Friday 29 May 2009

Google Blogger Guide for Dummies

I can’t resist having my say on the subject of Susan Gunelius and Google Blogger Guide for Dummies. I have not read the book. This is a review of the Amanda Fazani review of the Susan Gunelius Google Blogger Guide for Dummies or more accurately a review of the issues surrounding the hiring of the author. I make what may be considered slightly provocative remarks. This is deliberate but not intended to be personal or hurtful. People have a right to express their views provided they are presented politely and these are simply my views.

I have read Amanda’s review and the comments to the review. I have read what Enviroman (Blogger Tips and Tricks) has said about writing this book and I have read about Susan Gunelius from her website (which has moved). In short I have read everything surrounding the book except the book! I have not read the book because I know it will not be money well spent. This is because it will not be technical enough. And I am not a computer geek; far from it. This last comment of mine really says it all, in fact. And I have also read the Amazon product description for the book. Some people will say how can you review a book without reading it? Well first, I am not strictly reviewing the book. I am talking around the subject. Secondly, I have seen the contents of the book from the Amazon reviews so I know what is in it. Plus read the other stuff as mentioned.

This is my opinion on the subject for what it is worth. Why didn’t the publishers ask Amanda Fazani to write the book? Maybe they did and see turned them down, I don’t know. I know that “Enviroman” was asked but eventually it seems he was rejected. He complains on his website that he was treated rather poorly by the publishers. It would seem that the publishers decided to fall back on a writer rather than a person who knows Google Blogger inside out as Fazani and Enviroman do. In fact there is another person or persons who could and maybe were asked, the creators of Tips for New Bloggers.

Susan Gunelius has “20-years of marketing, branding and copywriting experience”. She is CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc.. This is a “full-service marketing communications and branding solutions provider.” Susan has a blog called “Women on Business”. But I have a clear sense that her considerable talents lie in the field of business, copyrighting, marketing and plain writing and not blogging at the level required to successfully write a really useful book on Google Blogger. What I mean is the person should know Blogger inside out to then write about it in a way that makes even the technical stuff understandable. However, perhaps the publishers decided on the content.

Because of what appears to be her lack of first hand knowledge of the nuts and bolts of working with Google Blogger blogs the book is written very much at the beginner level, it seems, addressing, mainly, people who have not started (or just started) rather than people who have and want to crank up the ante and make things sharper and better. And I would have thought the latter objective was the better one and one that would attract the wider audience. Or at least it is one that should be included. The publishers would say in defence that this is a Dummies Guide and is therefore targeted at beginners. I would disagree because you don’t need a book on how to get started because the Blogger team explain it beautifully. The whole process is intuitive and very easy. What is more tricky is customizing the blog and there are a lot of people who want to personalize their blog; make it their own. I know that from the success enjoyed by Fazani and Enviroman with their websites, which are, incidentally far more  successful as sites than Gunelius’s blog, “Women on Business”. That on its own tells us something about the qualifications for writing the Google Blogger Guide for Dummies.

I am not even sure it was a good idea for Susan Gunelius to write the book never mind for the publishers as it is a little out of her field of specialization from what I can gather from the bio on internet. Actually, it seems like Susan Gunelius decided to do the book to heighten her profile vis-à-vis computer technology. People like Enviroman and Amanda Fazani, though, would have been better placed to write the book. Amanda writes very good English while Enviroman is less strong on the English language. But this could have been fixed in editing.

When you read the Amazon blurb it says the book covers such topics as , “What you should know about moderating comments”. The only thing people should know about that is how to get comments! Moderating them is the last of our worries. Another unrealistic topic is “Does making dollars make sense? — explore options for Google Adsense®”. Once again 99% of Blogger sites need not think about this until they have lots more visitors. You can make a few bucks on 30 visitors a day on Adsense but you’ll need thousands a day and an Alexa ranking in the order of 100,000 to make enough to have an impact on your life. Which conveniently brings me back to my original point, the book is written for beginners but the question of Adsense is for more advanced users i.e. bloggers with some real traffic.

You know, the truth is you can find all you want from the Blogger help web pages and the sites mentioned on this page.

In short the book looks (admittedly from the outside) to be a little unrealistic because it is written by someone who has not, it seems, worked with Google Blogger and made a success of it. The three people I mentioned above have done this and were therefore better choices for the job of author.

From Google Blogger Guide for Dummies to Home Page

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you feel this way, Michael, and I wish you had emailed me directly to discuss my qualifications and the purpose of the book per the "Dummies" guidelines set by Wiley prior to writing this post. I'd be happy to discuss further if you'd like to contact me in the future. You can do so through any of my blogs and websites or through my Guide site at (a New York Times Company) where I am the Guide to Web Logs.


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