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Monday, December 14, 2015

Advice for the would-be blogger

Mike Cernovich offers it:
People didn’t start blogs to win fame or fortune. People wrote because they thought they had something to say, and it was fun.

Or people started blogging in hopes of getting a book deal. Before self-publishing, people actually sat around waiting to be discovered! Or they’d pitch book ideas to publishing houses, which are staffed by 22-year-old Women’s Studies majors.

Now everyone wants to write for one hour a day and earn millions.

When you write for fame or fortune, it shows in your writing. Every post has the, “Please pay attention to me and buy my stuff and hire me” tone to it.

It’s a hard tone to explain, although Aristotle wrote about ethos in Rhetoric.

I write because it’s fun. Even though it’s how I learn my living, this website is the time of my life.

There’s not a day where I have anything approaching writer’s block. How could I? This is a blast!

Blogging was a conversation.

No one ripped off each other’s articles. Not giving attribution – called a “hat tip” – to someone was seen as unethical and would lead to ostracizing.

If someone wrote something interesting, you’d quote what he said, add your comments, and join the conversation.

Today people steal concepts and re-write entire articles.
Shorter version: write because you enjoy the process and because you actually have something different to say. Don't do it for the attention. Don't do it for the money. Don't do it because you like what you perceive as the lifestyle. Don't do it because you like the image. Especially don't do it because you think it is some sort of get-rich-quick scheme. It's not. It's the exact opposite due to the supply-and-demand curve; there are more people who want to write and are able to publish than ever before, combined with fewer people who read and buy books than there have been in decades. Writing is a hobby, not a profession, a career, or a business.

If you don't have anything to say that isn't already being said, don't bother. If you're just looking to express yourself, that's what Pinterest and Twitter are for. If you're just looking for attention, Tumblr and Facebook will suffice.

But if you do have something to say, why should you listen to Mike? Because of what he has done by himself, without the benefit of a mainstream publisher pushing his books into the distribution channel or striking marketing deals with various booksellers. What he has done is not at all common. The average U.S. nonfiction book is now selling less than 250 copies per year. Less than 5 percent of books sell more than 5,000 copies. He is an extreme outlier.
Gorilla Mindset has sold 15,164 copies. I sell on average 70 copies per day.

Essays on Embracing Masculinity has sold 1,500 copies. I sell on average 8 copies per day.

Juice Power has sold 1,500 or so copies. Juice Power sells a copy or so a day.
Last Man Standing will outsell Gorilla Mindset, and comes out in early 2016. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Castalia House will have the privilege of publishing Last Man Standing.

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24 Comments:

Blogger Steve, the Dark Ninja of Mockery December 14, 2015 5:51 AM  

Do people really go into blogging for that sweet internet moolah?

Probably the same folks who want to know what the One Weird Trick is*.

* This is the one weird trick. Don't click.

Blogger JohnG December 14, 2015 6:13 AM  

I volunteer for the writing one hour a day for a million bucks job.

Blogger Phillip George December 14, 2015 6:15 AM  

Yes, I didn't click. About as seductive as a Pakistan voice telephone canvasser.

We, "royal-we" write to know we aren't alone. We also write because it's like being pregnant with a 45 weeks gestation baby, just bursting to get out.

We, royal priesthood, write to please God, rule the Earth, reinvent civilization and sundry assorted lesser goals. So far so good. Mission nearly accomplished.

Blogger Steve, the Dark Ninja of Mockery December 14, 2015 6:16 AM  

Phillip George - how long have you been observing our Earth?

Blogger Phillip George December 14, 2015 6:42 AM  

think on this Steve, how long did Noah rule the Earth?

Blogger Steve, the Dark Ninja of Mockery December 14, 2015 6:46 AM  

I have Noah idea. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Blogger Phillip George December 14, 2015 7:09 AM  

That reminds me of a moon pool on a ship drilling derrick. I worked on the Fugro MV Markab for a while. Your schematic could inspire a whole generation of ship builder. It's funny feeling looking at a bottomless swimming pool in the middle of your ship.

ps. Noah might have done that. Fishing/ ventilation and waste management system. It's a bit of speculation in a fact feast.

Blogger VD December 14, 2015 7:23 AM  

Phillip George, do you even read the blog posts? You are so far off-topic, it goes beyond not-even-funny and starts to become amusing again. And then it gets tiresome.

Knock it off. If you can't comment on-topic, don't comment at all.

And no, Jesus does not make everything on-topic. Don't even try it.

