Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Observations on Gang Blogging

I didn't find out until this week that Squawk Radio uttered its last peep as a daily blog back in June. I stopped reading it after I had a minor dustup with one of the more sensitive chickies over The Sex Thang, and angry reviewers started coming over and snotting in my comments. Ah, the good old days, when I was bitter and jealous.

It did surprise me, though, to discover that they'd closed up shop; that was one flock I thought would surely cackle on ad infinitum (although it seems they're returning to let the fans know whenever they have a new release, evidently the definition of "randomly and sporadically and possibly occasionally" blogging.)

The success of gang blogging, or a blog written by a group of writers, has waxed and waned since the publishing blogosphere took off. Most seem to wow for a time and then wane. Some fail almost immediately, like the anonymously-shrouded Latest Dark Cabal, which closed its doors after its members real names were outed by miffed LJ'ers. Even the ones with very talented writers often barely last a year.

I had hopes for some of the romance gang blogs with very promising participants, but after a while reading them was like reading RT: lots of fluff, little substance. PR jobs disguised as blogs are great for the fans, but don't hold much attraction for the working writer. Offering truth instead of beauty is dangerous, however, and I don't blame any writer for going the way of the fluff.

Other gang blogs endure, maybe because they're so obviously not fan fluff. Storytellers Unplugged, which passed the two-year blog anniversary mark back in June, is that type of gang blog. I think it owes its longevity to its very large group of authors -- one for every day of the month -- and the quality of the personal essays they post. They're also interested in what their visitors have to say; Storytellers' Chief Kahuna Joe Nasisse recently tossed out some questions about content, and I jumped right on that.

I don't know what the formula for success with gang blogging is, but going into it with the idea that it's going to be easier than blogging solo seems to be a huge mistake. Blogging of any variety is hard work, especially when you're serious about the quality of your content. You have to be realistic about how well you'd fit in with the group, too. I've turned down various offers to join group blogs (not counting the occasional RTB guest post) because I know I'd rather run with scissors than play well with others. I also like having total control over my content; something you have to share when you gang blog.

What are some good examples of enduring, successful or interesting gang blogs out there? If you've got them, post links in comments.

31 comments:

  1. I've been plugging the sfnovelists blog, not least because I'm a part of it.

    I'd have suggested they invite you, only I've seen your comments on writers organisations once too often ;-)

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  2. (That last comment probably didn't come out right. I hope you know what I meant.)

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  3. Simon wrote: I'd have suggested they invite you, only I've seen your comments on writers organisations once too often

    Good choice, Si. ;)

    That last comment probably didn't come out right. I hope you know what I meant.

    No worries, I do. And I might already be over there. God knows I've been accused of being Stephen Leigh more times than I can count.

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  4. Wow, I remember that dust-up now. *shaking head*

    Group blogs; I've been visiting Writeminded for some time, and First Offenders. Fangs, Fur and Fey is an interesting LJ community, too but I'm not sure how long they've been around. And from time to time I visit The Word Wenches for a historical fix. The Wet Noodle Posse is an interesting mix. Teach Me Tonight discusses romance from a critical viewpoint with often surprising results.

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  5. Is 1 1/2 years enduring?

    If so, then the group blog myself, my wife and child started "way back when" is still going strong.

    It's a review site (vast majority books) as well as our original fiction and some musings.

    Geez, I'm thinking this post is almost Spam . . .

    And I have to say that group blogging is easier (at least our site) because I only have to come up with every other entry intsead of every one of them.

    The site is www.readersden.ca , eh.

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  6. Charlene wrote: Wow, I remember that dust-up now. *shaking head*

    Doesn't seem like it was over two years ago, does it?

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  7. Hey Lynn, a couple things: 1. Jenny Crusie/Bob Mayer do a joint blog for promo that works well. I pop in at Writeminded sometimes. Mostly I stick to solo blogs though.

    2. Did you get my email about the Friday20 thing?

    3. I GOT EVERMORE YESTERDAY which makes today the second most coolest birthday ever. (The first being the one M proposed to me on. Not even Evermore could top that one!) It's going to be my reward for finishing! my first! draft!

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  8. God knows I've been accused of being Stephen Leigh more times than I can count.

    Just as well I'm not Simon L. Haynes or they'd be accusing me of acronymity.

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  9. I like The Spiced Tea Party:

    http://thespicedteaparty.blogspot.com/2007/09/are-you-confused.html

    I'm a wide eyed fan girl of Pam Rosenthall/Molly Weatherfield so that accounts for a lot of it. :-)

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  10. http://lustbites.blogspot.com/2007/09/box-under-bed.html

    And Lust Bites.

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  11. I'm part of a group blog

    Vamps and Scamps


    I like group blogging. We all have different writing/blogging styles, so it keeps the variety up. Of course, I'm also a glutton for punishment since I have my own blog, as well as one other group blog, but that other group blog is used mostly for new releases & writing updates for one of the group site. Because I suck at updates

    I got my ARC of Evermore in and I almost danced. I do love getting ARCs.

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  12. Word NErd9:49 AM

    The Lipstick Chronicles (http://www.thelipstickchronicles.typepad.com/)

    Granted they don't talk about writing everyday, but I read them regularly.

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  13. Paul wrote: Is 1 1/2 years enduring?

    In publishing, it is. (rim shot)

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  14. Jess wrote: Did you get my email about the Friday20 thing?

