Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An Insider's Guide to Food Blogging, $70

I just stumbled across this information that might interest/amuse/irritate you, via The Gurgling Cod.

So, how much should I start charging for a term at Food Blog Scool?

This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh


Liz said...

I like Andrea's site, but I dunno if she's the best person to be teaching a blogging class. For example- Are you allowed to describe yourself as "frank (and funny)". I tried to do that once on an older blog and got flamed. :P

Sam said...

I think you can if you do it in the third person, as if it was someone else saying it, no?

kathryn said...

I have to say, that actually makes me laugh quite a lot. Is there anything less appropriate for an in-person seminar?

For starters, there's mountains of online support (including this here s'cool), plus the best thing to do (surely) is to just start blogging. It might take a couple of months to refine your voice and subject, but that's true of everyone.

I realise it can be daunting (it was for me), but am still sceptical about how much useful and practical information can be gathered from a seminar.

seantimberlake said...

Uh, yeah. Here, spend 70 bucks to take a class to learn how to start up a dangerous habit that consumes your time and for the most part generates no revenue. I can understand people needing instruction and guidance on the hows of blogging, but does anyone need to know why?

Anonymous said...

I can think of better ways to spend $70... :P

kiplog said...

Andrea's a professional food writer, and damn good at it, so a food writing seminar from her might be worth it. She's always had some of the best insider stuff on restaurants and the industry.

But to teach blogging? No. I've always consider her blog on the margin of what a blog really is. It's more of a newsletter. Teaching the technical aspects of blogging requires being a techy with knowledge of the tools. An RSS feed that hasn't updated since June is a dead giveaway that there may not be anything there for most of us.

Sam, you ought to start one of those big convention type seminars on Food Blogging - FOODBLOGCON07 or something like that. Lots of panelists and booths and bags of swag.

Failing that, anybody that wants to pay me 70 bucks can come to my house and I'll teach 'em what I know. You'll even get dinner.

Anonymous said...

If anyone doesn't know what snow is, they can visit my house today and I'll give a seminar illustrated by views through the windows. Good value, I think, at £35.42 including VAT ($70).

McAuliflower said...

I think its a brilliant idea. (You could even say she scooped some of us).

Begrudging this opportunity comes across a bit sour... similar to dissing those who enroll in community college, or art workshops.

If people want to give money to someone to inspire them to take a more active part in blogging, so be it. Her angle is a good one: phrasing food blogging as investigative journalism. A one day workshop won't polish ones skills, but it will show them the water with which to get their feet wet.

As popular as blogs are- we are a niche minority in that we blog. Add that we specialize down to food- we are niche squared. And as food blog s'cool shows, alot of people need hand holding to just get on with it.

I applaud anyone who brings about inspiration and insight. If they charge money for it, ehhh- no skin off my back. I know that all information is really free to those who seek it without cost.

s'kat said...

Sam, we're going to owe you one motherload of retroactive pay!

Kalyn said...

I do have to say that I think something like this could be extremely valuable to someone who's just starting or thinking of starting a blog. How many times have I wished I'd known more when I had to make all those decisions the first few months of blogging. And as far as learning from a course, versus online knowledge, I learned a tremendous amount from the Blogher conference last year. (Probably only second to Food Blog S'cool, but then I've been reading here for nearly two years.) Of course, taking a course could never replace the wonderful community we've developed from having Sam as our headmistress, and we all owe her for that. But I think $70 seems like a pretty good deal to have someone tell you all kinds of things in a few hours that a beginner would want/need to know.

Plus I have to say that when the whole cheese sandwich thing came down, I did admire Andrea for being one of the others willing to publicly say that Pete Wells had picked on her, so we have a little kinship there!

Elise said...

A few points.

1) I bet that most of that $70 goes into overhead - the meeting room, etc.

2) Since when is Andrea's site a blog? It doesn't look like a blog, or read like a blog, unless I'm missing something. I think it is a bit presumptuous that she's giving a workshop on blogging when her "blog" is so unblog-like.

3) That said, the more the merrier. Anything that encourages food blogging is fine by me.

Anonymous said...

I've been teaching a few friends on and off about blogging for a couple of months (translation - we've had two meetings of about three hours each). The cost was about negative $70 total since I also provided food and drinks. None of them want to be food bloggers - they are mostly writers who want to know the mechanics - they are internet and computer cautious and mostly need encouragement.

There are a LOT of people getting interested in blogging and nervous about starting. I bet the s'cool could put together a UC extension course if we wanted...with guest speakers and covering everything from approach to writing to voice to photos to html to css and even javascript and more.

Acme Instant Food said...

