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There’s something I wanted to get off my chest and it’s about the matter of blogging. Some talk has been made about the state of anime/manga blogs in an age of social media sharing. Forums are also not as popular as they used to be. What got me reeling was this article about why blogging may not be as great as you think it is.
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You ever had times where things just get so rough that you want to give up? No matter how much self-confidence you have, there will always be trouble and the seeds of doubt begin to pop out. But then you get words of encouragement like these:
It’s messages like these that still keep me going. As I said earlier, blogging has defined my life and is something I can proudly say "I made that".
Plus, there’s this old lady who I hope is doing well out in Canada.
Proud to say that I’m one of the few manga blogs out there doing something.
To all the anibloggers out there, what motivates you all to keep doing what you’re doing?
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Scary that I can probably pull off the Junpei Hyuga look, but I digress.
This week marks the 3rd year I’ve been blogging. Good god, has it really been that long? I remember starting off as just a nobody trying to share some experiences with a few folks. About 1,000+ Twitter followers, 1,000+ Google+ followers, 700+ Tumblr followers, and 350+ Facebook fans later, here I am.
One thing I have started to realize that my blog is becoming my life. Hell, manga and anime are my life. It’s sad that I sometimes take my blog more seriously than my job, though I’m still trying to do a better job in promoting it. Getting a writing gig at GoBoiano helps, but I want to do more, as AnimeNews.biz’s Humberto Saabedra suggests, to become bigger. If you ask me, blogging is 10%-20% producing content, 80%-90% promoting it.
I actually spoke to Humberto via Twitter about the business of blogging a while back. Our brief conversation made me think about the book that got me into blogging in the first place. I am a personal brand and that I should treat myself as a commodity if I really am serious about cashing in on my passion.
With that said, I am thinking of setting up a little online shop that sells merchandise with my logo and some quirky taglines related to various anime/manga tropes. Don’t worry, there will be no copyright infringement and no brand name series/character/studios/publishers will be harmed during the making of the products. I also have some thoughts about setting up affiliate programs on the blog, but I want to make sure they don’t look too intrusive. Though both ideas are ten times better than advertisements, right?
I will go with the shop idea at the moment once I get some designs up and running. I have some interesting ideas flowing in my head, so you guys will see what I have in mind soon.
This will be fun balancing what I have planned for the blog with all my other responsibilities. I don’t know if I can quit blogging. Maybe it really is therapy for me and not just to my readers. It is the first creative thing that I can proudly say, “Yeah, that’s all me.” and I want it to be a big foundation in my life. More importantly, I want more folks to see the powerful positive effects and lessons that Japanese pop culture media provides.
As much as manga is still struggling in the U.S., I still see a future trend where big manga series could come from non-Asian talent. When I was at NYCC 2012 for CBLDF’s “Defending Manga” Panel, Charles Brownstein, Executive Director, said that manga fandom will continue to grow worldwide over time. Though we have to see what people like Danny Choo can do to impress the rest of the world about Japanese pop culture.
Speaking of Choo, he gave some advice and inspiring words when I saw him during his NYCC 2012 panel that still resonate with me today.
“Discover and live your passion and the rest will follow.”
Let’s make the 3rd year full of wonderful and enlightening passion together, shall we?
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For those following my blog, there is one issue that seems to frighten me: guest posting. While I know guest posting is key to getting myself out there and a proven tactic to get Internet traffic, there are some things that concern me on how I should approach it.
For starters, I wonder whether my writing is good enough and has value. Sometimes, I feel like I have to try super-hard. There’s also the threat of self-sabotage imposing its ugly presence in my brain.
Second, sometimes I feel like my ideas are better for just my blog. I don’t know why. Am I being a elitist? Who knows. Or maybe I can’t come up with ideas for another outlet besides my own. Allow me to elaborate further.
From November to December, I was in a trial period to be a writer for Shoryuken.com, the popular fighting game website on the Internet. I decided to cover a local fighting game tournament held by Midtown Comics back in late November. It was their first one and Capcom plugged it as well. I even interviewed the organizer. After finishing the draft I had, I showed it to my editor. He told me to change many things and I was left dejected. It also showed how naive I was about the fighting game tournament scene. The interview was published, but I couldn’t really think of anything else. Plus, there was another trial writer who was covering the psychological aspect of fighting games! I even pitched an article to my editor on how fighting games can help improve people’s lives, but he told me that I have to be careful and even said that SRK readers don’t come to visit the site to improve their lives. So, that was a no go. This past January, they put up an article on the positive benefits of fighting games from another site. I was a bit agitated because I could’ve wrote something like that for SRK.
All I did for SRK were news articles and that was about it. I did have an idea for an article on Google Hangouts and its usefulness for fighting game players. Unfortunately, I had no one to help me in joining a Google Hangouts chat and I had a draft lined up too. Maybe I should’ve asked my editor for help, but I felt at odds with him after two conversations. I think it was the fact that we communicated via IM and not via phone/face-to-face. Or that I wasn’t into fighting games as much as I thought I was.
I worry that I’m not that much into anime/manga as I think I am. Every time I go on Twitter and Google Reader, I feel a bit bombarded by so much information that it makes my head hurt. I also worry about my content sounding extremely similar to other articles out there. As much as I love the Internet, it’s also a curse.
Maybe I’m just letting my previous experiences with an editor really affect me to the point that I don’t feel like I can guest post. However, I’ve written on other blogs before (albeit with minimal supervision and small audiences). I think it’s the fact that I was working on a blog that had 1,000,000 unique visitors every month and trying to figure out how to cater to that many people.
All I’m asking for right now is for some advice from the fine folks all across the animanga blogosphere on how to approach guest posting. I do want to give it a shot on a number of anime/manga sites, but I worry about my ideas sounding trite. I don’t want to copy and paste content from my blog onto another site.
I want to take that next step forward with confidence and spread my wings even wider than before. It’s about time I answer the few invitations I’ve had to guest post.
Like Ikki Minami of Air Gear, I want to fly to the sky….
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It’s evident that the next step I take as a manga blogger involves hanging around more costumed characters and learning from them.
Seriously though, I never thought I would reach 200 posts. I would like to keep this journey going as it has kept me busy despite troubled times.
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