Friday, March 29, 2013

Are You Born To Blog?

I just finished thumbing through a nice guidebook called Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time by Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith (McGraw-Hill Professional). They write a breezy book a subject of significance and it’s much appreciated. People want to know how they can get their blog going without wasting time and seeing it pay off. Born to Blog addresses all aspects of blogging with an easy-to-understand approach.

So what does it take to be a good blogger? The authors say you should have:


Born to Blog covers many topics on all things blogging, including:
How to find guest bloggers
Ways to handle negative comments
What to do when you run out of things to write about
What should be included on your blog
How to measure the ROI of blogging

The authors say a blog post should meet the following criteria:
Have a captivating headline
Present a unique personal view
Share a personal risk
Provide an entertaining spin
Use words that sing

The book also talks about the writing style of great bloggers. They tend to elevate their writing by relying on their personality, which may consist of being a dreamer, story teller, persuader, teacher, and curator.

What the book makes clear on blogging is this: Have fun with it. If the blog is done well, you will experience a benefit in some fashion. And if you end up hating blogging, you can always blog about it.

Interview With Writer & Editor Sally Collings:

1. Sally, with over 20 years of publishing experience, can you tell us what makes for a great book? Passion. Felt by the author for their subject and their readers, as well as by the publisher, the marketing team, the booksellers. Books that lack passion are produced by authors who 'saw a gap in the market' or 'wrote it because everyone said they should'. Luck and timing, too: a book has to hit the sweet spot at the precise time it reaches the market. I particularly love books that are a complete package: good looking, compelling title, thoughtfully put together, as well as a pleasure to read. I hasten to add, not all great books are also necessarily bestsellers. If I could unfailingly predict those, I would be very rich indeed!

2. You are a ghostwriter or developmental editor who has produced award-winning and bestselling books. What do you specialize in? Non-fiction. Over my career I've ranged widely from prescriptive books and motivational titles through to memoirs, but these days I'm concentrating on narrative-driven books: the ones that tell a story, perhaps with a subtle message woven into the narrative. I've written and edited a number of tragic stories in my time, but these days I look for stories that are a little lighter and brighter. There is only so much sorrow you can engage with in your life, I think, even when it is confined to the page.

3. What were the challenges in being the non-fiction publisher for Harper Collins Australia? I had a very diverse publishing program to run, ranging from cookery through political biography and astrology and all stops in between. With a list of about 70 titles a year to champion and manage, the love can get spread pretty thin. Time management was always challenging, with more and more manuscripts piling on my desk and begging to be read, as well as the titles I had actually commissioned that needed close attention. It was exhilarating and challenging, but I'm glad that these days I get to concentrate on maybe a dozen books over the course of a typical year.

4. What do you love about working with books and authors? The books and the authors – sometimes! More seriously, I love that every book is different: working with books is like constant Lumosity brain training, your mind has to remain agile as you seek solutions to problems with cover designs, legal challenges, budget constraints, print delays… there's always something new to be negotiated, particularly as we shift to books on digital platforms alongside paper formats.

5. Any advice to struggling writers? Find your tribe and lean on them. Writers are loners by reputation, but most of us can benefit from a mentor, a writing group, an editor, a book coach, a truth-telling friend. The writing itself can be a solitary pursuit, but other parts of the process benefit enormously from the fresh perspective that is provided by someone who is not you. I get a kick out of collaboration, and I think it can be a healthy way to inject new life into your writing work.

6. Where do you see book publishing heading in a few years? I think shorter books will continue to flourish. Long-form essays and fiction 'singles' are already gaining traction – they suit modern attention spans. For so long they were not economically viable in the 'paper economy' of printed books, but in digital form they work beautifully. International boundaries will break down and the structure of rights territories will crumble, again as ebooks become a default format (instead of or alongside print books). I think we'll start to see 'entertainment portals' where you get curated content of all kinds – books, music, apps, short films; the distinction between forms of entertainment will become less significant. I don't believe books will die, nor publishing, they will simply take a wider range of forms. Think of it as a genetic explosion in the publishing industry!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013 

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