C. M. MAYO
Author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, etc.


C.M. Mayo < For Writers < Resources < Digital Media < Getting Started with Websites and Blogs <

GETTING STARTED WITH BLOGS
(for websites, click here.)

C.M. MAYO

My Experience

My Tips for You

YE OLDE "MADAM MAYO"
I started my main blog, Madam Mayo, shortly after the Battle of Hastings... in March of 2006, aiming to help promote my anthology, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, and inspired by two friends of mine, Tom Hilde, who was blogging under the nom de blogue, "Helmut," at Phronesisaical on philosophy, torture, and fruit, and Liz Henry, crackerjack poet and literary translator with a blink-worthy purple hairdo.

The name of my blog was unintentionally given to me by DC poet E. Ethelbert Miller, who sent me a note addressed to "Madam Mayo," which made me cross my eyes— and then laugh because it made me think of Madam Mao. Seems nobody gets that. Oh well, it still makes me chuckle.

THE QUESTION OF FREQUENCY
I loved blogging, and for about three years, while promoting the paperback edition of my travel memoir, Miraculous Air, and my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, I blogged almost every day. At times, however, it felt like a burden, and as I value books far more, and writing those sucks up time in oceanic quantities, many times I thought of giving up the blog. But I have come to the conclusion that posting on Mondays (and oftentimes more often) is right for me. What's right for you? Only you can know.

UPDATE: As of 2017 posts are once a week; once in a while I take a vacation.

GRACIAS, GOOGLE
For me, blogging is a valuable outlet for expression, for sharing news, networking with other writers (love the guest-blog posts), and— to be blunt— oonching up my webpages' and podcasts' search engine rankings. Brick-and-mortar bookstores ain't what they used to be, and I am delighted to welcome new readers and correspondents who find me via a google search for some name or topic I've discussed on my blog.

Some writers measure their blog's success by the numbers of its readers. I really don't care about that (well, sniff, maybe a little), so I don't have much to say about it. It's not the variable I'm trying to maximize here. I blog about what I want to make visible (my books, podcasts, and workshops, etc) and what interests me— and that might be Marfa, dialogue exercises, José Luis Blasio, pugs and crop circles, decluttering a library, a favorite book about Iceland, writing workshops, or, say, an interview with the biographer of Mexico's eccentric poet, Pita Amor. I actually have a very interesting life but it's my life and, sorry, I don't share it online— though, once in a purple moon, I'll post a little something about my incredibly cute pug dog, Picadou, as, for example, when she models her spring coat!! (More about Picadou here and her little brother, Uli Quetzalpugtl, here.)

NO RULES, REALLY
A blog is whatever you want it to be. I found it kind of totally annoying how, back when blogging started to become a phenomenon, so many writers parroted assumptions about it— but I'd have to blog every day, but it has to be about my life, blah blah blah.

I do not blog every day nor, like I said, do I blog about my personal life. But if you want to do that on yours, well, it's all green lights from here to Paducah.


Update: March 2014
Eight Conclusions After Eight Years of Blogging

My talk for the Associated Writing Programs Conference.

Update: April 2016
Ten Years of Blogging: Reflections and Looking Foward

Update: March 2017
On the Occasion of Madam Mayo Blog's Eleventh Anniversary
Reflections on the whys and wherefores plus five lessons learned .

Like a website, a blog is a vital tool to communicate with your readers and the literary community. Depending on the software you use, a blog may also help boost your posts and your website (assuming you've linked to it from the blog) in the search engine rankings— which is to say the same thing: it is a vital tool to communicate with your readers and the literary community.

Get a blog in addition to your website, and something free hosted on www.blogger.com or similar should be fine. It's worked for me since 2006. That said, everyone who seems to know what they're doing uses Wordpress.

If you don't want to / can't spend money, no worries, get that free blog. Now.

Link to it from your website
, if you have one, and of course, link to your website from your blog.

If you want the search engines to find it, make it as rich with links and tags (labels) as you can.

Set a schedule
(or not) that works for you. Who says you have to blog frequently? You decide. My advice about commitment for blogs is precisely the same as for podcasts. See Podcasting for Writers: To Commit or Not (or Vaguely?)

Add the blog's RSS feed to your author page at www.amazon.com, facebook, and elsewhere (time permitting).

Add a Twitter feed and tweet links to your posts. Mine is
@madammayo


Even more advice about writers' blogs:

Update: March 2014
Eight Conclusions After Eight Years of Blogging

Notes from my talk for the Associated Writing Programs Conference

Update: April 2016
Ten Years of Blogging: Reflections and Looking Foward

Update: March 2017
On the Occasion of Madam Mayo Blog's Eleventh Anniversary
Reflections on the whys and wherefores plus five lessons learned .

For deeper thoughts, read the classic free PDF ebook about blogs and websites by marketing guru Seth Godin, Who's There? It's a few years old but still relevant.

Wishing you a bodaciously fun and successful Internet adventure!



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