John Ottinger’s Grasping the Wind blog offers an incredible resource for speculative fiction, horror and fantasy authors searching for sites that will review their work. Today, Ottinger shares how his blog started.
In 2004, at the prompting of a friend, I began a little blog called Grasping for the Wind. After some time flailing around to find my voice, I finally settled on covering the literature of science fiction and fantasy, with occasional forays into other media.
During my flailing period, I used all sorts of marketing tools. One of these was something called the Z-list, a list of websites that when you found it, you were supposed to copy and paste to your own site and then add your name to the bottom. The idea was to use the linking power of the internet to increase everyone’s pageranks in things like Technorati and Google. And it worked.
So one day in December 2008, as I was pondering how best to promote my blog now that it had found its voice, the old Z-list idea came back to me, but with a twist. I would focus exclusively on science fiction and fantasy review blogs. I started the list with only 30 sites listed, and asked everyone to take the list, put it on their blog, and I would use the referring links to build up the database. So I built the SF/F/H Reviewer’s Linkup Meme. (i.e. science fiction, fantasy, horror)
This was a lot of work, and took me several weeks with multiple daily updates to keep track of all the links flooding in. But even so, it wouldn’t have gone very far except that GalleyCat, a premier publisher’s blog, picked up the concept and announced it to the world, and Tor.com, then in its fledgling stages, also took the list and posted it to their site. Between these two and all the mentions on other small to medium size blogs like mine, everyone’s page rank and Technorati rating got a boost. Many new readers were introduced to blogs they would not have found otherwise. The list even spawned a song and had one blogger review each blog in the list.
In August of 2009, I decided the list needed another update, and although the response was not as heavy this time, there was still a good response, even getting the list posted at Publisher’s Weekly Genreville Blog as the first place to go to look for other reviewers. This time, I added the ability to sign up through a simple form that made it easier and less time-consuming for me to collect all the information, and made it easier to add the new blogs rapidly to the list. The second iteration did well, and there are many new blogs on the list to find in all the various subgenres. I still get emails from people thanking me for the concept.
I expect that in the future I will have other iterations of the SF/F/H Reviewers Linkup Meme. Several ideas are bouncing around in my head for using the simplest aspect of the internet, the link, to promote all that is great in science fiction and fantasy.
About the blogger:
John Ottinger is an unemployed teacher who lives in Orlando, FL. His reviews, interviews and articles have appeared in Publisher’s Weekly, Strange Horizons, The Fix, Sacramento Book Review, Stephen Hunt’s SFCrowsnest, Thaumatrope, and at Tor.com. He blogs regularly at Grasping for the Wind.0