Technically, this blog is less than a month old so getting any sort of recognition is unexpected and appreciated. Of course, this blog is a product of a much longer journey, so grab a drink, sit back, and let me tell you a tale…
1. Say thanks to who nominated you and leave a link back to that person’s blog.
I’ve already mentioned that this blog is less than a month old. Its official launch date was December 17, 2019. Getting a nomination is great, getting two in an hour surprising, and three within a day is just mind-blowing. That said, the great thing about this tag is that I can respond to all three at once.
Dewbond at Shallow Dives in Anime.
It’s a real honour to be nominated by the Shinmai Guy. I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of lengthy discussion with Dewbond about some of the more ecchi titles out there, and yes, one of them was Shinmai Maou. It’s always a good laugh and I admire the way you do exactly what you want.
Chris Joynson at Never Argue with a Fish
Chris is a fellow author with an interest in anime based out of Sheffield, England. Fun fact, I spent a year in Sheffield when I was studying Sports Science. In truth, I spent my time playing rugby and drinking, before making the switch to Computer Science. Chris watches and reviews a wide variety of anime and makes his own cool images (I believe).
Pinkie at Pinkie’s Paradise
Pinkie’s Paradise has to be the most colourful blog out there and since Pinkie has expanded into all things geeky, there is bound to be something for everyone. I particularly like the rating images at the end of the reviews. It’s not just Pokemon any more, but you can bet that they’re still hanging around.
Stop the press! I have received a fourth nomination and it’s just as exciting as the other three. Thankfully, with this format, it’s the same questions and I was in the middle of writing it so, I can thank one more blogger.
Tiger at TigerAnime
So, Tiger is in the process of ramping up their blog. They’ve recently set out some goals with some lofty ambitions and I can totally respect that. There are many, many reasons to blog and every one is as valid as the next. I shall have to keep my eye on this one…
Well, this is embarrassing! It would appear that a fifth nomination has rolled in between me writing the post and the scheduled date, so I better make sure to include everyone that was kind enough to nominate me.
Keiko at Keiko’s Anime Blog
Like me, Keiko is covering a lot of the new seasonal shows. We’ve not seen eye to eye on everything, but that’s the joy of this medium. We can all like different things and the same show will appeal to different viewers in different ways. There are plenty that we do agree on. Either way, you should check out Keiko’s blog too, but not before reading on for the unbelievable history of the Otaku Author and some tips.
2. Give the story or history of your blog.
As I’m responding to five nominations, I get to write five times as much… Now, even though this blog is less than a month old, the history of the blog goes way beyond that. It’s been a long and interesting road, so hopefully, there will be some use in me telling the story.
Firstly, let me give you some context that will become relevant as this tale continues. I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until 2007 that I finally realised it. On a whim, I wrote and entered a short story into an anthology that SFX magazine was putting together. My story wasn’t selected, but that didn’t stop me. Later that year, I attempted my first NaNoWriMo. For those that don’t know, NaNoWriMo is when you attempt to write a fifty thousand word novel in November. I failed, running out of ideas after ten days. So far, so good, right?
The next year as NaNoWriMo approached, I had a good group of work friends and one of them approached me with the idea to do it as a group. In the end, five of us committed to the project. We made up a schedule and on November 1, the first writer started the story. The next day, it passed to the next writer who continued the story. Then the next and so on and on. At the end of November, we had written a fifty-five thousand word novel and had a lot of fun doing it. It was so exciting waiting to see what the previous writer had managed on the prior day. This might make for a good blog series at some point, but we’ll put a pin in that for now.
Having completed NaNoWriMo, a couple of us signed up to do some creative writing classes and had more fun. It was probably at this point, that I decided I needed to get serious. In an attempt to build an online presence and work on my writing, I started a blog called Film-Year. I used Blogger and my goal was to watch 365 films in a year and review them all on the blog. I completed the challenge and got my first taste of blogging. I created Film-Year at the end of 2010 and ran it through 2011.
In 2012, I moved from the UK to New Zealand and blogging fell to the side for a while. Later that year, I took on NaNoWriMo as a solo writer and smashed it. Completing my project with seven days to spare. I joined a writer’s group in New Zealand and found my way back to blogging. Still using Blogger, I made a new blog called TheEarthLynn which I used to write about whatever I wanted. Finding a community back in those days was tough and I really didn’t get very far, but I kept at it.
Fast forward to 2015 and I moved to Canada. Once there, I took another writing class and decided to give blogging another go. This time, however, I bought my own domain name and started to use WordPress. For a while I plodded along, writing reviews of films, TV shows, and graphic novels and again, hardly any views and no engagement.
For the next couple of years, I continued to work on my craft. I had joined a group of authors on Facebook and listened to an untold number of podcasts. Whenever I had a free moment, I was learning and studying. That was when I decided that I needed to really take it seriously. Blogging was definitely going to be a part of my branding and marketing strategies. So, in 2018 I bought a hosting package and started building my website with the domain I bought in 2015 and had done nothing with.
