Who Reads Us and Why Do We Blog? And Does it Help Us as Writers?

One of the little spambots that faithfully follows this blog left a touching message for me yesterday: 

I favor your sensitive information. It gave me deep impression.

*sniff* So touching. *weep*

So here's my question: is this true? Do people really favor us bloggers' sensitive information? Do people want to know the mundanities of our lives, the deep impressions of our inner struggles? Our ebbing and flowing on the estrogen pill of life?

I've been trying to figure this out. The whole blogging-thing has been an interesting journey for me over the past two years. I've learned a lot. My writing has improved. It's been great fun just being creative and brain-dumping all over the blog-o-sphere. But is that really what people want? Who is reading the blogs?

Here's what I've noticed: The blogs with the most traffic seem to offer something concrete. The Pioneer Woman and Mormon in Manhattan offer vicarious living. Both women blog about lives and loves that are outside the ordinary. 

Then you have the plethora of writer's blogs, where people go, I think, hoping to learn, maybe catch a little fame for themselves, maybe do a little hero worship.

There are, of course, the blogs that sort of started the boom: the mommy blogs. And I think readers flock there to commiserate, share parenting tips and recipes, and gain friends.

And finally there are the how-to blogs, like Rurification: How to live and work in the country. Or if you're really hands on, you can get über specialized, into things like how to make a medieval sword, build your own yurt, make yogurt, knit a dog house, etc.

Whatever is happening with blogging, I'm not convinced that the publishing world is right in placing so much emphasis on having a social media following if you want to be a published author. I don't think it's an indicator of who will buy your books. Rather, I think it is an indication of what people are using the internet for, and whether or not you can give them the information they want.

Writing is becoming an Everyman/Everywoman kind of activity. If you have the energy to code your book into eReader format and just publish the thing yourself, you can be an author. And whether or not you go the traditional publishing route, you're going to have to promote the living daylights out of yourself. If you have a following, well, it may help. But outside of those people who know you because you've been blogging/tweeting/facebooking/YouTubing at them for the past few years? It remains to be seen what the best way is now of attracting them. I'd love to hear your thoughts on where this is all going, if you have a mo.

Well, sigh. I'll just be happy when the whole publishing world settles down and figures itself out. In the meantime, I'm going to keep writing here. Because even though you, my dear readers for whom I am most grateful, are few in numbers, I love writing for you. And you are always most encouraging.

If nothing else, I've got a nice little set of Janiel's Thoughts I can trot down to my local Kinkos to bind into a book for my posterity.

Thanks for being here. Next time there will be raspberry lemonade and cookies.

About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. I have a lot of the same questions. It takes a lot of time and energy to blog well. At some point there will have to be a pretty good return on investment of some sort to make the blogging worth it. I’ve been pondering the idea of a donations button, or advertising. I don’t want the advertising…at all, but something’s got to give. Literally.

    • Bleah. I hate the look of advertising on a blog, but can totally see why people do it. Some do it well. Pioneer Woman’s is tasteful. Others just look like spam sites. A donation button is a good idea–with all the great info you throw out there I would imagine you’d get some good response. Click-throughs might make more just because random visitors might hit those.

      Well, it’s a dilemma. The internet gives us a great opportunity to write. But there is the sacrifice of time. Not to mention everything you’re giving away for free. *sigh* We’ll see what happens, yeah?

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