Armchair BEA, Day 4: Beyond the Blog

Design by Emily of Emily's Reading Room

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.

I got to see this man at AFI Fest (Getty Images)

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?

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Preet @ A Written Rhapsody
    June 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    That’s really inspiring how your blog has led you to so many opportunities. I’m not really looking for mine to, but I hope it’ll help me get a better grasp of the publishing world as I learn more about it. I’d love to one day work doing promotional work for books.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      I’ve definitely learned a lot about publishing since I started blogging. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Viklit
    June 7, 2012 at 12:28 am

    This is so inspiring. I am new to blogging and so just seeing what it can do. Go you taking up all these opportunities and making it happen.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      I now have that Flashdance song, “What a Feeling,” in my head: “Take your passion, and make it happen!” I guess there are worse songs to be stuck with.

      Have fun with your blog!

  • Reply
    Sam @ The Little Munchkin Reader
    June 7, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Great post! It was so interesting to read!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Sam @ The Little Munchkin Reader

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks, Sam!

  • Reply
    Sarah RH
    June 7, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s great that your blog has opened up so many other opportunities. How exciting that must have been for each of those experiences. I enjoy reading your blog & am happy that I came across it. =) (And I’m glad you’re Brett’s copy editor.)

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      I’m happy you found it, too, Sarah. AND grateful I get to edit Brett’s books. PH is kicking butt.

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    June 7, 2012 at 5:11 am

    So wonderful to see good things happening to a good person.

    My only ambition for The Drowning Machine is to find enough time just to keep it alive. It has certainly become less relevant in the last year.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      No, it hasn’t! Your reviews are among the best-written out there. And I’m looking forward to seeing who wins the WGI. So hush, you.

  • Reply
    Violette
    June 7, 2012 at 5:25 am

    My blog hasn’t led me anywhere but you are having great success with yours. It is awesome that you are writing for bookish newsletters and websites. Kudos to you.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Would you like it to go somewhere? I have friends who find blogging its own reward.

      I just checked out your site. You like crime fiction? That’s my favorite genre!

  • Reply
    Leeanna
    June 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Wow, that’s really inspiring to see all that blogging has done for you.

    My blog hasn’t led me anywhere yet, but I’m hoping that I will make connections and friends, and keep me on track to pursue my goals. It’s great for self-accountability.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Yes, it’s definitely good for self-accountability. When I started it, I figured I’d just use it to exercise my writing muscle on a regular basis. Otherwise, I can get really lazy.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    June 7, 2012 at 8:42 am

    The most interesting thing to me is to see the names in this post. You will not find better folks than Jen, Clare, Brett and Laura. Proving that good does attract good and that good things happen to and with good people. I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere….. 🙂

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      I agree! And add yourself to the list of amazing people I met through here!

  • Reply
    Paulette
    June 7, 2012 at 11:16 am

    You know I can’t blog, you know I can’t blog…. Spectacular opportunities for a spectacular blogger. Thanks for introducing me to the works of so many writers such as Brett and Laura!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks, Paulette! I’m happy I had a hand in exposing you to them. (Yes, I know exactly what I did there.)

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    June 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    No wonder you get all those early sneaks at movies! Can you tell I’m jealous ;-). Still, I can’t think of a more deserving blogger I know who should find the success blogging has brought. Well done, Elyse!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Ha! I get most of my screening invitations from contacts I had before blogging, but this helped expand my list. Thank you for the kind words.

  • Reply
    elena
    June 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Wow, it’s amazing to see how much blogging can do for you! I actually know a famous movie director’s daughter through my other blog but solely through the personal sense. I think this post is really inspiring, thanks for sharing. 😀

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