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If you’re writing a book, or if you’re publishing short stories and poetry in literary journals, you may want to consider starting a blog. Blogging takes serious, dedicated effort, but the results can be worthwhile if you manage to catch the attention of a literary agent or editor with your blog. Want to know how to start an author blog? Read on.
The History Of Blogging
Where did the word “blog” come from? The term “blog” is a derivative of “Weblog,” a phrase coined by Jorn Barger to describe his online journal, Robot Wisdom. A “blogger” is the person behind the blog—a collection of online journal entries. And the “blogosphere” is the community of blogging sites as a whole. Got it? Here’s some history.
Back in 1995 FrontPage was released by Vermeer Technologies. It was one of the first Web publishing tools, and it was designed to allow ordinary people (those without coding skills) to publish their own websites. Two years later Ritual Entertainment hired Steve Gibson to write journal entries online full-time, making him one of the first professional bloggers. And today there are too many blogging sites to document.
Weblogs originally were defined by one single characteristic: the site had to contain a series of dated entries. From there Weblogs differed in scope and content, style and tone, but they all contained individual commentaries, personal thoughts, and links to related sites.
A blog may contain videos, photos, sketches, even music. Read one person’s journal-type blog over a period of a year, for example, and you get a pretty good idea about what it’s like to walk in that person’s shoes for a while. It’s socially appropriate voyeurism.
Blogs also help filter the unbelievable amount of information floating around the Web. The writer behind a literary blog has filtered through a great deal of other literary sites and blogs and has linked to his or her favorites. Depending on the expertise of the blogger, this can save the reader valuable time.
Blogging also creates a platform for anyone to be published. You can practice your writing by making regular entries, and you may find yourself an appreciative audience. Many bloggers develop confidence, even fans, through the strength of their blogs alone. Just be sure you know What Is Considered Previously Published Writing!
There are so many different types of blogs. From personal reflections on the nature of life to topic-specific sites, there’s sure to be a blog for everyone. The following are just a few types of blogs you may come across:
Personal or journal blogs. This type of online diary is the most common form of blogging, usually containing personal feelings, day-to-day activities and observations, complaints, favorite quotes or poems, trivia, aspirations, or essays. Absolutely anyone can maintain a personal blog, whether it’s for select eyes only or for a community of readers.
Political blogs. These have become an important part of campaigning and can contain long essays or short comments on hot topics or current events, links to articles, etc.
Business blogs. Some corporations use blogs for branding purposes, public awareness, or to create a more personable “face” for the public. Some business blogs serve to advertise or sell products.
Literary blogs (“litblogs”). These blogs focus on the literary community, publishing, and the craft of writing. They are further categorized according to genre and specialty. For example, the blog that you’re reading now focuses mostly on making submissions, publishing, and writing because Writer’s Relief is an author’s submission service. Our area of expertise is helping our clients submit their writing to literary agents and editors.
Media blogs (vlog). These are blogs comprised of video clips.
S-blogs. Blogs dedicated solely to the art of spam.
Photoblog and sketchblog. These are comprised of photos and sketches, respectively, and serve as a showcase for artists looking to share or promote their work.
Legal blogs(blawgs). These are blogs by law students or lawyers (“blawgers”).
Travel blogs. Modern travelers can share their experiences with those unable to explore the world. They can include restaurant and hotel reviews, little-known hot spots, photos, and videos.
News blogs. These blogs can cover anything from celebrity gossip to sports happenings, to local and national news events.
Magazine blogs. These not only provide additional exposure for a specific magazine, but offer additional content that’s not in the print issue. For a magazine that comes out monthly or even quarterly, a regularly updated blog is a way to stay current and prominent in readers’ minds.
Book blogs. These blogs offer serialized stories via postings every few days, much like the way Charles Dickens’ novels were serialized in the 19th century. A cousin of the book blog is the “wovel,” or Web novel.
And, of course, there are topic-specific blogs for anything from fire suppression technology to the study of earthworms. There’s even a blog called Disapproving Rabbits, chronicling the “constant judgment, censoriousness, and general moodiness of the rabbit kingdom.”
Some more vocabulary about blogging:
Clawging: blogging about animals or women with inch-long nails.
Log Blogs: blogs about the logging industry.
Emo Blogs: blogs for emoters and high disclosers.
Flog Blogs: blogs for those with a penchant for violence.
Hog Blogs: blogs for pork lovers.
Frog Blogs: blogs for dissectors.
Char Blogs: blogs for outdoor grilling enthusiasts.
Toblogging: blogging about the great sport of sledding.
Feel free to chime in with some of your own. It’s addictive.
If you’re a creative writer, you don’t have to have a blog. It’s entirely optional. But starting a blog might help you build your reputation as a writer, provided you can connect with an audience. If blogging isn’t your style, visit the Writer’s Relief homepage to learn how we can help you develop a submission strategy for getting your work published.