7 Years of Blogging: Here’s what I’ve Learned

Writing books and blogging go hand in hand to me. They have done for seven years now and just last month I was notified by WordPress for reaching that milestone. Time flies I guess… This Hall of Information blog is the central pillar to all of my content and this post is dedicated to everything I have learned in that time. Before I dive in, let me just thank all of you, for joining me here in this space on the internet I call home. You support is very much appreciated!

Last year I put out a similar type of post which then inspired me to write a little self-help book called Consistent Creative Content. Here’s what I’ve learned in seven years of blogging.

Time

The major factor in all of this is time. If I could have incorporated that word into the title of ‘CCC’ I would have.

Blogging takes time, good results take time, finding content takes time… you probably get the picture. If you dedicate time to blogging it will eventually get better.

For those not sure where to start with blogging my basic tip would be to consider your blog as your own personal space to talk uninterrupted about any subject you wish. This brings me to…

Diverse Content – to a certain degree…

Many blogs including mine will stick to a certain theme when it comes to content. You probably won’t see a book blog talking heavy politics often and sometimes it’s good to branch out a little but my advice is to stay in the same content neighbourhood. While my Hall of Information blog started as a journey towards publishing that was fairly limited in what I could blog about. Since then my content has diversified within the realms of publishing. From indie book reviews to interviewing authors on occasion all the way to book promotion results and even just ramble posts that capture what I’m currently feeling. They are all in the same neighbourhood as my original vision but stretch a little wider in appeal. So perhaps trying new things is a good thing but…

New Ventures can take time…

Blogging for me turned a huge corner when I decided to take the plunge into offering Indie Book Reviews back in 2018. What happened the moment I launched that service? Nothing because it takes time to get the word out and build up a trusted reputation. Eventually indie book reviews became what I was known for but it started slowly.

This year I started another new blogging venture of offering space on my blog for guest posts and articles. Again hardly anyone applied but last month 8 posts were from guest authors who shared excerpts, their stories and even the story behind their story. Some of this stuff makes for great reading.

New ventures in blogging can take time but they’ll work eventually. In these two cases both offered an incentive. Incentives are the key to selling and now this month I have started a Patreon. As of right now the amount of Patrons I have is zero, but with a little more work I imagine some supporters will eventually arrive. There will be some more content soon, even some fictional stuff.

Leverage your social media following

Those who know me over on the Tweet machine will know my following has pretty much doubled in the space of a year. If you have a loyal engaged following on a platform you can turn their attention to your blog and drive them to it – this is part of the reason why my blog gets so many views these days. But how, well, this leads to…

Know your audience and write for them…

In July of 2020 this blog had 63 click through’s from Twitter, this year it has 394 and counting. This is because now I write partly for that Twitter audience of writers and bloggers who appreciate my guides and reviews. This already galvanised my existing blog audience which was bookish to begin with. For those with a small audience or none at all this is a fantastic opportunity to write about whatever you feel, if it captures your personality, eventually it will resonate with someone.

Blogging Tip: If you blog with WordPress the social element of connecting with others is already there as everyone with an account has access to a feed that shows you suggested blogs to follow – this is a great way to branch out at the start.

Guest content still takes work…

After nearly a year of pushing a lot of my own content out onto my blog I kind of hit a creative wall. While I still have hundreds of guides to come from my many experiences, I took the plunge in offering space for guest posts on my blog which has over 850 followers. Plenty of authors have since provided me with guest excerpts, stories and reviews but even that takes work. While I might have outsourced the creative element in guest posts, they still take time to check, put together and schedule. There is also a fine art to spacing out guest posts so my audience is not too overexposed to the same thing…

All content all the time may not necessarily work…

Simply, if you want to grow and grow quickly in blogging then produce more content but too much content might have an adverse effect as readers read in their own time so if you are posting daily they might not be able to keep up. Last year and even recently I would post up to 6 times a week which is great for views but the content ranged from reviews to rambles. If you do suddenly ramp up content, be aware of how your audience respond and they will…

Listen to your audience…

I don’t get a lot of comments on my blogs but most of them come from loyal long term followers. They are my bricks and mortar and I do my best to listen to their feedback and engage with them. In blogging most followers don’t unfollow so a follower earned is a follower for life most of the time.

Blogging is a craft to me…

Like writing I can show you to the door and even set you up afterwards for marketing but I cannot physically teach you to blog. That is something you have to find within and working hard to get better will pay off eventually. Your audience may start small but they followed you for a reason, give them something to come back to every week or day. Its going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing for some time but give it time and good things will happen.

