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When I do a book blog, should I stay on Blogspotting?

? There's no such thing as the blogosphere? A response |


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February 19, 2006

When I do a book blog, should I stay on Blogspotting?

Stephen Baker

I got a contract to write a book. I'm not going to go into details here, because the publisher wants to make an announcement. (They want a picture of me for this, and are not satisfied with the self-portraits I send from my cameraphone.) In any case, I've asked for a one-year unpaid leave from BusinessWeek, starting in March.

The question: How and where to blog? I want to keep blogging as I report and develop this book. But the book has nothing to do with the theme of this Blogspotting blog. My thoughts will be elsewhere. I asked Steve Rubel for some advice, and he suggested starting a new book blog and also continuing on Blogspotting. I think that would work fine if I woke up at 4 every morning. I don't. Then Steve suggested recruiting guest bloggers for Blogspotting. That's an interesting idea, but I don't see a series of them filling in through February of 2007.

This is a problem lots of publications will face as their blogging reporters change beats. If you have any thoughts or advice on what to do, I'm all ears.

04:15 AM

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? Blogspotting Needs a Kelly Ripa from Micro Persuasion

BusinessWeek's Stephen Baker is turning to the b'sphere for advice. He got a contract to write a book unrelated to his blog (congrats!) and has asked for a one-year unpaid leave from BusinessWeek, starting next month. I suggested Steve [Read More]

Tracked on February 19, 2006 07:48 AM

This is a common dilemma, Stephen. I had to give up three berths at b5media when I started my own blog network. And I'm writing a book too.

You just have to bite the bullet. Stretching your mind too much is worse than stretching your body. I'm sure the book will be worth it in the long run. Keep us informed if you start a book blog.

Posted by: John Evans (Syntagma) at February 19, 2006 05:15 AM

Stephen, congratulations on the book deal, and as interesting as the book blog would be, you would be missed if absent from blogspotting, so I say, continue to write here (just my selfish wish).

Posted by: Larry Hendrick at February 19, 2006 09:00 AM

I'd suggest you have the BW family contribute...

Ramon Ray

Posted by: Ramon Ray at February 19, 2006 09:43 AM

Hi Stephen: congratulations on the book! I have a few thoughts on it for you:

- from a book marketing point of view, it wouldn't be a good idea to drop out of sight completely while you write the book. you need to keep your personal micro-brand in front of people.

- if you don't think you could sustain a book blog, then you might want to make a commitment to having a conversation or doing a guest post at least once a month with bloggers whose work you respect. You could talk to them about what you're learning while researching the book; what information you still want to find; etc, etc.

that will be book related, and it would keep people linking to your name and /thinking/talking/blogging about your book.

i think the way that Robert Scoble and Shel Israel had their book online as they did it is very much "of the medium" and is something you should consider.

their book is in Barnes & Noble among new and notable books, and the bloggers and geeks among us who read the book as they wrote it are still going to buy it because we feel like we were part of its creation.

so you don't need to worry about giving away ideas. As Walt Disney used to tell people who questioned him giving away ideas "those were last year's ideas."

Seth Godin has proven again and again that giving away a book won't affect its sales. the money is in corporate, university and association sales, not in book stores.

Unless you're Dan Brown or Steven King, selling books is the responsibility of the author, who has to do a ton of speaking and writing to promote the book once its done.

Publishing sure has a strange business model and I've come to think that it's is a front for something else because so many books are published and then given no promotion whatsoever. Most authors are lucky if the publisher has two copies of their book in a store where they are doing a book signing. So you need to think book sales and marketing before you write word one.

As far as Blogspotting, i think you should bring another Businessweek reporter onto the blog rather than take someone or several guest writers from the blogosphere or it won't continue to be a Businessweek blog.

anyhow, that's my U.S. $.02. I hope it's helpful.


Posted by: B.L. Ochman at February 19, 2006 02:58 PM

Blogs are people. Your blog is where you are.

Posted by: Jeff Jarvis at February 19, 2006 03:41 PM

I agree with those people hoping you'll stay here while writing the book. The stuff you - as well as everyone elese - do here is top-rate and will be sorely missed if you take a break. Here's hoping you stick around.

Posted by: Chris Thilk at February 19, 2006 10:30 PM

Congratulations on Your book deal Stephen,

This is a great opportunity to see if the phenomenon blogosphere works for You with paralell projects going on ,( even while writing a Book which is extremely time consuming ), stay at BW and be a moderator by letting the BW Blogger community help you out with their own contributions.As one BBC commenter at the World economic forum in Davos stated : " blogs have penetrated because the readers want authenticity, and that means more than a reporter's pedigree, and, using a cricket analogy he added: "the crowd has invaded the pitch, and wants to play in the game."

