What Does “Blog” Stand For?

Well, everyone knows it’s short for “web log,” right? Well, maybe. Consider the article that appeared in yesterday’s NY Times, page 1 of the Styles section: “The Author Will Take Q.’s Now” by Kara Jesella. You can read it at:


In it, Kara recounts how a number of authors have promoted their books through blogs–either by establishing blogs of their own our by submitting a guest post (or a week of them) on a popular blog. It is amusing how disappointed some of the authors she discusses are (and, it seems, Kara herself is) that publishers have cut back drastically on book tours. But let’s face it: it’s a very rare appearance where more than a handful of books are sold. Unless you’re Bill Clinton or Howard Stern, most author speaking events at book stores do not end up selling a lot of books. (Attendees usually wander off into the night muttering something about getting the book on discount at Amazon, and then wind up not getting it at all.)

But when an author blogs, the likelihood of achieving a “critical mass” of interest is higher and the contact between author and reader (or potential reader) is more direct and, I would argue, more intimate. In a blog, you can carry on a conversation in a live chat or in a give and take that will last days, even weeks–and the sense of contact is a very palpable one.

Also consider this: an author has usually achieved publication by virtue of a talent in writing, and this is often accompanied by a reserved, inwardly-directed personality. Writers as a group are withdrawn and private; they are not, in my experience, bon vivants and toasts of the town. (The few who are usually wind up making spectacles of themselves in ways that ordinary people would find embarrassing.) It stands to reason that a medium that allows the essential contact between author and reader to take place through words–but which also allows for the immediacy and intimacy of give-and-take, query and response–is going to present the author in a better light than a live, in the flesh, face-to-face encounter.

So I’m going to suggest that we start thinking of the word “blog” as short for “book log”–one of the web-based accompaniments that is part of the total authorial package that includes the book itself, but extends to other things that are critical and part of the communication process. After all, a writer may write a book, but it is the work of a great many people that resulted in that book being manufactured, distributed and promoted. Once we realize the “book” process is a collegial process, then we can get a grip on the totality of that process and include a blog in with the rest.

Just a suggestion.


1 Response to “What Does “Blog” Stand For?”

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