Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where to Spend Your Blogging Time

Ah, time. My fickle friend. I want you to slow when I sleep. And speed up when I'm at work. And pause when I write. But accelerate when I clean.

There is never enough of you.

Today, I'm going to opinionate on where you should spend your time to build your online presence. I'm going to do the author branding thing on Thursday.

I think you should have a goal for your social networking. What are you using Facebook for? Twitter? Your blog?

Once you know that, then you know how much time to devote to each one. Let me break it down. This is all for me, so you'll have to adjust your goals accordingly.

1. Facebook. Mine is a mish-mash of writing friends, family, publishing professionals and old friends from high school. Therefore, my goal is not to make every post about writing. This is the place I live my life.

I virtually farm. I virtually cook. I post about movies and going to dinner and yes, writing. It's the "real Elana." I don't update my status very often, but that doesn't bother me. It's not my main platform for networking. It's more for pleasure. More personalized.

Therefore, I probably spend about 15 minutes/day reading through status updates and liking and commented. That's it.

2. Twitter. This is all writing, all the time. I connect to writing pals here. I don't have friends on twitter. Well, I do, but not like real-life-I-went-to-high-school friends. I keep my posts about my WiP or my writing or reading life.

I don't spend much time on twitter because, well, I don't like it. (Remember that post?) I probably spend 15 - 30/minutes each night on twitter. When there are chats, I spend about an hour (Tuesday and Wednesday night).

The end. So I'm up to 45 minutes/day on social networking.

Which leads me to blogging.

3. Blogging. You have to decide where to spend your bloggy time. When I first entered the publishing world, I read literary agent and publishing blogs like they were crack. I couldn't get enough. I'd skip meals and arrive late to work, just soaking up everything I could from the pros.

Once I realized I'd read most of what they were saying, and knew most of it, I gravitated away from those blogs. And now? Dirty little secret... I don't read them at all anymore. Every once in a while, when big news breaks, like the eBook thing with Amazon. That's it.

That's not where I spend my time.

I spend it with other aspiring authors. Rarely do I read a blog of a published author. I know that sounds bad, but it's usually just about their signing schedule or if their novel sold in Spain. Which I like to hear, but yeah. Not really the best bang for my blogging minute, you know?

So I spend all of my time reading and commenting on the blogs of those who are like me. So I think you have to evaluate where you are in your progression, and spend your time in the right places.

Just starting out authors might spend more time on GLA and QT and Nathan Bransford. Further along, you might switch to agented/sold authors with books that aren't quite out (to make online connections), and book bloggers and craft blogs (like The Blood Red Pencil or QT or YA Highway).

Once you're agented/presold/sold, you might continue your friendships with other pre-agented, pre-pubbed authors, or you might move more into book bloggers (who will be reviewing your book--squee!), other debut authors, or get this: READERS.

So I think where you spend your time blogging depends on where you are in the publishing journey. Right now, I'm frequenting book blogs, aspiring authors both agented/sold-but-not-out, agented/pre-sold, and pre-agented.

Why?

To make friends, author connections, and bring like-minded people back to my blog.
(And believe me when I say that I read and commented on 90+ blogs on Friday. And that's on the low end of what I do each weekday. I refuse to read and comment on blogs on the weekend. That's how I preserve my sanity.)

I go to a very few publishing/agent blogs and even fewer already-published author blogs. It's just not where I am at the moment.

So you must decide first where you are, and what you need to learn. That will help you establish your goal, which will help you spend your bloggy minutes in the right places.

So you tell me: Where are you right now? What kind of blogs are you reading? Are you learning what you need to to advance to the next level? If not, maybe you should be reading different blogs...

Thoughts?

124 comments:

Liza said...

I read aspiring writers, like me, and those who are further along the path, like you, but above all, I must like the writing so that the blog becomes a place to enjoy and a place to learn.

Scott said...

Aspiring Writers = 70%
Agents/Editors = 20%
Published Authors = 10%

. . . or something to that effect.

I've been using Twitter more, though I haven't really figured it all out . . . yet. Not sure if I ever will.

Facebook, like you, is a mish-mash of friends and writer friends. I post when I post, which really isn't that often.

Blogging is normally 3 days per week and that's solely to maintain my sanity, and I normally don't blog or check out blogs in the evenings or on the weekends.

Great post. Thanks.

S

Alissa said...

You have obviously thought about this way more than I have. I am with you on Facebook and Twitter, actually I probably spend 15 minutes per week on Facebook as opposed to per day.

Blogs on the other hand are something I enjoy for more personal reasons, and spend time reading anything I find interesting or funny. I haven't yet given much thought to them in an author branding kind of way, but 90 blogs? Yikes! You are a force to be reckoned with.

laurel said...

I only facebook friends I know in real life. Can't tell you how many friend requests I reject because I want Facebook to be where I connect to people I have a history with, and my history is not out for public consumption, thanks. :-)

I agree that my blogging reading has shifted--the agent blogs tend to repeat info a lot, and once you've read it, you've read it. I also do little blogging on weekends--that's family time.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I use Facebook, ONLY for long lost friends that I can't see face-to-face anymore because I live overseas. Facebook is where I get to write stupid things, make spelling mistakes and not care. It's my 'free from professionalism' place :)

I hate Twitter. Never use it.

I have Myspace for my music, which I hardly update. It's just there for my myspace buddies, which are mostly other bands, to listen to my MP3s.

My blog and website for my writing are what I spend the most time on. Regarding my blog, I want to get to know every single writer out there! But I'll slowly get around to beefing up who I follow, because I want to spend the time to really read what I'm thinking of following. I don't see any point if I'm not interested in their posts. So it's slowly developing for me. I'm happy to get to know aspiring to publiished authors, agents, the lot, as I haven't quite yet established myself in this blogging world and I want a taste of everyone's world. I just started blogging on the 10th March! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I spend barely any time on Facebook. I did fall in love with Twitter, but that's because I follow a manageable about of writers--and I've found links to great blog posts that way. I don't follow the chats 'cause I keep getting lost, and they move so darn fast.

