Could your blog become a book?

I have written before about blogs being turned into books. At that time it was a bit of a novelty, but no longer. A very random check of the library catalogue comes up with 44 blog titles bought for this year, so far!  These titles range from self-help books to craft and travel. Some are only available as eBooks and are quite possibly self-published.  Others have been picked up by very mainstream publishers.  It makes sense then that when a blog has thousands of followers it will create quite a buzz for the book, creating an easy marketing exercise for publishers perhaps?

Cover of Design Bloggers at HomeCooking, crafting, travelling or dealing with addiction and health issues etc., lend themselves well to a blog format. Alongside the ideas and information around their chosen topic the blogger often includes plenty of human interest; small titbits about their life making the  blog all the more enjoyable as you feel part of the their daily existence. The joy of the blog is therefore the interaction between the reader and the blogger, the up-to-the-minute experiences that you can click into on a daily basis, the highs and the lows shared, not to mention plenty of photos and tutorials.

Cover of Mrs D Is Going WithoutDoes this translate well into a book? I’m not sure. The book enables the author to present the parts of their blog, for example the recipes, crafts or experiences that have had the most online success, and this sounds like a good process. Not so good if you have been an avid follower of the blog as no doubt there will be plenty of repetition. The missing ingredient for me would be what makes the blog unique, and that is the human interaction, the comments from readers and the community that develops around the blog.  That said, the book will reach a different audience perhaps and will of course bring more readers to the blog. A Win-Win as they say.

So if you are interested in giving blogging a go, and are perhaps thinking that you might get picked up by some huge publisher and make your millions, here are some titles to get you started.

Cover of Picture Perfect Social MediaMollie Makes: Blogging: The guide to Creative Content.*  This is a special edition of the Mollie Makes magazine and has some great ideas for those of you interested in the creative crafty side of things.

Picture Perfect Social Media. Great advice for the all important visual impact of your blog.

Blog Wonderful. The author spent a year growing her following and documenting what worked, and what didn’t.

Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued. Sounds like a sensible book to read before you get started!

Every time you post a blog or tweet you may be subject to the laws of more than 200 jurisdictions throughout cyberspace. As more than a few bloggers or tweeters have discovered, you can be sued in your own country, or arrested at the airport heading off to a holiday in another country.

WordPress, the platform we use for this blog also has some handy hints on how to turn a blog into a book.

*To find Mollie Makes: Blogging: The guide to Creative Content in the catalogue, click on View subscription and availability details and look for call number 745.5 MOL BLOGGING 2014.

Illustrating Margaret

cover of Dashing DogMargaret Mahy was a spell caster no doubt of it. Not just children and parents, but illustrators fell under her spell. The other night I was watching A tall long faced tale , the very creative documentary about Margaret and her work which recently screened on television. Happily we have a lot of copies of the DVD in our libraries but if you want a taster it is here on NZ On Screen. Some very famous illustrators talk about the magic of working with Margaret.

The very next day what should I see but a wonderful account from New Zealand author and  illustrator Donovan Bixley about how he worked on illustrating  Margaret’s book  Dashing Dog. Donovan has been our November Star author on our Christchurch Kids blog. The Kids blog is something anyone interested in children’s books should read. The monthly star authors are a particular treat with writers from New Zealand and overseas. Amongst Donovan’s posts from November are The Art of Hybrid Novels, Part One and The Art of Hybrid Novels, Part Two which make very interesting reading, especially if you are interested in graphic novels.

Crabby library bloggers celebrate 3000 posts

Oh hai blog readers, we are happy to bring you post #3000 on the Christchurch City Libraries blog!

On 10 May 2011 we celebrated our 2000th blog post with 2001 a bloggy odyssey. Today we are a millennia on from that.

And in more statistical stuff, here are some of our figures from last year (courtesy of our buddies at WordPress). In 2012, there were 595 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 2,983 posts. The busiest day of the year was 17 February 2012. The most popular post that day was Librarians get crabby.
Most viewed posts in 2012
1.    Rescued from the rubble: Read the first 50 years of The Press on Papers Past
2.    Librarians get crabby
3.    Words for Christchurch: Atka Reid and Hana Schofield
4.    Peterborough’s the name of my latest flame – The Displaced Reader goes to town
5.    Sexy Avocados and Shocking Books

Thanks to our team of bloggers and readers and commenters. Love. Your. Work. Stay tuned.

