UPDATE: I recently realized that I had the comments set so that only typekey users could leave comments. This has been rectified so anyone should be able to leave a comment. Sorry for the inadvertent extra hurdle – ironic ain’t it. Please feel free to add your thoughts below.
One of the things I have noticed during the last year is that I no longer am able to interact with blogs in quite the same way I used to. And I wonder if this doesn’t have a big influence on the traffic and the nature of the traffic at this blog.
I have a gut feeling that interaction between blogs produce a kind of connection and/or relationship which then drives readers. For example, general book reviews don’t generate a lot of comments or interaction. They are sort of passive that way. You simple read the review. Unless you have read the same book and have passionate feelings about it, or take issue with what the review said, there is little to comment about.
In contrast, posts that provide links and commentary are much more likely to create comments and feedback. Any long time blogger will tell you that some offhand joke or comment seems to end up driving the most comments and traffic in a way that they never anticipated. In this way, its seems that blogs about the world of books and publishing – links, opinion, gossip, etc. – create a lot more buzz than blogs that focus on reviews.
It also seems that bloggers who interact within the literary blogosphere garner more buzz and create more connections and thus readers. Leaving comments and linking to other blogs is a sort of indicator that you are part of a group; that you are a part of the conversation. By participating in these discussions you become part of a group and are included in people’s reading lists. Hang around blogs long enough and people feel like they know you and they develop sense of your taste and style. This in turn leads people to check out your blog; add a sidebar link; etc.
As I have become more and more busy with a growing family and a change in career I have had less and less time to read and comment on other blogs. Forced to choose between spending time reading more blogs and reading books I have chosen to keep reading books (throw in football season and it gets tricky). As a result, I no longer feel like I am part of the conversation or part of a group. It is an odd place to be. I still communicate with publicists and get books sent to me. I still post to a “lit blog” and yet the vast majority of my traffic comes from Google searches related to books and authors not from other blogs.
I honestly don’t mean this as a big pity party for me. The situation is of my own creation and stems from my own unique interest and habits (bad and good). And I am not arrogant enough to assume that what interests me interests lots of other people. Or that my quirky take on books is of a style and quality that should generate a large fan base. Things are what they are.
No, what this long winded discussion is leading to is a question: what makes for an interesting lit/book blog? What mix of content do you look for in such a blog? What type of blogs are you more likely to visit on a daily basis or even throughout the day?
This is not a plea for traffic or attention. Or at least it isn’t any more so than having your own blog to begin with . . .
I really am interested in what readers find interesting and compelling. Perhaps, I can start a conversation and learn something at the same time.