I don't have an agent, but I'm finding I'm not reading agent blogs so much anymore. That's mostly 'cause I don't have much time and I enjoy following blogs belonging writers like me. I've developed friends because of those blogs. Face it, the agents don't care who I am, but these writer friends do. And I can't remember the last time I laughed at something an agent wrote. My writer friends' blogs make me laugh all the time. *waves at Elana*

Kelly said...

My facebook use is similar to yours. When I went on FB is was strictly hs and college friends and family but has grown to include blogger buddies too. I hesitate to accept writing friends that I don't know from their blogs though. I do mostly personal statuses maybe once a week, but post my blog on it too.
Twitter - no account yet.
Blogging - I basically go to mostly unpublished authors but some have gotten published since I started going to their blog and that is way fun. So I will continue to support them and enjoy their blog. I basically go to blogs of people I connect with, learn from, or that just plain make me laugh. I still go to agent blogs occasionally too.

Candyland said...

I'm totally with you, Elana. I'm finding it harder and harder to connect with authors who've already sold, etc. They're not in my shoes right now, so I'd rather talk to people who are.

I LOVE that you spend so much time actually looking at other people's blogs and commenting. That says a lot about you and I'm honored to be one of them:)

Crystal Cook said...

I hardle ever facebook and I don't have a clue how to twitter.

Most of my time is spent reading 'friend' blogs, other people who I've met since blogging who are writing and trying to be published. All at different stages. I love to read posts about motivation and inspiration. I guess that's why I read blogs in the first place. To feed me to keep going, to not get discouraged, and to not give up. I always find something that makes me say "I can do this."

I don't go to any that are about agents, I'm just not there yet. And I do visit some published author blogs, but only the ones that are motivating and helpful (like Maggie Stiefvater) instead of look at my cool book signing schedule.

I also love blogs that teach me about how to be a better writer.

And I love the QT blog :)
Thanks for this post, I feel like I need to make better use of how I spend my time blogging.

Kristi Faith said...

I have noticed that I'm not on agent blogs like I was when I started blogging. :0) I am always following anyone that posts anything of interest, but sometimes it gets me into trouble because now I follow too many blogs! :0)

Now I just want to connect and learn with other writers!!

Christina Lee said...

check, check and check--you have pretty much summed my everyday life!! you are too smart!!!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

I hang with the aspiring author crowd, like me!! I like to share in their writing journey high and low and be there when they get good news, like Lisa and Laura who just got the title for their book :) How exciting is that!

I'll go to professional blogs if I need info or the topic is interesting. I follow a couple of silly blogs about dogs :) I have a separate blog, for fun, about my farm.

To break it down...
aspiring author 90%
other 10%
Twitter 0%
facebook(friends and family) 10 min
Weekends are off limits, most times ;)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Like you, my FB is a mish-mash, and I like it that way.

I have no desire for Twitter, though I'll never say never.

I still love reading agent blogs, esp. when I get industry news. Otherwise, I still find them inspiring.

I mainly read as you do -- aspiring/soon to be published, though I do follow several published authors and book reviewers.

Portia said...

I read some agent blogs, but I rarely comment there. I read 75 percent aspiring or published authors and a small amount of ghost hunting and paranormal blogs, and those are the places I'm more likely to comment.

Brenda said...

Good post and good to think about. Following Twitter alone can be a huge time suck unless you think about which links to click on. I follow mostly aspiring authors like me, but also agent and publishing blogs. It's really helpful to me to follow those who are a little further along than I am in the journey so the learning curve isn't quite so steep. Facebook is only for family and friends. I recently friended my boss on FB after much internal debate; I work on a huge social media effort at my real job and felt I had to "walk the talk." It's made a slight difference in my posts (no more talk about skiving off work), but I figure if she might find my kid as entertaining as I do.

Corinne said...

I'm still up to my eyeballs in agent blogs, but I'm slowly cutting down on them. Like you say - after a while, you know what you need to know. All there is now is to actually whip my writing into shape ;)

As for authors, I follow a handful of published authors and a slightly larger handful of aspiring authors, largely people I already have some sort of personal connection with. Most of these people I also chat with on Twitter. I don't comment as much as I should, but I'm making an effort to change that. (See? This is me making an effort! You've inspired me *g*)

On Twitter, I follow tons of agents, though I'm cutting down on them as well. A few editors, lots of authors, some publishers both big and small, and some people I know IRL. I've made contact with a lot of awesome people that way, and it's open in the background almost all the time.

Lisa said...

Right now I'm following quite a few agents and pubbed authors on Twitter. I've learned a ton, and am trying to soak up as much as I can.

I'm also following a mish mash of blogs, some pubbed authors, some pre-pubbed.

Facebook is my friend zone, though I do post about my writing there as well.

Eric said...

When I first started this blogging thing, I read (and tried to comment on) tons of blogs. Aspiring writers, editors, agents, published authors, anyone. These days I still spend way too much time perusing blogs (I can't help it, too many talented writers out there) but I have become a little more selective. Okay, not completely but I'm weaning myself off. I swear.

I don't do Twitter or Facebook due to a lack of time. See paragraph above.

Nice post, Elana.

storyqueen said...

I am probably far less analytical...

I read blogs that I enjoy...and most are writers who share where they are in the process.

Even if you are published (like me) it is possible to still get Sooooo much from discussing the ups and downs with other writers.

For me, my blog is just a place to have a conversation with a community of writers. I don't really much care if it is a huge conversation or not.

Just so that it is genuine.

Great post.

Shelley

TerryLynnJohnson said...

It is so easy to get pulled into reading too many blogs and find yourself late for work! I mostly read blogs that give good writing advice, that I can relate to, and that sound like real people. I have also been checking out book blogs - mostly for my own reading pleasure, but also to prepare for my release.
These are good questions Elana. Good post.

Summer said...

