Rogue Ink

October 1, 2008

Houston, We Shall Have Relaunch.

Filed under: Writing — Tei @ 3:23 am

I believe I have figured out the problem.

Rogue Ink has been an awesome way to get me going in the freelance world, and it’s been a delightful introduction to having a web presence at all. I met some awesome people, built up a fantastic little community, and have generally been privileged to host you regularly at the pub.

The thing is, it started to seem all futile. I wasn’t using the blog to find clients or build networking relationships, I was just using it to rant about copywriting and entrepreneurship. It wasn’t getting any bigger, it wasn’t getting any more effective, and when I wrote, I started to not want to work that hard on it. I’d have a great idea for a post and think, I should save that for when I have time to do it right. I started to get all depressed about blogging.

This reads like a suicide note. Sorry about that. DON’T PANIC!!! (In big, friendly letters.) I am not leaving blogging. In fact, I am doing the opposite. I am relaunching Rogue Ink. Here’s why, and what, and wherefore (which is the same as ‘why’ I realize, but I needed alliteration and ‘when’ is just a tad ambitious for me.

Rogue Ink Needs Its Own Platform

I was talking to another co-blogger and they inform me that the reason my subscriber base is kind of low (aside from my two-month disappearance) is that I host on a free wordpress platform, and most people see that as kind of amateur. Which is prejudice, I say! but since I’m busy being a woman in a male-dominated business world, I shall pick and choose my battles. Plus, this means I get to dictate my own web design, which is pretty dope.

So I’ll be doing that shortly. I’ll be announcing the new platform here and shooing you all over to the new one.

Rogue Ink Needs a Marketing Strategy

It didn’t have one when I started, it didn’t have one when I did the do-over, and it doesn’t have one now. But it will. Oh, it will. As assuredly as Nathan Fillion holds my heart in his calloused hand, it will.

I have no bloody idea what it will be, but I am certain it will be genius, because I shall probably be consulting Naomi, as per usual. Or just spying on other people and stealing their tricks. I’ll try to blog about that when I do, so that all of you can steal the same tricks, and we’ll use them at the same time, and none of them will be effective. This may seem counterintuitive, but you see then I’ll get to use the phrase ‘hoisted on my own petard’, and I cannot explain to you how much I love that phrase.

Rogue Ink Needs a Better Design

Admit it. It’s hard to find shit around here. I know that. I just don’t know how to fix it. My intent is to hire some smart web guy to figure that out for me. It is a crafty plan, and it just might work. Mostly because I have his puppy hostage. Don’t worry, I’m feeding it.

Rogue Ink Needs More Specific Topics

I’m coming up with categories right now, and I hereby beg all of you to come and tell me what you would like to see on the blog, because I shall take your suggestions seriously. I think, by and large, that I will probably be narrowing the topics to writing and entrepreneurship, but ‘writing’ includes copywriting, journalism, proper use of grammar and spelling (WAR!), and magazine articles. Likewise, ‘entrepreneurship’ includes marketing (there it is again. It’s like it’s necessary or something), money issues (I want to take another crack at the Money Talks, because I was fond of them), networking, and other stuff.

Tell me about the other stuff. What other stuff do you want to see?

Rogue Ink Needs Some Schwag

I want to start offering you guys things. I want to give you Lusty Weevil T-shirts and War on English coffee mugs and I really, really want to write you some ebooks.

I can’t offer any of that stuff now because I don’t know how to incorporate it into this free platform, so I just sit and dream and dunk marshmallows into my cocoa, thinking about my happy place, which, if you’re interested, is a small town in Italy called Orvieto which, I’m told, you can actually buy entire, since the whole town is perched atop what used to be a fortress. See, a town would be great schwag, but I’m not going to offer that.

What kinds of schwag would you like?

Rogue Ink Needs to Become a Guest Poster

There are a bunch of people who have been sweet enough to offer me guest spots on their extremely popular blogs. And that’s so awesome I could spit in a flowerpot, but I feel all ashamed giving my byline to them and having readers come back to my sad little free WordPress platform. I really want to guest post for these folks and I will be asking them if they’ll still have me once Rogue Ink relaunches, and then you’ll see me all over the freakin’ blogosphere, and the world will be my lightly buttered beignet.

