What blogs do you read?

August 11, 2014 | Written by Chip MacGregor

I frequently get the question, “What blogs do you read?,” and I always stumble around a bit. You see, I’m a longtime literary agent (16 years now), and I represent a bunch of writers who have blogs. I have bestselling authors (Vincent Zandri, Rachel Hauck, etc) who regularly blog, some super-gifted writing instructors (J. Mark Bertrand, Lisa Samson, Les Edgerton) who occasionally blog, and some other writers (Lisa McKay, Sheila Gregoire, Nicole Unice, etc) who often have interesting insights to share. How do I pick?

But I figured it’s fair to ask an agent, so long as he or she didn’t focus on authors they represent. So Here are ten blogs I regularly stop by to visit.

1. Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/). He’s an interesting guy, with lots of practical thoughts on marketing and publishing.

2. Janet Reid (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com). Now that Rachelle Gardner isn’t blogging much anymore, and PubRants is gone, Janet has become my favorite OTHER literary agent to read. I love reading sites where I learn things.

3. Nathan Bransford (http://blog.nathanbransford.com). A former literary agent, now focusing on his own writing, Nathan only blogs about once a week, but it’s always interesting.

4. Writer UnBoxed (http://writerunboxed.com). One of the authors I represent introduced me to this site, run by a couple of novelists. Insightful stuff on the business as well as the craft of fiction.

4. A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com). Some people will find it hard to believe I stuck Konrath on here, and I’ll warn you that his ego may not all fit on your hard drive, but he’s interesting and offers good thoughts on the industry. Don’t take him as gospel (Joe is the presiding bishop at the Church of Amazon), but he’s often got insightful stuff to say about the industry, and he shares it straight.

5. Reading Rambo (http://www.reading-rambo.com). I’m a huge Charles Dickens fan, so Andrea Burton’s look at literature (and the occasional opera role) is fun and fascinating.

6. Mike Hyatt (http://michaelhyatt.com). Some readers tend to see Mike’s blog as a “business/leaders” type of thing — I prefer to see it as one of the few people online who takes a holistic view of the industry. He regularly has good content that makes me think.

7. Jenny Lawson (http://thebloggess.com). The single funniest blog I visit. Like with all humor, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

8. Novel Rocket (http://www.novelrocket.com). This is a collection of writers (most of them working in CBA) who come together to reflect, share ideas, and talk about the process of writing. It’s uneven, but a great resource to stay with.

9. Patheos (http://www.patheos.com). Yeah, okay, so this is a website and not a blog, but it links to a BUNCH of interesting blogs. If you’re a person interested in faith and spirituality, but you’re not really a conservative evangelical, this is always a nice place to explore.

10. Thursdays with Amanda (um…. right here every Thursday). Okay, I know this looks silly, but I don’t put any content constraints on Amanda Luedeke’s Thursday posts, and I ALWAYS find myself going, “Geez… that’s great!” So I’d be lying if I didn’t include her work in my Top Ten list.

There’s plenty that’s left off, of course. The various blogs connected to Writers Digest are really good, and helpful to just about everyone interested in a career in writing. And there are some great sites that can be fun to visit occasionally, like the First Fifty blog (http://first50.wordpress.com), the Six Word Memoir site (http://www.sixwordmemoirs.com), and the Six Sentences site (http://sixsentences.blogspot.com). For fun some day, visit the Bulwer-Lytton.com website, which features the worst fiction writing. It’s a hoot. Those are my top blogs to visit.

What blogs do you visit on a regular basis? 

Posted in Current Affairs

  • http://ronestradabooks.com Ron Estrada

    I’ve been enjoying Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. He posts his numbers daily, but he also posts weekly a chapter from his book about the business of writing and publishing. Good information there. The Passive Guy is also fun. He stirs the pot among the indies and gets some good conversations going.

    • chipmacgregor

      I like The Passive Guy as well, Ron. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Laura Droege

    For writing/publishing blogs, I stick with this one and Writer Unboxed. I used to read a huge number of agent/publisher/writer blogs, but I received conflicting advice and became discouraged, irritated, and overwhelmed. So to simplify, I picked the two I enjoyed and trusted the most.

    I read CT.com’s her.menuetics blog. It’s written by a variety of Christian women on topics facing women. These aren’t “fluffy” topics, either. Past posts have dealt with gender roles in church, rape, sex trafficking, egalitarian versus complementarian stances on marriage roles, poverty, and other global issues.

    For more personal blogs, I always read Tim Fall’s blog (timfall.wordpress.com) and Laura Martin’s blog (enoughlight.wordpress.com). Both are deep thinkers, interested in theology and gender roles in our culture (among many other topics), and have been very encouraging to me personally in my writing journey.

