When my publisher, Rupa and Co. suggested that I start a blog to promote my (at that time) upcoming book, Burnt Toast, I thought- â€˜That should not be too difficult.’ After all, I was a published author. None of these bloggers would be putting in that much effort for free, right? Political blogs had led to revolutions in the West all right, but India was still a nascent market. I would be a pioneer – they would be soon interviewing me in CNBC.
I wish someone had slapped some sense in me at that time. So, let me do a favour to all the embryonic bloggers out there. Here is my list of things, that I wish I’d been told when I had started out – my statutory warnings, if you please. Read them carefully and proceed into the blogosphere with caution!
Statutory Warning #1: Blogging is not content that can’t get published elsewhere.
I am laughing at myself even as I’m writing this. In my six months of perfunctory skimming of over a 1000 blogs (out of 133 million according to the last estimate in 2009), I have yet to come across below- average writing. Blogs that persist are good, well-researched, relevant and very very readable. Bloggers are not opinionated a******s, who don’t have anyone else to talk to — most bloggers are people whom I’d love to meet in person. They are (for most part) smart, committed and very passionate. And very tough competition.
Statutory Warning #2: Blogging is not a hobby.
Though blogging was a good way to kill a few extra hours, before you know it, you eat into your â€˜normal’ life like a hungry monster – no parties, hanging out with friends, or extended family functions. Soon you’ll be compromising on your monetized work for reasons you aren’t really clear about anymore. There will be no more â€˜not-on-air’ moments. From the time you wake up till you sleep and after, the blogosphere will be alive, waiting, thriving, tempting. Resistance is futile. Prepare to get usurped.
Statutory Warning #3: Content is not king.
No one is disputing the fact that content is important, but with 133 million blogs, good content is now given. Plenty of â€˜good content’ blogs are suffering from lack of an audience and shall probably disappear without a blip (maybe even mine – assuming I qualify for good content). As with everything else in our commoditised world, the consumer is spoilt for choice and marketing is the differentiating factor. The old â€˜you scratch my backâ€¦’ philosophy has left many a blogger bloodied and wounded. And now with the growing fatigue of Facebook and Twitter, where will we find our new Pied Piper from?
Statutory Warning #4: Your blog is not unique.
While no one has dared (or cared) to categorize 133 million blogs beyond the â€˜mother’ categories of personal, food, travel etc. – rest assured that no matter where you think you are going, someone else has been there, done that. I have come across blog like Oddee that covers the oddities of life such as doppelganger celebrities, 12 geekiest proposals and hidden sexual messages in Disney cartoons. One called Growabrain – which has since shut and morphed into growababy. And then there’s Banorama – which blogs about the most shocking news on the web- their latest post was about how to avoid awkward moments after making love. Blogs cover every topic from Love, Sex aur Dhoka to Saas, Bahu aurÂ aur Sasuraal and everything in between – Bollywood has more scope that blog-e-wood.
Statutory Warning #5: Very few blogs actually succeed.
Let’s see, there are around half a million blogs in India. Yet, how many of them did you hear of before you joined this space? See? While in the west, the traffic is measured in hundred thousands and many blogs are monetized, in India traffic is measured just in thousands and I don’t know of many that are. So prepare to take it slow – someday the Chindia story may catch up with the blogging world too.
There. Those are my words of wisdom friend. Proceed with caution.
And yes, the final one- â€˜Blogging is injurious to health, prepare to get addicted!’
About Sandy Kundra Verma: Sandy Kundra Verma did her MBA from MDI Gurgaon in 2001 and decided to pursue her passion in advertising, joining Draft FCB ULKA as their strategic planner. After years of being paid a percentage of her batch mates’ salaries and convincing herself that it was worth it, she decided to branch out to what she liked even more. Writing. Burnt Toast is her first novel. And yes, it was all worth it.
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