Yesterday I had a conversation with an old friend, a travel writer who was worried about the state of travel publishing. Apparently some guidebook companies are having a tough time keeping up with contemporary technology and are floundering.
I suggested that my friend — let’s call him Karl, since that’s his name — start blogging so that he doesn’t have to depend entirely on conventional publishing.
It’s nice to know your friends are actually listening to you, but don’t you hate it when they remember what you say and throw it back at you?
Why should writers blog?
Nevertheless, I said a few things that were convincing enough for Karl to ask me a few more questions:
- If you are a writer, it’s a good thing to write on a regular basis, even if you don’t see any money for it.
- Blogging is a good way to focus on– actually, to figure out — your particular interests without the constraints of an assigned book or article format.
- Blogging is a way to get your name out, assuming you get a bit of traffic
- Blogging is a way to become involved in a community of like-minded people, once you decide what people you like.
Finding Your Niche
I mentioned that Karl was inspired to ask me a few questions. Some were about blogging platforms and domain names (imagine me, knowing more about tech stuff than someone else!). But another was about branding, self identifying — or finding a niche.
“So pets are a niche?” Karl wanted to know. I supposed so, though there are so many people who have pets that it doesn’t seem much of a niche — which suggests “little — to me. Stamps of Poland between 1942 and 1963, say. Now, that would be a niche. Pets? Not so much.
Pet Travel Blogging — Which Niche?
Then I started thinking about pet travel blogging — this being Pet Travel Thursday. Is travel a subcategory of pets? Or is pets a subcategory of travel?
Does it matter? In my case, it’s a way for me to integrate two important elements of my life, Frankie and travel writing.
Pet Travel Book Blogging — Oh, Forget It!
We’re now moving from chicken-and-the-egg territory to Russian doll territory — you know, the little dolls that nest in each other, getting smaller and smaller ad infinitum (well, ad teeny tiny dolls — as opposed to trying to calculate pi down to its last decimal).
Are pet travel books a subcategory of books or are books a subcategory of pet travel?
And, again, does it matter?
I’ve decided it kind of matters since I’m trying to get people to participate in my pet travel book club. A lot of people are interested in pets and in pet travel, but I’m gathering many are too busy to read at this time of year.
So I’m sweetening the pot.
When you read the next book on the list, Following Atticus, you are going to want to buy it as a gift for someone else. I practically guarantee it. So everyone who participates in the book club on December 8 will be eligible to win a signed copy of the book.
By participate, I mean
- comment about the book in a way that suggests you read the first chapter (or a review on Amazon)
- answer one of the questions that my guest blogger poses
- contribute a question to ask the author, Tom Ryan.
That’s right, folks. There’s an advantage to reviewing books by people who are alive — as opposed to, say, John Steinbeck — and I’m excited to report that Tom Ryan has agreed to answer questions.
See, Karl, where else besides a blog could you write a philosophical, meandering post like this and even get a few people to read it?