First up, last Wednesday I asked a question: Have blogs peaked? Well, from my lips to the NY Times' ears apparently because they tackled that very subject. Their conclusion: they're on the wane as The Youths move to Twitter and Facebook. Case closed, right? Well, not quite so fast. Poking some holes in the article is Matthew Ingram at GigaOM, who points out that many of the activities that the NY Times article cites as not-blogging, like Tumblr, looks a lot like, well, blogging. To Ingram it looks more like evolving than dying.
And meanwhile, if you're thinking of starting a blog, Sommer Leigh is starting a really great Blogging 101 series, and has a primer on different types of blogs to help you choose which one might be right for you.
In depressing industry news, GalleyCat takes a look at a Quora post on six reasons why Borders went bankrupt, Mike Shatzkin offers a sobering take on what will happen to publishers when print books decline and per-unit costs inevitably go up, and David Carnoy at CNET (where, disclosure, I work) had an article on accelerating piracy on the Kindle. How's that for a splash of cold water?
Back to the good stuff! B&N is opening the door further to self-published authors via its PubIt! program, creating a bestseller list for the platform and hosting in-store events.
Friend of the blog Stuart Neville, who very longtime readers of the blog will remember was a finalist in the First Line Challenge (as Conduit) way back in 2007 before he was agented/published, has been nominated for a LA Times Book Prize in mystery/suspense, an award he won back in 2009. Go Stuart!! And congrats to the other nominees as well.
In publishing news, author Natalie Whipple says don't knock the query as it tests your writing skills, there's a new short story contest hosted by the ABQ Writers Co-op, and Agency Gatekeeper has a seriously charming cartoon by the Agency Gatekeeper's intern on what it's like to work at an agency.
In social media news, Chris Brogan has a seriously terrific post on social media etiquette. Definitely check that out.
And very sad news as YA Author L.K. Madigan passed away from cancer at age 47. A lot of people knew her both personally and via the Internet in the writing blogosphere, and her post announcing her illness last month was moving and devastating. Her agent Jennifer Laughran, author Jennifer Hubbard, and agent Kristin Nelson were among those offering tributes.
This week in the Forums, first up, if you have tried to participate in the Forums and couldn't get past the weird squiggly numbers and letters otherwise known as Captcha, please try again!! There is a new, much easier system in place. You shall pass, I promise. And in other topics, what it takes to become invested in a character, fictional nonfiction, don't forget about our Critique Partner Connection Forum, and what have you learned from your characters?
Comment! of! the! Week! There were a lot of great comments on Tuesday's post about whether record stores could suggest the future of bookstores, I wanted to single out Gregory Pincus' comment on an important difference that will be the key to any future that includes bookstores:
The big difference, I think, is the social aspect: 10,000 of us will go to an arena to see our favorite band and share that experience, but authors don't tour at the same level. This social aspect carries over to the stores, too, in different ways: at music stores, there's music playing, whether it's Virgin's DJ or any of the people working there playing their favorite album. At a book store, there isn't (yet!) a mechanism for sharing like that.And finally, via my former colleague Sarah LaPolla is this seriously, seriously incredible video on how a book is made. I know this was the absolute cutting edge of technology for its time, but I gotta say, the amount of time and labor and effort it took to create one page now seems almost crazy to me. Is that just me?
The takeaway for me is the sense of community and anything a store can do to build it up. Being a part of something bigger than "simply" selling books seems like the best chance of survival. And there, I agree, it's not likely to be the big box store as we know it today.
Have a great weekend!