2001: a library bloggy odyssey

Kia ora and welcome to our 2001st post.
Four years ago we dipped our toes in – blogging from the 2007 Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

We started with two mild-mannered bloggers. Now we now have a team of keen bloggers. Our alumni includes Moata Tamaira, Blog Idol who has a popular blog on Stuff (and a Qantas Media Award to boot!)

In 2009 we brought you  Post#1000: Richard Till and Heston Blumenthal – A Culinary mashup.

In 2011 we have a small (but perfectly formed) team going to the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival, so look forward to posts, interviews and festival goss galore – and lots of reading ideas.

Thanks to Christchurch City Libraries, and all our bloggers and readers and commenters. Keep your comments, suggestions and ideas coming.
Christmas in the Old Childrens Library Workroom

Library tourists

South LibraryTwo very keen punters in Auckland have been inspired by the new supercity and its sudden abundance of libraries to visit every one of the 55 libraries and blog about them. Phew and hats off to Latitude of Libraries and Auckland Libraries Super Tour 2011. It is early days yet but I did enjoy the visit to New Lynn Library describing some beautiful pieces of Crown Lynn on display,  including thoughtful writing and interesting book titles. Neither blogger is a librarian or works for Auckland City Council.

Here in Christchurch we operate on a more modest scale but I got to thinking about being a library tourist. With 22 libraries could we do speed touring? – all the libraries in one day. Or themes – most scenic trip – New Brighton to Sumner to Lyttelton to Little River and Akaroa  (with a side ferry trip to Diamond Harbour). Or newest libraries (visiting Upper Riccarton, South and Parklands would see you criss-crossing the city) , small but perfectly formed (Little River, Akaroa, Diamond Harbour, Redwood) and so on…

Have you ever been a library tourist? Any recommendations?

When does a blog become a book? When it’s a Blook!

When a blog becomes a book it is apparently called a Blook.  Over the years this has become a bit of a trend, possibly because it is a cheap way of writing a book, there is already an established readership, and the book feeds off the blog and visa versa.

If you have a blog there are a number of websites that will  self publish your musings.  Some blogs get picked up by mainstream press when it has generated enough interest to warrant a book.

Recent titles that the library has bought are:

Petite Anglaise writing a blog while living in Paris with a new baby was a way for this author to alleviate the boredom and give Francophiles some enjoyment at the same time.

Craft hope : Handmade crafts for a cause This blog has encouraged readers to make handmade items for charities.  This book includes many of these projects  alongside where to donate.

Miss Masala : real Indian cooking for busy living Inspired by her blog “Cookery Goddess” Millika Basu reveals secrets to Indian cooking

A life in frocks : a memoirFind at Christchurch City Libraries Author of thecraftyminx blog, Kelly Doust shares her love affair with fashion

Stuff white people like : the definitive guide to the unique taste of millions Directly uplifted from the blog of the same name this is a sartorial take on the things white people like,  including free trade coffee and biking to the farmers market.

Awkward family photos We all have them – and they are often very bad.  Another book taken directly from the blog of the same name.

The sartorialist People on the street who look great

Baghdad burning II : more girl blog from Iraq an older title and perhaps one of the first blogs to be turned into a book, it follows the day-to-day life of a teenage girl during the Iraq war.

Champion Mo-Mo

Mo-Mo is a star. Well we all knew that but now it has been acknowledged nationally at the  Qantas Media Awards where she won the award  for Best Blogger of 2009.  In her day job Moata contributes to the Library blog but by night she masquerades as Blog Idle on the Stuff website.  Since winning the Stuff Blog Idol competition a year ago Moata has gathered a legion of fans for her funny and pointed writing about the daily events of life.

