Advice for the would-be blogger

Mike Cernovich offers it:

People didn’t start blogs to win fame or fortune. People wrote because they thought they had something to say, and it was fun.

Or people started blogging in hopes of getting a book deal. Before self-publishing, people actually sat around waiting to be discovered! Or they’d pitch book ideas to publishing houses, which are staffed by 22-year-old Women’s Studies majors.

Now everyone wants to write for one hour a day and earn millions.

When you write for fame or fortune, it shows in your writing. Every post has the, “Please pay attention to me and buy my stuff and hire me” tone to it.

It’s a hard tone to explain, although Aristotle wrote about ethos in Rhetoric.

I write because it’s fun. Even though it’s how I learn my living, this website is the time of my life.

There’s not a day where I have anything approaching writer’s block. How could I? This is a blast!

Blogging was a conversation.

No one ripped off each other’s articles. Not giving attribution – called a “hat tip” – to someone was seen as unethical and would lead to ostracizing.

If someone wrote something interesting, you’d quote what he said, add your comments, and join the conversation.

Today people steal concepts and re-write entire articles.

Shorter version: write because you enjoy the process and because you actually have something different to say. Don’t do it for the attention. Don’t do it for the money. Don’t do it because you like what you perceive as the lifestyle. Don’t do it because you like the image. Especially don’t do it because you think it is some sort of get-rich-quick scheme. It’s not. It’s the exact opposite due to the supply-and-demand curve; there are more people who want to write and are able to publish than ever before, combined with fewer people who read and buy books than there have been in decades. Writing is a hobby, not a profession, a career, or a business.

If you don’t have anything to say that isn’t already being said, don’t bother. If you’re just looking to express yourself, that’s what Pinterest and Twitter are for. If you’re just looking for attention, Tumblr and Facebook will suffice.

But if you do have something to say, why should you listen to Mike? Because of what he has done by himself, without the benefit of a mainstream publisher pushing his books into the distribution channel or striking marketing deals with various booksellers. What he has done is not at all common. The average U.S. nonfiction book is now selling less than 250 copies per year. Less than 5 percent of books sell more than 5,000 copies. He is an extreme outlier.

Gorilla Mindset has sold 15,164 copies. I sell on average 70 copies per day.

Essays on Embracing Masculinity has sold 1,500 copies. I sell on average 8 copies per day.

Juice Power has sold 1,500 or so copies. Juice Power sells a copy or so a day.

Last Man Standing will outsell Gorilla Mindset, and comes out in early 2016.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Castalia House will have the privilege of publishing Last Man Standing.