    I'll go check (I am woefully behind on e-mail again.)

    I GOT EVERMORE YESTERDAY which makes today the second most coolest birthday ever. (The first being the one M proposed to me on. Not even Evermore could top that one!)

    Aw, that's so romantic. *Sigh* Hope you enjoy it, and happy birthday. :)

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  15. Simon wrote: Just as well I'm not Simon L. Haynes or they'd be accusing me of acronymity.

    Among other things. :) Someday I'm going to track down Stephen and take a photo with him, just to prove we're not Clark Kent and Superman.

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  16. Eva wrote: I like The Spiced Tea Party

    Now there's one I haven't visited before now. "The crumpet strumpets of erotic historical romance" -- great tag line.

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  17. Shiloh wrote: I'm also a glutton for punishment since I have my own blog, as well as one other group blog, but that other group blog is used mostly for new releases & writing updates for one of the group site.

    I don't know how you double- and triple-bloggers do it, frankly. PBW gobbles up 75% of my allotted internet time; I shudder to think of the work involved in two or more.

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  18. Wrod Nerd wrote: The Lipstick Chronicles

    I read them for a while, but got away from it when some of the content started serving too much whine with the sheesh. I'll have to go back and give them another shot.

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  19. A writer friend of mine turned me on to Deep Genre

    A classy group blog--writing related.

    I occasionally read Fang, Fur, and Fey but it seems more self promo than content driven.

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  20. I visit Romancing the Yarn often. They are a group of ladies who all write romance and knit... the blog features knitting more than writing, but there are some good discussions about how the two go together.

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  21. I'm a member of a group blog, the Risky Regencies; coincidentally, we're celebrating our second anniversary this week. There are six of us, and we have very different styles of blogging, which makes it fun (I hope, at least).

    I like Writeminded and The Spiced Tea Party (one of our bloggers blogs over there, too).

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  22. The Midnight Hour has been going strong for a year and a half with no plans to close up shop anytime soon. Although, now that I think about it, I did forget to post yesterday. Oops.

    And you're welcome to come guest blog anytime you like, Lynn! ;-)

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  23. I'm a member of a couple of group blogs, but I don't think they're different from any of the others out there. The ones that thrive have opinionated writers or commentors. Amiable doesn't seem to be the way to go.

    I suppose Smart Bitches is a form of group blog, and so is Dear Author.

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  24. I don't know how you double- and triple-bloggers do it, frankly. PBW gobbles up 75% of my allotted internet time; I shudder to think of the work involved in two or more.

    Just don't ever ask me how many websites I maintain. :OP

    And the third blog isn't so bad... I only post there when I have a new cover, or a new release. It's strictly promo to go along with the group website.

    Mine isn't too bad because I got in the habit of trying to stockpile posts. Yesterday, i write like three to post later on this week. The Vamps blog isn't too bad either since we rotate, and when I post an interview... that's a little bit of tedium work there, but easy enough entertainment for readers and I don't ahve to do much more than post the interview and make sure to yell at the interview-ee once or twice to go say hi.

    :P

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  25. I read the Plot Monkeys from time to time, mostly because Hirsch--who helps with my website--sometimes goes there on my computer. (He's in lust with one of the authors.)

    And I've just started blogging the first weekend of each month with Poe's Deadly Daughters.

    How do you all manage to be interesting on a daily or weekly basis? I'm going to be lucky to do it once a month.

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  26. With group blogs, the quality of the posts depends on the individual bloggers. I too read Plot Monkeys and RTB (for which i also write). Then there's

    Blogging in Black -- a collective of Afrian American authors

    Pink Heart Society -- Foreign-based authors of category romance

    Pink Ladies Blog -- A diverse group of American romance writers.

    Faithchicks -- A group of Christian authors

    Dropped Running with Quills a few months ago, since I constantly reevaulate where I spend my blogging time.

    I wonder whether any group blogs are good every day. Joining a group doesn't make one a better blogger.

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  27. Earlier this year I joined something called The Novel Racers, and we were based off one writer's blog, but a few months ago, she got swamped, and the racers started their own group blog. (http://novelracers.blogspot.com/)

    I have a few groups on my daily blogroll, too. In addition to reading Romancing the Blog, I also have: Murder She Writes, The Good Girls Kill for the Money Club, Romance Worth Killing For, Dishing with the Divas. Plus about a half-dozen others I read a couple times a month.

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  28. The League of Reluctant Adults just started like, a week ago, but I think It'll do well.

    It's I think five writers who write humorous Urban Fantasy.

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  29. I know I'm late getting in on this post, but I wanted to add my $.2 worth.

    Petticoatsa & Pistols, which is written by some well known historical western romance authors, is going good.

    There's not a whole lot on there geared towards writing, however, it does have quite a bit of good research material for a western romance writer.

    http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com/index.php

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  30. People feel differently about things they write for a group blog, I think. They don't own the content as much... which can be good, in a liberating way, or bad in a fluff-generating way.

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  31. We've tried to keep things fresh and of as high a quality as possible at Storytellers Unplugged, and thanks for the nod. It is a lot of work, reminding 30 people when their time is coming up, trying to convince everyone that a blog you write for free with your name on it is just as important as any other writing you do...because you put your name on it. I think we've done fairly well - hopefully with our new "facelift" and some new functionality, we'll push it to new levels.

    DNW

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