A few years ago, Alex Geana was just an emerging, but talented, writer looking for a home for his work. With traditional media doors closed Alex turned to blogs as a publishing vehicle. Before long 750+ visitors a day were knocking on his virtual door, he wrote a play, is a feature blogger at Huffington Post.
I started blogging a few years ago (I think 2004 or 05) because there wasn't a place for me in the small rags I wanted to publish and work in.
At the time, Sex in the City was ending and the hottest thing on the planet. I always thought it was from a gay perspective, so I wanted to write a unique column spinning off the end of show. I approached 60 or 70 gay rags, the small press kind that people send to bars with lots of local listening, I did it the old fashion way and sent a pitch letter. Across the board, the reply was the same (from the few that responded) "we like it, but we can't fit it in our pages, because we need the room for ads".
I gave it a bit of time, wallowed in my own disappointment and isolation as a budding writer, then turned to the web. That's when I discovered blogging and One Gay Date at a Time was born. I did research, liked Typepad, because all the free stuff was riddled with bugs or needed lots of tech knowledge to take off the ground. It was a good fit, like most new bloggers, I tinkered endlessly and commented mercilessly, that's how I found Toby and her sage blog.
Being forced to write daily, did wonders for my work, it forced me to focus; really, it was part of my MFA program. I'm self taught, with blogging, I could test voice and ideas and see if they instantly work. To find out if my wacky voice and syntax was relating, people commented and I developed a loyal following which I was quite proud off. I was averaging 750 readers a day and people were emailing me, asking when my next post would be up. It was wonderful. Then I needed to get a day job and couldn't update frequently. So I moved on to other projects.
I had a chance to finish and produce the play Three Tables, even though I didn't have a chance to update daily, I impulsively put up a post about my play reading, three people showed up, stating they found me through the blog. It was great, they didn't like the concept, but that didn't matter, I realized how import it was to find a core group that could relate to theme. My themes even though congruent (to me) don't always overlap.
I also used my blog to drive ticket sales and put up a page for my play and took pretty pictures which gave people a feel for the performance; we sold out, opening night sold out a month in advance, the entire shows run of four performances sold out a week before. We had people at the door waiting for cancellations and the small show space was packed, this was due to cross marketing (as you marketers might say). We spent a lot of time driving people to the website, the online marketing sealed the interest we were creating in the 'real world' and vice versa.
A few years ago, when I came up with the insane idea of writing other people's blogs, I got cocked heads and strange looks, now people get it and I'm starting a new push to drive clients. I've also gathered and found the confidence to blog under my own name, this step is important, because in the current art market (I mean book, art, culture etc.) consumers identify with people as brands, so to share with readers, what goes into the making of my work, the things that interest me, that's what's important. To introduce people to my writer voice. The blog allows me to do just that.
Readers can also sign up for my email update list, which I use very infrequently, only when new projects come online. Blogging is all about finding creative ways to build and create relationships and keep people updated. I've realized it has a lot to do with choice, reaching a niche audience and getting past the clutter of the mainstream media.
Viewers, readers and everyone in general are looking for something different. Learning how to blog and doing it on a regular basis has helped solidify my statues as an emerging writer, my clips at Huffington Post are now helping me pitch real articles to real magazines and newspapers. It's all about crossing over form one media to another.
As the online world becomes prevalent and we as a society learn to, in tandem, take our real world relationships online (email and evite for instance) we also learn, to take our online relationships into the real and business worlds, so blogging will be more and more important.
That's my very brief blogger story and I'm sticking to it!