What Shall We Talk About Next? 3D Printers?

The other day I got an email from someone I didn’t know. She’d followed me on Twitter, then asked for my email address.

Hi Jamie:
I wanted to know if you were open to any guest contributions to your site. I’d like to offer a well-written, well-researched guest post your readers would be sure to love.
Of course after it’s published I’ll promote it so that you can get more traffic and exposure to your site as well.
Here are some topics I have in mind:
#1 What 3D printing will mean for home inventors
#2 Versatility of 3D printing in technology & art
What do you think about these? If you’re interested, I am happy to get something written up and sent over to you.

Um. Maybe not.

In the same month, I got a message through my website from someone who also wanted to guest. Her suggestion for a topic was “Why Promotional Pens Are a Survivalist’s Best Friend.” (I kid you not.) Another potential guest suggested “4 Apps That Can Help Students Achieve Academic Success.” (“I think it could be a really cool addition to your blog!” she said.)

Am I being punked? No, really. Because there’s not a universe I can imagine in which any of those topics would be appropriate for this blog. And I’ve structured my categories pretty broadly.

Too broadly for some. When a reader unsubscribes, my mail service lets me know, and I follow up with a little “How’s my driving?” email. And sometimes I get answers; recently someone said he wasn’t interested in “current publishing trends and social media.”

Fair enough. But I work with a lot of published authors who have been mightily concerned with the state of the publishing industry, as it’s become exponentially more difficult to get a book deal in the last five years or so. That’s a topic that comes up over lunch. (And—in the way things work with me—from lunch to the blog! Sometimes from Facebook to the blog.)

And the topic of social media comes up a lot with my authors because that’s how they’re staying in touch with readers (aka creating their platforms), whether they’re self- or traditional publishing. Publishing houses have always expected authors to participate in the marketing effort, but they really do now. So the social media posts grew out of questions I’ve received from several of “my” authors.

When I reply to potential guest bloggers, I tell them I write about a very specific set of topics: books and their authors, writing and editing, words and language, and the publishing industry. I tell them I have used guest posts from people I know personally who have demonstrable bona fides in the publishing biz, but I write most of the posts myself. To be frank, I’m writing the sorts of things I’d like to read—things that pique my interest, things I’d like to discuss with someone. I’d write those all the time if I thought I could get away with it … but I know you like the #writetips. (The #writetips too often turn into rants, though, and I’d prefer you think kindly of me.)

It’s exhausting, all this writing. I genuinely enjoy it, but I post three times a week (Monday, Thursday, Saturday—even through a couple of long vacations), so I’m thinking about the blog all the time. I don’t have a shortage of ideas, no. But writing the blog takes time. I don’t just dash these things off. As you know yourself.

I’ve resisted using illustrations (except where it’s appropriate; four times, I think, out of more than five hundred posts) because this is a blog for people who write. I’ve resisted contests, giveaways, and other come-ons to get folks to subscribe—although I love it when you do—because I’d prefer to stand on my merits.

That said, you all should feel free to jump in with comments and suggestions. (And if you really want to make me happy, subscribe.) I’d sincerely like to hear from you. What do you want to talk about? What topics would get you excited enough to comment or tell a friend about? I’d like to know what you think.

Just don’t send me any guest posts about pencils, pens, or printers, please. :)

Tweet: Am I being punked? I can’t imagine a universe in which these topics are right for my blog.
Tweet: I write about books & authors, writing & editing, words & language, & the publishing biz.
Tweet: Topics for my blog: social media yes; 3D printing no.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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11 Comments

  1. Blogging really is exhausting! It’s fun, though. I like the content of your blog, particularly the posts about the publishing industry and editing. Keep it up!

  2. Sacha Black says:

    I have been ‘subscribed’ to your blog for about two years now I believe, and I have to say your are my absolute favourite blogger, EVER. As a budding writer I cannot even quantify the amount I have learnt from reading your blog. I have only commented once before because I don’t feel like I have anything worthy to add. But, this particular post made me chuckle! I am so glad you don’t write about 3D printers! You asked for comments though – Don’t change a damn thing. I love this blog the way it is. Especially your #writetips, even if they do turn into rants. Not only are they funny, and brutally honest, but that’s when I learn the most. I have to say, your blog genuinely gave me the confidence to start a writing course. I was fed up of saying I wanted to write, so I signed up to a course and now I AM writing, just wish I could improve my grammar! So anyway, you have one extremely happy subscriber who thanks you greatly for continuing to blog, even when you slammed at work. All the best, Sacha B :)

  3. April Line says:

    Preach, Editor Jamie Chavez fans, preach!

    I love your blog, JC. It is the only one to which I’m subscribed that I almost always find time to read the posts. (even if I don’t always find time to comment)

    Just keep being you, b/c that’s the really charming thing here. In the ocean of people blogging about similar to what you are, you are the only EJC. <3 <3 <3

  4. Best. Post. Ever. (I know. I say that about all of them.) Seriously though–I sometimes wonder what goes through folks’ (who masquerade as professionals) minds.

    Puh-leeeease… don’t blog about pencils, pens, printers, unicorns, mimes, toilet paper or anything else that’s so far south it leaves me scratching my head. (Now–that being said… I really do enjoy your rants. And if illustrations of the above point us to bettering our craft, then go for it!)

    I adore your wit, your tough love, and your commitment to writers. Heck–I just adore ya. (But don’t get the big head head or anything.) :)

    Thank you for challenging us, as writers, to rise above the bar!

  5. Adrienne (scieditor) says:

    I actually clicked this because, after loving the post about libel and other legal issues, I was curious what you had to say about 3-D printers. They’re something I’m playing with these days.
    But I get those same left-field queries. I don’t even respond. Not responding to a pitch that clearly involved no preparation is a long and honoured tradition in publishing.

    Cheers.

    • Jamie says:

      Excellent point about unresearched pitches! Thanks for stopping by, Adrienne—I hope you find more posts of interest here. :)