Welcome Intake readers. I’m now blogging over there (as well as on Xanga, LiveJournal, MySpace, Friendster, as well as the original blogger site). I thought now would make a great excuse for me to allow me to (re-)introduce myself a bit. I’m a horror writer, though I also do reviews for Hollywood Jesus and have a review blog there. My day gig, besides being a productive writer (in other words, the one that pays the bills), is as an environmental toxicologist for Commonwealth Biomonitoring. I am the facilitator for The Dwelling Place (for those having trouble finding the office of facilitator defined in the Bible, if you check the original Greek, the word we translate as facilitator comes from the word also translated loosely as “semi-meaningless title so that we don’t have to explain to church visitors why one of the church leaders writes scary stories”). Because I know that you want to get to know me better, I’ll highlight a few choice previous blogs: Namely how I’m a Christian horror writer and my spiritual journey thus far, though you might remember me from my profile in Intake not too long ago.

So, with introductions done, I thought that I’d get to the point of today’s missive, namely why am I turning over a new leaf when it comes to blogging. I’d been doing some whining about my limited readership, um, reassessing how to make my blog more popular/accessible. I’ll admit it: I’m an egotist – I write to be read. It had been pointed out to me that, frankly, some of my essays can sometimes take the turn of being long as well as … esoteric. Well, writer JA Konrath (A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing) recently had this to say about what makes a good blog:

1. Content is King. It’s what brings people back. It’s what draws new readers through search engines. If you share important information, experience, and wisdom, you’ll build a readership.
2. Lists, Tests, and Bullet Points. A text-heavy blog is a turn off. Pay attention to negative space. People like to absorb information in bite-size pieces. The easier it is to digest and read, the more return visits you’ll have.
3. Stay Focused. Stick to one topic per entry, and make sure this topic is different from previous topics so your readership doesn’t get bored. What is the reason for your blog? Do you have a reason?
4. Ask Questions. A blog isn’t a monologue. The best ones ask questions to provoke feedback.
5. Be Friendly. This is the community watering hole, and you are the bartender. Be welcoming, friendly, and accommodating. Answer questions, be polite, and be genuinely glad people have shown up.
6. Be Controversial. Arguing is good. Disagreement is good. As long as everyone remains civil, encourage debate.
7. Link to Other Blogs.
8. Free Stuff. Periodically hold contests or give away free things. Everyone loves free things.
9. Keep Yourself Out of It. Unless the focus of your blog is your personal life, your personal life doesn’t have much of a place in a blog.
10. Strive for Perfection. An occasional typo is harmless. Every other word spelled wrong is annoying. Most blogs have Spellcheck. Use it.
11. Limit Self-Promotion.
12. No Blog is an Island. Besides linking to other blogs, you should reference other blogs in your blog entries.

Do you see suggestion #3? I have yet to pick a topic or even a focus for this blog o’ mine. For the record, I tend to focus on the three ‘R’s: race, religion, and writing. As with any craft, you have to learn the rules for doing it so that you know when to break them.

In other words, the rules can bite me and everyone can just swim in Lake Me!*

*And yes, sometimes my blogs will run a little long. Love and kisses to John A. Burks.

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