On compiling lists of blogs, publishers and other stuff

First off, apologies for the lack of activity here over the past week or so. I was side-tracked by Strictly Come Dancing. Not the BBC kind. The try-it-yourself kind. It took up all my free time, but it was a blast.

Just don’t ask me to do it again any time soon.

Anyway, when I’ve got a few moments, I’ve been trying to organise my online life.

Like a lot of things, I’ve been spurred into action by being invited to spur someone else into action. In giving a few pointers on the organisational head-soothing magic of Google Reader and RSS feeds I’ve finally got round to trying to sort out my own.

So I’ve compiled a list of both bloggers and publishers of fiction here and in the UK in order to lessen the chances that I might miss something important. (Full disclosure: partly I just want to be able to see stuff first, tell others about it and develop unimpeachable confidence in my own worldly wisdom.)

When it comes to news from publishers it’s a fractious mess out there, and difficult to keep tabs on everything. Yes, The Bookseller is a fine resource, although, as a non-subscriber, about once a week I curse when I click a link and I’m invited to pay. My annoyance is not directed at The Bookseller, mind; they seem to have found their way of making online content pay, and thumbs-up to them for that. If ever the day comes, and it might, that I own and run my own bookshop then one of the first cheques I write will be to The Bookseller…

But I aim for a “completist” approach to my Google Reader RSS feeds, and I like to subscribe to publishers’ news feeds so that they find me, rather than me having to trawl around the place looking for them.

One of the prime examples of online messiness I found was the all-singing, all-dancing website of Headline. It’s fantastically visual on the screen, but finding the news/blogs section wasn’t exactly straightforward. When I eventually got there, I couldn’t for the life of me locate an RSS feed, so as far as news from Headline goes, I’ll have to rely on luck or some other twist of fate in future.


The day of trawling chronologically through a list of websites is over. (I do follow Headline on Twitter, it must be said, but I’m much more likely to see something that pokes its head into a well-organised RSS reader.)

Elsewhere, Bloomsbury has an RSS button that goes to a blank feed, The Stinging Fly has an RSS feed of its Blogs but not of its Latest News (although the RSS link is actually on the News page), Blackstaff Press has a regularly updated blog but no RSS, Hachette Ireland has an RSS button that gives an error.

On the right is how my publishers’ list is looking now. I’m missing loads, I know, so feel free to point me in the direction with both this, and any books/writing blogs you think I should be keeping an eye on.

As for blogs I’m afraid I tend to dip my toe in whenever I see something of interest rather than developing a committed fidelity to any particular blog. Several years ago I found myself waiting for the next blog from Annie Rhiannon, and one Christmas – I think it was 2010 – I spent what must have been days reading through virtually the entire, seeping-with-genius back catalogue of Hyperbole and a Half. I’ve read some of Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s Women Rule Writer, but I still miss Sinead Gleeson’s Sigla, which first alerted me to the power of the blog for both reader and blogger. For some reason I can’t put my finger on, I don’t think The Anti-Room is for me.

What I’m saying is I need some help. So please, if you know of any books-and-writing themed blogs out there that I should be dipping into on a regular basis, please let me know in the comments. If they’re Irish, so much the better.

Thanks all, and I’ll be back here again soon.