Rogue Ink Needs YOU, Denizens

I love you guys. You’ve been loyal and sweet and supportive and have not once used the word ‘loser’ while I’ve been disappeared for six weeks. Tell me what you want to see in the new Rogue Ink. You are the first, the loyal, and the very tiny faction that fits into the pub on a regular basis to have a pint, and I really want to know what you think.

What do you want me to talk about in the new Rogue Ink? (Any stuff you want rehashed or done over in a better, more roguey way? Tell me about it, I won’t take offense. If you think there should be another post on non-profit copywriting that’s better than the other one, tell me so and it shall be yours.)

What kinds of schwag would you like? Suggestions, please. I will offer Rogue Ink condoms if you are so inclined. Actually I might offer those anyway. Those sound fantastic.

What would you like an ebook about? Don’t be shy. I have some ideas already, but your feedback might help me decide. It can be really vague, too, by the way. It can be ‘what do you do when you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing?’ That one is on the list already.

What do you wish I’d thought of already? I know I missed something. Tell me what it is.

Thank you again.

It’s going to be a brave new world, denizens. I’ll be trying to update as often as possible on the relaunch and thoughts I’m having, so you have something to play with while I figure out the new site, but we’ll probably be saving the real helpful posting for the new site, so if you want to wait until I send the email around that says ‘Baby I’m back!’ feel free. I’m so glad you stuck it out with me. Thanks for that.

And hell, subscribe. Then you’ll know when the relaunch happens.

25 Comments »

  1. Hey Roguey-Rogue. I vote for a War on English e-book for starters.

    Comment by Sunili — October 1, 2008 @ 3:41 am | Reply

  2. I didn’t think WordPress was that bad a platform! I hope the criticism was just about it being at WordPress.com instead of being a hosted WordPress.org blog.

    If you switched to WordPress.org, your learning curve wouldn’t be too complicated, I’d think. You’d be able to directly import everything easily. You’d also have more control over what extra little fiddly bits your blog has, like widgets and plugins and themes, oh my! I find this aspect terribly fun, myself, but then again I also have always liked dabbling in light computer geekery.

    If you get someone to help you set it up, someone who knows a bunch of good tweaks and stuff to put in right away, you can even get away without learning how to tweak it much yourself. Of course there are also a lot of good tutorials out there if you decide to do it yourself, and I’m sure your followers can help you find them when you need them.

    Now, I’m really hoping nobody has to correct me on the WordPress.org issue, because I’ve already put a lot of time into figuring it out and I hope it’s not wasted. Watching this thread like a hawk, now… ;)

    Comment by Qrystal — October 1, 2008 @ 3:56 am | Reply

  3. Writing a pseudo-suicide note is a delightful idea. Just don’t write a blog post called “Why I Committed Blog Suicide”. The people get tetchy.

    Nice to have you back.

    Comment by Naomi Dunford — October 1, 2008 @ 4:24 am | Reply

  4. Qrystal – Harry already corrected me on this, which is why you see ‘free WordPress’ scattered about. I am indeed talking about the .com, but I am sadly tech-inept and should not be trusted to figure out anything, even with tutorials. This is one realm where I am infinitely more comfortable deferring to someone who has a better understanding than I.

    Comment by Tei — October 1, 2008 @ 4:25 am | Reply

  5. MY TWIN IS BACK. MY TWIN IS BACK.

    *does happy dance*

    Ok. Sorry. I’m better now.

    Comment by Amy Derby — October 1, 2008 @ 4:58 am | Reply

  6. Ok, Tei. Blah blah blah. I didn’t even read your entire post before deciding to comment here that I’m glad you’re back! You are one of my blogging heroes, and I have greatly missed your grammatically correct example.

    Thanks for letting me share. Now I’m going to read the rest of your post. I hope you didn’t mention me as the reason for the long hiatus!

    Comment by jimsmuse — October 1, 2008 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  7. Tei,

    Like every small businessperson, you worry too much. It’s a good thing. Slow and steady wins the race. You’ve got the writing chops to make this place what you need it to be. Good luck diving back in.

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Comment by Kelly — October 1, 2008 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  8. YEA!!!!
    Wendi is doing the happy dance!!
    Tea- one of these days you are going to figure out that some of the rules that apply to the rest of us don’t apply to you. You and Nick C. are different. You could right about taking out the garbage or what you had for dinner and people would read because of your witty, charming, engaging writing style.