    • chipmacgregor

      Isn’t Laura Martin an intriguing person, Laura? Glad you mentioned her. As for her.meneutics, I don’t check it often, but I know LOTS of readers who feel it’s their go-to blog. Appreciate this.

  • Amanda Luedeke

    Haha! Thanks, Chip, for the plug!!!

    • chipmacgregor

      You’re welcome. You owe me ten bucks.

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Chip, I really appreciate this post and your great blog suggestions. I too read Michael Hyatt’s blog (and found him via a Google search for a “life plan.” He is now writing a book on that subject). Rob Eagar at Wildfire Marketing has a great newsletter for writers (not sure if he blogs); he’s geared to Christians, and I appreciate his suggestions. I read these blogs (among others!) fairly regularly: Tim Challies (he has great articles on faith, good book reviews, and connects you to other blogs), Gavin Ortlund’s Soliloquium (he is the grandson of the late well-known writing and speaking team, Ray & Ann Ortlund) and he writes from a Reformed view. I know him personally and admire him. What a wise young man. I read these women’s blogs by newer and often lyrical writers: Shelly Miller (at Redemption’s Beauty), Jennifer Dukes Lee, Michelle DeRusha, Kelli Woodford, Pam DePoyan, Kel Rohlf, Ann Voskamp, and the one guy in the group Floyd Samons. They all write on life and faith, family and kids.
    Ok, Chip, so my question is: Is it essential for authors to have blogs in order to connect with readers and promote their books, and if so, how often do they need to write them? . . . or just any blog info you have in terms of how it honors God and helps you to write for Him–to get the message “out there.” If you or your team have already covered this and could connect me to the post, I’d be grateful.
    Thanks so much!
    Lynn

    • chipmacgregor

      Wow — lots of suggestions here, Lynn. I really appreciate this (though I’ll admit I don’t have time for them all). Shelly Miller is simply a wonderful, thoughtful writer. I appreciate Kelli Woodford and Jennifer Dukes Lee each time I visit their sites.

      As for your question, I don’t think “having a blog” is a universal requirement in marketing (though I”d make a case that “having some sort of website so people can find you” is). Nothing works for everyone, Lynn. Some writers do great with a blog, others hate the need to regularly write. And all the evidence suggests that blogging less than a couple times a week significantly minimizes the effectiveness of having a blog. (In other words, if you’re only going to go onto your site once each month, just have a “news” section on your website. Don’t call is a “blog” or people will be disappointed.) Amanda and I have both talked about making the best use of blogs in the past — check out http://tinyurl.com/l8vbsat and http://tinyurl.com/9cxfu2l

  • http://salomafurlong.com/ Saloma Furlong

    Chip, thank you for this list. You derailed my writing plans — I’ve been entranced by all these new sites to read. I have quite a few sites I visit/read, which I have listed on the right side of my blog and website, but the ones pertaining to writing are these:

    Poets and Writers

    She Writes

    Chip MacGregor’s Blog

    Women’s Memoir Writing

    Jane Friedman

    I also visit several friends’ author blogs.

    And now I’ll be reading more…. and writing less, it seems :( :)

    • chipmacgregor

      I’m glad I made the list, Saloma. Thanks! Love Jane Friedman’s blog, by the way. A real pro, with lots of wisdom to share.

  • http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ Cynthia Herron

    I read many of the same ones you do. Add to that the Books & Such
    blog (where Rachelle blogs every Wed.) and each agent blogs a different
    day of the week. My Book Therapy offers valuable insights on the book
    biz. And obviously, I stop by here, as well.

    • chipmacgregor

      There are a number of good agent websites (though I’ll admit I haven’t been reading Rachelle since she moved to a once-per-week format). The Books & Such site and Steve Laube’s site both offer much good content for writers in CBA. Thanks for mentioning this, Cynthia.

  • Gary Neal Hansen

    Thanks Chip.

    Among agents and editors I read yours, Books & Such, WordServe Water Cooler (though that’s more often their clients) and Chad R. Allen. I’ve also found some very helpful posts on aspects of publishing and marketing on Author Media and Book Designer.

    For inspiration and motivation I read Steven Pressfield. Amazing stuff.

    I read a lot of CopyBlogger, somewhat less of ProBlogger, and bits of Blog Tyrant, all for insight into blogging, content marketing, and establishing a brand.

    For humor there is nothing quite like Cake Wrecks. The Sunday posts are more serious, but mostly she shows pics of disastrous professionally decorated cakes in thematic series, along with wry commentary. If I read several posts in a row I’m generally laughing out loud.

    • chipmacgregor

      I’d never seen Cake Wrecks, Gary. Love it! Thanks. And I’ll check out Steve Pressfield. Appreciate the suggestion.

    • Laura Droege

      Thanks for telling us about Cake Wrecks. I had never heard of it, and I just spent about 10 minutes scrolling through and laughing until it hurts!