My favourite saying in all of this is simple; If I can do this, then you certainly can. Here’s to many more years of blogging and thank you all for being here day in day out to support my efforts. It really does mean a lot. I have some more quick fire tips for blogging over on my Patreon which is FREE to read at the moment and can be found here.

Peace out, rock and roll and to many more years of blogging!

Defining Cyberpunk

cch217

Let’s start with some mood music:

Defining Cyberpunk

The standard definition is as follows:

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of low-life and high tech” featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.

That being said the point to this rambling stream of consciousness is to introduce you to some notable authors that have embraced Cyberpunk as a creative writing outlet. Many authors start out with the line “I don’t know who said it first” when asked where was Cyberpunk as a subgenre of Science Fiction born. Since Cyberpunk 2077 the game is front and center right now, I’m going to start with the writer/creator of said game and work backwards.

So here we go Mike Pondsmith, being inspired by…

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Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination!

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A big-time thank you to Megan of a Geeky Gal who nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Let me just take this opportunity to speak about Megan’s awesome blog which is an incredible array of all things geek, she also talks about some very important subjects such as mental health and self reflection, I am especially fond of Megan’s  ‘Monday Musings’ section. She is a great supporter of my blog and tweet machine efforts which is very much appreciated. Without that loyal support my stuff wouldn’t reach the heights it has done as of recent. 

geekyAnd so this is the 3rd award nomination the Hall of information has received this year but what are the rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Questions as asked by Megan: 

What song do you think makes people remember you?

That’s a tough one because my perception of myself compared to what others think of me is probably way different. But saying that to some people I might come across as self assured (I tell myself that in the mirror everyday…) so I am going with ‘Chesney Hawkes’ ‘The one and only’. This song is the epitome of early 90’s cheese…

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What character would you choose to be your best friend?

batman

I’m not really a best friend type of person, I have a cluster of close friends all of which I am close to but if we’re going with any character then it has to be Batman; unless I can be Batman, Batman would be my best friend. We would hang out in the Bat cave and brood, get Alfred to make us sandwiches, he would take down the bad guys and it be would cool. 

What book do you need to read/game you need to play/show you need to watch still?

I really need to read ‘Good Omens’ by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The television adaption was awesome and I’ve only heard good things about the book. 

I also really really need to play ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ I have heard it’s the most epic of games out there, it’s on my birthday list… 

In terms of shows, I really need to watch the final season of Orange is the New Black which should hopefully drop any day now – that is my top Netflix binge recommendation…

Have you smashed any personal goals recently?

Funny you should ask that because this year has been my most record breaking ever in terms of writing and blogging!

I’ve never sold so many books or got as many views on this humble blogging operation until this year. Of course none of that would be possible without my loyal and ever growing following, so a tip of the cap to you all, and here are the numbers…

growth

views

If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and play?

This is going to seem like a shameless self book promotional response but it’s kinda the truth. If you really wanted to understand me or know who I am then my third book ‘The Teleporter‘ contains more about me than anything else. The MC ‘Kurt Wiseman’ is probably the closest to my own personality than anything else I’ve written. 

teleporter logocreated by

In terms of watching; you would probably find a lot of my understanding in life aligns with the values of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ – a show that got me through some tough times way back when and I’ll happily admit my first real hero was Buffy! 

Double answer for playing: 

My all time favorite game/series is Half-life. Not only is it unique; the main character doesn’t say word throughout, its also action packed and based upon science that is very similar, even eerily similar to where I work in real life, but without the violence, aliens and apocalypse. Not to mention the g-man…

If you really, really wanted to understand me, then you would have to sit opposite me whilst playing a game of Monopoly, I straight up become ruthless!  Money and property hungry to say the least, but if you beat me, I’m tamed for life… and slightly resentful… 

List your favorite fandoms and one character from each that you identify with.

As mentioned I am a big fan of Buffy, but the wider universes created by Joss Whedon that some call the Whedon-verse is certainly my jam! Firefly in particular had a huge influence on me and my story telling. I would like to say I identify with witty and sometimes sarcastic pilot ‘Wash’ played by Alan Tudyk.  

semi muscualr

What are three things that you are enjoying right now?

I am currently enjoying:

  • The rather hot weather over here in the UK which is normally notorious for being mundane, but this summer has been bright so far! 
  • The amount of awesome content on Netflix, if you haven’t got it, then you should!
  • These questions, they rock! 