    SO…
    JUST WRITE….whatever pops into your mind! We will read it.
    As long as I can come and hang out at the pub and have a chat I’m a happy camper.
    I am commenting at 6:16 am. I’ll be back after a few more cups of coffee to talk about design and post and things to sell ideas- or I’ll send off an e-mail.
    Welcome back!

    Comment by Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations — October 1, 2008 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  9. I think your blog is a master class in humor writing. Still, I’d love to see an ebook on it.

    Comment by Mike — October 1, 2008 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  10. I actually checked your blog yesterday to make sure there was no problem with the feed… wondering about the silence.

    Good to see you back. Self-hosted WordPress will mostly be heaven (but hell sometimes), but it’s the way to go. You won’t regret it!

    (I can’t wait for the “subscribe to comments” tickbox below this comment form!)

    Comment by Lodewijk — October 1, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  11. I have no suggestions about what I’d like to see. I just like reading your various stuff and I’m looking forward to more of it.

    Comment by Kerrie — October 1, 2008 @ 2:06 pm | Reply

  12. Crap, Tei, that was a really heartfelt plea for suggestions and I have none. But I’ll tell you why. I tend to be unfocused myself, and I enjoy your writing style so much you could write a whole post on Rogue Ink condoms and why they are so great and I’d read.

    I’ll give it some thought, though, and if I come up with anything, I’ll let you know one way or another. I just don’t think I’ve wished for anything other than more frequent posts.

    I was just wondering while chatting with you last night what might be going on with the blog. I know you’ve been busy, and not even in CO, and I so know what it’s like to try and start something new while at the same time trying to work to make money. This juggle has made me start feeling the way you described in your first couple of paragraphs.

    Looking forward to the new Rogue Ink, babycake!

    Comment by Steph — October 1, 2008 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  13. I agree with Steph. Allthough I’d probably read any post about condoms.

    Still. My personal preference in blogs tend towards personal angels. Experiences – both good and bad – with clients, bosses, work, pay. Advice (as the espresso), struggles and happy times (as in whipped cream guy). Those sorts of things.

    Blogposts titled “10 secret power words that will send your sales through the roof” – not so much. Not steps, nor tricks, nor anything titled with numbers. In fact, lists are completly of my.. list.

    So good luck, and thanks for all the fish.

    Comment by Rolf — October 1, 2008 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

  14. I hope you don’t lose your unique voice and style. Honestly, I’m sick of “platform” blogs — I’m tired of feeling like I’m being marketed to all the time on blogs.

    I’m interested in process, integration, moving forward in work and life, and a HOLISTIC approach to one’s chosen vocation, not all this “niche” BS — and, actually, I find that because I write a wide range of stuff, I’m doing much better in this economy than all those “nichers” who told me I’d never survive because I’m not specialized.

    Pfft to that.

    I’m a Renaissance writer! ;) Able to cover a wide variety of topics, and I like it that way.

    I think WordPress is much better than most of the other hosts.

    However, your blog has to personify YOUR vision. It’s not about us as much as about what you want from it.

    Ink in My Coffee, my blog, is to me, morning coffee with a n ever-expanding readership on the ups and downs of daily freelance life. It’s not always pretty, but it’s a place to figure out publicly what I’m willing to figure out publicly. There’s plenty I don’t write about on the blog. It’s mostly about writing and how outside influences affect or don’t affect it, how projects develop, how they come to fruition or fall apart, how I learn, and how I apply it to the next task.

    I look for, in the words of Anne of Green Gables — “kindred spirits” who want to make the journey with me, so we can support each other.

    I don’t care about “10 Topics” or all those listy things. They don’t work for me.

    But that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

    What do you want to put out there?
    What do you want to get back?

    I think answering those questions will help you decide on your direction.

    Comment by devonellington — October 1, 2008 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  15. Tei, yay! Glad to see you back. My blogging journey has has similar pains and pleasures. Jumped in without a clue, no game plan, met some people, liked it and then asked, “now what?” I have found if it helps that my subscriber numbers do not tell my whole story. Clients who were not clients have followed my online footprints and after “getting to know me” have hired me. Now that just doesn’t show up in those feedburner stats. I am still toying with the ebook, affiliate marketing, ad thing too because let’s face it I’m pretty darn fond of making a living. So, I look forward to shamelessly using whatever tips you have. As for your content, keep being you. Your talent is truly your competitive advantage. I am sick to death of warmed over, same old content I could puke (but not here because that would just be rude). I heard something today from BrandU that stuck, don’t ask your market what they want, or how they want to be marketed to, follow your purpose fearlessly and you will attract people.