Posted by: Henrique Pl?ger Abreu at February 20, 2006 10:50 AM


Congrats on the book! One of the amazing things that attracted me to blogging was the ability to use it to create relationship.

Many are posting here asking you not to leave Blogspotting because they feel a connection to you that your blog has created.

Selfishly, I would like to see you stay as well. Business Week was responsible for my entry into the blogging world.

What ever you decide to do...Blog. Whether you blog here or blog on a new "book" site, just blog.

Best of luck and I hope you don't just dissapear for a year.

Posted by: David Porter at February 20, 2006 11:53 AM

You brought up a good point - one that was likely missed by many. You have a life, a real life. You don't wake up at 4.00 AM to the detriment of your personal life to blog, because you realize that there is more to the real world than ... an online persona.

Blog the book, if you want. From your standing as a reporter at a real magazine - not just a reviewer, but a reporter that digs for truth - you have some built-in audiences that have grown because of this blog.

I would be interested - NFB - to know what the book is. :)

Posted by: Jeremy Pepper at February 20, 2006 12:26 PM

Wow - first, huge congrats!

As I've just finished writing my book, I'd be happy to talk with you (offline) about the book writing vs. blogging thing. And about what you might - or might not - use a book blog for *during* the time that you're writing the book.

Fyi, I continued to blog at while I was writing Granted, BlogWrite is about the topic of corporate and executive blogging - which is the topic of my book.

I saw and see the book blog as separate - as an ongoing platform to promote the book, as a companion to the book, etc. But not - at least in my case - a place to post drafts of chapters and have readers kibbutz and comment on them. I just didn't want to do that.

David Weinberger isn't doing that either with the new book he's working on. Writing your book in public works for some - not for others. I'll be in touch...


Posted by: Debbie Weil at February 20, 2006 03:08 PM

Hi Stephen,

I am from Hong Kong, and am a regular audience of your blogging here.

Congratulations to your book! I'd love to see you on the book blog as well as this Blogspotting at the same time, if you could manage both.

We all emphasize "mutli-tasking" or "parallel-tasking" today. I am sure you can make it.

Need support? You have mine.

Posted by: Kris Tsang at February 20, 2006 10:47 PM

Hey, Stephen

Good luck and Best wishes.

Posted by: bizzy199 at February 21, 2006 06:43 AM

Thank you all for your thoughts on this. I'll let you know my plans asap. For now, I'm staying on Blogspotting. Steve

Posted by: steve baker at February 21, 2006 09:06 AM


I will take over for you on this blog. Just let me know when. Best of luck with your book...



Posted by: Bob at February 21, 2006 12:43 PM

I'd say you should consider how much time you devote to blogging, and then simply apportion it between two (or three) blogs.

Don't feel that because you did, say, 10 posts a week on Blogspotting, you therefore have to do 20 posts a week on two blogs, or 30 on three.

You don't even have to post daily to a blog. More important, I suspect, is to keep your posts 'niched' on the blogs to which they belong.

Posted by: Andrew Denny at February 21, 2006 12:53 PM

Blogspotting is a fine blog, and has probably seen growth in traffic, links, value to the company. (I haven't seen the stats, but I asssume this is the case!) It is slowly emerging as the best of its kind. By becoming more popular it will require more of your time, that's true. But you'd be crazy to give up on it now.

Posted by: Ken Carroll at February 21, 2006 09:59 PM

I sell a ton of ebooks from my blog on the same topic...I named the blog after the ebook, well before the ebook was done.

As long as your topic matter is similar to stuff that interested potential book readers might like then the posts can drive sales down the road.

And while writing occassionally keeps you above the fold you can also later customized your site template to market the book on each page of your blog.

Don't disappear. I think you also would want to announce where you go to ON THIS SITE so some of the readers who like what you are writing here will follow you along to where you go, because they (or is that we) will also likely be the type of people who give you boatloads of free marketing.

Posted by: aaron wall at February 22, 2006 02:26 AM

Not sure if my prior post was good at conveying this... the people who read this blog read it because of who writes it and how they write it.

Make sure you make it easy for them to know your new address.

Posted by: aaron wall at February 22, 2006 02:28 AM

I visited a very interesting site, they have a vast collection of books which have been categories and are presented to viewers in an easy-to-search format. You should check it out.

Posted by: Donald at November 16, 2006 12:57 AM

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