Shaggy Blog Stories: a progress report.

A long time ago, whilst I was busily tying myself up in some other ridiculously over-ambitious collective blog-based stunt, someone (it might have been him) cheekily dubbed me “the fairy godmother of British blogging”.

At the moment, sifting through the ever-growing stack of submissions for Shaggy Blog Stories, I feel more like the Simon Cowell of British blogging: “Congratulations, you’ve made it into the book” replacing “Congratulations, you are going to London”. Only I don’t have to hug anyone, or get glasses of water thrown in my face.

Occasionally, in my more delirious moments, I feel like the Anneka Rice of British blogging. At the Nottingham blogmeet on Saturday afternoon, I was tempted to run into the bar in a canary yellow jumpsuit, squawking “OK gang, we’ve got SEVEN DAYS to WRITE A BOOK!”

To say that I’ve had an “enthusiastic response” would be an understatement. I have received around 200 submissions over the last three days, and have read about 100 of them so far. 45 of that 100 have definitely made it into the book, taking the page count up to just over 100 and counting. An editorial team of four has been recruited, to assist with the decision-making process and to ensure that the whole kaboodle isn’t dominated by one individual’s personal taste.

Not surprisingly, some of the best known names in British blogging will be included in the book. However, we are judging on the merit of the submission rather than the reputation of the blogger, and the book will certainly not end up as a roll-call of the “in crowd”. One of the great joys of doing this is that, as with Post of the Week, I am constantly discovering brilliant material on blogs which I’ve never seen before. About once every 45 minutes during yesterday’s marathon 10-hour stint, I would find myself doubled up in hysterics, slapping my thighs, and shouting “YES! YES!”. This is what we call a Fringe Benefit.

I have also, reluctantly, had to face reality. If I leave the submission deadline as Wednesday at 6pm, then I will never be able to read everything that has been sent. Therefore, I’m bringing it forward by one day.


When making your submission, please bear in mind that the sheer weight of numbers means that, statistically speaking, the probability of making it into the book is less than 50%, and decreasing by the hour. So you do need to be comfortable with the idea of rejection. Having said that, please be assured that your piece WILL be given a full and fair reading.

(Here’s a tip, though. Try to imagine what your piece will look like on the printed page, to someone who has never read you before. Does it work out of context, as a stand-alone piece in its own right? Does it need editing, maybe to remove some of the more chatty asides to your regular readers?)

I’ve had a sneak preview of Lucy’s cover art. ‘Tis genius. You’ll love it. DAMN, this book is going to be GOOD.

And finally, a Media Alert: I’ll be talking about the project on BBC Radio Five Live‘s “Pods and Blogs” show, which goes out at the ungodly hour of 2am on Tuesday morning. It’s OK, there’s no need to wait up specially: I’ll link to the “Listen Again” archive link when it becomes available.

My thanks to everyone who has linked to the project thus far, and to everyone who has submitted material and/or offered help in other ways. I *heart* you all.

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