Building a blog tribe

hearthfire

I never used to care how many readers I had.

When I first started blogging in 2002, I was afraid to attach my name to it, afraid to put myself all the way out there. I wanted to write publicly, but didn’t necessarily want people knowing who I was. I was living in Prague and wanted family and friends to know what I was up to. Family members followed my blog, but very few friends did.

I don’t envy those of you who blog as a profession. I can’t imagine being dependent on hits for my income. To me that’s really scary. I want to blog what I want to blog and not worry about my following.

For most of its life, Rhymes with Safari had about six readers, and that was just fine with me.

As I get ready to start querying agents for my memoir, Bark and Lunge, I’m constantly hearing that I need to build a platform. I need to show prospective agents and editors that I can attract a following. They want to know that more than six people will buy my book.

To that end, I’ve joined some social networking groups aimed at expanding one’s blogging reach, and I’ve more than doubled my Twitter following… to a whopping 96 tweeps.

I’ve made a few changes around here. I bought the domain KariNeumeyer.com a few months back, and you’ll notice that’s now the default URL. Right now, both KariNeumeyer and RhymeswithSafari will get you here, but I may not renew RhymeswithSafari.com a year from now.

I’ve also been advised to establish myself as a dog blogger, and not blog about unrelated topics. That way, publishers will recognize that I am the right person to write a memoir about loving an aggressive dog.

Interestingly and probably unfortunately, my dog posts don’t attract the most readers. My travel posts last year seemed wildly popular among total strangers.

In Brooke Warner’s book What’s Your Book? she talks about losing interest in a travel writer whose blog wasn’t entirely about travel. I feel for that blogger. I wouldn’t be able to sustain a travel-only blog year-round, not the way I blogged during my last trip.

I probably could write about nothing but dogs, but I fear that would get boring. Post after post about Leo chewing a piece of furniture, or Mia stealing his toys. I mean I could look at pictures of my dogs forever. Could you?

Besides, there are lots of dog blogs out there. There’s only one KariNeumeyer, and she also likes to talk about movies, and describe her experiences at the walk-in clinic and emergency room.

I am allowed to write about writing and the process of getting published though, so at least this post is acceptable.

2 thoughts on “Building a blog tribe

  1. I think as long as you blog authentically, it’s not that important that you cover only one niche, but I don’t do it for a living. It’s been a lot of trial and error to see what stuff floats and what doesn’t. Trends and opinions change, so your blog will always be evolving. That being said, there are several really good blog hops that can help you draw other pet bloggers to your blog if you join in on them.

  2. You pose some complex questions! And therein lies the difficulty with niche blogging – our lives are far more then a collection of niches, and as human beings we want to share our experiences, whatever the topic. I think people will follow a voice, more so than a topic – but what do I know!
    Best of luck with these decisions!

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