Booksquare Interview, Part Two: Will She Ever Shut Up?

August 23rd, 2006 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

As the week continues to break the World Crawling Record, we continue our lengthy discussion with one of our favorite people. For those just catching up — and, yes, we are implying that you missed yesterday’s brilliance — we are answering the question that nobody has bothered to ask us. Yet. Sad but true: we could pretty much do this forever. You’ve been warned.

Yesterday, we discussed the “how” of character blogs. Today, we’re thinking about where and what. Let’s jump right in.

BS: Hey, did you know that Microsoft claims to be the world’s largest blog host? I didn’t either, but Robert Scoble assures me it’s true. I can’t imagine him lying. This pretty much means nothing to you, but it tells me that I have to update my standard “here are the services you should consider” speech.

Okay, so your character is starting his or her blog. What service is the lucky winner of your carefully crafted words? Let’s look at LiveJournal by way of example. Owned by SixApart, who are also behind platforms such as MovableType and TypePad (the slightly scaled down, paid hosting version of MT), LiveJournal seems to largely appeal to a younger, female audience. That being said, there are guys hanging out there. I hear it’s a great way to meet chicks*.

If you look around, you’ll see that LJ is very community-oriented and the user base tends to write about more personal issues. You often know the poster’s mood and what song is playing. Now, how does the blog you’re contemplating fit into this space?

Now we look at Blogger, a Google product. Setting up a site at Blogspot.com is as easy as 1, 2, 3. It’s free, it’s flexible, and while I’ve discovered some basic funkiness when it comes to formatting, it gets the job done. Drawbacks — and there are always drawbacks — include the standard templates are limited (but nice) and, unless you have the time and energy, you’ll be a sub-domain on Blogspot. Again, is that the right place for your character?

These are not idle questions — marketing campaigns, and you are running a marketing campaign whether you like it or not, require careful planning. A little thinking. Maybe some deep contemplation, but only if you’re not driving. That should be a law: don’t think and drive.

Because…if your character is a tech geek or an ambitious professional with a lot going on, said character might very well invest ten bucks in their own domain and set up a WordPress site. I applaud this decision and firmly believe this is a wonderful character. I think more characters should be using the glory that is WordPress.

Where your character blogs matters. Spend some time poking around the Internet. There are a lot of blogging options. Microsoft, for example. I pretty much know nothing about the vibe there, but I’ll be sending an undercover agent to some recon work as soon as I have time.

Hmm, now to what. In theory, this is your character’s blog, so it’s all about what interests him or her. Using our ambitious professional as an example — she’s not gonna be talking about her boyfriend or a fight with her best friend. Sorry, ambitious professionals know that potential clients and employers troll the Internet looking for subject matter experts. The challenge for you, oh author, is to maintain a blog in the style of the character while, well, somehow winking and nudging just enough (which is to say as little as possible) to make sure the world knows this is fiction. Though, if your lawyer character is invited to argue before the Supreme Court on the basis of her blog’s brilliance, hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

Also, assume that someone is pulling your leg. The Supreme Court surely checks with bar associations first.

This is my way of saying that a character blog needs to be as believable as a real blog — because the character blog is a real blog. It may not be written by a real person, but I sometimes wonder about many of the blogs I read. Then I meet the writers behind the blog and everything makes sense. But that’s a topic for the bar.

I know, I know, I just made this harder. You wanted a clever little character blog that somehow promotes your book. Sure, you can do that. If you want. Nobody’s saying you can’t. But a successful character blog requires authority. It’s not enough to throw a few posts up and call it a day. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. That means employing your old friends Strategy and Execution.

* – Please do not take this as anything but a joke.

[tags]writing, publishing, characterization, blogs, blogging[/tags]

File Under: Marketing For Introverts

2 responses so far ↓

  • Kristi McCracken // Aug 23, 2006 at 11:30 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading your character blog articles because you bring up valid points about authentic voice and not mixing in the author. I’m curious if you’ve found a character blog that delights you.

  • Booksquare // Aug 25, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Kristi — thanks. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t seent a great character blog yet. I have seen shining (sparkling, brilliant!) examples of what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, I have been sworn to secrecy and cannot reveal true details. Truly. See: not mixing in the author.

    I remain on the lookout for great examples.