I searched around the web and found very few blogs coming from the country except those from expats talking about touring and animals. One quite impressive blog I found, though, is Who Is Mickey?
(http://www.whoismikey.net/blog/tag/botswana/) It’s a blog run by photographer Michael Mba showcasing his work and talking about the day-to-day life of a photographer in the country.
It’s informative and chatty and gives lots of examples of his professional and beautiful photos. It’s a good example of what an artistic blog might look like.
Blogs are a cheap and simple way for you to distribute your writing to an online audience both in Botswana and outside our borders and to promote yourself whether you write creative nonfiction, poetry, short stories, or more journalistic material.
It also builds up your platform which is increasingly an important aspect considered by potential publishers and agents.
There are numerous free blogging sites to choose from. I use blogger for my blog Thoughts from Botswana (http://thoughtsfrombotswana.blogspot.com) .
I’ve had my blog for quite a few years and besides allowing me to share some of my writing and my thoughts on writing, it also allows people to find me easily.
I have had all sorts of interesting contacts and even jobs that have originated from someone visiting my blog.
For someone with limited technical skills like me, Blogger is very easy to use.
You can choose from a large variety of templates that allow you a lot of flexibility. Blogger also now has numerous pages.
You can have up to 10 pages. On my blog I use one page for my CV, another for a study guide for my book The Fatal Payout which is read in junior secondary schools in Botswana.
I use one of the pages to market my books sold as ebooks, where I include links for people wishing to buy.
Once your blog is set up, it’s good to publish regularly. At first this is easy, but as time passes and the excitement wanes, it may not be.
If you build up readers, they will feel let down if you disappear and it will make it that much more difficult to build up readers again. Set a goal for a certain number of posts per week or month.
For example, at the beginning of this year, I made a goal that I would post at my blog twice a week.
Another important thing when establishing your blog is to build networks. Visit other blogs and make comments.
You’ll begin cyber friendships. They’ll visit your blog and leave comments. Their friends will too.
This is how you build your network.
This does not mean going to people’s blogs and leaving comments that say “Please visit my blog.”, that is poor cyber etiquette.
You build up cyber relationships just like you build up real relationships, by engaging, by listening, and by commenting in a way that furthers the discussion and shows compassion and understanding.
Once your blog is set up, whenever you post always be aware that once you press “post” the entire world will have access to what you’ve written.
That means parents and employers. Not that you need to censor yourself, just understand what that means.
Also, if you’re a writer and you want to be respected as a writer, you need to post the best writing that you can.
I’m not saying mistakes don’t happen, they do. My blog is riddled with them. But make sure you’re showcasing your best side.
The one good thing about writing published on the internet is that you can always make corrections.
The other thing you must keep in mind, many publications consider posting on a blog as the work being published.
What this means to you is that if you post a short story on your blog, for example, if you then want to send it to a literary magazine they may not accept it if they only accept unpublished work.
On my blog, I only post stories that have either already been published elsewhere or stories that I have no intention of selling to lit mags.
You’ll be surprised how little is known out there in cyberspace about our country so your blog will also go a long way to let the world know what we’re up to.
Also, regular writing of any kind, including blogging, helps all of your writing. So get blogging!