Does Being a Good Book Author Make You a Good Blogger?


I was checking my feed reader this evening and one of my favorite book authors updated his blog. While reading I thought to myself, I subscribed to this blog because I liked his books, but I can't ever recall reading a post on his blog that I liked nearly as much as his printed works.

I'll preface the discussion by saying I consider myself a pretty avid reader I read between 15-20 books a year on a wide variety of topics from business to fiction and non fiction. I'll also add I have about 250 feeds I'm subscribed too, any more and I can't manage or keep up.

So who's blog is it I dislike ... Malcom Gladwell. Now before you gather up the stones and pitchforks hear me out. I love his books I've read both Tipping Point and Blink and liked them both. In fact I regularly recommend Tipping Point to other people to read. I heard him speak at Boston Pubcon and came away with some interesting things to think about. If you've never heard Malcom speak here something from 2004 (MP3 file).

I'm a big fan of Seth Godin's books and blog, I like John Battelle's books and blog, so I can't understand why I just can't get into Malcom's blog.

So what about you are there any authors you really like who's blogs leave you feeling less than fulfilled, and if so can you pin it down to something tangible?


It's personal

It's personal.. some people are just better than others at this stuff.. Blogging could be far more intense than writing a book.. by multiples more intense.

Because your viewers can respond in a heartbeat.. post crap on your site.. trackback to your site.. and retort from their site.. all in about 5 seconds flat.

Books don't work like that.. Other than Aaron's SEO book of course :)

flying by the seat of your pants

I don't read those blogs/books, but I read your post and thought "not everybody can be entertaining/enlightening by the seat of their pants".

I worked in clinical/academic research where very large grant proposals were prepared over a year's time. It took months to get chapters from writers. On many grants the final product (book) looked nothing like some of the submitter's materials (even the primary investigator). The editor's wrote the grant. I imagine it is the same with traditional books.

Blogs are conversation, right? Not always "considered opinion" or crafted content. I also imagine that successful book authors published original works, unlike a stand up comedian who works the local crowd until he has a repertoire to take on the road and repeat over and over. In some ways blogging is harder (some ways).

I think William Gibson wrote

I think William Gibson wrote some interesting books. I don't read his blog though, even though he coined the term "cyberspace". Gibson is so forward thinking, you could find him a decade from now and he'd still be ahead of the game. Personally, I read books for the writing. Bloggers barely edit anything, and it shows. I read timeless books too. The Bible. News that never changes. And I look to blogs to keep up with cyberspace.

Gibson Rocks

Man, I swear by William Gibson, but he's not a great blogger.

Sometimes you read people just to enter the imaginary worlds they create. And right now, blogging pulls back the curtain too much because most people haven't tried to push the format into more creative directions beyond their own navel lint.


i cant believe anyone reads my blog as bad as my grammer is.

I think it's because he

I think it's because he refers to his column in the New Yorker or whatever and I usually haven't read it. I also heard him speak at Pubcon and I think he has some very good ideas. I have found his blog valuable in the past but lately he assumes you have read his column or somebody else's work. I don't think that makes for interesting reading to a general audience if you are assuming they have a certain level of knowledge or have already read something that is required to understand whatever piece you are talking about.

people who write great

people who write great novels can't necessarily write good short stories, so a good blog post is just as unlikely.

Anyway most blog posts are 'good' because you know the person, their situation or their interests, not because they're actually well written or especially wonderful. Remember the Slashdot discussion of '10 things I hate about Google' and the opinions of some slashdottians about Dannys blogging? Cliques and shorthand references are always a bar to enjoyment if you don't 'get it'

Mind you, a lot of books I read aren't that well written either so its not necessarily a bar to publication, online or offline.

It's only recently occured

It's only recently occured to me that blogs are best treated as a targeted publishing medium - like any other publishing medium, I guess.

The best ones focus on providing useful information & insights - the worst are simply personal rambles.

Realised I've been too close to the latter, but plan to change that. :)

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