I actually just did a post like this a few days ago. I've cut all the "industry" blogs out completely. No need, and they all say the same thing. I do keep The Rejectionist, but that's just for giggles.

I prefer to spend my blogger time supporting aspiring authors, giving people words of encouragement or a laugh, and generally letting them know that at least one person out there likes to hear what they have to say.

Facebook is strictly personal for me, and Twitter is still fairly personal. I'm not the biggest fan of hashtags and the chats just boggle my mind, so...

Good post!

Susan R. Mills said...

Sounds like how I spend my blog time. I still visit the agents/editors blogs every once in a while, but not often. When I get ready to query again, that might change.

Bethany Wiggins said...

I read few blogs. I try to focus on blogs of people who are in the same stages as me, or are trying to get an agent because those are the blogs I really connect with.

Karen Lange said...

This is a great breakdown of things. It helps me to see how others prioritize, especially during a personally super hectic time. This too shall pass, but I find myself floundering a bit juggling everything.

I am pre-published in the novel dept., published as far as articles and misc. go, and self published with a how to booklet. So much of my blogging time is spent getting to know other writers along the same lines, making friends (which has been amazing and fun) and learning much.

Thanks for your thoughts. You always make me think.
Have a wonderful day, all,
Karen

Christine Fonseca said...

Hmm...I have my 5 t 10 must reads every day...simply because I find them entertaining. Otherwise - I also read the blogs of new people to stop by my own, as well as a few I stumble across. As for FB and Twitter...before work - 10 minutes each to get caught up...and after work for chats (3 per week).

KLo said...

I read a little bit of everything. I started out focusing on blogs of aspiring writers, but I've met some fascinating and remarkable people (with amazing blogs) that I enjoy very much.

I find that I am more likely to be personal on my Facebook ("Going to the boyfriend's to drink a bottle of wine") while my Twitter tends to be mostly vague and more silly ... and my blog is where I think and say what I want to say in the best way I can. I'm rambling ... :)

Natalie said...

Wow, 90 blogs! You are amazing. I read about 20 a day (when I'm reading blogs), and that feels like a lot.

I still read Pubrants daily, but you are right, I don't bother with any of the other industry blogs anymore unless there is big news. My blogging time is almost entirely devoted to writing friends.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Timely post for me. I love how you have broken this all down. For me the reading and the commenting is mostly about relationship and sharing process. Thanks for your posts on this. They have been clarifying.

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

I try to read as much as I can. To be honest I don't comment on all the post that I read, which I prolly should. I read a mixture of both really. Since I am not published yet and squirming like a fish out of water...I read both published and aspiring authors' blogs. Call me Sponge Bob as I take in all I can get from agents and editors' blogs.

Blogging as really opened my eyes to the writing world and boy...was I blind before.

Kayeleen said...

I don't think I've even looked at twitter for several days and I don't have many people to connect with there.

Facebook is all about my real life, too. I only have a couple of writing friends and the rest are all people I actually know. I have an addictive personality, so I don't do the games and stuff there. I would spend the whole day doing that otherwise.

My blog reading is currently shifting. I started out with lots of agents and searching for tips and advice, but now I'm connecting with people who are at various stages of the journey. It's fun to see people who are ahead of me a few paces or behind me a few paces. It gives me a measure of where I am and where I want to be.

Suzette Saxton said...

That's always what it comes down to, isn't it? Time.

KrysteyBelle said...

I read a few published authors. Maggie Stiefvater and Richelle Mead crack me up. I also love The Merry Sisters of Fate. It's because of them that I learned to use short stories to break out of the mold of my usual writing.

I also frequent a lot of unpublished and about to be published authors.

Slamdunk said...

90 blogs? Wow, you deserve your weekend then.

I like the way you describe your blogging transformation--going from published authors and agents to up-and-coming writers and readers. I think this is valuable advice for new bloggers who write novels as it provides the best opportunity to build relationships that will help him/her as they progress.

Bethanne said...

I went through the same progression and [now that I know everything] I stick to blogs that I enjoy--not that I didn't enjoy the industry blogs! Friends, family, fellow writers...

I'm really good at reciprocating. Not so good at initializing, though. I need to work on that. :)

Actually, that's only true of blogs that DON'T come to my inbox. Those are a different story. I wish I could get ALL my favorite blogs in my inbox. There should be a law about having email subscription!!! :D

Lisa and Laura said...

You ROCK, E. 90 blogs a day is freaking amazing. And I love this progression. You have documented our social networking journey to a t. Now if we could just figure out how to find those elusive teen readers....

Mary Aalgaard said...

The more "real life" the blogger is, the more I like it. I skim the resource ones. I glance at the agent one. I celebrate the about to debut autors. But, I'm having coffee and lunch with the regular folks. I want mine to be a journaler's blog. I want people to read my words for inspiration, for hope, for connections, and for real life reflections. That's all.

Jessica said...

My facebook is really for my friends only and I don’t really do it that much. I don’t twitter, yet. And my blogging I would say that I have foot in both Agents and Aspiring/Sold-but-not-out. I’m still cramming in every ounce I can get from Agents due to I don’t have an agent yet. I also love the advice from the people that are in the process of or have an agent. Their take on the whole process is great.

Catherine Denton said...

Ditto. Except for the reading 90 blogs and commenting part--can't do that right now. But I DO enjoy reading up when I get the chance!
Winged Writer

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I read mostly blogs by fellow aspiring authors like me - it's both comforting and encouraging to me. There are a few published author blogs I enjoy (Jody Hedlund), and I like to pop in on Getting Past the Gatekeeper, because her personality totally cracks me up.

Bish Denham said...

Most of the blogs I read are those of aspiring authors. We're all in this together.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Shannon, Getting Past the Gatekeeper is awesome. She never ceases to make me laugh ...

paulgreci said...

I'm reading blogs of writers, both published and unpublished. My goal is to meet people, and make connections and hopefully some friendships.

