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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Finding The Publishing Industry Blog For You

Publishing industry related blogs have been on my mind a lot lately because I’m becoming painfully aware of how much of my time they take up, surfing and reading.

But I am also utterly fascinated with them because there are blogs for all kinds of blog readers within the industry. I have always had a fairly substantial list of blogs that I’d visit to soak up information or be entertained, but I’m realizing more and more that I need to gain some control over my voracious blog reading appetite because it is robbing valuable time from me.

But I can’t give up my blog reading. It is too valuable. So I decided perhaps I need to compartmentalize my blog reading habit and decide which blogs I will check daily and which weekly. And the way I decide how often I view a blog is contingent on whether I view for entertainment, education, or straight industry business. Here is a brief list of blogs I have visited and what you can expect content wise:

Writing Business Blogs:

The Shatzkin Files
What It Is At A Glance: Strictly business.
How Often I Visit: Weekly
Benefits: This is a blog I only need to check weekly because that’s roughly how often it’s updated. Be warned, the content in this blog is NOT going to appeal to the creative within you. This blog is “strictly business” ie. the business side of the publishing world. But Mr. Shatzkin, President & CEO of The Idea Logical Company, always has extremely insightful posts about the business of publishing and this digital age. Well worth a weekly check if you truly desire to understand how publishing works.
CBA Ramblings
What It Is At A Glance: business (relaxed)
How Often I Visit: Weekdays
Benefits: Rachelle Gardner is an agent with WordServe Literary. Ms. Gardner updates her blog Mon-Fri and will appeal to both your angsty creative side and to your business side, not to mention, it’s a place to go to keep your name in front of an agent by posting your comments (and if you don’t believe people do this, go look at the volume of comments!).

This blog is beneficial for people desiring information on how to enter the competitive publishing arena. Content can get repetitive (after all, how many fresh ways can an agent find to repost the same information about contracts, agents, etc?).

The key to this blog’s success, in my opinion, is that in addition to giving clear guidance and suggestions on the process of publishing, this agent openly invites discussion and opinions, and who of us does not have an opinion on just about everything?
Books & Such Literary Agency
What It Is At A Glance: Business (relaxed)
How Often I Visit: 1-2 times per week
Benefits: The business of publishing from an agent’s perspective. I’m not a frequent reader of these posts but do find good content here sometimes. I probably only frequent this blog less because I tend to get my “Agency perspective” fix over at CBA Ramblings more often than not.

The Philosophical Blogs:

Into The Fire
What It Is At A Glance: Philosophy, creativity, controversy
How Often I Visit: Daily
Benefits: Nicole is a deep thinking, deep feeling writer who gives the impression that she does not fit the commonly accepted mold of the CBA writer (please note--MY words, not hers). Her blog will appeal to you if you’ve ever hungered for a certain type of book in the CBA market and not found it. I confess, it is a common occurrence for me to spend a good 30 minutes a day (sometimes more) pondering or replying to one of her posts. I like that she makes me think. I like that she challenges assumptions. I do not get the impression she does this for the sake of argument, but because she truly feels the need to raise some subjects up for discussion. You may not agree with what she posts, but I like her boldness, her forthrightness, and the fact that she will travel in uncharted territory, including giving political or other updates on Saturday, outside the normal writing blog posts of Monday through Friday. Nicole blogs outside the status quo and gives me a fresh perspective to think about, and for me at least, that makes her blog stand out.

Mike Duran
What It Is At A Glance: Philosophy, creativity, controversy
How Often I Visit: Twice a week
Benefits: I enjoy Mike’s blog for much the same reason as I do Nicole’s. He addresses topics outside the status quo or gives a fresh look at standard topics in the publishing industry. It is worth a visit simply to look at the captivating artwork that serves as the banner of his homepage. Again, I enjoy his posts because he makes me think, even if I don’t always agree.

The Writing & Creativity Blogs:

The Kill Zone
What It Is At A Glance: Business, creativity, fun
How Often I Visit: Daily
Shout Out: My favorite blog of all
Benefits: I confess, this is my favorite blog of all for several reasons:

• It’s a smart blog. By that I mean, 11 mystery/suspense authors pooled their resources to design a blog with a catchy name and great content. The 11 authors who take turns with posts are: Clare Langley-Hawthorne, Kathryn Lilley, Kathleen Pickering, Joe Moore, Nancy Cohen, Michelle Gagnon, Jordan Dane, John Gilstrap, Joe Hartlaub, John Ramsey Miller, James Scott Bell. It just makes good sense to divvy out the blog posting duties and it’s a blog I hold up as a fine example of that skill.

• Even if you don’t read mystery/suspense (I read some but am primarily a historical reader) this blog is very relevant.

• My favorite blog post ever was at The Kill Zone, including probably the best line I ever saw in a blog: “Do you want to be an insurgent?” To understand this, you can read the full post here:

• This blog is a great mix of writing industry business, creativity, and fun.

• These authors make it a point to interact with their blog readers and this genuine give and take is one of its strongest selling points. They truly have achieved community, which is very hard to do.
Novel Matters
What It Is At A Glance: A place to discuss literary writing
How Often I Visit: 3 times a week (which is how often it is updated)
Benefits: A fantastic site to feed and nurture the creative within you.

Novel Journey
What It Is At A Glance: A co-op of authors who share blog posting duty. Covers marketing, creativity, and other writer specific topics.
How Often I Visit: Weekdays
Benefits: Greatest perk? I always look forward to when it’s Athol Dickson’s turn to post. I always find his stuff very insightful. This blog also often has many useful articles and tips, though I tend to skip author interviews (on this and other blogs).

Writer Unboxed
What It Is At A Glance: Author co-op, Creativity and Business
How Often I Visit: Weekdays
Benefits: This site is a recent discovery for me but has quickly become a favorite for the outstanding variety of helpful articles on creativity and business, with the added bonus of some fantastic cartoons periodically shared.

What It Is At A Glance: Author co-op, Creativity and Business
How Often I Visit: 4-5 times a week (updated daily)
Benefits: I don’t read the full blog posts often because the frequent updates make it difficult, but I do skim most days of the week. Good community established on this blog and contributors are very good at interacting with commenters on this community. Geared specifically toward romance.

I find it interesting that my favorite blogs are co-op blogs. I wish I had known about co-op blogs before I started my own, because I would much rather participate as a member of a group blog then do my own show. When the time is right, I will probably make the switch.

At any rate, there are many great informative and fun blogs out there. A writer who is looking to improve their writing or learn the business has oodles of information at the click of a mouse. I hope you’ll find this list helpful.

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