Top of the Blogs: A poll to round it off

Eoin Purcell

It occurred to me
While I was browsing the FAQs in that I could use some free tools out there to see if people had views on which of the five majors I reviewed had the best blogs (or blog policy). Bear in mind teh following:

    1) The poll is non scientific so winning or loosing won’t mean much.
    2) I haven’t yet finished the survey of smaller players (many of who excel at blogging) so it’s just the biggies we are talking about
    3) For reminders on what I said about Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin or Random just click the links

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 26/08/2008

Eoin Purcell

Amazon are buying the rest of Shelfari. It is a smart move, I’m not sure if it makes me comfortable.
Here & Here

Tim Spalding of LibraryThing kicks of a solid debate on LibraryThing’s Talk forum about Amazon and Shelfari

Personanondata adds his two interesting cents to the Shelfari/Amazon chat.

That’s kinda of it for the Shelfari/Amazon Section.

This post from Kassia @ Booksquare is terrifying. It is well worth reading though

Imperialism II, classic timesink.


And that leaves us with Hachette

Eoin Purcell

A complicated picture
When I said that it was difficult to track down blogging efforts of the various imprints and divisions, I had Hachette in mind. With tentables stretching across oceans and languages (Appropriately enough for the owner of Octopus group)

The first and most obvious blog is from Little, Brown Book Group and while it’s not quite as free and open as some others out there it is coming along fairly well. It still has the feel of a corporate blog drive centrally and by PR rather than RO (real people). It is relatively young not even a year old yet so there is time to find a stride that works.

But there are other company efforts on the web. The Orbit blog I read it all the time because my Science Fiction addiction is kicking back into high gear to the detriment of my non-fiction reading. It offers a great deal for the reader which I like, it still has a slightly corporate tone, but you cannot win them all.

Lastly, I think, there is a Virago blog on Myspace, not much to it really but perhaps it’s worth a visit.

Assessing it all
To my mind, Little, Brown are missing a trick. the Orbit site shows that they can do blogs pretty well. If I’m not mistaken they have some talented people working on the digital side of things so that might not be surprising. The Little, Brown blog has more untapped potential and I think that will be realised soon.

It’s the virago offering and the absent blog that worries me. Virago is a lively force in publishing and their website has more engaging content than this afterthought Facebook blog. There is a decent short and real review of one of the books from a commissioning editor:

Forget The Rules or any of today’s books that have you obsessing about how a potential partner might see you. This book doesn’t tell you to quiet down because men like demure women. It doesn’t tell you not to argue your point too much (otherwise the poor darlings might feel threatened). It doesn’t prescribe what you should wear (just a bit of cleavage — not too much — don’t want to be seen as ‘easy’ now, do you, ladies?) What it does is tell you, in no uncertain terms, that if you’re not interested in life, you won’t be interesting to anyone else. In a wonderful, no-nonsense tone, it advises having an open mind, trying out new things, and embracing life to the full

The Missing Name
Is of course John Murray. Maybe it’s only me bit with a brand like that in your arsenal I’d have gotten it linked to a blogging effort somehow. a quick glance at wikipedia will give people a fair idea of the background and potentialthe name has. That’s the missed trick for me!

So with hachette rounding off the majors, I propose to do a sweep of the rest of the trade early next week, firstly because it will take time, secondly because I need to do some more research and thirdly because it really is slightly manic at work this week!

Editorially snowed,

Penguin’s practically perfect blog

Eoin Purcell

There is always a danger of over hyping Penguin
After all, as a brand it has acquired a cult status. Its classic design efforts are heralded as revolutionary (funny thing that) and it seems to garner much more attention for its every effort than other houses.

In any case it’s blog is surely one of the truest successes for the major publishers. It generates copious content. It somehow manages to promote penguin’s every effort without seeming TOO pr. It sparkles with personality and you get a sense that while it is controlled, it still allows freedom of expression and to top it all it generates a huge amount of interaction and comments.

I like it. I read it regularly and enjoy it. I think it shows what can be done by a publisher with a blog. Not that there aren’t many other publishers doing the same or better. They were certainly early off the mark (if not perhaps the first as they somewhat over confidently proclaimed in their first post). They have rolled nicely into their third year and I imagine it will continue for some time to come.

There really isn’t much more to say.
Happy birthday to me

Update on blogging and the majors

Eoin Purcell

Half way there
So I am about half way through the biggies but I have a few thoughts.

    1) The scattered nature of the major publishing conglomorates makes being sure you have all their blogging efforts included very difficult.
    2) There is currently no hard and fast rules for what works. Some houses are doing well with multiple blogs, others (and I’m thinking of one that I will be posting on later today) are doing well with a single blog.
    3) Some imprints are clearly ahead of their rivals which makes sense in that those imprints have distinct identities and management.
    4) Publishers are embracing blogging across the board.
    5) When I finish the majors I’m going to need a lot of work to address the work of smaller publishers and I’m not sure how to do that yet. Advice welcomed!

Just sketching up a New Title Meeting presentation,