I also read some industry blogs but now that I have an agent, I'm reading less agent blogs but still love to read Betsy Lerner's because she is so funny and often blogs from the perspective of a writer b/c she's a writer too.

Thanks for the thoughtful post Elana!

Carolyn V. said...

I'm at the same place you are. I don't read much of the published authors, I spend most my time with newly published or published hopefuls. Because I can connect with them. =)

Krista said...

I haven't thought of the way I read blogs, but I'd say right now I'm still mixing it up, though I am beginning to wean away from the "informative" articles because the lessons are becoming familiar. That's a good feeling.
I Facebook with family and friends, and it's all about my life other than writing, though I do include news about my publishing dates, contests, etc. that I know my friends care about.
Twitter is all about writing, like you. I check it a few times a day along with my email. I've made more connections through Twitter than through my blog (and yes, I find that sad), but I'm working on it. Every once in a while I Tweet about something fun unrelated to writing. Writers connect in more than one way.
Also, like you, I'm drawn to the new authors. I love that anticipation, the surprises, the disappointments... all that stuff I'm going through.

Crimey said...

At the beginning of my writing career, I spent a lot of time on agents' blogs and I've picked up a lot of helpful tips, but now that I'm a bit more seasoned I find that reading and interacting with other authors (often like me, pre-pub) is where I'm spending most of my time now.

Mary McDonald said...

I'm at the reading agents/publishers like crack stage. However, I don't comment much on those blogs. I spend most of my blog time reading people who are sharing my boat--The U.S.S. Aspiring Author.

My Facebook is much like yours, a mix of family, friends and writing friends. There's also a sub-catagory of fanfiction friends. That's where I got my start writing.

In the progression you describe, I'd have to put fanfiction in there before the unpublished writers. I loved my fanfic communities, but I need to branch out--however, I do still love to read fanfic.

jessieharrell said...

Great post - you're making me rethink where I "hang out." I am about done with Facebook (except for high school friends and family), but have been spending most of my time on Twitter. Agents and others tend to tweet links to insightful writing tips and articles, so I've been using Twitter to build my knowledge base. But my blog has languished and I've ignored the blogs of others. *shame*
I'm going to be better to my blog friends - truly!

Kim said...

Love this post! Like you, I spend most of my time on blogs of other aspiring authors. The blogs that I read that are by published authors are mostly local - people who I have met or taken a conference presentation from. I have found most of the blogs I read to be helpful, uplifting, and motivating.

L. T. Host said...

Right now, I frequent mostly pre-agented author blogs, industry/agent blogs, and marvel in awe at a few agented/ about to be pubbed/ pubbed authors such as yourself :)

Julia Smith said...

Perfect post on allocating those precious non-writing minutes. I like my blog time to be a give-and-take experience, so I gravitate away from bloggers who don't visit other bloggers.

The blogs I visit are a mish-mash of aspiring writers, published authors, poets, book bloggers, photographers, artists, purely slice-of-life bloggers and pop culture lovers. All of these different blogs feed my creative muse in different ways.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Then as a published author, I thank you for reading my blog!

I think my blog reading is about to shift. I follow a lot of YA book bloggers, but now that I am through with my series, I intend to shift to another genre.
I do follow a lot of authors and writers, many for inspiration, tips, and friendship. Blogging and blog reading probably occupies almost two hours of my day.

Facebook - I'm lame. I'm there five minutes tops.

Twitter about the same. Like you, I don't like it. Never figured out how to connect with the right people.

And my social site of choice - Deviant Art. I've been slack lately, even with a VT going through DA, but I can spend an hour there. (My writing club is there, so I have to take care of the Group.)

Hmmm... I'm online a lot!

Jana Hutcheson said...

So much wisdom! So much wisdom! I feel like you're my online blogging/writing mentor. (And I mean that in a totally non-creepy, non-stalky kind of way!) :)

Olivia Carter said...

I mostly read aspiring authors too. I do read a lot of local Utah published authors (supporting local writers to always good).

I have a lot of non-writer friends I read who I read too. That takes up a ton of time. I need to have a little schedule or something so I don't get carried away with the time I do have on blogs.

Great advice!

Yvonne said...

I tend to frequent those blogs by writers who are at the same stage as I am, preagented, or those who are newly agented with manuscripts out on submission. I spend less time (but still a great deal) on agent blogs and the more established authors.

I think I have gotten to the point where I know most of what agents have to say though there are some I still check daily. Did you see that amazing post yesterday by Nathan Bransford? About lacking confidence in your wirting? Man, that was spot-on for me.

I have a Facebook page but don't spend much time there and I don't Twitter, (didn't think I'd like it). Should I?

Anyway, all this is to say thanks for helping me to sort all this out.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Good thought. :) Honestly, I read "professional" blogs when I need help with a particular issue, but by in large I like "real people blogs." Blogging is about connecting with people. :) I'm pretty sure my publisher would like me to talk non-stop about my book promotions, but I think that would be really boring. :P
So there, my opinion. :)
As to other Social Networking, I decided to split my FB account. One personal page where I can goof off with my friends and a public page where I can talk about the book and try to engage readers.

December said...

When I'm hitting refresh on twitter too much, and I'm bored by the action, I try to turn it off and do something new. Like WRITE!! LOL!

B. Miller said...

I'm still relatively new to the writing blog thing (started at the end of January), and I've found the blogs I enjoy the most are well written, concise, and posted by authors at one stage or another in the creative process. It helps me carry on with what I'm doing to know there are lots of friends out there in the blog-o-sphere doing the same thing I am.

That being said, after reading about a writing platform I started up a twitter account specifically for my writing, the blog I maintain on a daily basis (I also refuse to read or write blogs on the weekend, I look at it as part of my job, so I take a little break from it each week), and a Facebook fan page. You might want to check this out - it's how I separate my Facebook personal life from my writing, and where all my friends are directed so they can see what I'm up to, writing-wise, without inundating everybody with news.

Thanks for posting! This was a great entry.

WindyA said...

