Wednesday, November 04, 2015

IWSG: Is Blogging a Waste of Time?

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. This month's IWSG hosts are Tyrean MartinsonKaren WalkerDenise Covey, and Stephen TrempIf you're a writer, join in!



I've been blogging since 2006. I enjoy every minute of it. I love reading other people's blogs and having people read mine. But there are a large number of published authors who say this:




"I've never bought a book after reading a blog," one author commented on a blog about this very subject a while ago. Several people spoke up to say they had...and I revealed that almost every book I read either has been recommended by a blogger or by someone on social media.




If I had more time to read, I'd probably read about half of the books I see recommended on a daily basis. There just aren't enough hours in the day.



Here's the thing: 99 percent of those who say blogging is a waste of time don't actually read blogs. They post something and wait for someone to read it...and they're met with this:



So the answer is...yes. If you plan to just post to the blog on your website every day and wait for your "fans" to show up, you're wasting time. Unless you're this guy...




Or some other celebrity. If that's the case, you aren't reading this post anyway! This brings me back to what blogging is. Blogging, like Twitter and Facebook and any other form of online interaction is about community. It's about giving and receiving. Just as you can't join Twitter and wait for people to realize you're there, you can't post a blog and wait for people to start commenting. You have to read, comment, and post great content on a regular basis. That's how a blog can be effective.

Oh...and it can't hurt to join a great online community like this one...



But even then, you must read other blogs and comment to let people know you're there. Read other blogs, support other bloggers, and you'll find people are supporting you, too!

What do you get from blogging?

82 comments:

  1. I think blogging is a great way to be connected and to read many different thoughts and ideas. When I first started writing it was more of an on line diary that was therapuetic... very few people read it. As you said once I decided to become involved I met many people and had more involvement on my own blog. Social media helped with that a lot xox ♡

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    1. Yes, whatever your reason for doing anything in life, when you come into it with an attitude of giving, you get so much more out of it. If we all just post blogs and never read other blogs, we'd all be out here speaking only to ourselves!

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  2. Amen! That's it exactly. You have to socialize. Otherwise you're the weirdo in the corner, talking to himself. A blog isn't about posting information and waiting for people to find it. That's a website. A blog is about interactions.
    And yes, I have purchased many books after reading a blog, as I purchase every single one my author buddies publish. (And no, I'll never have time to read them all.)

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    1. Me, either! It takes me forever to get around to everyone. But every time I have an event like a cover reveal or a book launch and you guys help me out, I make a list and I try to read at least one of everyone's books before the next big event. It may take me eight months or longer to get around to everyone!

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  3. Well said, Stephanie! I have to admit, when I first set my blog up five years ago, I was that person who posted but didn't bother visiting other blogs and then wondered why no one was talking to me! Now, I still love blogging but I also love our blogging community - I love reading and discovering new blogs and talking/meeting new people, I just wish I'd read this post years ago when I was first starting out!

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    1. I started out on MySpace. Social media was brand new and I had no idea how to get blog readers. They had a list of "Top Blogs" by category, so I just started going through that list and reading everyone. It was a lot of work (but fun) and eventually I was on that top blog list. It was such a confined platform, it wasn't too hard to rank well...out here in the big wide world, it's a lot harder to find blogs to read unless you're part of a community.

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  4. I do like reading other people's blogs, and I like seeing them come over to mine. I'm not much of a book reader, so the blog-author debate is not something that I can really say much about.

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    1. Authors or not, I think the most important thing is that we do this because we enjoy it.

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  5. I've made so many friends from blogging that for me, it's great. And seriously, does King practice that creepy smile is that his natural one?

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    1. I've never been able to figure out if he looks creepy or if I just see him that way because I've read his books! Looking at his tweets, I often think, "Wow...he's a senior citizen." It doesn't seem right that he's in his late 60s!

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  6. It does help me stay connected to other writers/authors. Writing can be a lonely business. You're right. It is a two-way street though!

