“Brit Lit Blogs is the brainchild of six British literary bloggers. Each working hard at bringing readers to forgotten or overlooked books, our BritLitBloggers decided that combining their latest blog entries together in one place would highlight the breadth and depth of British literary blogging” (Mark Thwaite, Founder).
Cision: What are the Brit Lit Blogs collective objectives?
John: Its aim is to provide a hub for likeminded – or unlikeminded – people writing on books in the UK. It also provides an easier way for readers to see ‘more like this’, and discover new voices, without having to trawl through long blogrolls.
C: Is there competition between the Brit Lit bloggers over appearances in mainstream media, such as the TLS or Guardian Saturday Review?
J: Not that I’m aware of! I have friendly exchanges with several Brit Lit bloggers both onsite and offsite. On the one hand, some – like Steve Mitchelmore at This Space – have been appearing in the TLS since before many bloggers (including me) had even thought of starting their own site. On the other, I don’t think there’s competition because one of the aims of blogs is to provide an alternative to the mainstream media.
C: When we spoke to Claire Armitstead (Guardian’s Literary Editor) about social media she said that social media is “developing so fast that it’s hard to predict who the movers and shakers will be by this time next year, or even next week!”. Do you agree?
J: Yes, but that’s part of the pleasure of it. The endless, unpickable web of connections from Twitter and Facebook to blogs and other online literary resources is one of the heady delights of modern life! Again, it’s a way of discovering new voices. People come and go, and rise and fall, but most bloggers and tweeters who stick at it will find both a regular readership and the two-way conversation between bloggers and readers which is the lifeblood of this virtual world.
C: Do you have any advice for PR professionals wishing to send a pitch to you?
J: Yes – read my blog and see what sort of books I like! There’s no point in asking me to cover a novel about a cat detective or a paranormal romance. And don’t be offended if I decline; I’m a one-man operation with a full-time job to hold down and a baby to look after, so my blogging time is limited.
C: How far do you identify with the narrator of Martin Amis’s Money?
J: Not a lot, though he did have a way with words, despite his boorishness. Perhaps just one thing unites us: he was said to be “addicted to the twentieth century.” It could be, with the amount of my free time I spend tweeting and blogging, that I’m addicted to the twenty-first.