Anonymous YIH December 14, 2015 7:59 AM  

@1 Steve:
*clicks* Oh my. Well, I was warned.

Anonymous Wild Bill December 14, 2015 8:03 AM  

I find myself in the category of a person reading less books. With so many news articles, wiki links, google searches, related links clamoring for my attention and the ease with which I get sucked into hours of reading interesting/hilarious comments, I find that I've already worn out my mind before I sit down to read the book I intended to.

It comes down to discipline but I justify my lack of reading books because I am still learning a lot from "the internet."

Blogger James Dixon December 14, 2015 8:13 AM  

> If you don't have anything to say that isn't already being said, don't bother.

And there, in one sentence, is why I don't have a blog. :)

It can be argued (perhaps not successfully) that I sometimes can add something to a conversation, but that's about my limit.

OpenID paworldandtimes December 14, 2015 8:15 AM  

After ten years of commenting, I started a blog two months ago. My brief observations: as MC writes, it's fun. I enjoy the comments and seeing the stats and daily maps of countries from which I have visitors.

Over the two months, my ratio of visits to viewers has grown, indicating that people like the content, thus visiting more than once per day.

The work aspect to blogging: at this stage, I can afford to do lazy posts ("hey, check out this cool video") or no-posts over more than three days. It's like a business owner going balls-to-the-wall in his first year of operation to establish himself.

Unlike with commenting, a blog post is a stand-alone piece of writing, meaning that it has to be written almost ex-nihilo, not as part of rolling banter in a comments thread. For me that does induce writer's block, which I solve by bullish plowing through.

A couple of things spurred me to finally blog. One, once you get ambitious about your writing, you start feeling like a freeloader by doing it on other blogs, especially when you veer off topic. Two, lack control over mod or eaten comments became frustrating. Three, I finally wanted my thoughts compiled in one place.

PA

OpenID paworldandtimes December 14, 2015 8:17 AM  

at this stage, I can't afford to do lazy posts

Blogger Positive Dennis December 14, 2015 9:24 AM  

I suppose I write for the remnant. There aren't that many and you can't really moniterize them, nor if you are also a part of the remnant, do you really want too. For those Interested Iwent by the San Bernardino shooting site and took photos of the memorial placed there.

Click on my name to look.

Anonymous elmer t. jones December 14, 2015 10:04 AM  

Like PA I has been a long-time internet troll. Twice recipient of Futrelle's prestigious "We Hunted the Mammoth Award" and numerous Heartiste Comment of the Week awards, as well as getting banned from just about every internet forum merely for speaking truthfully. LinkedIn is the latest site to shut me down, and I was being a real pro-corporate team player. Even Cernovich and ROK won't allow me to post.

I enjoy writing and can claim some skill at it. I have written several winning technical proposals that have kept food on the table over the last decade. When my last gig dried up I decided to write a book. Was a real challenge but I enjoyed the writing and publishing process and am sharing that on my blog.

I started the blog to promote my book and to dispel many popular notions about how to find a job.

My latest piece about using the SBIR program to find work and money is enjoying some traffic right now, as well as the expose' on Army use of sexbots to train soldiers fearful of sex assault accusations. Yesterday saw my largest traffic to date.

The SBIR link : http://wp.me/p6QFjS-4I

The sexbot link : http://wp.me/p6QFjS-54

Thanks for tolerating my comments. I have gotten a lot of traffic from your site and will add you to my blog roll.

But yeah, I enjoy writing. The marketing effort is exhausting though and the low volume of book sales means I will have to return to Encorpera. I may end up sitting in a cubicle near you.

Blogger VD December 14, 2015 10:44 AM  

Even Cernovich and ROK won't allow me to post.

This suggests that you will likely get in trouble here soon. I strongly recommend that you avoid constantly talking about the same thing over and over again. That's the usual problem people get themselves into here. I do not permit monomanias.

Anonymous Leonidas December 14, 2015 11:02 AM  

I really miss blogging being more of a conversation. So many bloggers these days have turned off pingbacks and trackbacks that it's become far more disconnected. The discourse isn't improved by it. Unfortunately, I understand why they do it. The effort of filtering spam out from those systems is enormous. And then a lot of the more commercial bloggers are now working for corporations that don't want to share the link love because they're so adamant about keeping all traffic in-house afterward. I think that's a short-term-gain-long-term-loss decision on their part, but there you have it. The spam part is legit, though.