Stuff describes Moata as a “librarian with a black-belt in sarcasm who’s been meaning to get one in procrastination too but always ends up watching TV instead. Her blog is an unholy mash-up of whimsy, cynicism and wry observation.” If you haven’t already I’d recommend you check out Mo-Mo’s writing on both blogs. There are some great laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of wry acknowledgements when she hits the nail (or maybe the mouse!) on the head about the ups and downs of daily life.

Flitting gracefully around the blogosphere

About a month ago the folk at Wellington City Libraries’ Teen Blog gave us a Butterfly Award. This is an unofficial “We like your blog. Please pass it on” kind of thing and since then we have been scratching our heads trying to think of who we like bloggily to give a butterfly to (in the following manner)

This is a meme award and the rules for passing it on are:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Award up to ten other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message for your awardees on their blogs.

So here are the very unscientific results of said head-scratching –

  • Peoplepoints – by Paul Reynolds who some of you might know as a media commentator on things technology/web related. He’s the Scottish bloke with hair that tends towards the unruly who they sometimes have on Breakfast. He likes libraries and we like him.
  • The Golden Bay High School Library Blog – is really good for helping out with all those pesky NCEA reading lists. If you’re into young adult stuff then this is a place to find some good reads.
  • Beatties Book Blog – is a good place to stop in to find out anything and everything that’s going on in the book/literary world. If it’s happening then it will turn up on the blog of Graham “Bookman” Beattie.

And thanks again to WCL teen blog for liking us!

Not another bloody blog

It was a proud moment to see our very own Donna Robertson on the podium on Sunday, looking cool calm and collected, and not a sign of nerves to be seen.

Rachael King, author of The Sound of Butterflies, and a blog with the same name talked about her blogging being useful for her writing process. She finds that creating and keeping the blog going gets her fired up to continue on her second book, and she enjoys the feedback from other authors. Her blog is primarily about being a writer, but she avoids getting too personal.

Harry, revised
Harry, revised

Mark Sarvas, the third panelist is the author of Harry Revised, and the founder of the literary blog The elegant variation (I must reinforce here the word literary, not a piece of genre fiction ever makes it to this blog, I can assure you). If you have read his blog he often refers to both “I’ and “we”. I (as opposed to we ), thought there was more than one person writing for this blog, but no, he uses “we” when he is in reviewer mode and “I’ when it is more of a personal post…. Silly me.

Our Donna reinforced the fact that the team of Library bloggers can more or less blog about whatever we like, even (gasp) genre fiction. I swelled with pride.

Now Mark Sarvas doesn’t mind a bit of controversy. Apparently, when he criticised another author this year for writing what he saw as an appalling book, the comments box went hot. I can’t remember the author’s name or the title of the book, but I have this strange compulsion to track it down and read it. For some reason I think I might enjoy it.

Rachael King said how much she enjoyed being able to go to our Readers and Writers blog at the end of the day, and catch up on some of the sessions that she had missed.

Bookman Beattie, as the most iconic of all New Zealand bloggers, acknowledged that his job is a full-time one, and it is certainly incredibly worthwhile to consult his blog you want to know anything about books, both here and throughout the world.

So thanks to Donna for waving the flag. It’s been a long, fun, interesting weekend, and having Donna as our editor has made it all the more so.

Read any good “blooks” lately?

“So what the heck is a blook?” I hear you ask. Essentially a “blook” is a book that is based on a blog (or other website). Publication of blog or website based books has increased in popularity over recent years so much so that there are now enough produced to have their own literary competition, The Blookers (of course). Last year’s Blooker winner was My war: killing time in Iraq by American “grunt” Colby Buzzell (any blog that gets glowing reviews from Kurt Vonnegut and Henry Rollins is worth a look, in my humble opinion). Winner in the comics category was Mom’s cancer, the true tale of cartoonist Brian Fies’s mother’s battle with metastic lung cancer that started its life as a webcomic. It’s clear that there is as much scope in blooks as there are in books with less “digital” beginnings.

It’s a testament to the continuing appeal of books as physical items that punters will pay money to buy books that they could read on the internet for free. If you still prefer your recreational reading on paper rather than lap-top then, as well as those blooks mentioned above, you might like to consider the following – Continue reading