Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Navigating the Blogosphere
Posted by Maggie Jaimeson
Currently working on: starting a new novel that may have multiple book possibilities
Mood: excited to be starting a new book, dead tired as I madly prepare for the beginning of students coming back to the university
When blogs first appeared on the Internet they were primarily written by computer geeks. Let's face it, no one else knew they existed. Soon, they were used as a platform for political pundits. Now they've become an entirely new way of publishing--a way that anyone can use to publish their ideas, thoughts, feelings. In the romance blogosphere my loyalties are divided in three ways: writer friends who blog; agents/editors who blog; and general industry blogs (networking sites in the blogging world).
I read friends and other writers blogs because I truly love to get a piece of their musings, whether its a funny day with their kids or describing their overall journey. Writers are amazing people who almost always think outside the box. Two favorite blogs in this category that are at opposite ends of the spectrum are: Jenna Bayley-Burke's Romantic Notions and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Jenna's site is big, bouncy, sometimes brash but always fun whether she's sharing her latest book signings or talking about a trip with her family. It makes me smile and often laugh out loud. Kris' site is much more serious. She talks a lot about the business and how to improve. I read her because she's published over 100 books and probably a thousand short stories. She publishes in mystery, SF, and romance, and was an editor for Fantasy & Science Fiction and for Pulphouse. It's kind of like that commercial about Merrily Lynch. When Kris' talks, I listen.
It seems that most writers read at least one or two agent/editor blogs. This is a great connection to the publishing side of writing. You can get a good feel for personalities, what they like to see come across their desk, and their guesses at trends. I don't read these blogs as often because you can become far too addicted to every thing they say. But I have days when all I do is catch up on all the agent/editor blogs I follow--immersing myself in the business. Two of my favorites in this category are: The Bookends Blog and Edit Torrent. The Bookends Blog is usually written by Jessica Faust though other agents and some of their authors blog on occasion. Jessica has a way of making everything about agenting clear and not beating around the bush regarding what works and what doesn't. I've met her a couple of times at conferences and always liked her down-to-earth style. Edit Torrent is written by two editors. If you like the minutia of editors work you'll like this blog. They get down to arguing about comma placement, phrasing, and word choices and order. Sometimes I read this just to remind me how I always have more to learn about craft.
Finally, the industry networking blogs are my second favorite category (next to my friends). This is because these blogs are usually written by groups of people or they show the work of writers in a really nice promotional format. My favorite in this category is called The First Book. It was started by an acquaintance of mine when he had just sold his first book. He was so excited about the experience and wondering how to get it promoted among the thousands of books that come out each year (it's not due out until 2010). So, he started this site where he features someone's "First Book" through an author interview and a HUGE cover insert. I love reading these because that first sale is so full of energy that you can just feel it in the author's responses and get a feeling for their excitement and commitment. I also love reading this because it introduces me to books and author's I'd probably never find otherwise. They aren't all romances. The books are in a variety of genres.
Finally, my overall blog pick for romance is Romancing the Blog. With a name like that how can you go wrong? It's written by a huge list of authors and you never know what the topic will be, but it's always interesting. The authors flit from front page news and opinions to marriage counseling and talking about the heroes and heroines. It's wonderful. So, enjoy blogging or better yet reading blogs.