Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Inside blogging with AV Flox

20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online

AV Flox is successful writer/blogger. Her blog can be seen at AV is on the staff at Black HeartMagazine. In addition she is a columnist at UK-based GloomCupboard and contributor for LA Snark

AV described her life description in a nutshell: "I was born in Peru, grew up in the Northern Mariana Islands, studied in Hawaii, bummed around between Europe, Oceania and South America for a few years before finally settling in Southern California, where I live now, with my husband. And my shoes."

In a recent blog entry AV said, "I hate it when I'm talking to one of my non-webbie friends about someone and they ask, with condescension, "wait, is that one of your little friends online?" Like I'm six and talking about an imaginary friend."

Make no mistake. AV talks to you not at you. To me this is an essential ingredient of great blogging. You either command attention with your writing or you do not. You can't fake it.

Many of us who are into blogging have a spouse or SO who makes comments like "Blogging is pointless." Maybe for some. But for others it sings "Gotta be there."

Read AV Flox and it is quickly obvious that she needs to be there.


Q: Tell us a bit about your blogging history.

AV: I started writing online when I was 13, over ten years ago. I had my own web page in 1998, but I didn't start blogging in the way we know it now until 2001. I have been blogging since.

Here is an excerpt from an old blog about my blogging history:

I've come a long way since I started sharing my life on the web. I've developed a style of story-telling that actually gives readers something back. It wasn't always like this.

I'm an introvert. If I don't appear shy, it's that I do everything in my power to play the opposite, a neat trick I taught myself in elementary and refined until I was at the top of the game in junior high. Put simply: shy girls just don't have as much fun, not even a fourth as much fun. And I was going to have fun, damn it!

If any of my friends have ever wondered why I'm out non-stop for weeks then cloistered and totally cut off for a few more weeks, now you know: it's a taxing thing to do what doesn't come naturally!

So the Internet.- I was 13 or so. What a perfect place for the socially impaired. No one could judge me for any factor other than the factors I chose to share. No one knew I was a kid. No one even knew I was a girl!

I could be judged solely on how interesting I was, how much I could bring to the table. Could I keep up a conversation in a chat room? Could I write a cool story? Could I give good feedback?

I stuck to bulletin boards mostly. I had a web page at some point, but not much in the way of traffic. I'm not really sure what I had on there. I can't even remember the name of it.

Then I got a blog on Diaryland. Back then they were online diaries. The blog's name was Erato, like the muse of erotic poetry. It's still there, but only for sentimental reasons. The bulk of it is gone now, relocated to some dusty archive.

Why keep it? I taught myself HTML there! I had no idea what I was doing. I just looked at how other sites did it and tried it myself, tried it for hours, sometimes for days, until it was what I wanted. I worked in Notepad because I didn't know anything about programs.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, I'd wake up, shoot upright and reach for
the notebook by my bed to write out the code I thought would work for
something I needed. I dreamed in HTML, I was possessed.

It was totally amateur, a wonderful journey of creation that was mine all

Q: How did you feel when you started to attract more readers?

AV: It was a trip when people started reading. It was flattering. It was invasive.

But I was hooked on the thrill of exhibitionism. I couldn't pull away.

Defensive, I became cryptic. I started omitting the vital, emotional details of life. I put people at arm's length online as I did in life by portraying myself as a ravenous, capricious man-eater, crudely chronicling my savage conquests. Approach the wild beast at your own risk.

People didn't go away. In fact, more tuned in. I wonder now, what was it? Was
my diary a small time equivalent of a David Lynch film, dark and weird and
emotionally and psychologically abusive?

Q: Then what happened?

I got to LiveJournal in 2004 and launched my self-hosted blog this year. The rate of transference from one platform to another is low, so it always amazes me when I get a comment on my new blog or an e-mail or a Facebook or MySpace message or a DM on Twitter saying, "I used to read you back in Diaryland..." These people saw me through high school and college! It's crazy!

I didn't want to be famous.

My journal was off the public listings and search engines. Whenever I think about growing my audience now, I think about these first years a lot and what they taught me about organic marketing. More than, "look at my blog! Look at my blog! Link bait! Link bait!"

I worked on building relationships with people, commenting on their lives and
responding to their take on my life, negative and positive.

I think this is why so many people continue to follow my antics even though
I've flown their preferred platforms: we have a connection that's more than

Q: In your blog you mentioned a drinking problem…..

AV: On January 26, 2006. I decided to write about my decision to stop
drinking. I let myself not just be human and ugly, but sorry, scared and weak.

I was only one month, one week and one day sober. There are few people weaker
in this world than one who has just confessed a complete lack of self-control
in the face of a substance that most people can enjoy in their daily lives
without so much as a second thought.

People reacted violently to that entry.

"No!" They said in comments, in e-mails, in IMs.

"You're our beautiful disaster!"

"You're our wild nymphomaniac starlet!"