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    1. I agree. Someone mentioned below that popular authors probably are secure enough not to need it...I prefer to think they're just too busy. And they don't need it. They're under pressure to write MORE books to satisfy customer demand. But you do have to imagine that's pretty lonely, right? If you ever watch a big-name author at a writing event (as I saw sometimes when I was in RWA), often people either don't talk to you or flock to you to ask questions and kiss up to you.

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  7. I don't see blogging as a waste of time. I makes me write something every so often (and all writing is good cuz it's practice) and it connects me with other bloggers. And I've bought a number of books based on blogger recommendations, either their own, or one they're talking about.

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    1. Every word we write makes us better writers. But whether you get your book recommendations through tweets or blog posts, social media does make a difference for avid readers. Those who don't read often probably just grab whatever book they hear their friends talking about.

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  8. I think that blogging amongst writers is mostly for insecure writers who get support with it which is brilliant. Published writers with mega successful books already feel secure with tons of readers and fans so they might think that for them it would be a waste of time.
    I myself do it because it clears my thoughts from work and books :) It's like a gateway from dimension into another. And plus it gives me opportunity to cavort with the celebs :)

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    1. I've personally found that no matter of success seems to completely erase that insecurity. But mostly published writers don't feel the need to build publicity for themselves. It would just be a waste of time. You go from begging for every book sale you can get to trying to get the next book out to satisfy your book publisher and traveling to book events to fulfill the terms of your contract.

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  9. I enjoy blogging, it's a way to get out all the thoughts I have that are interfering with being a function person, let alone a functioning writer. Plus I meet great people and get to look forward to seeing what they are doing or reading. At least 50% pf the books I buy have been recommended or reviewed on someone else's blog.

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    1. All those reviews do make a difference! Sometimes I wonder when I'm recommending my best books each month if anyone ever listens to me! I hope they do. There can be nothing better than spreading the word about a great book and increasing sales on it.

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  10. What a wise post, Stephanie! I don't believe blogging is a waste of time either if it's done right. Through blogging, I connect with other writers, I read book reviews, I pick up tips about the publishing industry and gauge what's happening with books, readers and writers. What I've gained from blogging is invaluable, hard to even list or outline it in a comment or a post.

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    1. I've definitely learned SO much through blogs.

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  11. So many books, so little time! :)

    Blogging gives me a sense of community, of being understood and supported and encouraged. I really hope I do my part in helping others in the blogosphere feel that way, too.

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  12. It's no more wasting your time than reading a book! People read books to gain knowledge or be entertained, same as reading blogs. I've met interesting people from around the world as well!

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    1. And Stephen King says if you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write! It's the same with blogging--if you don't have time to read others, you don't have time to blog. Unless you're just using it as a personal diary that you don't want others to read.

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  13. So right, Stephanie!!! Like Madeline said, blogging does give me a sense of friendship and community!!!

    It can be time consuming, because I'd like to hop all over the world, but now my little grand baby is calling through the monitor that it's time to get him out of his crib!!!

    And there just isn't enough time in the day to read as much as I'd like!!! So many great books and so little time!

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    1. It is definitely time consuming...but for me, it breaks up the boredom of writing about credit card processing and garage doors.

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  14. Hear, hear! It took me awhile to catch on. In the beginning I would post something and just wait for comments. Now I know that the number of comments on my blog is directly related to the number I blogs I visit that day. (Unless, of course, I'm cohosting the IWSG. Then the comment numbers go through the roof!)

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    1. A lot of people will follow you if you comment and they like what you have to say. Then they'll use their feed to alert them when you post new comment. I just go through comments and visit people who comment me each day--mostly because I found sometimes people stop reading your blog for whatever reason and you end up reading theirs for months afterward!

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  15. I enjoy blogging and I enjoy visiting and commenting on others' blogs. Plus I enjoy reading other bloggers commenting on my blog too!

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    1. Absolutely. That's what it's all about!