I mostly read the blogs of aspiring writers too, but I do have a few fave published authors that talk about things beyond their writing lives who I like to follow because, well, it makes me feel a little better knowing that these fantastical people are just that - people too. It makes them more real.

As for agents and editors, there are a few who I follow and read when they have a post of interest, but beyond that, I usually just skim.

Most of my blogging is around the relationships I want to build/grow with other writers online. It's nice getting to know people online, and then really cool when you get to know them in person too!

VR Barkowski said...

Facebook is a mishmash. It started out networking, but my family found me.

I have two Twitter accounts one for writing and one for close, non-writing friends. Haven't figured out either, and it's been a year.

I spend the most time blogging. I visit primarily aspiring writer blogs although some are no longer aspiring, but published or soon to be published. WOOT! What's most interesting to me personally is, although I write very adult psychological mysteries, most of the blogs I visit belong to YA or MG authors. It's such a warm supportive community.

I do still skim the agent blogs but seldom read them anymore.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm on Facebook but not Twitter, though I am thinking about it. I'd try to keep a limit like you do to not get sucked in. That's such good advice.

I'm so impressed you keep up with so many blogs. I couldn't with my other demands. I still read some agent/editor blogs. A few like Cheryl Klein, Pub Rants, KitLit, I find really informative and would probably stay on. I am reading more author blogs, whether agented or not, or published or not, that I really like. I'd like to increase that, especially debut authors or pre-agented, agented ones. I also read and comment on some book review blogs that review in my genre, hoping to make friends and maybe a place to get my book revieiwed and/or get interviewed when the happy day comes when I'm published.

Tere Kirkland said...

I'm mostly checking out what mah peeps are up to. They're my critiquers, my sanity, my motivation. And hopefully, someday they'll want to read my books!

I can't think of a better way to spend my time online!

lbdiamond said...

After a while, you do kind of "hear it all."

I feel inclined to support and interact with people "at" my level, as well as learn from those who've progressed to being agented and published and offer tips to those who are just starting. Why?

Consider the three levels of relationships. When learning, you need someone more knowledgeable than you so you can continue to learn. You need someone at your level to practice with and commisurate with. You need someone greener than you to pass on your knowledge to, thereby keeping the cycle going.

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

I'm with you on the types of blogs I read. I like to keep up with writer friends I've met along the way (Elana Johnson for one), as well as hopefully help a few writers new to the game, not so much with their writing, but their inspiration. I know I would have kept trying regardless, but my virtual writing friends became a huge outlet for support, cheerleading and the occasional "I need a good kick in the back side!".

I found absolutewrite.com to be a fantastic resource for meeting great writers all in different stages of the publishing game and a place to get wonderful support! I still go there and still get a lot out of it! ;)

xoxo -- Hilary

Janet Johnson said...

I read friends and family and a few aspiring writers and a few published ones, 1 or 2 agents, and 1 or 2 editors. Sometimes. I'm just getting into this stuff.

I still only blog for family (though you've been nice to look in from time to time). :) It is easy to get sucked in to this world though. I admire your ability to get through so many.

OfficeGirl said...

I like to dabble on aspiring authors bloggies. They make me feel like Im not such a complete loser for writing because they are struggling too. In their own ways of course..I like their tips and pointers because they are realistic. Expecially, mothers who are wanting to write a book, because thats what I am. I dont feel so alone when they are trying to laundry and juggle a marriage at the same time they are trying to reach for the stars with dreams of their own. GO MOMS!

Deni Krueger said...

Never twitter. Hate it.

Facebook is only for family and friends since we live so far away, and only about once a week.

Blog is recently new, and is for family and friends. Story format to help them understand why I would ever want to pursuit a non-paying, sanity sucking profession:P I blog one or two times a week.

I'm not into social networking yet. I feel my time is better spent working on my writing.

Munk said...

I'm confused about the value of blogs (and social networking in general). I began following blogs and grabbed a FB account after completing the first pass on my first book. Since that time I have learned a bit about running the query letter gauntlet, but little more. I suppose I do find a nugget here or there that inspires me to self reflect, but as a writer who simply wants to write a better story, I don't get what all the fuss is about.
Does it help you sell your book? If so, how do you know? As a reader I never chose my books based on a person's blog profile. I'll admit that as a writer, I am interested, but I don't necessarily want to sell my story to other writers (exclusively anyway). Where is the blog that can help me write better? I want to knock socks off, not blog about how far they flew.

Am I that different?

Glynis said...

Facebook is for family and friends, mainly back in UK.
Twitter, I do exactly the same as you, it is writing connected only. I use it about three times a week.
Blogging is daily, I keep my three blogs going. I did stop my poetry one, but something happened today and I am keeping it going.

I have cut out 100's of Internet sites and blogs, it was too much for me. I follow a selected few who have supported me from the start. I add one or two new ones who interest me, such as yours Elana.

annerallen said...

Facebook annoys the hell out of me. I hate it that everybody who's "friended" me can see comments of everybody else. This week the lefties and righties got into a horrible fight on my page. Soooo not into being a referee.

I'm kind of over Twitter.

But blogs suck more and more of my time. Like you, I'm most interested in prepublished writers, or like me, the post-published who are trying to get back on the train. I tend to read all the comments in blogs like this and then click on people with interesting comments and read their blogs too. Whole days can evaporate that way. I need to get my focus back on my actual writing.

arlee bird said...

There you go again! Another good post and I'm pretty much with you on all the points you make. I don't do Twitter yet, and not as much Facebook as I did in the past, but blogging is very consuming. I read the ones like yours that have good pointers and forums for other bloggers. A lot of the pros like agents, like you say, talk about a lot of the same things that are in the writing books on my bookshelves. There is a lot of good reading on the blogs.

Yesterday, I wrote about blog things that bug me and one was the dateless posts. Then I see that yours is not dated that I can see (other than in the comments). You post regularly so I know that your posts are current, but have you ever though about dating your posts? (or is it there and I've missed it?)

