Revamping the blog

Hi All,

I’m going to be making some changes to the blog, so I wanted to chat a little bit about that here. First, we’ll look at why I decided to change things; second, my parameters for choosing a new format; and last, what things will look like moving forward.

The old

In considering what my author blog should look like, there were a few things I focused on. First, who was my audience? Second, what did they want or need? Third, what unique value did I bring to that topic?

For the first question, the answer was fairly obvious. This blog is first and foremost for my current or potential readers, with my main two target audiences being nerdy readers of sci-fi and fantasy YA and, to a lesser degree, people who want to be challenged by their books while still being entertained. Secondarily, this blog is for story nerds, writers and creators who love picking stories apart and discussing the storytelling craft.

As to what they want or need, that was a much harder question, with the main answer I could come up with being nerdy recommendations (not necessarily limited to books) and information on my writing journey.

As to what I could bring to the table, there were a few things there, though the main points were delight, enthusiasm/positivity, and my unique lens (which could be summed up either as a woman of faith or, perhaps more appropriately in this context, as a woman who is deeply, madly, in love with the world).

With those answers in mind, the blog premise I arrived at originally was “Abby Likes Things,” a blog where I could let my full-on inner fan girl out in the wild to dole her praises upon on the many things I adore. I would be able to combat the overly critical, sometimes cynical voices I so often hear, provide recommendations for readers and writers, and share the things that I love. Win win win, yes?

Well, not exactly.

The current

As you can see, this blog has had a bit of a faltering start. Part of this was simply from the fact I was in the middle of trying to publish a book at the time, but on further reflection, I’ve also realized that the original premise had some mortal flaws. An abbreviated summary of those flaws includes…

  • The fact that sycophancy is trying. While people often enjoy others’ passion and I was careful to include a section for potential critiques in my format from the beginning, the purely exuberant approach was too blindly appreciative and complimentary, leaving little room for deeper conversation, nuance, or, in its own way, true appreciation. In essence, it was boring.
  • The fact there is great value in taking a critical approach to the things you love. It is a requirement for things to improve, wherein a simply positive approach is ultimately unproductive, if not harmful.
  • The fact that trying to draw everyone in will draw no one. With an original scope that was limited only to “things Abby likes,” there were not enough guardrails for content creation. Not only was that paralyzing for me, it also lacked any kind of consistent throughline and value add for readers. People who came for Japanese funk bands wouldn’t necessarily stay for YouTube cooking channels. People who came for anime recommendations wouldn’t necessarily stay for classic gothic novels.

The above flaws in mind, I set out to design something different, using the following parameters:

  • The blog must still address the needs/wants of the readers.
  • The blog must be of a narrow and specific enough scope that readers will find consistent value worth returning for every post, even if they are not familiar with or a fan of the particular item being featured.
  • The blog must be interesting, valuable, and narrow enough in scope for me to be willing and able to write it on a consistent basis.

The new

That in mind, I decided to move forward with a new format, one that I am tentatively calling Story Shots (name recommendations appreciated). The idea is to take a closer look at a story I’m enjoying and to study and discuss one thing that story does particularly well. For example, how the popular anime One Piece does a great job introducing the protagonist’s powers in episode one, how the Mission Impossible movie franchise has built such a lovable protagonist in Ethan Hunt, or how Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy novel Warbreaker builds tension in its opening scenes.

There are several reasons I think this will be a better approach. Firstly, it will give me a tighter focus while still allowing me the opportunity to support and celebrate creators that I think are doing well. Likewise, by having a consistent aspect across disparate posts, I’ll be able to give readers something consistent to hang their hats on, giving them reason to come back regularly instead of just when I’m highlighting things they enjoy. This approach will give me greater opportunities to connect with creators I admire and build my own reputation as an authority in my field (which will then, hopefully, lead to future sales of my own books). It will also force me to pay closer attention to the stories and media I’m consuming, thereby expanding my skills in my craft.

A few final notes

The above reflects the changes that will be coming to the blog, but I would like to point out that, as with all things, this is still a work in progress and that there will still be one-off posts/modifications as we go along. For example, it is still my intention to sprinkle in the occasional post about my writing journey more generally, for example, to highlight the release of a new book or to discuss some specific aspect of the writing/indie author life. That being said, most regular updates on my progress, events, or announcements will be delivered via my newsletter, which will come out twice a month.

As an added bonus, since there are still a lot of things that I love that may not fit into the new blog scope and I do still want to let my inner fan girl loose on a regular basis, I’m going to continue the original spirit of Abby Likes Things in my newsletter, where I will be giving brief recommendations for more varied items, such as new foods or music, video games or art pieces, or even books and other story media that either didn’t have enough for a specific post or will be covered more deeply later. If your interests are as wide-ranging and enthusiastic as my own, I highly recommend signing up for updates.

With all that out of the way, what do you think? Are you excited for the changes? Going to miss the old setup? Have recommendations for the new format’s name? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to signup for email updates in the forms in the sidebar or below. Thank you!

1 thought on “Revamping the blog”

  1. Sounds good. You write well. Even explaining your goals and ideas! Your suggested name is good, but if you want to start a list … how about Story Soiree (granted I didn’t know how to spell it nor pronounce it, but is unique:) I appreciate that you lay things out… the good and the, well, not so. And your new book turned out really well, so be encouraged by that! It will be fun to see what new you here!

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