Armchair BEA, Day 4: Beyond the Blog
You might have seen earlier this week that I’m participating in Armchair BEA, in conjunction with BookExpo America that’s going on in NYC right now. The event was created so bloggers who couldn’t make it there could still convene and network online.
The ABEA team has given us topics to write about, and today’s is how our blogs have led to professional opportunities, writing-related or otherwise. These are some of the gigs I’ve landed since I started blogging three and a half years ago.
Shelf Awareness for Readers. A little over a year ago, a blogger friend, Jen Forbus (whom I met because of this blog), told me that Shelf Awareness, the daily newsletter for book industry professionals, was hiring freelance reviewers for its new edition aimed at readers. I submitted three reviews from this blog, and was offered the job. If I hadn’t been blogging, I wouldn’t have had writing samples available online.
Criminal Element. When I saw last year that Macmillan was about to launch a website for crime fiction fans, I wrote to the community manager at the time, Clare Toohey, to say I was interested in contributing crime-related blog posts. I then asked Jen (she’s a very nice friend) to put in a good word for me because she’d been previously hired as a social media maven for the site. When Clare responded, she said she was already familiar with my blog and accepted my request to join the writing team. The blog scored again.
American Film Institute Film Festival press passes. Two years ago, I pimped out a few blog posts to apply for a press pass for the annual film festival in November, during which many awards contenders make their world premieres. I submitted links to three of my movie-related articles and was thrilled to be approved as a press member, receiving an ID in a lanyard that got me into most of the screenings. Tickets are free, but they go fast every year. I didn’t have to try snagging some online (the site would always freeze due to traffic overload), or wait in long standby lines. I saw other lanyard-wearers from publications like Variety and the Los Angeles Times. And there was me—Pop Culture Nerd. Heh. My name also got put on press lists, and now I occasionally get offers of screeners and invitations to screenings of upcoming films.
Copyediting jobs. Because of the blog, I met two wonderful, talented writers, Brett Battles and Laura Benedict (among many other fantastic authors). We started out as Twitter pals, with them occasionally visiting my blog and leaving nice comments, but both relationships led to my being their copyeditor.
I finally met Brett in person two years ago, and mentioned I was an editor. I wasn’t pushing my services on him; he was traditionally published at the time. But last year, when he decided to dive into the self-publishing world, he contacted me about editing his book. I have since edited 7 novels, 1 novella, 3 short stories, 1 long blog post for him, and am currently working on his next novel, Pale Horse. I got to meet Laura last year at Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, and not long thereafter, she asked me to copyedit her novel Devil’s Oven, the inaugural title for Gallowstree Press, the new publishing press she started with her husband. Two years ago, I was only reading their books. Now I get to have input. All because of the blog.
Wow. When I started this post, I thought I’d make a short list and just say a few things. Seven hundred words later, I have before my eyes proof that this blog has been good to me. And I just started it as a creative outlet, with no clear goals. I didn’t really know what I was doing in the beginning, and couldn’t have imagined where it’s taken me so far. No doubt, it’s a lot of work, and you can see via the time stamps that many of my posts have been published at ridiculo’clock in the morning. But I do find it rewarding, and some days still feel like I’m winging it. Which keeps it fun, because I’m never quite sure what will happen next.
Where has your blog led you? If you’re a new blogger, where would you like to go with it?