, so you may have seen her name around even if you haven’t read/seen "A Woman in Black" or read some of her other books. And I guess I need to check out Ashford and Edwards and consider putting them on my list (sigh).

The crime fiction book of the year, incidentally, is tied in to the annual Harrogate crime writing festival, 20-23 July. I have never been to this festival although I have been very tempted, as it always has a great programme and looks wonderful. Just one of those things that there isn’t time to do if you have a job and want to use up your holiday time out of school term with your family. One day, maybe. Anybody interested in going along with me, if so?

Photography

Clare left a very nice comment recently on an old post of mine in which I showed a photo taken by Malcolm one evening last winter, of what he saw when he came in from work. Susan asked to see it, so here it is — very dark I am afraid. One thing I get for my $4.95 (about £2) a month I pay Typepad for this blog, it seems, is a "photo album" complete with tagging. So here is a link to the picture on my album, where you can see my other pictures too.  I used to be a very keen photographer, BC (before children), with my Pentax SLR, many lenses and home developing kit (us 150-year-olds predate digital of course.). When Cathy was about 4 I left my camera in the playground one day, and it was stolen. I have never organised myself into getting another camera and taking up photography again; one of those time things I suppose. Nowadays, Cathy and Jenny each have their own digital camera after years of those disposable ones from Boots, so I tend to rely on them to take pictures of things I like — mainly because it seems as if you need a degree to operate the darn camera. Maybe I will start again with photography, as since I have started blogging I have seen so many lovely pictures on people’s blogs. Anyway, for now, here is a fairly typical image of life where I live.

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