November 16, 2007

Five Things About Blogging Meme

Hi Readers,

It has been a very good week here at Mr. Grudge. Articles have been piling up for future publication in this space, I broke a personal “visitor” record on Thursday (my readership is increasing, thank you!), I’ve chosen a new, three column design for this space to roll out in the next week or two (Thanksgiving is next week and there’s a lot of preparation for this holiday), and I’ve been tagged twice by two talented, prolific bloggers (see the previous post below). Mike French, owner and proprietor of “The View from Here” tagged me with a meme the other day, right after I was tagged by Eng Foo Tiam over at “Beautiful World.” Mike is a talented writer who is releasing his novel “The Dandelion Tree” on his other blog “Tales from the Tree,” where as Mike puts it “The Digg the Tree: An interactive readership where every 15 Digg votes rolls out another chapter from the book ‘The Dandelion Tree’.” So, get out your shovels, visit “Tales from the Tree” and start Digging.

The meme Mike presented me with is a very good one. There are five questions which I can’t possibly answer as artfully as Mike did with his video on “The View from Here.” However, I am a writer, and I pride myself on being able to “show, and not tell.” Anyway, without any further adieu, here are the five questions of this meme:

1. How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been a blogger for a little over a year. Originally, Mr. Grudge was a baseball blog. I am a huge baseball fan, an unabashed follower of The Bronx Bombers (that’s the New York Yankees, for the un-initiated) and I prefer the American league over the National League. One of my favorite reading topics is the history of baseball, and the business of the sport. I’ve amassed a substantial amount of essentially worthless baseball cards; worthless only to collectors, yet valuable to me. My blog was noticed by the owner of Gotham Baseball Magazine, and on a semi-regular basis, I submitted my posts to their fine publication where they were published online. I grew tired of blogging about baseball and eventually stopped submitting my less than stellar baseball observations to the nice folks at G.B. and closed my blog from June until late September of this year. That month, I began to blog again, but this time about my true passion: writing. What’s funny is that my original baseball blog attracted about two to three readers a week, including the traffic from the baseball magazine’s website. The new Mr. Grudge had more readers in the first week of it’s re-creation than it had in an entire year as its former self. Now, I have more visitors in a day than I had all year. It’s gratifying and marvelous at the same time.

2. What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?
My blogging was inspired by my desire to write about something I am enthusiastic about. My mentor, if you will is my good friend and talented artist Stephen Ingram. Please visit his fine blog and view his painting, drawings, and illustrations. He will be posting more soon. Stephen was the person who originally guided me along the way when I launched Mr. Grudge as a baseball blog. Though he was supportive of my original concept, he told me I should create it as something a little more tailored to my personality. This new blog format reflects me as my alter ego, and allows me to examine my goals as a writer and test my skills in this public format.

3. Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?
Everyone would like a little extra money. With that said, I am not trying to make money from advertising on this blog. I did have a couple of Google ads here and there but I removed them because I need the space and I can live without the approximately 35 cents I earned from clicks. If I ever do earn anything from this blog, it will be experience. There is always the small hope that I will somehow connect with someone in the literary world who would like to see my lengthier works and perhaps offer me a publishing deal. That is unlikely, of course, but I believe that anything is possible. I do have some plans as far as that is concerned, though (secret stuff). Still, I am going the traditional route of querying agents with letters and sample chapters of my work. So, while I do have fun doing this, I am doing this because I am passionate about my writing, and it would be nice to earn some sort of financial compensation for my efforts, but not from advertising revenue.

4. Tell me 3 things you LOVE about being online.
Well, I never really thought about this because my experiences are still very new, but I’ll give it a shot. I really love the comments I receive from readers. I take my time getting back to folks because I want to treat their comments with respect and return their remarks with more than just a “thanks.” I love the other blogs I’ve discovered while traveling throughout Blog Catalog. There are so many talented folks out there who make me wonder why I bother to write at all when I compare my stuff to theirs. In all truthfulness, I have become a fan of several blogs, and I admire the people who are able to create such fine work. The other thing I love about being online is the knowledge that people are actually reading something I wrote and taking it seriously. Whether I am trying to be funny, or when I publish something serious, or post articles on writing, I feel a sense of pride when I look at my site-meter and see people landing on Mr. Grudge. When the first comments roll in, I get a bit anxious, wondering if this person is going to like what I wrote, or even get it. Overall, my responses have been extremely supportive and positive.

5. Tell me 3 things you STRUGGLE with on-line.
After some thought, I struggle with dealing with some of the online social blogging communities. So far, Blog Catalog has been the absolute best social networking site I belong to and participate in. My interactions with other bloggers there have been rewarding and beneficial for me. Much of my traffic comes from referrals from Blog Catalog. Other blogging sites, especially book marking sites, have a hostile feel to them, and I get the sense that many of the users are cliquish and gang up on newbies. In spite of the allure of drawing more readers, I avoid blogging sites where users feel free to browse around in un-moderated fashion and leave comments with no real contribution of their own other than profane remarks. I also struggle with proposals from entrepreneurs have found my “site” and absolutely love it and want me to offer my readers some “great” product or service they have. I do my best to shield my readers from such blatant hucksterism. Hey, I was a member of the NYPD, and I believe my B.S. detector is much more acute than they average bear. That is why it is insulting to me when I receive e-mails telling me how “cool” my site is and would I be a sport and use valuable web page space putting up links to sell their junk. I also struggle with someone adding me as their “friend” and it is obvious that they never actually visited my blog, but they simply clicked the “add this user as a friend” button and hope that I do the same. Actually, I usually do add them as a friend in the hopes that they do eventually find my blog. It surprises me when I visit their blog and find out it is nothing but a link farm full of banner ads and articles on nothing but how to make money on line. Hey, I am all for people earning cash, I just don’t see how thousands of people can all have the same blog or website telling others how to make money with their blogs and they all have essentially the same advice and advertising. Apparently, the way to make money with a blog is to absolutely cram it with banner ads, Google text boxes, and every other form of advertising including getting paid to review other blogs. I’m not sure who’s making money reviewing Mr. Grudge, but I can save you a lot of time by telling you that I am great. Here’s two bucks, post that.

I want to thank Mike French one more time for tagging me. Whenever I am tagged, I consider it a compliment. Please visit Mike’s blogs and support the terrific work he is doing there. Next up for tagging? Hmmm, I am going to spin around with my eyes closed and choose Kathy Frederick over at “The Junk Drawer.” She runs a link farm crammed with banner advertising, and useful tips on making money...I'm kidding! Kathy is a very funny blogger who recently began a series called “Food That Looks like Stuff” which has me laughing. Hey Kathy, if you’re too busy or you don’t feel like doing this, it’s okay. I would appreciate it, though, if you place a link on your site (Ha Ha, joke) for my paid, subscription newsletter for your readers to be able to buy my branded Mr. Grudge merchandise. Look for the Mr. Grudge bobble head dolls for Christmas. Thanks again, Mike.

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