The Wednesday Web Browser: Book Groups, Lit Mags, and the New Yorker’s New Blog

Joshua Henkin (our interview is here) has written up some reflections on interactions with book groups.
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Tons of content is available in the new issue of Luna Park (look over on the left side of the screen for the quarterly features on “little and literary magazines”). Learn more about Hobart, Five Points, Gettysburg Review, and others.
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And if you’re looking for yet another literary blog to keep track of, the New Yorker is at your service, with the new Book Bench.

Blogging In Character

Well, the premise interests me.

Publishers Weekly has reported on a novel (sorry!) way to use blogging for book promotion purposes:

Hachette is taking interactivity to the next level by bringing favorite fictional characters right to readers’ Web browsers. Beginning on April 1, Hachette’s FaithWords division will have the five main characters in its new All About Us YA series begin blogging.

The blog site, www.allaboutusbooks.net, went live on Monday with a chatty post from “Lissa,” a fictional teen whose exploits at an elite boarding school will be featured in the first novel of the series, It’s All About Us by Shelley Adina, which will hit stores in May with a 65,000 copy first print run. Lissa’s troubles with boys, fashionistas, and fitting in with the trust-fund set may sound like Gossip Girls, and indeed it is—with a Christian twist, since the books deal with questions of faith. Lissa and her “besties” (that’s “best friends” in MySpace-speak) will take turns starring in the books—with The Fruit of My Lipstick and Be Strong and Curvaceous scheduled to release in August and January, respectively—but the characters will all have a presence simultaneously on the blog.

You can read the full article here.

A few thoughts:

1) I went to the site, but it seems that you have to register to access the chatty post referenced, and I wasn’t up for that.

2) We all know authors who use blogs to promote their work, but do you know of authors who are blogging as their characters to do the same? How new an idea is this? Some months back I did notice “Margene’s blog” on the Big Love section of the HBO Web site, so the idea of fictional blogs and bloggers evidently has some precedent. I’m just curious about other–and book-based–examples.

3) Am I crazy for trying to see some higher purpose here? Might keeping a (private) blog as a character rather than as oneself help with that always challenging task of character development? Have we perhaps discovered a new, if ongoing, fiction exercise?

What do you think?

Anna Olswanger’s Host-a-Jewish-Book-Author.com

(cross-posted on My Machberet)

Publishers Weekly‘s “Religion BookLine” newsletter ran an item yesterday about Anna Olswanger’s new Web resource, Host-a-Jewish-Book-Author.com, which provides information on authors of Jewish-themed books. I’ve come to know Anna “virtually” through my participation on the Jewish Book Marketing Internet discussion group she moderates. I’ve found her to be smart, energetic, and responsive, and I’ll be following the progress of her new endeavor with interest. And if the happy day comes when I have a Jewish-themed book to promote, I will certainly consider participating. NB: We can all benefit from the information the new site provides; for a listing of your own, however, you’ll have to pay a fee.