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Monday, September 19, 2016

Revvin’ Up the Blog

After a summer of dipping my toe back into the blogging waters and “tinkering under the hood” of the site, I’m looking forward to revving up the blog this fall.

I thought I’d left blogging on my own site behind when I decided to self-publish my first book. I started this blog as a promotional tool, intending to let readers know about all of the exciting things I was doing around the book and how the next one was coming along. I think I’ve learned a lot in the last few years, especially just how hard it is to not only write a book, but to publicize it. In that time, I self-published a second book, my first novel, which offered even more lessons.

I continue to look for ways to promote those books. But I recently started thinking about what to do next. Writing a second novel didn’t make much sense, as I’m still working on getting the first one some attention. However, I knew I wanted to continue writing.

My mom was the one who suggested getting back to blogging. It wasn’t a bad idea. Moms never have bad ideas, do they? I hadn’t completely abandoned blogging, anyway. I’ve written numerous posts for various sites in an effort to bring some more exposure to the books. Most, if not all, of them focused on disability.

Yet, I wondered what the point would be to blogging on my site. Was it really going to attract people who might read my books? Does it really help my “brand” to blog? (OK, I probably don’t have a brand, but you get the idea.) And would it make any sense to have a blog writing about subjects I want to write about—including disability and sports—which potentially attract very different audiences?

Then Huffington Post, the site I was writing on the most, changed their platform for bloggers. To make a long story short, the process became completely automated, as far as I could tell, and the sense of accomplishment that came with getting a piece on HP was gone. So, I began thinking more seriously about changing things up, and the itch to write about sports again started to grow. Recently, I’ve also been considering trying to write about personal experiences in a more complete way than I have in the past. (I’m still working on how exactly to do that.)

Ultimately, I realized I just felt like giving blogging regularly another shot. It keeps me busy, I’m going to try to have some fun with it, and, besides, writers write. I still want to write another book someday, but I thought it might make sense to have a regular “gig” along the way.

So, hopefully, a few people have noticed that I’ve been writing on the blog a bit more. And I hope readers didn’t notice any of the technical glitches during my attempts to upgrade the site with better hit counters, subscriptions, and a commenting system. A webmaster I’m not!

I’ve also been trying a couple things to make my posts more readable—as if they weren’t already perfect! The blog has a slightly new look intended to be easier on the eyes and lets readers get right to the posts. I’m also employing a strict 1,000 word limit for posts, and often using a rapid-fire format that I used on my old sports blog. I enjoy writing in that mode. I’m eager to learn whether or not people enjoy reading the result.

With summer coming to a close, I’m happy to let readers know that it’s now possible to follow my blog via e-mail subscriptions. I’ve been testing the system for weeks, and it does not create spam! However, it will allow subscribers to get a link to my posts e-mailed directly to their inbox.

The blog now has two main “subject labels” or types of posts—Rob’s Rants and Rob’s Rants on Sports. Since they cover very different subject areas, I’ve setup subscriptions for each of these labels, along with a couple others, for people who might want to follow some posts and not others.

Rob’s Rants will cover multiple topics, almost always in different subject areas, in rapid-fire fashion. I’ll write about anything that catches my attention, including TV, movies, general news, disability topics, even politics, and more. Posts may occasionally include a sports topic that has become enough of a news story to receive attention beyond SportsCenter. I plan to write a Rob’s Rants once or twice a month.

Rob’s Rants on Sports will feed part of my sports addiction as I focus on the major Philadelphia teams—Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and even those Eagles—as well as some national or just plain interesting sports stories. I tend to look at media coverage from time to time as well. I plan to do a weekly sports rant.

Of course, I will still be writing about disability topics. I’ll generally do this within the Rants format. But I may occasionally write an article on a disability topic—or any topic, especially Philadelphia sports—outside of the Rob’s Rants format. Check out the available subscriptions for more information.

With my posts now running exclusively on my blog, your support is even more appreciated. Though I still have the ability to post on HP—and to submit to The Mighty–I’ll be working to enhance my own site for now. In the meantime, I will continue looking for more opportunities to gain exposure.

As I try to rev things up, I hope you’ll give the blog a read now and then. My goals are to make it worth reading, have fun, and keep doing what writers do—write.

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