I've been having a bit of a dilemma about my blog lately...and a sad one at that. As most of you know, I am no longer working as the children's materials selector at Queens Library, and I now work in school & library marketing at HarperCollins. This puts my book reviews and discussions in some limbo. While I'm thrilled about my new job, I'm realizing that I do have to give up quite a bit for it. In this case, I'm realizing I need to alter my blog.
Perhaps naively, I believed that I would go on blogging just as I have always blogged. Now I'm seeing that I really can't do that. I've mentioned books I don't like, and I've discussed aspects of books that I don't like. Obviously, I can't really blog that way in regards to Harper books anymore (that's a little thing they like to call conflict of interest), and it looks all wrong if I do it for others' books. Making me a biased and untrustworthy reviewer, n'est-ce pas? Which kills me. The idea that I could be considered as such. Nevertheless, that's how it goes. So where do I go from here?
1. I stop talking about children's books completely and become strictly a food blog. But I don't know if I'm hardcore enough for that. Books are a huge part of my life. Not to mention the "prose" part of my blog name...
2. The only children's books I feature are "foodie books for kids". Even then, I don't review them - I only bring attention to them, regardless of publisher.
3. I can still have general discussions about books and leave out specific titles. But I just don't know how effective that would be.
4. Have general book discussions and list books freely, as in the "What I'm Reading Now" type vein. Just steer clear of reviews.
So I'm at a loss. This is officially an identity crisis for Pinot and Prose. For now, I'm looking to Molly at Ten Block Walk who I think does a nice job of discussing books and keeping that separate from her job as a children's book editor. On that note, Brenda Bowen has also been successful at maintaining that balance.
Or I could chuck it all and create an anonymous blog, à la Editorial Anonymous, and just let my freak out. It's already my second week and I could already tell quite a few stories...perhaps covering myself in a veil of secrecy is the way to go...if I'm prepared to be fired should I be found out...and I'm awful with secrets anyway...
I don't have anything helpful to say, but I confess that I've been wondering what you would be doing about this. On my own blog, I only talk about books I like, simply because, as an author, I know what it's like to stumble across an online list of flaws in my own work, and, well, while that's totally fine as a concept, I want my public blog to be a safe place for my readers, including the writers among them.
Good luck figuring it out!
You're awful at keeping secrets, eh? This information could be useful to me.
But seriously, I figured your blog would inevitably undergo a change. It had to happen! We librarians are allowed a certain level of freedom that folks working in marketing and publicity lack. Come to think of it, I don't think I know of any children's marketing or publicity blogs that are done by a single person and not a group. Huh! You may be the first, missy.
To my mind, I think you can keep writing about books as long as you only say nice things (*sigh*) and mention who you work for in your sidebar. No one could ask any more of you.
Sidenote: How awesome is it that Kristin Cashore comments on your blog?
I'd go for "Have general book discussions and list books freely, as in the "What I'm Reading Now" type vein. Just steer clear of reviews." But not #3, please. I enjoy Justine Larbalestier's blog, but it drives me nuts when she discusses books while refusing to reveal their titles.
(How awesome is it? Very.)
Another vote for option 4. It's always nice to read about books you've enjoyed or books you're looking forward to, even without an official review.
Somehow I'd missed that you're at Harper now. Congratulations! What an exciting move!
Another nice thing about Option 4 is that the comments would, I expect, be open to other people's impressions, positive or negative, and you could take on the (rather fun, IMO) role of moderator and/or devil's advocate.
Please continue bringing to our collective attention all the food books. That's a great service in and of itself, even without the review part. Also, review the books that you love. Discuss who the audience for these books are--that's a great way of saying even if this book wasn't for ME, this audience will appreciate it. There are so many books out there that you love that you won't even miss taking the time to write out criticism of the books you hate. That can be reserved for our long lunches:)
Thank you so much everyone for your support - I've been feeling kind of lost and you helped ground me.
Kristin - I like the idea of a my blog being a warm, safe place...kind of like sitting at my dinner table. I think I can still encourage conversation and ideas without creating a conflict of interest. And I love that everyone gets starstruck when they see you comment here. P.S. Will you be at NCTE?
Betsy - Me and Kristin Cashore are like THIS (crosses fingers). Totally cool. 8-)
Laurie - Agreed re: Justine's blog. Love her opinionated, original voice...drives me INSANE that I don't know what books she's going off on.
Thanks for the input, everyone!
Betsy, it's true! :o)
Laura, I'm not. I wanted to; I thought about it; and then I realized that with the October and November I've got planned, it really was impossible. :(
Hi Laura - I know its a couple days later, but I do hope you decide to continue this blog! As someone who works in publishing and is just starting to blog about books and food (and who has found your site to be a great inspiration), I think it can be done. I think the best thing is to just be honest with your readers, give them a little disclaimer. As long as they know you're at Harper (and congrats on the job btw!) and you're up front, they'll still trust in your opinions.
Keep it up!
Thanks, Megalie! I've been enjoying your blog as well! How did you like Julie and Julia? Can you believe I still haven't seen it yet?!?!
I'm late to this too, but I think you can do it. I've been impressed with Elizabeth Law's ability to twitter about non-Egmont books that she loves (e.g. Catching Fire:). And then there is Cheryl Klein too who is fantastic at blogging and posting on child_lit. I suppose you now can't be negative, but other than that I look forward to your future posts on books and such. Actually, giving us a sense of what exactly a marketing manager does would be interesting. (I'm still trying to figure out the difference between marketing versus publicity, for example.)
Congratulations on the Harper move, Laura!
I second everything Jen said. :o) I also agree with Monica. Please let us know what it is like to work in marketing for a publisher!
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