A big step for Petrona, a small step for blogkind

Petronas Patronus It may not be apparent to many, but it is a big change for me. I have changed the subtitle of Petrona blog to "Reviews, discussion and news about crime fiction. Occasional forays into publishing, science, social media and other topics."(see top of page) Previously, my strapline (or standfirst) was "Thinking and linking about books, publishing, the internet and more".

Why the change? First, over the past 4 years, Petrona has changed from being a blog quite often about the wonders of blogging, social media and new publishing models, to being mainly book reviews and associated news. Perhaps I've said all I can think of to say on those other topics. Second, since setting up the Friend Feed crime and mystery fiction room, I can post links and chat there about them, with other people interested in the topic, rather than writing a blog post collecting and summarising various links, as I did pre-Friend Feed. So that's another class of blog post that has morphed into something else. Third, I have developed confidence in my book reviewing and enjoy doing it. I like the practice, and feel I've learned some techniques in my 4 years as a book reviewer. My blogging friends are enabling me to filter my reading choices so nowadays I read far more books that I actually want to review, rather than books that aren't very distinctive or good – both of which pose challenges to a reviewer who has essentially a constructive heart.

A final reason is that I realise that "out there" (i.e. among the main internet "in the wild", which knows me not!), I am not perceived as writing a crime fiction blog, partly no doubt because of Petrona's name. (An object lesson in hastily choosing a title and regretting it later*.) So perhaps the subtitle will help my blog to be considered eligible for these lists of "100 crime fiction blogs" that currently it seems not to be, as it does not have "crime" or "mystery" in its title.

When I first began blogging, it was all about traffic and comments. Bloggers vied with each other, boasted about their traffic stats, and devised methods and strategies to increase their numbers of comments. I did this a bit and then decided it wasn't for me, for various reasons. Nowadays, the medium has evolved and there is much more interactiveness on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and so on. One's blog can feed into these platforms and so become part of one's internet presence and sociability, not its only evidence of your presence. Even if people are not commenting at your blog itself, they may be debating a post over at FriendFeed or Facebook, or retweeting it.

So, the world moves on and we have to move with it. Hence, Petrona's standfirst has become more reflective of what I realise my blog is about, nowadays.

* Pictures show a Patronus (alter ego), of which Petrona was intended to be a female version, but turns out to be a typing error (Patrona); and Petrona towers, to which I am frequently likened and for which I receive many a misdirected search.


7 thoughts on “A big step for Petrona, a small step for blogkind

  1. Maxine, any list that has the words “blog”, “best”, “crime fiction”, or “books”, and does not feature Petrona is worthless.
    The Friend Feed crime and mystery fiction room, which you set up, has given so much pleasure to us all and I certainly look forward to more of your forays into science, publishing and social media as I am sure I will learn something useful.

  2. Congratulations on your new course of direction!
    “I have developed confidence in my book reviewing and enjoy doing it.” I really hope so! It is difficult to say whether your strongest point is your first class reviews or your contribution to our FriendFeed room, but I know that if you didn´t send me many of the books you tempt me with every month, you could easily have ruined me 😉
    NB: I can see you did not enjoy Snow Angels as much as I did, but I hope you liked the setting (which was one of the strongest points for me).

  3. Thank you, Norman and Dorte. I do enjoy our Friend feed discussions very much. I did enjoy reading Snow Angels, but agree with you Dorte that the setting is very strong. Although some aspects were a bit inexperienced, overall it was a very promising novel and I hope he’ll write more.

  4. Maxine – I, too, congratulate you on the changes you are making. You contribute more than you could imagine to our discussion of crime fiction, your reviews are outstanding, your information on current events and trends are so helpful, and your opinions very valuable. I, for one, am honored to be in the crime fiction discussion community with you, so I’m glad you’re letting everyone know what a force for good within the community you are.

  5. Thank you so much for these lovely comments – just what I need after a 13 hour work day! Thanks again, this has really cheered me up.

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