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  16. Bingo, you nailed it. There are some people that never comment and then you're pretty sure they aren't reading anything you do. I let them go after a bit. Blogging is a wonderful community and I've met so many wonderful people.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I do, too. I think it's important to go out and find new blogs to read if you're trying to grow your audience. Just if you're trying to grow it, though. I'll probably read 40 IWSG blogs today and tomorrow and maybe eight or ten will read mine back. Only maybe a few of those will continue to read but that's worth it to land a few new regular readers!

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  17. You probably don't generate huge sales out of a blog, that is true, but whether or not it's a "waste of time" depends on why you do it. If you want to build a network it's a two-way street. If you want to just practice writing or following a schedule, great. You get out of it what you put into it.

    IWSG November Post

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    1. Exactly. I think that's the basic rule of book marketing anyway. You find what you love to do and do that!

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  18. Haha I just like to talk to myself so yeah, I read my own posts and laugh. If no one ever read them, seriously, I'd be ok!!

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    1. I read your posts and laugh, too! They're so much fun.

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  19. I started blogging as a challenge. I had no idea how to go about it and was tickled to pieces when I got my first comment.

    I have supported others and have been supported by other caring bloggers as well. I try to be there for those who can use some encouragement.

    I have met some amazing people and visited amazing places through blogger friends' blogs right in the comfort of my chair .
    Blogging has given me confidence and I made so many friends who even send me emails to check on me if I don't post in a while.

    My life is very busy so I can't post as often but I still enjoy my blogging community
    everyday. Your blog is always upbeat and informative, Stephanie...
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. It's all about learning about each other's lives. That part of it can be so enjoyable.

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  20. So... for me, blogging is not a waste of time.

    JB

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  21. Blogging is one of the best things I've ever done. Been doing it since 2009. It is a community - that's the key word. You must participate to feel part of a community. I try to purchase as many books of blogging buddies as I can. It's the one way I can support my fellow writers.

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    1. That's pretty much all I read...unless I'm writing for a new genre, like when I switched to chapter books. At that point I was reading every chapter book I could find!

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  22. Ha! This is SO TRUE! I can think of half a dozen authors who either gave up blogging as a waste of time or bemoan that no one comes to their blog -- and I know it's because they never visited anyone else's blog. Blogging is a community thing. It's not a promotional thing.

    And yes, that applies to Facebook and Twitter, too!

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    1. Yeah, and I don't get how they don't get that. I was blogging for about a day when I thought, "Obviously the only way to get people to read mine is to read theirs first."

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  23. First of all, I wouldn't have read one of your books if I didn't find your blog.
    As for blogging, even if no one reads what I write, do I feel it's a waste of time? No. Because there is one big thing I'm getting out of it. Experience. The more a person writes, the more they are comfortable with it and the more they learn how to write. At least that's what I've always got out of it.

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    1. Proof! Thank you again for reading my book, by the way! I have also had a couple of instances where readers bought my book for their libraries or their classrooms after reading my blog. Teachers, librarians, and booksellers read blogs.

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  24. I get fellowship and community from blogging and a lot of good book recommendations :)

    betty

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  25. It can be. That's why I blog once a week. Just too busy doing other things. But I would miss blogging if I stopped altogether.

    Stephen Tremp
    November IWSG Co-host

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  26. I love blogging. I've met so many great people through blogging and I buy books I read about on blogs too.

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  27. Blogging is everything. An interesting read and perspective, thanks for sharing.

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  28. What happens if you do post (regularly) and comment on other blogs and basically attempt everything every guru has said and it doesn't work? What if you've tried it for years and little comes of it? It happens.

    I just got back from a blogging break. I keep thinking I'm going to quit but it's hard to contemplate abandoning five years of posts... but I still might.

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  29. I get a LOT from the blogosphere. Education, entertainment, temptation (yet more books to lust after) and support.
    I have laughed with other bloggers I have wept with and for other bloggers. And it is a perfect space for this introvert. Not giving up any time soon.

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  30. Yeah, I think the people who think it's a waste don't do what it takes to make blogging worthwhile.

