According to Blogger, this is my 200th HoseMaster post, at least in this incarnation. I stopped being funny about #23. Every single day I wonder why I do this. I think I finally know the answer—the retirement package. It’s so generous. The same pay as I’m making now, and free health care at any emergency room. And I’ll receive a plaque in the Wine Blogger Hall of Fame, currently under construction in Hell, thanks to a generous grant from Robert Parker, who is planning to move there in the near future from his own private Hell.
For those of you new to blogging, I thought I’d share some of the hard-earned wisdom that has come my way via HoseMaster of Wine. I wish someone had warned me about this stuff before I started typing. It would have saved me a lot of grief, heartache and hate mail.
NEVER READ ABOUT YOURSELF ON OTHER BLOGS
It’s depressing. Especially if you read about yourself here. That’s really depressing. In the beginning, I got very excited if someone mentioned my name in their blog. Now it’s like when they call your name for jury duty—you know you’re in for a long, boring ride. Once in a while, I used to Google my blog’s name. It’s a pretty distinctive name, shared by a band, a plumbing company and a bunch of black guys who gangbang white girls. I’m not making that up. I’d sue them, but I’m basically scared of them. They each have several inches on me. I mean, they have a longer reach. No, wait a minute, it’s because I once belonged to Big Brothers. Oh, I don’t know. But I’ve stopped Googling my blog name. When I read what others say about me on their blogs, I’m stunned. Not by what they say, but with how poorly they say it. I like a nasty remark as much as the next guy, but, for God’s sake, it should have some wit. What’s the difference between the Wine Bloggers Conference and the morgue? Toe tags. Though I think Randall Grahm has one. And, anyway, writers should never read their reviews. I seem to be much loved and much loathed. But I knew that without reading my name elsewhere. Take my advice, do not read about yourself. And while you’re at it, don’t read about me either.
NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY
There was a time when I wanted the word “monetize” banned from wine blogs, but the most annoying word now is “journey.” Yes, life is a goddam journey, is that the most original idea you’ve had during your damned journey? No one cares that you’re going to write about wine and that you want us to join you on your journey to discover it. REALLY. No one gives even one little teeny-tiny yeast fart. We might care about your journey into nymphomania, or into gay Scientology, or maybe into soft tacos, but your journey to discover wine is about as thrilling as a Tony Danza film festival. The minute people see the word “journey” in your About Me profile, they leave your site. It’s a dead damn giveaway that the last original thought you had died of starvation. If you currently have that word on your blog, get rid of it. It’s part of your blog journey.
NO ONE KNOWS HOW MANY PEOPLE READ A WINE BLOG
All that crap about “I have 30,000 hits a month” is just that. Crap, and mostly aimed at getting free stuff. There are dozens of ways to measure the number of visits to a blog, and each gives a vastly different number. It’s like the paid attendance at a baseball game—who cares? Eighty per cent of them aren’t paying attention anyway. Those 30,000 hits a month?—picture all those empty seats behind home plate when you watch a game on TV and it’s declared a sellout. Most of the people who visit wine blogs—empty seats. The vast majority of wine blogs—sellouts.
THE COMMENTS ARE NOT ABOUT YOU
If you’re lucky enough to get comments, remember that the comments are not about you, they are about the commenters. This is unlikely to be a problem for you. Recently, I looked at a bunch of the nominated Best New Wine Blogs, and only once or twice did I see a post that had more than 1 comment, and that was usually from WineHarlots, so that doesn’t count. (By the way, DO NOT look at those nominated Best New Wine Blogs, especially if you’re pregnant or will be operating heavy machinery. They’re either written by Aussies on Quaaludes, or perhaps as Quaaludes, or mostly plagiarized from Wikipedia.) Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the regular cast of misfits, evil geniuses and misanthropes who comment here. But I’m just the ringmaster, here to oversee the three rings where they display their polished acts. Just stay out of your commenters’ way and they’ll be happy.
MEMORIZE THE TOPIC THAT WILL GENERATE THE MOST COMMENTS