Anonymous elmer t. jones December 14, 2015 11:25 AM  

Thanks for the feedback VD. I understand that self-promoting is frowned upon. Not to mention that the effort to do it on other people's outlets quickly makes one feel mentally fragmented. I even joined "Twitter", we'll see how long that goes before they pull the plug on me.

As for this post's topic, developing book content was hard work but easy for me. Initially I thought it would take a month but it stretched to four. Learning the book formatting and publishing process was a challenge that I will describe on my blog. Also had the blog setup work. Having toyed with wordpress in the past I was able to cobble that together but it still has some amateur aspects. Professional help might be a better option for someone not computer-savvy.

It's the marketing that appears to require the most work though. Advice from guys who have done it is very helpful. Not sure I can handle managing a popular blog to develop the necessary book promotion as I am going to have to return to paid employment soon.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 14, 2015 12:50 PM  

" If you don't have anything to say that isn't already being said, don't bother."

I started a blog in 2013 thinking this was the case. And it was, for a while.

Sharing its existence was limited to a very few who I could comfortable spill my guts to, good or bad. Hashing out and reading my thoughts back to myself was very therapeutic.

After several months I had one comment, woo hoo. Oh, there were comments from a friend who read it, but that was in person, not on the blog.

After a while I was just posting links to other bloggers who expressed what I was thinking much better than I could. Now I just use it as a clearing house page with links to my usual hangouts. Occasionally I'll post something in a fit of overly self important rage or despair.

But I never had any expectations about making $$, although the lack of any identifiable readership is a bit disappointing. Not enough motivation or perseverance on my part to gather momentum.

Anonymous crushlimbraw December 14, 2015 1:34 PM  

What an interesting topic and advice from Mike – especially for me, as I finally took the bold step (for me) to start a website and separate blog site a few months ago, after posting comments for several years on DISQUS. I blame my son-in-law, who has nagged me for 5 years to start a blog. I finally succumbed.

I have been a world watcher all my life. Almost 10 years ago, I began to send email highlights with links to articles to family and friends, which has now grown to about 50 recipients. Some of them I’ve never met face to face, but they have become friends through the internet. Most of my ‘sents’ deal with the 4 main topics of my website, but not limited to them. My purpose is not to regurgitate old news, but to ‘move the ball forward’, with insights and analysis – from others. (They write – I copy and paste!):)
I read what others have written, analyze it, and then forward what I think is useful. Everything I have learned has come from others. I spend several hours each day, scanning websites, for further insights to understand the world around us.
I’m your humble dispatcher of the wisdom of others – with comments as the mood strikes.
So, I wouldn’t call myself a blogger, as I write very few posts – I post what others have written on certain topics, giving full source credit and a link to read the full text. Only occasionally do I add a comment.

The other reason for establishing a site developed out of frustration. In many of my conversations on line, I would remember a topically related article I had sent out some time ago. I could remember the topic, but not the author or the website. The entire worldwide web search was usually too broad to pin it down. I needed a concentrated archive on 4 main topics – Government/Religion/Politics/Culture

That is exactly what my blogsite evolved into - an archive of useful references that anyone can use as a basic resource for mentoring. I have already found the archive useful for my own searches. Mentoring is my basic premise as a responsibility of anyone who is the ‘patriarch’ in his family. That role has fallen upon me, with three families and 6 grandkids. Furthermore, I take full responsibility for the fact that most of the crap we’re dealing with now has grown exponentially under our watch. We were too busy or too ignorant to notice. No more!

Anonymous PhillipGeorge December 14, 2015 4:21 PM  

Vox, isn't that the actual topic? Do you blog for a response, a reply or a result?

Blogger VD December 15, 2015 4:49 AM  

Vox, isn't that the actual topic? Do you blog for a response, a reply or a result?

It is irrelevant. Your constant babbling serves no positive purpose. Learn to order your thoughts so that you can comment coherently and on-topic.

Blogger epobirs December 15, 2015 10:28 AM  

One thing the Big Five publishers don't want you to know is that 70 books a day is actually a pretty decent living if you don't get mired in expenses doing PR. Do the math on how much of each sale actually goes in the author's pocket and Cernovich is doing quite well for himself while remaining his own boss. Working with a small focused outfit like Castalia can be nearly as lucrative with benefits of its own.

If you're more concerned with making a living than with being invited to the right cocktail parties, it's difficult to see any attraction in the traditional publishing venues.

Blogger Parker Beck December 17, 2015 10:45 AM  

So true. Too bad they shut down my Xanga blog. Starting over from scratch...

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