I transferred over a load of posts and continued on almost exactly as I had done before… And guess what, no engagement and barely any views. With the latest version of the site, I had at least decided to focus more on anime. It was my author platform and as I didn’t want to talk about writing craft, I decided to focus on story and use anime as a means to talk about it. It took me eight months of posting to the wind before I decided that I needed to go out and find people to read my posts. That was in September 2018. I started reading other bloggers posts, liking, and commenting. Things took off from there.
Before I knew it, I was doing a 30-day anime challenge and episode reviews of Highschool of the Dead. The blog grew and grew, I started doing more and more posts. Soon I was covering seasonal shows and I haven’t looked back. At some point in the process in July of 2019, I took on the blogging title of The Otaku Author. It fit with what I’m trying to achieve as a writer and anime blogger and it was infinitely more searchable than my actual name.
Then as I approached the end of 2019, I was looking for a new host for my site and one thing led to another and I decided to completely embrace the Otaku Author brand and bought the domain and relaunched my site. It may seem like a crazy idea to unpublish everything and start fresh, but I’m starting new with all of this accumulated knowledge and experience. I feel a little bit like Taichi in Isekai Cheat Magician and I’m loving it.
So, that was about twelve years worth of history for this month old blog… I have glazed over a lot of the detail because I didn’t want this to go on too long, but if you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll expand on things where possible. Now, I think I’m ready to offer some advice.
3. Give two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
Why do you Blog?
So, that’s more of a question than a piece of advice, but it’s a question you should be asking yourself. It’s worth knowing that there are no wrong answers and it can change over time. The reason I ask this is that so often we end up doing things that don’t align with our goals. Sometimes, it’s because others are doing it or it seems like a good idea. I know I’ve done it.
That was part of the course correction with the Otaku Author branding. With that name, I’ve been able to incorporate my two purposes. It’s clear that I’m an author and the otaku part of it can be interpreted in numerous ways, but it gives the right message. I’ve also recently switched up my anime reviews to try to incorporate the author/story side of things and I’m going to do more with storytelling/development. Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that.
That brings me nicely into my next piece of advice and this time, it’s not a question.
Don’t fear change!
As you can see from my experience, there’s been a lot of change. Changing platforms, changing domains, changing everything. It can be a daunting decision to make. I know I spent a lot of time going back and forth on whether to change to the OtakuAuthor domain. It meant changing a lot of things and I’d spent a lot of time developing the previous one. My Google rankings were pretty good and I was getting steady search engine traffic.
So, why would I do it? Well, that takes us back to the last point. It was because of why I blog. I knew that all of the things I would lose could be claimed back over time. I knew that the new domain was the direction that best fit with my ‘why’. Part of the reason I felt compelled to talk so much about my blogging history was to show that change is natural. The best thing we can do is learn from our experiences and change our direction with that knowledge.
All right, now for some knowledge. Get ready, because here it comes.
Get out there!
It took me almost eight years to realise that I needed to bring the readers to my blog. For far too long, I just kept posting and hoping that they would come. This isn’t Field of Dreams. If you build it… they won’t come, unless you give them a reason. Now, before you run out and tell everyone about your blog, let me just add a little proviso to that. You can’t actually tell them about your blog…
If you met a stranger in the streets, I doubt you would say, “Hi, read my blog.” Well, the same goes for online. Once you’ve got to know this stranger, you might get a chance to tell them, but even then, it’s still a little pushy. The best thing you can do is talk to people. In a blogging scenario, you comment on their posts or reply to comments on your posts. Luckily, with blogging, your name is attached to the comment and links back to your blog so they may well go and investigate of their own accord. It’s much more likely to happen if you start a genuine conversation based on the post in question than if you say something generic and “Check out my blog.”
Etiquette aside, what I’m saying is that you need to make connections. Chances are if you’re a blogger, you’re on the introverted side of the scale. This obviously makes it harder to do, but let me reassure you that most bloggers are like you and will be happy to find a genuine comment on their posts, especially if it engages with the topic. I’ve found most bloggers to be friendly and engaging. So, don’t waste any more time. Get out there and say hi!
4. Nominate other bloggers.
- GeatxShogun at Fortress William
- Inskidee at Inskime
- Yomu at Umai Yomu Anime Blog
- mirrorpurple at MirrorPurple
- Claddily at Meriendeato
- Jon Spencer at Jon Spencer Reviews
- matija at TFWAnime
- Voyager at Anime Voyage
- David Boone at Another Anime Review
- Winter at A Winter’s Reverie
Thanks for reading. This post ended up being far longer than I anticipated and I know I didn’t go into all the detail. So, once more, if you have any questions or you’d like me to expand on anything I’ve said, let me know in the comments. I’ll be happy to help.