I can't blame them. We all love a train wreck. But I had resolved I wouldn't be it.

The decision to put my resolve out into the world changed my life forever and in a way, it finally brought the myth down. There's more learing to do, perhaps some excavating—but isn't there always? We are a work in progress.

The more of myself I let through, the more I understand and the more I grow. Analyzing life events in order to write them coherently has helped me understand much about my life and about myself, but the real growth is not so much in the writing as it is the process of writing itself: the coming out from the shadows, the myth-debunking, the dismantling of the creature, the search to know myself and to show myself.

Q: You are active on the social networks like Twitter. Why?

I don't have children, but a lot of my blog deals with being married and

what it means, especially when one of you spends a dramatic amount of time
online and the other doesn't. I use social networking to connect with people
in the industries I enjoy like web 2.0 and social media marketing.

Because my blog deals a lot more with personal items than industry issues, I
have an easier time following discussions and connecting via social networks
than I would simply on my blog.

That's the magic of social networking sites. They aid you in transcending your
target demographic and in so doing, bring a lot more in terms of ideas and
self-development to the table.

Q: Do men read your blog too?

AV: You wouldn't think so, but the men do read my blog. I value their input
especially on topics dealing with my more personal issues. I'm not joking when
I say blogging has saved me thousands of dollars worth of therapy--it has! And
it's mostly because of guys pointing out thing my estrogen driven brain is

There is no real way of determining how many men are reading you. I do have
fun looking over what people searched for to find me. Someone on Twitter just
confessed they found my stream looking up "anal" on Twitter search.

I have a confession to make. In 2005, I almost stopped blogging. I told everyone
it was because I was working and I couldn't stand going home after a day at work and sitting down at the computer again, but that was a lie. It wasn't that I didn't know where I was going with the blog, either.

The truth is, I didn't know where I was going. And I didn't want to continue watching myself wandering around, lost, verbose and insufferably bored.

As a result, I have a Word doc that's 204 pages long. Even when I wasn't blogging, I was trying to blog: in Word, on loose papers, on receipts, on napkins, in random notebooks, on the title and back pages of books.

It isn't the same. A lot of non-bloggers would nod and think they understood it. Blogging needs an audience because blogging is exhibitionist.

But it's more than exhibitionism. Blogging is a creative outlet, a process of analysis, a return to the tradition of story telling, a return to community.

An entry in a paper journal is me thinking.

A column in a newspaper is me monologuing.

A blog post is me starting a conversation with hundreds of people all around the world.

Q: Blogging is very mysterious to many business folks. What would you suggest for the work at home mom (WAHM), for example?

AV: Niche blogs are easier to market and maintain than personal blogs.

What that means is that a blog with a single topic is much easier for readers to connect with than one about your life and all the interests therein.

Niche blogs help readers build loyalty, they build your credibility as a trusted source in whatever is your chosen topic. They help sales--if you are marketing a product.

It makes sense that you would want an audience with interests that align with

That doesn't mean that if you sell handmade soap you can't talk about your life, though. Some of the best blogs combine the blogger's personal life with the products they're selling.

I think if you are considering blogging, before you even get that free hosted blog, you should get Darren Rowse's book Problogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way To A Six-Figure Income. His website, with additional information for professional bloggers, is at , but you should really start with the book because it lays it all out for you: what you need to know, what you need to consider, and what you should expect.

My blog is more personal than niche, but I still find Darren's information
vital to my blog's development.

Q: Advice for new bloggers?

AV: Something I've learned about blogging is that it's all about community. Get to know fellow bloggers--link them and they'll link back.

Have someone you love guest blog or interview them and their audience will come and check you out. A lot of visitors won't stick, but some will. It's like taking pictures, for every 80, you'll have one perfect shot.

All you can do is put your best out there and do it regularly. And remember, the more interactive you are, the more chance you have of really reaching the kind of people who want to be reading you.

You can be as creative as you like in how you engage your audience.

For example, I was recently part of a hot blogger calendar contest dreamed up by Jane Porricelli of, who'd been inspired by Playboy's Hot Blogger Awards and wanted to reach out to a wider selection of bloggers.

It started as a small idea but she got a mention in Gawker and MediaBistro.
Next thing she knew she'd gone from having a core group of readers to being in
the spotlight! The hot blogger contest ended up getting over 800 nominations.
It was incredible.


Thank you, AV Flox for telling us
about your personal blogging journey.

Greg Cryns


  1. With or without the alcohol, Flox is a trainwreck we all want to watch. I deleted my subscription to her blog once before out of some offense, but like crack, I'm back.

  2. Being a journalist myself, I am in love with AV's blogs and not due to the "trainwreckedness" of her layouts but for the fact that she really has something that not many people in the world do. Whether she plays the opposite of what she truly is deep down, is not the point...rather that she expresses her thoughts and ideas so fashonably and poised. I have been following and will continue to follow her blog for quite some time without interuptions no matter how offensive she may be.

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