Inspired by the launch of Nicola Morgan’s book, Write To Be Published, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about blogs and their ability to cement publishing deals. For anyone who doesn’t already know, Nicola’s book began as a blog called Help! I Need A Publisher into which she poured an incredibly amount of energy and a terrifying number of words. I don’t even want to think about the hours!
This week, The Guardian ran an article on the rise and rise of food bloggers and how they are becoming the new authors of cookery books. A sewing blogger, who I read fanatically - Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing – has found a book deal with STS Crafts/Melanie Falick Books. If my own fun sewing blog, Didyoumakethat?, found me a publisher I'd think I'd died and gone to heaven!
Finally, we can hardly ignore the food blogger who inspired a book and a film, Julie & Julia.
So, for some, blogging definitely works as a route to publication – it’s a free platform that laughs in the face of the ‘No Unsolicited Submissions’ banner on many publishers’ websites. (When I say ‘free’ I’m trying hard not to think about the blogging hours that could have been writing-a-jolly-good-manuscript hours!)
I hazard a guess that this route to publication works best in the non-fiction market. Someone has a talent or interest, shares it with the online community via well written, engaging and regular blog posts and a book deal may happen. If I was a commissioning editor for illustrated non-fiction, I’d be scouring the blogging community! (I’d love to know which way round things work. Does the blogger put together a pitch or does the publisher approach the blogger?)
How does this relate to fiction authors and publishing? Blogs provide a platform, for sure, but I’m not convinced a publisher would ever commission a novelist blogger, based on their posts. We can’t share extracts. Well, we can, but I wouldn’t advise it. It’s difficult to share the process – writing fiction does not necessarily move forwards in a linear way – and it’s probably foolish to reveal ideas.
Still, the fiction blogging community is thriving. Community blogs are popping up left, right and centre: Crime Central, Girls Heart Books and The Edge are three I know of. A group of US chidren's book professionals have had a collective blog for quite a while now, to be found at Blue Rose Girls. Forward-looking publishers have blogs, too – how brilliant was yesterday’s debate between ABBA and Nosy Crow?
Blogging is a living creature with its own evolutionary trajectory. Have we raised our knuckles from the ground yet? Are we cave men? Can we grip a pen in our furry fists to sign a publishing contract? (You betcha!) Or will traditional publishing deals lose currency as the world moves rapidly forwards? Will there soon be other credible options?
I’d love to know what you think to blogging as a route to publication and blogging as a profile builder. It feels as though 2011 marks significant shifts in this most glorious form of communication. What do you think is the next stage of evolution?
If you're not already blogged out, you can visit my writing blog at www.karen-ball.com!