Saturday, 16 August 2008

"Books, Blogging and the Internet" at the Edinburgh Book Festival

This workshop was due to be given by Mother at Large, Helen, an ex-Sunday Times journalist. Unfortunately she could not attend due to her baby girl coming into this world fashionably late (like her mother's blog title)...dare I say this, but I was actually heartened by this news. I was beginning to think that she was the Super Mum to beat all Super Mums...thankfully she seems as human as the rest of us (super mums)! It'll be good to read her blog when she's back in circulation again.
Her blogging friend, Vanessa, independent publisher, at Fidra Books, held the talk in Helen's place and I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely. (I also have to mention at this juncture that I only stumbled on this event due to expatmum's timely advice...so my many thanks go to her.)

There were 20 bloggers at the workshop and we all shared tips, stories and technical glitch tipettes about life in blogland. We talked about the format of blogs (one option was to go for the uncluttered visual look, Mutterings from the Mill, is a good example of this I think), snappy descriptions of the purpose of the blog, using tags, labels, links and so forth. Owning a domain is a possibility and wordpress.com and .org were cited as good places to host your blog/domain (if you are more technically minded perhaps). (To be honest I could not follow all of it re: the techie stuff but I was lucky to get in touch with someone who knows much more about this than I do.) If you want to know who is looking at your website it might be an idea to look at your statistics called in Blogger: Google analytics and you can look for "key" words on which people may be searching when they read your blog. Apparently there is something called the "Wayback machine" which can search old web stuff in case you have lost some of your blog. Obviously the wise thing is to back up your work. Luckily hubbie has been doing this without me realising it! We also discussed what might be best to reveal or not (Gulp!)...

We heard about some of the blogs (from people either present or non present) e.g. digital biographer (a very smart looking "all things digital" blog), Eve's Alexandria (a book review blog), Rachel North (Victim and activist re: the 07/07 bombing - her blog experiences), Snow blog (a publishing blog written by two people), author blogs: Neil Gaiman, Susan Hill are just a few examples of what is out there. Blogs to book deals were mentioned, in particular: dulwichmum, Strife in the North (we're hoping...fingers crossed...) and the ubiquitous Wife in the North. On the whole blogs-to-book deals were seen as being on their way out. Aah! before I forget...your writing is protected even if it is on the internet, however, digital biographer advised all bloggers to check terms and conditions attached to each blog hoster/web domain etc. If you do want to write for a living (or otherwise) it was recommended to join the Society of Authors in the UK. There were many other points which came out during the discussion but I'd have trouble listing them all here. Hope the above gives a taster of what was discussed.

Moreover, Vanessa stated that all writers, authors, would be writers and random scribblers (I think I fall in this latter category) should have a blog to raise their profile. (She didn't actually say random scribblers but I would be honoured to be considered thus.) Consequently I came away with a big, cheesy grin on my face.

Little Hadriana and a more mature Hadriana also attended the event "Posy with Catherine Rayner", author and illustrator of "Augustus and his smile", "Harris finds his feet" and the "Posy" books written by Linda Newberry. She was extremely nice, informative and friendly. She didn't seem to mind me asking lots of questions about her chosen craft despite the fact that it was primarily a children's event. All in all a very eventful day. How I would love to go to the entire book festival...maybe we can camp outside next year (just like Wimbledon)...bank manager allowing...of course!

8 comments:

Lakeland Jo said...

Loved the blog especially since I am learning all about blogging (and can't believe how much there is to understand) and because you are from the wonderful North East.
Loved the photo of the wall- brilliant.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you Lakeland Jo...for your very nice comments. I was going to say that blogging isn't as hard as it might sound but I gather you've been having a few problems with yours. Good luck with all of that. Your Corbridge post has me intrigued.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

this sounds like it was fun..why dont l hear about these things...
like your Maryport posts is the museum comparable to tullie house?

fff

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi, I haven't been to Tullie House yet but I must go! Gosh there are so many great places around here that I have on my "to do" list.

dulwichmum said...

OHMYGOD! My blog was mentioned at a bookfest! I am really amazed. How fab is that?

Since I have gotten a new lap top the size of a calulator, been issued with "Vista" software which I cannot so much as save my work or do a spell check on, and recently been transferred to Wordpress (I cant even make additions to my blog roll without help), I feel completely at a loss. I can't get on with this new software and equipment and I can't seem to get my blog together at all. Hadriana you make me want to keep blogging, but I can't imagine why I was mentioned. I might just keep blogging afterall!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

You seem to be doing fine to me, dulwichmum, just fine. Keep on blogging!
PS: May bump into you and not know it! I'll be in and around Dulwich beginning of Oct. for a Latin "Minimus Mouse" course at James Allen's School for Girls. Would love to drop in but am catching up with old college friends. Maybe another time...

Catharine Withenay said...

Thanks for this, Hadriana. I couldn't have summed up the workshop better - so I didn't. Over a month later and I finally get a few thoughts onto my blog...
Look forward to camping with you outside the book festival next year - I enjoyed every minute of it!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Catharine, Will pop by to read your account of it soon. Know what you mean about meaning to write...I've got a few posts that I hope to write up soon. Real life gets in the way though...maybe that's not such a bad thing!