I'll agree that the very best way to learn how to Blog is to do it. I enjoy getting to know the different personalities of the numerous quality food blogs that are so abundant today. What makes them so personable and real are the techniques and practices of each author. Your inherent talents will become mangled if somebody attempts to lay down a foundation for you. Pay attention to this site for some technical and practical help, but listen to yourself for your content and direction. Just do it!

Barbara said...

I think if you need to pay to learn to blog you shouldn't be blogging. After all you don't need lessons to write a diary. However if you are aiming to make money from a blog I guess it would be worth looking into. I would hate to see the food blogging community becoming just another financial enterprise. Although I know some (very good) bloggers do make a substantial income from blogging.

McAuliflower said...

Goodness- that was bit elitist sounding (btw, blogs *aren't* diaries).

Who are we/you to begrudge someone what may be a learning opportunity?

Stacie said...

I'd pay $70 for someone to teach me typepad at this point.

I'm not nervous about starting -- I have my why -- I am just a dork with a fork and not a drop of tech savvy.

I don't have the patience to teach myself CSS or the inner workings of Type Pad, I just want to start writing already!

I look at all your blogs and they all look so professional. Did you all know how to do that going in, or did you have someone help you?

Barbara said...

Sorry Mcauliflower it wasn't meant to be elitist. I was under the impression blog was an abbreviation for web log and originally it was meant as an on line diary.

David said...

People pay other people to do things for them they can do by themselves all the time For example: When was the last time anyone changed the oil in their car themselves?

I would pay someone 70 bucks to help me figure out all those $%#&# dials and knobs on my digital SLR...

nika said...

David: become one with the button *ommmmmmm* there is no shortcut.. its all about cosmic complexity man. Sometimes I use my old point and shoot just to remember the olden days of camera simplicity.

Sam said...

david - just find a Frenchman to push your buttons - that's what I do, works a treat.

Liz said...

Please don't think me rude for this long comment, just statin' my opinions:

Sam- I've always been taught that, as a writer, telling one's readers that one should be found funny is presumptuous. (Unless, of course, you are quoting someone describing you.) It's like putting a laugh track on a sitcom- a practice I find annoying (canned laughter does not make "Friends" funny). Plus, while her reviews are certainly good I just don't find them funny, but that's just my opinion.

Kalyn- I got into Andrea's site after Pete Wells got up her nose- I even emailed her in support and she responded in kind, which I thought was nice. In fact (though I was death-warmed-over-ill and high on Nyquil at the time) I actually wrote a nasty letter to Dana Colwin about it (yet another reason they probably won't be hiring me anytime soon). Cheese sandwiches rule! :)

McAuliflour- Eh, whatever. Semantics are on Barbara's side here- a weblog is, by definition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog), a diary and for you to say it's not is actually elitist too. So there ;-)

So I have to ask- what have you got against diaries? Thoreau was a diarist and so was Whitman. Like them, we have something to say- we reflect on the world through our own experiences, whether they be cooking, dining out, traveling, studying politics or celebrities. Some blogs are more reliant on navel-gazing than others, but frankly your site, mine, and a lot of folks' blogs are online diaries, journals, etc. And that's okay. Who cares? Let's write!

In the end I agree with kiplog and Katherine- Andrea's site isn't really a blog either- one reason I wouldn't pay $70 for her class. Also, a 2.5 hour seminar is not enough time for something like this (her goals for the class are really ambitious!) and frankly I don't think this is the right way to go about it. I also have to question the veracity of any course of this kind that promises to help you "find your voice." Pshaw.

Having someone tell you how to write will not be as good as actually writing. I spend 6 years of my life telling Japanese high school students how to write what they were feeling and in the end they all sounded the same. It's a group class. The only way you can "find your voice" is by sitting in front of the computer and using "your voice."

Stacie- Your site looks great! I don't know what you're on about. I'd be willing to bet most folks here were techies to begin with or learned as they went. I think you're on target- "I just want to start writing already!" I need to remember that! (BTW- love your descriptor "dork with a fork" that's fantastic! And, according to Google, not yet taken as an url...)

And David, next time you're in the States I'll introduce you to a few folks who will take you out for a good meal and teach you how to use your camera...

in 2.5 hours or less ;-)

Stacie said...


Thanks for the kind words. I am teaching myself, its just taking time. I am enrolled at the University of the Self Taught and, for me, it's not an accelerated course.

I just meant that I would gladly pay $70 for someone to get it up and running in a day as opposed to the months it is taking me to figure out what a typelist is.

It's like what David said about changing the oil in our cars. It's easier for me to pay someone to do it because I want to drive my car, not tinker with it. Some people love the techy part of this. I do not. I just want to write and wave a magic wand over the rest of it.

Dork with a fork isn't taken huh? I wonder if I should grab it?