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  31. Community is a good choice of words. Blogs are not simply billboards. The camaraderie in sharing, in communicating, goes way beyond that. And yes, I would and do read books based on the views and reviews of fellow bloggers :-)

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  32. The thing that I love most about blogging is the connections I've made. I feel like I've truly met some great friends, people across the world I would have never met were it not for my blog! I agree about blogging being about community. People who say it's a waste of time probably just don't understand how it works.

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  33. That is sound advice! I don't get why people say it's a waste of time...do they actually blog this? If they do then that is funny.I also think that some people gravitate to whatever is the new fad of the day so they have to "poo-poo" the thing they did before.

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  34. Great advice and so true. All the books I read I buy after I visit a blog and click on the amazon link.

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  35. Amen to that, Stephanie!

    How much fun is writing when you're not reading and commenting on other blogs? I get ideas from other blogs, I'm inspired by other blogs, and I connect with the writing styles and voices of my blogging partners out here!

    It's not a waste of time if you enjoy being part of the community!

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  36. I don't think any creative expression is a waste of time if done for the right reason.
    If you're blogging to get rich, yeah you're probably wasting your time...

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  37. Well said, lady!

    You have to join in and interact if you wish interaction.

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  38. Nice post, blogging is therapeutic and kind of like journalling, not for everyone but definitely for some!

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  39. Wow, you've been blogging a long time! It'll be three years for me this spring, and I'm definitely glad that I started.

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  40. I remember reading this same opinion on blogging a while back and mostly I remember that it made me think on it. Did I want to stop? I realized that the people saying this do exactly what you said: they blog and want others to read their posts, and that's all. I think ALLl social media is valid. It's up to us to use it to OUR advantage and how it works best for us. I also realized that I mainly blog for myself, not for others. I enjoy the outlet regardless if I sell books from it or not. I've been blogging since 2008 (other blog) and it's still my go to social media medium!

    Fantastic topic!!!! ;)

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  41. How can blogging be a waste of time? It helps authors attain discipline and a writing routine. My blog has brought me all of my editing clients. I adore blogging, and the many people I meet in the blogosphere.

    Love,
    Janie

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  42. You always put out an entertaining post, Steph. I agree blogging is about community and support.

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  43. And blogs are great to boost your SEO. (I've been reading about this lately.) They help link back to your books so that people who are looking for your kind of work can find you.

    But yeah. If you don't give, you won't get. Too often during A to Z, I find interesting bloggers that I comment on, but when I never hear back from them, I move on to spending time (which is in short supply in April) with the bloggers who I do hear from.

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  44. Hi Stephanie.

    Good grief, you've been blogging since 2006! You really should get some sleep! Okay, my pedantic moment is over.

    I consider blogging to be about learning. Discovering the diversity, the sharing that makes up the all different, all equal ethos of the blogging community I like to think exists.

    I consider interaction and if logistically possible, to comment back individually to each person who so kindly comments on my rather obscure site. Give the personal touch and be proactive on other blog sites.

    Although I don't get involved with any of the blog hops, or the blog groups, or anything to do with that silly alphabet challenge, I have much respect for those who do. Just not my scene because I like doing my own thing.

    Take care and I'm outta here.....

    Gary :)

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  45. Seriously? If I read a book review on a blog I am almost guaranteed to buy the book! And I have met the most amazing writers through blogging!

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  46. I've met so many amazing friends through blogging. There's a great community out there, and I enjoy reading other people's posts.

    I never in a million years expected people who read my blog to buy my books, but they definitely have. I was surprised by how many did.

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  47. Stephanie, I had to laugh when I saw Stephen King's photo. The king of thrillers! I love his writing and how he appears in movies done on his books. LOL! Personally, I find blogging to be therapeutic. I struggle with depression and have osteoarthritis, and to relax in the evening and work on my blog is a joy for me. I also find the kind comments I receive on my posts, how much my readers enjoy the things I post and sometimes even how it helps them! Great post! :)

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  48. This is so true! I love blogging and reading other's blogs. It's such a fun way to learn more about the writing community and great books, and just have a good time :)

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  49. Blogging is a great way to network, meet new people, and discover books and blogs on subjects which interest you. I love knowing some of my blog posts are still being read and turning up in search engines years later, and indeed like to save a lot of my more scholarly posts for days and times of year I know most of my regular readers are on blog hiatuses. Even if they don't read them, they'll still be picked up in search engines for people doing research on topics like twilight sleep, types of names, or classic films.