What is your favorite YouTube channel?

joe rogan

I have a rather weird specific taste when it comes to YouTube, it’s either podcasts or failarmy that I tend to frequent but for the sake of this question I’ll say that I enjoy Joe Rogan’s podcast which is full of all kinds of subjects, from exercise advice, motivation, conspiracies and even history. I recommend it! 

List three of your favorite songs right now.

AC/DC – Back in Black 

Foo Fighters – Everlong 

Elton John – Rocketman

What are some ways you practice self care that others might consider different or weird?

Yoga and walking are two sure fire ways that get me out of most troubles these days. Walking is great for near enough getting my mind through everything along with yoga. Both of them as a combination are great for self care…

Angry – go for a walk

Sad – go for a walk

Back hurts – go for a walk

Writers problems (there are too many to list) – go for a walk 

Bad day – go for a walk 

Ate too much – go for a walk 

Injured – yoga and then maybe a walk…

Wanting to exercise but cant be bothered – yoga and walking… 

What is the hardest part about blogging?

The biggest challenge I face in blogging is creating good content. If you have material for good content, you will always have followers. I guess right now I have plenty of ideas, so its going relatively well, some ideas are inspired by the fact people will read my stuff.

I think a lot of people are disheartened when they start out thinking that nobody is reading their blog. This stuff takes time to gather momentum – my advice is to begin, follow others, interact and produce stuff that people want to read; try to make it inclusive to the reader. 

The bloggers I would like to nominate for the Sunshine Blogger Award are: 

Joe Campling @ Joe the poet

Jaycee Lynch @ Thinking Moon 

Emma @ simplyemsblog

Michaeljordahl 

Little Fears 

Blair @ Feed the Crime 

And any other blogger out there who wants to take part!

My questions for nominees:

  • Why did you start blogging?
  • Who is your go-to blogging influence/blogger that inspires you?
  • Name 3 music albums that shaped your life?
  • Is there something out there who you think is underrated?
  • Which season of the year do you prefer and why?
  • Name a television show or film you couldn’t live without?
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you currently writing?
  • Name something you don’t like but ‘everyone’ else does?
  • Do you have a profession outside of writing/blogging?
  • Name a place you’ve always wanted to visit but never have?

Thanks for reading folks! 

Time to write a new book, time for things to change….

Being on holiday can be great, the relaxion, the zero pressure and of course sleep. Don forget the sun and food with lashings of alcohol. Good times with good company. But during that time I thought long and hard about my future in writing and where it is going.

been away

Yesterday I put out the above tweet. It is coming to the point where I am keeping my evolution behind in terms of writing, going over the same book, again and again. Clark Thorn and the Warrior project will very soon be at its best. By that I mean the best I could possibly do. There is nothing more I could do to it.

Yet my campaigns for publication have left without anything to answer for, this is after throwing everything including the kitchen sink at my efforts. Maybe there isn’t a market yet for the type of book I want the world to read, maybe agents wont take the risk on that book with a writer like me. I could sit in a room forever and try to theorise, but that wouldn’t be forward thinking.

My next resort would be to consider self-publication, something I think will explode into a ball of flames. The thorn legacy series spans 6 books, if the first one fails then how the hell will books 2 onwards shine? They wont and they are too precious for me to waste over figuring out how to self publish a book that will sell twenty five copies.

Right now I’m done thinking about those implications. It’s time to try a new tactic. Write something new…

 But before you ask, I have a plan, I always have a plan. Thinking about something has become a profession of mine, before any decision I make, I sleep on it, then sleep on it again.

I have no plan to delete the Thorn legacy from my life, they are my books and they always will be. But to bring something else to the table, a new story, something stand alone and different. Some distance from the sci fi genre, something an agent would want to sell, a story I would have no issue with trying to self-publish.  A book with less attachment and baggage, something I can treat like a job. Write, edit, self publish, done.  Then at least I would have some kind of arrival on the writing scene.

My thoughts are starting to spider web over how this book will work and what will happen. That’s good and it’s creative, my inner conscience wants this to happen. But on the other side of proceedings I have my completed book that is the best it can possibly be. The next few weeks will consist of planning and editing. Clark Thorn will once again get sent out to the masses, hopefully this time I will hit the target, but if not a new book will rise.

What will this book be you ask? A synopsis will arrive soon on either here, FB or land of the tweets. It is something I had a vision of writing some years ago. Yesterday I delved into the hand written archives and took out a 6 or seven page introduction of a story I wrote when I was around 14 or 15. Hopefully the content of it and what I have in my head can carry enough weight to create a decent book. Like always, we can just hope…

 

You can’t play the same game over and over again, something has to change.