Friday, April 06, 2007

Blogging about writing

My friend and fellow writer, Tracey, now has her own blog - Speculating About Fiction - and it's interesting to see what people you know choose to blog about. Tracey has been posting about things we have done together, such as shortlisting for a local writing competition, and the joys of submissions.
Another writer friend, who is also a scientist and naturalist (and teacher), blogs about all of those things. I always enjoy her posts on birds and insects - not so keen on the spider photos, but at least I know what to avoid in the garden - and her comments on teaching and writing are fun for me too.
Both blogs are listed in the side column here.
Other blogs by agents are always useful for current information and advice. Kristin Nelson has just been in New York and commented on what children's editors are looking for at the moment. Miss Snark covered stamps and postage rates this week, among other things! And for something to make me think, I read Julius Lester's blog.
I still subscribe to Writer's Digest magazine, despite some disparaging comments recently on various blogs about their advertising policies. I find the articles are useful for my students to read, and this month's issue listed 101 top websites for writers - also very useful when you don't have time to trawl the vast reaches of the internet.
One comment in an article about writers promoting themselves and their books caught my eye - the writer said that blogs are no longer seen as a promotional tool for writers because there are so many of them now. They've lost their novelty (or something like that). I'm not so sure about that. Particularly when another article in the same issue was by a writer who had been connecting with book clubs via phone links and visits. He talked about the desire of a reader to connect to the writer, to understand more about the book, to be able to ask questions and receive answers that helped them to engage more deeply. To me, a blog can provide something of this experience via the comments column, if you want a blog that works that way.
Years ago, I hosted a community radio show called "Writers At Work", which gave me the perfect opportunity to ask writers, not just about their recent book, but about their writing practise, their ideas, their ups and downs, their problems and challenges. In seven years I must have interviewed 400+ writers, and had a wonderful time along the way.
This is what I look for at writers' festivals - not the writer and interviewer who collude to put on a big promo-fest for the new book, but an interviewer who is able to draw out the writer, ask them interesting and involving questions about writing and craft, and a writer who is willing to be honest and open. (And then, of course, an audience who asks good questions too instead of pontificating, "look at me" dumb question/statements!)
And I now take this opportunity to warn you in advance - very shortly I will be shamelessly promoting my new book on this blog!
Title? "Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!)"
Coming soon to a bookshop near you - I hope.

1 comment:

Snail said...

Seems to me that the blogging author was on the mark. Writers' blogs do encourage readers to buy books---not through direct marketing but by establishing a relationship between writer and reader. (At least, that's how I feel when I read those blogs.)