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  50. I have met some wonderful writers through blogging and have been lucky enough to interview and support début novelists. That gives me a thrill. I have read books I would never of heard of, unless I was out in the blogging world. There is an abundance of talent out there! I would recommend reading Clare Mackintosh, Joanna Campbell, Rosemary Gemmel, Patsy Collins, R. Mac Wheeler, Karen Walker (to name but a few) - all authors I have met through blogging. So thanks to blogging and especially IWSG for opening its supportive arms. Great post Stephanie!

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  51. This is an awesome post, Stephanie! I think blogging is sort of like when we stand on the wall with a drink and just sort of hang out and nothing happens. Then when we smile and do a little mingling, great things start to happen! Hugs...

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  52. Awesome points in this. The community is the best part. I have met so many great and helpful people through blogging even if it never sold one of my books it would be worth it.

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  53. Everything you said is so true. Blogging takes up a lot of time. But I've met such wonderful people and have made so many new friends that every minute is worth the time. I love learning about new books or just what the blogger is up to. They give encouragement, make me laugh, make me think, and just add to my day, each person in his/her own way. Go, Bloggers.

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  54. I found blogging to be a good way to meet new people, in particular other book lovers and writers. Reading other blogs has also helped me find new books to read, forever feeding and growing my TBR list.

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  55. Pretty much. I learned a very a long time ago that blogging is about interaction. You build a community. You post. You read. You start a network and a family. And I'm with you, a LARGE amount of books I've read recently have been recommended through social media so the authors in question are misinformed.

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  56. I don't get as much traffic as I'd like from blogging, but I still do it because I enjoy it. As for book recommendations . . . I never really thought about whether I read books I see recommended on blogs. I think I find most of my books from browsing, or from having [live] friends recommend them. I used to write for an online review site and discovered a lot of books that way, too. But marketing research shows that a person needs to come into contact with a book (or CD or film) an average of seven different times before s/he'll be persuaded to buy it, read it, listen to it, watch it. UNLESS it's recommended by someone the person already trusts and knows to have similar tastes to them. Even then, it might take a couple mentions, or the person might have to stumble upon the item at a store (rather than them being likely to go actively searching for it). So word of mouth is important, but there's also a source bias.

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  57. Wonderfully said. I've read those comments about blogging being a waste of time as well. I disagree. Blogging has changed my life for the better. I met so many wonderful people that pull me through the toughest times of my life and I hope I help them too.

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  58. Blogging has given me a lot ~ it's given me training in crisp writing, it's given me camaraderie, it's given me very good friends whom I haven't met face-to-face, it's given me ears (I hear a side of myself I don't usually portray over on this side of the computer simply because I don't get as many opportunities to talk about books, kidlit, art etc with friends and family), and it's given me precious resources and directions to more books and authors.

    Having no clue as to what blogging really was when I started, I took off the wrong way. I posted, and waited, and fretted when nobody came, and felt embarrassed that I didn't know what the big deal about blogging was. Then I found communities, and I found friends.

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  59. Blogging has given me a lot, in the form of what most other commenters have said. Problem I'm having now is that after 8 1/2 years, I'm suffering through major league burnout.

    Not sure where I'm going to go with my blogging, or even if I make it to next year, but I'll still be haunting the ones I subscribe to, because as you say commenting is the one surefire way to get you noticed.

    Amazon

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  60. I love blogging and reading other peoples blogs -- I have made some great friends! I love being able to share my granddaughter with my family which is mostly in the mid west and I love reading how other grandparents are spending their time, too!

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