Have you noticed how many new books are on the scene that started from an author blogging about a subject? Julia and Julie is old news, but I’ve recently read Gretchen Rubin’s new book based on her year long effort to have more fun, The Happiness Project. [www.happiness-project.com] I didn’t want to like it as much as I did. I’d heard about the book on National Public Radio when it was released and was mildly entertained by the interview with Ms. Rubin. But I did like the book. Witty, progressive and earnest in its honest and occasionally self-depracating approach to the subject. Reads like memoir of a type that’s recently become all too familiar, post Eat, Love, Pray.
Blogging is writing. But even books based on blogs require lots of rewriting and editing and sculpting into a narrative. You might have lots of people who subscribe to a blog, but that doesn’t mean it offers a book-long story.
If you’re a new author today you won’t be taken seriously by an agent or a publisher unless you have a blog and a built-in audience. They call it your “platform.” Reminds me of the platforms the soapbox preachers used to stand on in the streets of downtown Chicago. You have to prove you can gather a big crowd, a wealthy congregation, to your book.
How many readers have already “bought into” the author’s blog is an indicator of the ability of the author to market their own writing. And that’s what publishers want to know.
So all the wannabe authors are honing their craft online. And more authors are publishing their books outside of traditional publishing houses. Blogging is the notepad for authors’ first drafts.
So back to Happiness! One of the things Gretchen Rubin convinced me of was starting a blog about books. I love good books. And I love to share good books with others. Like you.
I love food too. But I’d rather cook it and eat it than write about it.
And this way I won’t be a disappointment to the late great Julia Child.