Last March 12, 2014, I was one of the lucky panelists included in SCBWI-L.A.’s Westside Schmooze on Blogging.

Westside Schmooze Coordinators Karol Silverstein and Charlie Cohen challenged us with the following questions:

Some of us blog, some of us don’t.  And some of us do it way too much!  Is blogging a good way for writers to practice meeting deadlines and build an audience?  Or just an excuse to avoid facing the emptiness in their lives? Are Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites great for getting your brand out there and keeping up on what your fellow writers are up to?  Or merely tools for self-flagellation and envy?  (I guess the answer depends on whether you’re Karol or Charlie.)

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Westside Schmooze Coordinators Karol Silverstein and Charlie Cohen flanking Author Allen Zadoff

I joined  SCBWI members and bloggers Lee Wind of I’m Here, I’m Queer.  What the Hell Do I Read? , and Susan Berger, Kris Kahrs, and Lupe Fernandez (via phone) of the Pen and Ink Blog at the Santa Monica Library.

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Lee Wind, I’m Here, I’m Queer.  What the Hell Do I Read?

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Susan Berger,the Pen and Ink Blog

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Kris Kahrs,the Pen and Ink Blog

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Lupe Fernandez, the Pen and Ink Blog

Since Social Media gurus Greg Pincus http://www.thehappyaccident.net/about/ and Laura Wallis http://www.webnavigatorgal.com/ couldn’t join us, they sent a rather fun puppet proxy, along with the answers to some of Karol and Charlie’s questions.

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Greg Pincus                                                                                                     Laura Wallis

 

Schmooze Coordinators Charlie and Karol facilitated the panel in which we  tackled three main points:

A)  What makes a good blog/what can blogging do for me?

B)  How do I make a blog and get people to go to it?

C)  What are the relative merits of Blogging, Twitter and all the other social media venues?

 

A)  What makes a good blog/what can blogging do for me?

Most of us agreed that good blogs are either entertaining or informative. And while blogging can be a good way to build our author platforms, it isn’t for everyone.

Lee warned that blogging takes up an enormous amount of time and that any writer who is thinking about blogging, must really consider how it can help his/her career.

Susan, Kris and Lupe share a blog with Hilde Garcia, which they call The Pen and Ink Blog. Having four of them on the blog team lessens the amount of time they each spend on the blog, which helps in terms of their writing.

I mentioned that part of blogging isn’t only writing the posts, but also visiting other blogs and making connections with other writers.

We all agreed that the benefits of blogging include making connections with other writers, building a possible following for your future books, and giving us time to hone and practice our writing skills. Lee also added that having a blog and following a stable schedule will help us appear more professional in terms of our writing careers.

 

B)  How do I make a blog and get people to go to it?

While the other panelists used blogspot or blogger for their blogs. I opted for WordPress since I love its flexibility. I can add widgets to the side bar ,  manipulate the design and post blogs easily enough.

I also mentioned that one way to meet bloggy buddies and get traffic to your blog is by joining blogging challenges such as the A-Z Blogging Challenge, which is currently ongoing.

 

C)  What are the relative merits of Blogging, Twitter and all the other social media venues?

Lee Wind said that having a blog actually opened doors for him. On his blog he reviews LGBT books and tackles LGBT issues. The blog has allowed him to be viewed as a professional in the area and has led him to be invited as a speaker for several schools.

Susan, Kris and Lupe mentioned that one of the perks of having a blog is that they are able to connect with and interview their favorite authors.

Greg, via his proxy puppet aka. Charlie, also mentioned that social media allows users to reach a wider audience for promoting their work. His blog actually helped his poetry collection get noticed by the New York Times.

 

We discussed all of these things and more in our hour and a half blogging panel. It was such a fun experience being among fellow SCBWI members and bloggers! I can’t wait to relive the experience and Schmooze Coordinators Charlie and Karol publish the blogging panel transcript on their Schmooze Blog!

 

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3 Responses to “SCBWI-L.A. Westside Schmooze Blogging Panel: Livin’ In a Blogsta’s Paradise”

  1. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell – well that sounds a great event – and very helpful for everyone present … and thanks for writing the post – it’s always interesting reading people’s viewpoints and hearing the different angles.

    Blogging does take time .. but it’s very supportive and a great way to learn … I teach myself via my own posts and I learn on reading other blogs – and in this broad group there are loads of very helpful, supportive, knowledgeable bloggers … one being here!

    Cheers and have a fun weekend – Hilary

  2. What a great gathering. I love what you’ve written about blogging. I wish I’d had this information when I first started.

    I met Lee at an SCBWI conference several years ago. He is so humorous and such a great person.

  3. LD Masterson says:

    I argee that blogging is a mixed bag. Lots of positives but the one negative is big – takes so much time.

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