I'm sure we in store for thousands of comments on this post--again! You are so amazing!

Lee

bookaholic said...

Your posts are always very well researched and logical.Love that :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'm with you on the agent blogs. I don't frequent them and I rarely, if ever comment on them. There's really no point.

However, I always comment on friends' blogs. And I've made a lot of writer friends since I started blogging. That was my goal- I'm in Alaska and there's just not a lot of opportunities to connect with other writers.

Palindrome said...

I like to spend my blogging time with aspiring writers and people who love the same things that I do.

There's only one long-time author's blog I read...and that's because I hope he will one day notice me and my love (and slight obsession)for his every thought.

I find reading the blogs of people who are going through or have recently gone through the same things that I have, are a lot more inspiring and help to keep me writing.

I have facebook but rarely use it for writing or anything. I prefer to keep my personal life offline away from the interwebs.

Nicole said...

I read exclusively from aspiring authors and those on the path to representation/publication. I'm writing, and I need to hear how others are approaching their projects and feel inspired by their successes.

I don't FaceBook or Twitter at this time :)

Hey Elana, I left you an award and outed you on my blog (LOL, come see what I mean!!)

L.T. Elliot said...

I spend time on the blogs that reach me. Usually, that means aspiring writers or moms or friends. There's a few published authors that I enjoy reading and one in particular that never, ever fails to move me. I keep waiting for that to change but it doesn't. =P
Bascially, I just do what I want and go where I want. =]

Katie said...

This was a cool post Elana. I loathe Twitter and check in with FB periodically. I guess I spend the most time on blogs which isn't much. I always feel like I should read more, comment more, write more.

Which ends up making me nutty.

Falen said...

i, too, don't read any published author blogs (not counting the few that have books coming out this year).
Also, within the last month or so i've really cut down on my industry blogs. I just skim them now.
But yes, once upon a time, i read them at the cost of everything else in my life

Liz H. Allen said...

Like you, I spend most of my time with writers who are still on the journey of writing. Occasionally I'll follow a big time author who has good advice and the like, but right now, I'm here to make friends and find support so that I can finally finish something someday!

Em-Musing said...

I figured out how to stretch time. Really! I wasn't going to post about time tomorrow, but I will now. Check out http://em-musing.blogspot.com/ tomorrow and you'll see what I've come up with. :)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Okay, first of all, I *guess* I'll forgive you for not liking Twitter--if you can forgive me for not liking Facebook. I currently don't even have a facebook page. I know I need one, and I'll do it eventually. But Facebook feels like it's all about reconnecting with people from your past and well...if I wanted to be in touch with them I would've stayed in touch.

But--facebook ranting aside--I'm kinda where you are as far as my blog hopping. I used to read a lot more blogs by agents and well known writers, but now my focus is more on the people in the trenches with me. I learn more from them. I found my CPs that way. Got tons of querying advice from people currently querying, or who just finished it. Plus, I get to make awesome writer friends so that I don't feel like I'm on an island all my myself. None of my friends or family write, so if I didn't connect with other writers through blogging I'd be all alone. Blog hopping has helped me find tons of other writer friends whose inboxes I can spam all the time. *coughs* :)

Abby Stevens said...

My FB is strictly personal, though I do post when I have a new blog up on there because a lot of my friends read it casually but aren't in the blogging world so don't want to get into Following.

My Twitter is 90% writing, connecting with other writers and agents, reading, and 10% personal (but anything personal is always in consideration of the professional contacts who read my Tweets).

My blog is a form of self-expression and release, as well as a way to connect with other writers. I spend maybe 40% of my time reading agent blogs (Nathan Bransford, Kate Schafer Testerman, Kristen Nelson, Janet Reid, and Rachelle Gardner, mostly) because I truly enjoy reading them and like to stay up on publishing from an agent's perspective, though as you say, after a while you realize most of the agents say 75% the same things in different ways. It's just the nature and limitations of the information they can share. The other 60% of blogs I read are writing or reading related.

Abby Stevens said...

And btw, Elana, if you'd like to play along, I've awarded you the Awesomesauce Award! Thank you for all the hard work you put into your blog! It is incredibly helpful for myself and hundreds of other writers. :-)

http://www.abbystevens.com/2010/03/my-first-award-kierstens-cover.html

Charmaine Clancy said...

I blog about 3 times a week, so I have my little blog roll (Hmmm not so little) on the side that I visit. I visit every single blogger on the role of blogs I follow, whenever they have a new post. But I'm fussy now on who I follow.
My dirty secret? I only re-vist blogs that have google follow, because it's the only way I'm reminded. I also favour blogger sites and nicely organised sites (don't like the ones that stretch text across the whole screen). I also only follow the aspiring writer's journey or reviews of children's, YA or mystery books.

jbchicoine said...

I spend most of my blogging time with other writers who are at the same stage of the game as me, and a step above. That is, those in the process of writing their novel, querying, or who have landed and agent.

Then there are some who haven't written a novel yet, but thier writing is just that good...

Southpaw said...

Aspiring Writers = 70%
Agents/Editors = 10%
Published Authors = 10%
Non-writers = 10%

Cheree said...

Great post, Elana. I read mostly aspiring authors and ones who have more experience with which to share. There's also a few agents and published authors on my list as well. The trouble is, there are so many posts to read when I wake up that it's hard to keep up.

Kara said...

I am just starting to learn about the publishing industry and, as you had, I now subscribe to so many "how to be published" blogs that I can't keep up. I discovered QT, GLA, and Nathan Bransford on my own, and I'm pleased you recommended them.

I Twitter only for writing purposes, although I have a few personal friends on Twitter who showed me the ropes. I hope to get to know writers, agents, and editors (as well as you can get to know anyone in 140 characters), learn about the industry, and network. I'm trying to meet people like me, who are just starting out, so we can give each other support. Anyone interested? I'm @JayceeKaycee if you are.

Facebook is my personal network, although I'm starting to get a few writer-friends on FB too. That is bad, because now I feel that all of my FB posts have to be clever and professional.