    Comment by Karen Swim — October 1, 2008 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  16. Oh dear.

    Well, allow me to reassure everyone that my personal madcap style isn’t going to change. I consider it my advantage, frankly. I just want to be all cute and sassy a little bit more on topic for all of you.

    I’ll come back in a bit and do individual comment rundown.

    Comment by Tei — October 1, 2008 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  17. Until very recently, I had only two blogs I subscribed to…Ittybiz (Hi Naomi) and yours, which I probably found in comments on Ittybiz. Of course I read other people’s blogs but yours and Naomi’s hooked me and stuck.

    Not being a blogger or having any webtech savvy at all, I never noticed that your blog site was amateurish. I was rather fixed on content, sorry! Now that I know, I am glad to see you will be making an honest woman of yourself so that I am not accidentally caught reading some wanna-be blogger and can safely forward your posts without embarrassment.

    Seriously though, I applaud your relaunch and getting to have a lot of nifty things you have wanted. And if it means I get some more nifty things too, it won’t hurt my feelings.

    But I have been reading your WORDS, seeing your PROCESS, and watching you WORK HARD to share what you’ve learned, so I don’t care if it was in a plain brown wrapper or written on a cocktail napkin. Your voice has always come through.

    Just keep doing whatever strikes your fancy and I’ll be happy.

    Comment by Diana — October 1, 2008 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  18. Good to see you back (and I’ll be one of the ones who says, “Dammit, are you going to stick around this time?).

    I agree, too. You need a self-hosted platform, you need subscribe to comments, you need a marketing strategy (*cough* and the dedication to stick with things), and while I really liked that design you had tucked away in the cupboard, I’m looking forward to see what coolness you’ll have someone do to this place.

    But most importantly, I hope you’ll post. Because I like to read your stuff.

    Comment by James Chartrand - Men with Pens — October 1, 2008 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  19. Yay! I’m so glad you’re back. I just began reading your blogs when you disappeared. I use the wordpress.org format hosted by dreamhost and I really like it. Although, I do have to get help from my IT friends from time to time. Good thing I can mix a mean drink!

    Comment by Jen Brister — October 1, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  20. Sunili: A War on English ebook is definitely one of the ideas. It is probably the most likely one, since I can just revamp a style manual. I shall call it The Style Manual of Sarcasm and Deep Anger Toward Grammatical Jihadists. It will offend absolutely no one.

    Naomi: Why I Committed Blog Suicide is a great post title. What the fuck have you been smoking?

    Amy: Twin twin twin twin twin!

    Jimsmuse: Yep, working on being a better example toward all. Including me.

    Kelly: Thanks, as ever, for being the one who says in a very straightforward fashion, “Shut up and write already.” You’re awesome.

    Wendi: Yeah, but Nick gets away with writing like once a month. I don’t know how he does it. And he has, like, eight million subscribers. What the fuck, Cernis? It’s because you’re British, isn’t it?

    Mike: An ebook on humor writing? Or on the blog? The ebook on War on English is totally going to have a section on noun-verb matchups and how they can fuck with your comprehensibility. (Hm. That sounded awfully snarky in response to a very complimentary comment. I’m such a jackass. But seriously, which did you mean? I’m really wanting suggestions here.)

    Lode: I know, I know. James will join you in a happy dance for subscribe to comments. Thanks for being all concerned.

    Kerrie: Thanks, as ever. You’re featuring in today’s post. Bwahah!

    Steph: You suck. No suggestions at all? HUMPH!

    Rolf: Condoms coming forthwith. I shall have to figure out how to tie them in somehow with writing, but I can’t imagine that would be too hard. Dinnae fret though, I have no intention of becoming generic, just maybe slightly more helpful.

    Devon: Oh, I won’t lose the unique voice and style. I wouldn’t know how the fuck to write if I didn’t make jokes every third verb. I like your idea of some posts on a holistic approach to entrepreneurship – I’ll keep that in mind, maybe make it one of the categories. It’s a great suggestion.

