Blog Blazers: 40 top bloggers share their secrets

Stephane Grenier sent me a copy of his newly published book Blog Blazers, 40 top bloggers share their secrets this week. Having a new book mailed to me reminded of my adventures into book publishing when I contributed to a book about Flash optimization back in 2002. Since then I’ve become an avid blogger, and although I read very little paper nowadays I was curious about this project. Stephane interviewed 40 successful bloggers about how they became just that, and the results are hard to put down.

First impressions

I have to admit that my initial impressions weren’t great. The cover isn’t my favourite piece of artwork, and the page layout isn’t terribly appealing either. Once I’d read a few of the interviews however I thought I’d detected a far more fatal flaw. Every single interviewee answers the same set of questions. Most of the interviews were probably done by email, but I really felt some of the answers warranted further investigation, for which this rigid format does not allow. The conversation just doesn’t take off in all sorts of directions like a most natural conversations would. But even though I was almost ready to put the book down then and there, I didn’t. And a few chapters after that I couldn’t.

The ‘same questions approach’ means you get different views from different people and requires you to make up your own mind. The more of these perspectives you read about the more a consensus begins to form and the more you start to relate it to your own blog. The somewhat monotonous format will probably keep you from reading the book front to back in one go but it does have its merits. Don’t be put off by this either.

Get rich quickly

In my opinion, the focus of the book is a little too much on revenue. Most of the questions are about success in terms of traffic and monetization of weblogs, and even though some bloggers stress that other success factors can be more important I felt the book didn’t quite disspell the myth that blogs are an easy way to get rich. It would have been great to have had a few more questions about the blogger’s motivations and passions.

If you’re serious about blogging and haven’t finished your holiday wish list yet, this might be a good gift idea. It’s not a very expensive book and there is some great expert advice in there. If it leaves you, like it did me, craving for more details, I guess we’ll have to urge Stephane to dive into this a bit deeper and do a follow-up book.

3 Comments

  1. I’d be skeptical of a book like this. I’d never buy this. I don’t know who’s interviewed for this book but I’d be surprised if each of those bloggers hadn’t already blogged about what they find important and enjoyable about their hobby (or career, as this book seems to assert).

    It does seem a strange choice to publish a printed book about this online-only medium. The outcome is often dubious and incomplete whenever a book or video game is converted into a movie, so no doubt a lot is lost in translation trying to summarize the interactive medium of the WWW into a linear book that must stand on its own merits.

    If I saw this book on the shelf I’d assume it was no more than a quick cash grab for all involved. Sounds to me like you’ve confirmed this. Regardless, did you learn anything valuable from the book?

    Comment by Brian — November 24, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  2. While I agree that writing book about online media isn’t the most logical thing to do I find I am far more willing to read long texts when they’re printed onto paper.

    And yes, I learned a thing or two from this book. Mostly about defining goals for your blog and what you should be looking for in order to measure success for those goals. That being said, I’m also pretty sure that if you spend a great time looking you’ll find this info somewhere online. The book does bundle it into an easy to read package.

    I’d mostly recommend this book to people hoping to start a really successful business-related blog. The average blogger who’s in it to get stuff off his/her chest doesn’t need a book like this and should just enjoy himself (or herself).

    Comment by Roy — November 25, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  3. Is it much different from the Blogging Heroes?

    Comment by [12] — November 27, 2008 @ 11:41 am