I'm reluctant to start a blog because I'd rather spend my time writing than blogging. Once I do, I know it will take up almost all of my writing time.

MJR said...

I mainly read agents' and editors' blogs and aspiring authors' blogs--though I've had to cut back on reading and commenting because I was becoming a bit of a blog addict. I also enjoy Nathan Bransford's forums. Huffington Post has a new books page that's kinda interesting and I read other book-related blogs, too.

Dominique said...

I read some agent blogs, some agented-writer blogs, but mostly they're all aspiring-novelist blogs. So, pretty much people in the same place I'm at.

Jemi Fraser said...

Most of my blogging time is spent like yours - the vast majority of people on my blog roll are aspiring authors somewhere along the curve (just starting, editing, querying, submitting to pubs) and a few published authors. I was feeling guilty about dropping most of the agents blogs from my daily rounds - guess I don't have to :)

Voidwalker said...

Very insightful way of looking at it. I've been feeling the time crunch lately due to some changes in at my job, and since work is the place I do a lot of my blogging from (Shhhhhh don't tell) I'm forced to cut back my blogging... :(

So, time management is-a-needed. Good timing on your part to help me separate the priorities.

Amy Tate said...

Elana, you read my mind! Why is it that published authors don't blog? I don't get that. Is it because they're so busy writing and publishing that they find it a waste of time? I LOVE my cyberspace writing buddies, yet I constantly struggle to balance blogging with writing, but it's so worth it. If authors use their social networking solely for selling books, then they're online presence seems fake. Oh! I just thought of an author who blogs all the time - Laurie H. Anderson. Now that's a good blog!

Jamie D. said...

I'll ditto Southpaw on the blog breakdown:

Aspiring Writers = 70%
Agents/Editors = 10%
Published Authors = 10%
Non-writers = 10%

In business, the advice is always to dress for the position you *want*, not the one you have. That's kind of how I feel about hangin' with published authors - that's where I want to be, so I definitely spend time there (and I've made a couple good friends from that). Non-writers for me include readers/reviewers, to build relationships *now* that could benefit us both later, and blogs for other interests I have.

I use friend lists on Facebook to post different statuses to different groups. If you friend me and you're a writer, unless you specifically request "all access", you'll only see status reports from me that have to do with writing (aside from the occasional automatic off-topic blog post). My Friends/family lists don't see my writing status messages. So I use it for both, not just one or the other.

Twitter is mainly writing for me, but it's also normal "life" stuff, nail art stuff, tea stuff, and whatever else I happen to be thinking of. And my follower/following lists reflect that too.

Blogging is day/evening, FB and Twitter are evenings & weekends. I'm always somewhere. :-)

Corey Schwartz said...

I miss the days when I only followed 20 o 30 blogs and I read EVERY post that everyone put up. I felt like I really knew those people.

Now I try to keep up with a couple of hundred, but miss posts and feel like I am not getting the complete picture on anyone!

OfficeGirl said...

Hi Elana! I giveth you an award! yay for you! Go see!

kathrynjankowski said...

Even when time is readily available, social networking has to be limited or it will suck up the energy that belongs in your writing.

Facebook: Useful for staying in touch with friends from school.
Twitter: Nope.
Blogs: I post once a week and have a handful or two that I read religiously and comment on as often as I can. The rest are catch as catch can. I'm stunned at your ability to visit so many; the words start blurring for me.
;-)

G said...

I read a little bit of everything. At the moment, I say about 75% of my blogs are media related, which is to say they consists of writers in the YA genre, the sci-fi horror genre, poetry and pulp fiction.

From those, I do strive to not only pick up valuable writing tips, but to also hang out and make my presence known.

As you say, branding is what ya gotta do, in order to move onwards in the world.

Lydia Kang said...

Your comments about time are so true!
I didn't realize it, but I blog a lot like you. I spend time with aspiring writer blogs and even now, I spend less and less time with agent sites.
As always Elana, a brilliant blog post. And I really, really, really appreciate your blog support. Having blog friends is really important to me. So thanks!!!

Jen said...

I have no system. I read when I want, what I feel like reading. I check facebook when I feel like it. Twitter annoys me so I go there to see if its still annoying.

I think about what to blog while I clean and sleep.

Henya said...

I loved reading this blog. Right now I read everything and anything that has to do with writing. Of course I'm not published yet (that's why), and maybe because I'm still searching for that magic wand. Time consuming. Too much. I think that after reading this blog, I might just cut back a little and concentrate on the important stuff. Like: writing.

Jennie Englund said...

Again, your authenticity is refreshing.

I'm so honored to be one of the 90 pages on which you commented Friday.

Boo yah!

Terri Tiffany said...

I hadn't really thought about it all but I think I tend to do the same--go to blogs of writers who are about where I am in the process. Though it's fun to see the ones who have made it too cause I knew them when ...lol.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Ah, but don't forget many pre-pubbed bloggers do review and giveaways. I love hanging out with both pubbed and pre-pubbed authors.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kat Harris said...

Wow. I could have written this post. I find myself in the exact same boat. I read mostly blogs by other aspiring authors. It's kind of fun to watch other writers go through their journey toward publication. It's like seeing dreams come true everyday.

Horserider said...

I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook either and I don't even HAVE a Twitter (though I'm started to get tempted to try it out).

As for blogs, I read a little of everything. I have published, agented, and pre-published writers (mostly friends), agents, and editor blogs. I'm almost to the point where the agent and editor blogs aren't really teaching me anything, but not to the point where I'd quit reading them yet. I should probably be looking more at blogs that cover the actual craft of writing rather than the publishing aspects.

Christi Craig said...

I read blogs of other writers, some published, some not. I don't know how well that builds my online presence, but I sure learn a lot.

And, I use Twitter as a resource. I see so many links to other blog posts that I typically miss - about publishing or writing tips or insights on life before and after publication.

And, I'm not on Facebook. Reading blogs and Twitter take up more time than they should some days!