    Did everyone see what Devon just did? Devon made a contribution to the Rogue Ink relaunch. Let’s all try to be just like Devon, shall we? Good denizens.

    I’ll disagree with you on the point about the blog being about me, though. I’d like it to help me, most assuredly, namely in trying to figure out how I feel about certain aspects of the writing life. However, I’d also like it to be able to give some real guidance and/or comfort to those who are eking out a living doing the same or similar, and so I’d like to know which of the many, many topics I’ve talked about helped you do that most. It can do both. I’m pretty sure. When it starts to be just for me, it feels a bit masturbatory.

    Thanks so much for the insight as always, Dev. Your thoughts help me figure this stuff out, and for that I salute you and buy you a shot.

    Karen: That’s good advice, most definitely. I think that what with your insight and Devon’s I may wind up writing a post about the balance between writing for your readership and writing for your own purposes and intents.

    Diana: I am always pleased to be thrown in the same basket with Naomi. Mostly because it gives me a chance to violate her personal space. Heh heh heh.

    Indeed, I want people to be able to forward my posts without embarrassment. That’s part of the game. Thanks so much for the compliments, though – I always love to see them.

    Jamie-boy: Yeah, yeah. I know. Some of us have to fuck up so that the rest of you can feel superior, don’t we?

    I think the fact that I was highly conscious I lacked a marketing strategy was part of why I lacked dedication. If blogging doesn’t really have an intended purpose or goal, there’s little motivation to come around and post every day. Now, if it’s part of my marketing scheme, then it starts to be seriously detrimental to lose out on it. So I’ll be working on that.

    Jen: Hey, I’m glad I’m back too. Thanks for sticking around even when I disappeared, it means a lot.

    To everyone: I’ll keep trying to be better for you. That’s all I can promise, but damnit I mean it. Now everyone drink up. The VP debates are tomorrow and I fully intend to invent a drinking game solely for the occasion.

    Comment by Tei — October 2, 2008 @ 3:44 am | Reply

  21. Tei,

    Re: Nick. Yup. It’s the British thing. He types with an effing accent, for goodness’ sake? How cool is that?

    & thanks. I do try for awesomeness, lol. If I could bottle No Worries juice, I’d retire. Continue to kick butt, at a pace that suits you. No Worries.

    Later,

    Kelly

    Comment by Kelly — October 2, 2008 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  22. [...] Rogue Ink’s impending-relaunch post yesterday got me thinking about defining a blog’s purpose and existence and stuff. I did the break, I even sneakily changed the layout (like, three times) but then I just came back (mainly because I just had too much to say) without actually thinking about what exactly I am trying to do here. [...]

    Pingback by “Look at moiye…” « because I said so — October 2, 2008 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  23. Thanks, Tei, I’ll take a shot of single malt Lagervullen.

    There’s no need for the blog to be masturbatory in order to be about you and help people. I think many people learn by example, especially in blogland, and if you talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk.

    By sharing experiences and figuring out whatever you feel comfortable figuring out publicly, I think you CAN help others — both the “learn from my mistakes, folks” and the “learn from my triumphs”.

    I think we also have to remember that we can and should celebrate our achievements and each other’s achievements — it doesn’t have to be all about the downside.

    Freelancing is like a roller coaster. Sometimes it makes you puke, but sometimes it’s a thrill ride.

    I like the thrills, so I’m willing to puke once in awhile.

    Anyway, I’m glad the comments helped — I’m always available to brainstorm.

    Comment by devonellington — October 2, 2008 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  24. Oh, a PS, since I hit “send” too soon — this should be in after the “walk the walk” sentence — you DO walk the walk, and you talk about it engagingly, which is one reason your blog works so well.

    Part of what makes this blog unique and worthwhile is you being so YOU.

    I have to shut up now — I have a western novella and a shared world novel to work on, in addition to some articles.

    Comment by devonellington — October 2, 2008 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

  25. “What do you want me to talk about in the new Rogue Ink?”

    The single largest problem I have with my writing is _ending_ the piece that I’m working on. My style is so terse that anything I craft seems to be cut-off abruptly, and any attempt to pull forward leaves me feeling like a rambling idiot. Please help. :-)

    Comment by Mr. Darcy Murphy — October 8, 2008 @ 3:06 am | Reply


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