And finally

To end the week of meta-blogging -

* Here's a blog-concept I would like to see - Meta-blogs (if I was a techie, or an entrepreneur, I'd do it myself, but since I'm neither, you're free to use it up and go make your millions. But just remember this, when you're sitting in your little log cabin drinking brandy hot chocolate and munching on waffles, it was I who came up with. Remember that!)

A community/group blogtool, so that multiple blogs exist on one page. I'm aware that the bigger corporate sites have several blogs under one domain, but those are just additions to an existing site. And this is different from a current group blog, which is just one blog with several authors.

What I'm proposing is a method where a group of people, under one URL, can have individual blogs. Maybe in tabs, or in different links, like some of those WordPress/Typepad ones. I'm not really clear on the layout - but I'm sure you (you scheming, idea-stealing techie you!) can imagine what I'm trying to get at.

Why would anyone want this? Well, for starters it would save on having to go to 15 different blogsites to leave a comment, or see if someone has left a comment to your comment, and so on. Also for Diarying friends spread across the world, who may or may not be interested in other blogs. Or for people who blog a lot on certain topics or fields, like Caferati or Momus, thus avoiding having to scroll down all the time if multiple posts are put up on one day. Instead, you can just go to another tab and see what somebody else has written. It could also have a central commentspace, so people don't miss out on all the action on some other spot - and you know that's a common occurence amongst bloggers who read too many blogs and leave comments on too many places.

Think of it as Yahoogroups for Blogs. Idea accha hain?

* Which brings me to another idea. Now, there are a fair amount of bloggers who likely classify themselves as unpublished authors (no particular reference intended). It is also likely that a fair amount of them do not post their best - or any - material on their blogs, because they still hope that they will be able to flog it for a book-deal. It is also more than likely that such bloggers...sorry, writers...while perhaps not in need of spare change, would welcome the occasional spare change - if only to buy more books to read. Or wine to drink. Or both.

Therefore - and I suggest this keeping fully in mind the increasing availability of free content, the very cornerstone of blogging as being unpaid for, and the other options of generating revenue from blogging through means such as ads etc - I think an interesting trial would be for a group of unpublished/little published bloggers, who are known for their writing skills, to create a blog where they agree to post their poems/short stories/whathaveyou in return for a standard subscription fee.

Falstaff, I really thought of this while reading one of your short stories....the DICE one. Now, the publishers might have their own reasons for not printing your stories, but some of them are quite good, as many of us agree. As are poems by Space Bar and Phanty, amongst others.

Now, obviously, there are lots of logistical issues but the core issue is this...

Would people be willing to pay for a not-very-high, but still sem-substantial fee for access to such a blog? I, for one, would not be at all averse to paying - oh say $10?$20? a year to subscribe, if I could get to read some of this stuff on a regular basis.

That said, I would only pay for unpublished/little published writers. People who have big-buck book deals can jolly well put their blogs up for free. So, while I would pay for a Neil Gaiman book, but not his blog, I would pay for a blog that Falsie, Neha Vish, Shoefiend, Space Bar, and Phantasmagoria would contribute to.

Now, there will be many who will want to and continue to post such fiction freely. I would, and I suspect many others would. But I don't Write, and if such a scheme allows people who genuinely and passionately do Write to continue to do so, by offering not only a dedicated audience, but some money, not to mention keeping them interested in blogging (which really is the main purpose here)....

...well, would you support it?


km said...

I like the idea. Esp. having a common commentspace.

However, you know that can receive RSS feeds on comments, right?

like Caferati or Momus, thus avoiding having to scroll down all the time if multiple posts are put up on one day

Again, why not simply use RSS? (Or did I understand your "requirement" wrong?)

What you are describing sounds like a cross between a wiki, a blog and a Google Spreadsheet with tabs.

*scratching chin thoughtfully*: idea leke bhagoon?

//But pay for a blog? Getouttahere. I am serious. Paid content on the web has failed spectacularly for *everyone* including NYT. Sure, you can throw in a tip-jar but not a subscription fee. It smacks of the pre-WWW era. Sorry :)

The Bride said...

I like the tabs idea... But the subscription one works only because you are familiar with these writers and so want more. But the site could not survive on your alone and once all the best content goes on subscription how to get people who haven't sampled it to pay?

Falstaff said...

I don't know. As km says, why not simply use RSS?

Also, I doubt the payment thing would work. There are dozens of high quality lit mags that have all their content available for free online. Why would anyone pay to read stuff on this hypothetical site of yours, when they could be reading, say, the latest issue of Poetry for free?

Space Bar said...

Why would anyone pay to read stuff on this hypothetical site of yours, when they could be reading, say, the latest issue of Poetry for free? says the guy who subscribed to Poetry just as they put up everything online for free. :D

Some writers - UKleG comes to mind - do have selected stories that are pay per download. But like km says, it's failed spectacularly.

Can't you just, like, wait for our books to come out?!

??! said...

1) The Group-blog - Well, the comments idea was just an extra bit. And yeh, I know abour RSS and of followups to email. But it's more the concept of having one group page with multiple blogs.

It could be perfect for non-inclusive groups - say friends who really just want to talk to each other and NOT reach out to other bloggers. Or even researchers working in some field.

I think KM has grasped it best. Boss, kuch banao iska, bahut naam milega.

2) Yeh I figured payment would be an issue - and usually I would be the last to do so. But there's got to be a way to support good writers who aren't getting book deals simply because publishers think that there are too many others in their niche.

The only alternative that comes to mind is having one such blog/site, not having it open to feeds, thus forcing people to come to the site and read it, and then getting it supported by advertising.

I know it's a big risk for newbie writers to take - what if they were to get a book deal soon? - but it'd be fascinating to see if it worked.

Falstaff said...

I think the trouble is you're overestimating the importance of money in all this. What does "support good writers" mean - presumably this blog of yours isn't going to make me enough money so I can quit my day job. And even if it got to the point where I was making enough money off it to survive (which I seriously doubt) I'd then be in the unenviable position of having to depend on the popularity of my work for a living, which means goodbye integrity. And if I'm not able to quit my day job, then how is this site helping me become a better writer? The money would be nice to have, obviously, but it wouldn't change what / how much I write.

The point of saving your best work for lit journals / publishers is not about money - it's about recognition. If you could convince me that this hypothetical blog of yours would get me a better readership (and I mean better readers, not more readers) than I already get with my blog, then I'd be happy to send you my best work. And I wouldn't care about payment. But as long as I don't believe that, I'm going to continue saving my best work for lit journals I admire, even if your hypothetical blog would pay me more.

SB: Don't remind me.

??! said...

A few points -
1) You'd be "depending on the popularity of your work" whether you'd be putting stories up on a blog, or getting a book deal. Publishers care about buyer numbers, too.

2) Saving your best work for a literary journal for the recognition - that I understand. But one doesn't save your best work for a publisher for their appreciation - that's done for the bigbucks book deal.

3) If a blog as described was created, your writing wouldn't be affected by demand. Demand would be affected by your writing. That may sound like semantics, but it's not.

See, it'd be a subscription thing. People would subscribe because they like a writer's stuff. Those who like what the writer continues to do, would continue to subscribe. Those who don't, would let it lapse. This is how Poetry used to work too, isn't it?

That said, the lack of interest in paying options is a valid point, and - like I said - one I expected. I'm just exploring possibilities here.