Claire said...

Great post, thanks for sharing.

I also find myself spending most of my blogging time on blogs of those similar to myself, writers working towards publication. (That and on jewerly making/craft blogs since I hang out on handcraft forums). I do read two published authors livejournals. It's interesting to see what they write about, but I also read those journals as a reader. I love how the one author writes her journal, even the most average daily things are enjoyable to read about the way she writes. I also follow some agent/pro blogs, some of which I read more often then others.

With facebook, I have mostly friends and family (the people I've met off line), though I also have fellow writers who I've gotten to know on the writer's forum I belong to. Facebook for me is something fun and not just for writing. Now one of these days I may make a fan page when it's appropriate, and that would be for writing related stuff.

I do enjoy twitter, and that eats into my blog writing/reading time a bit. Though it's somewhat blog related in a way since people I follow tend to post blog links to posts that I enjoy reading. I've found some blogs to follow that way.

Casey McCormick said...

I read a mixture but my favorite blogs are the blogs of other aspiring writers.

I actually just (like a minute ago) unsubscribed to about 30 blogs. It sucks but I have to do it from time to time. I'm constantly adding blogs to my reader, so I have to go through and unsubscribe to the ones I don't enjoy or get much out of.

elizabeth mueller said...

Hi Elana! It was so nice seeing you at the book launch!

The bloggie buddies I follow are aspiring authors, published authors, editors, agents and publishers.

I encourage the aspiring, cheer on the published authors and educate myself with all others. :)

Thank you for this valuable post!

SB said...

very interesting thoughts. I blog because I love to write - and because I fear writing more than a blog's worth of content. I read blogs because, I think, I aspire to one day get over this fear and go further - so reading author's (from varying successes and steps in the publishing process) is inspiring...


not too serious i hope

Medeia Sharif said...

Same here. I used to read agents' blogs when I was querying, but now I'm following blogs of aspiring and debut authors.

Christi Goddard said...

Heya! The Soulmates Award was just created on March 21st as a sort of social experiment by me to see how far it goes, but I can't keep track if things go astray, so I've been laboriously tracking down recipients (hopefully before they post) to let them know the correct address to link back to is at my blog:

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/2010/03/soulmate-award.html

Thanks so much. And it's awesome to find another fantasy writer out in the blogosphere.

Theresa Milstein said...

Great post.

I think my path has been similar to your path. At first, I found editor and agent blogs and checked them more regularly. You're right - it gets repetitive. then I found other writers who commented on those blogs. Now I spend most of my time reading aspiring authors' blogs, with a few agented and soon-to-be published authors' blogs. Because of my teacher content, I read those types of blogs too. For me, it's about camaraderie with writers and teachers (especially subs).

As for Facebook, mine is mostly social, but I'm getting more writers. I haven't bothered with Twitter at this point.

Christi Goddard said...

And regarding this post (now that I had a moment to come back and read it), I spend most of my blog time with unagented writers who share my same woes and eurekas.

I don't Twitter or Facebook. In fact, I don't even have(or want) a cell phone OR cable television. *GASP* right? I'm so 80s.

Amber Lynae said...

I definitely have gone through stages of what blogs I read. I think I'm more with the aspiring authors as well as a few published authors or some to be published.

But mainly, I hang where I feel at home. Sometimes I just scroll by other times I stop and stay. I dunno I guess it just all depends on what I have happening at home and the struggles I'm facing in my writing.

Nichole Giles said...

There are a handful of agent blogs I read, because I'm still looking. But mostly, I'm like you. Connecting with other aspiring authors and book bloggers. Sometimes I read published authors, but more often I read the blogs of people who are in the same stage as me.

Get this. I like to encourage those people to keep going. It helps me remember that I am not the only writer on the planet who is gathering rejections like dust-bunnies.

BTW--did I fix my blogger settings now?

Melanie Avila said...

I still subscribe to agent blogs but I tend to skim all but the funny ones. The majority of my time is spent on aspiring writers' blogs and other friends'.

I wrote about time today, not realizing that was your topic yesterday. ;)

Jennifer Walkup said...

This is a great post. Love your descriptors of time in the first paragraph. I have similar schedule to you although I prob spend a bit more time on Twitter. LOL. I don't really use FB much and blogs are the best, esp. aspiring author blogs, true and yep!

Lisa Nowak said...

I am so impressed that you comment on 90+ blogs every week. And I also know that it would make me absolutely crazy to do that. You must have super blogging powers. :)

Terresa said...

Liza (comment #1) summed it up well; my experience is similar:

"I read aspiring writers, like me, and those who are further along the path, like you, but above all, I must like the writing so that the blog becomes a place to enjoy and a place to learn."

If I don't like the writing style or background (I loathe black backgrounds, I feel like I'm in a cave), I don't usually linger.

My blog interest is pretty varied at the moment, but I'm working on overhauling my Reader folders. One blog at a time.

Faith Pray said...

Elana, I read your posts and take notes. It's true. You hash this stuff very well. Thank you!

Henya said...

I used to spend most of my time on myspace...met many nice people before branching out to reading agents' how to...s. There's just so much you can read. Time consuming. I'm now looking to find non-published authors.

Great post....as usual.

aidel said...

Most of my time is spent reading books (and a few print publications like The New Yorker). I read tons and tons of blogs, but only a handful or writerly blogs. I spend a fair amount of time on Twitter, but most of it is spent following links and subsequently getting 'lost' on the interwebz. Very little time on Facebook and I usually read far more than I post. I usually go for blogs with excellent writing and top-notch, mind-boggling content. I am not so interested in people's personal publishing woes. However, blogs like Language Log get quite a bit of my time and attention.

Alison Stevens said...

This is incredibly timely. I am new to Twitter and find myself spending too much time on it, just to figure out what I'm doing. Between Twitter, Facebook, and my blog, I feel as though I spend too much time networking and not enough time writing. Thanks for some pointers on making better use of my time!

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