Review Roundup: “The Blogger Abides”

When I set about writing a book about blogging, I wasn’t sure that people would get it. I knew that people wanted to know about professional blogging (because they kept asking me, “How is that you write words on the internet for money?”), but I also knew that the honest answer would be sort of a bummer: “It’s hard work, for low pay, it took a long time to get good at it, and no, I don’t have a free job for you.”

But I wrote the book anyway, complete with its “Sorry, this is hard” message, and people have been getting it anyway, and that’s kinda blowing my mind. My pitch is simple: this is the real, hard, dumb, breaking-rocks job I do, complete with long rants essays about paying your taxes. The cover shows a befuddled kid. There are no money-bags on there. There is no numbered list of “secrets.” It’s really long, at least by how-to book standards. And still, people are reading the thing — many are actually starting new blogs because of it. So, here, a roundup for recent reviews by people who get it.

Gilbert Tang, Jr.

Gilbert gets it. He writes:

Nearly every book I have read on professional blogging is total bullshit. I won’t do you the disservice of linking to any of them here. Abides, however, is the first book I’ve come across that sets the record straight by honestly discussing the stuff that matters.

Bonus points for going ahead and owning the word “bullshit” there.

Tom Owens

Tom gets it. In an open letter, he writes:

Thank you, Chris Higgins.

Your Kindle e-book cover breaks the mold. There’s no dollar sign image, no sack of money. The only bone you throw to dreamy get-rich-quick bloggers is your subtitle:

“A Practical Guide to Writing Well And Not Starving.”

You are honest, detailed and real. In your “Living Small” chapter, you reveal the secret to being fiscal survival as a self-employed writer…

“The answer turned out to be staggeringly simple: they didn’t buy anything.”

True story: editor Adrienne Crezo and I went back and forth on titles and subtitles for a while. An early favorite of mine was How to Write for an Extremely Modest Living. Then I went nuts and chose a Big Lebowski reference instead.

Chris Gonzales

Chris gets it. Again, he cites the anti-message at the core of the book:

This isn’t one of those lame How-to-Become-a-Pro-Blogger books; it’s actually full of useful information one would need if they ever go freelance.

Meg Stivison

Meg gets it. She wrote an early review (thank you, early reviewers!) noting how the book is positioned at this special category of not-quite-beginning writers:

The whole thing was sort of ideal for me, because it hits a middle experience level, assuming readers aren’t exactly negotiating a larger advance on their next book, but they have some clips and a couple outlets, and would like to take freelance writing from a hobby that pays for coffee and magazines into a full career. Or at least the expensive coffee. It’s not always easy to find a guide that hits that middle area, on turning an art into a business.

And Now the Hard Sell

Listen, people. The Blogger Abides makes a great gift. Especially a gift for yourself — and it’s only four bucks.