If you're hoping for tips to make your blog into an overnight success, forget about this book.
This book certainly has a catchy title. Though it wasn't what I initially expected. It's not about bloggers who overcame adversity and controversy to emerge triumphant over Evil (my imagination tends to be a bit wild).
If this were a graphic novel, it would be an "Origins" story, where each superhero share his/ her tale of "how they came to be".
In a way, you might see this as a book on "Who's Who in Blogs", from the author's view. BTW, in the Preface, author Michael A. Banks explains more on how he decided to write about the selected 30 bloggers who "stand out as influential, ground-breaking, and singularly successful".
There is no hero-worship though. The book is a very readable, insightful and honest report of the bloggers -- how their blogs got started, their motivations, thinking, and even problems with regards to their blogs.
The recurring themes, to me, were:
- To blog well, you have to write what you care about. Or, care about what you write.
- It’s about consistency in what you feature in your blog. Your blog should have a focus or mission, purpose, theme -- but not necessarily a narrow focus or to limit your blog to certain topics per se.
One of the best quotes for me is on P.197, where Scott McNulty (TUAW) has this to say to bloggers who wonder why no one comments on their blogs:
“… It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s the same as everything else: If you work hard and stick to It,s eventually you’ll grow your audience. People will start commenting, a little community will grow, and from there, (you) just keep it going.”He also adds:
“Blogging is a public discourse… don’t write anything that you wouldn’t say to someone face-to-face. So take accountability for your actions and never be ashamed of anything you write. The best way to accomplish that is to think about it before you write.”
In putting the book together, Michael Banks personally interviewed each of the 30 bloggers by phone -- not email, as that would have been lazy, in his opinion.
THE THIRTYWhether you're new to blogging or you've been blogging for years, I'm sure one you'll be able to gain some insights from what these Blogging Heroes have to say.
- Dave Taylor - The Intuitive Life Business Blog
- Chris Anderson - The Long Tail
- Gina Trapani - Lifehacker
- Ina Steiner - AuctionBytes
- Mary Jo Foley - All About Microsoft
- Dave Rothman - TeleRead
- Frank Warren - PostSecret
- Mike Masnick - Techdirt
- Mark Frauenfelder - BoingBoing.net
- Robert Scoble - Scobleizer
- Peter Rojas - Engadget
- John Neff - Autoblog
- Ken Fisher - Ars Technica
- Deborah Petersen - Life in the Fast Lane
- Joel Comm - JoelComm.com
- Brian Lam - Gizmodo
- Kristin Darguzas - ParentDish
- Christ Grant - Joystiq
- Scott McNulty - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)
- Philipp Lebsseb - Google Blogoscoped
- Brad Hill - Weblogs, Inc.
- Steve Rubel - Micro Persuasion
- Rebecca Lieb - ClickZ
- Deidre Woollard - Luxist
- Gary Lee - An Internet Marketing Website
- Richard MacManus - Read/WriteWeb
- Eric T. - Internet Duct Tape
- Victor Agreda - DIY Life
- Steve Garfield - Steve Garfield's Video blog
- Grant Robertson - Download Squad
The 30 featured bloggers are smart but ordinary persons, as I found out.
Heroes, by definition, achieve great things or have noble qualities.
But heroes are not made overnight. Even if they gain their powers instantly (I can think of Spider-man and Captain America), they perfect their craft through consistent efforts.
That, I think, is the point of the book.