Everybody's a Critic

What Garden Writers Could Learn from Thriller Writers

It would:

  1. Host an easy and accessible website whose primary purpose is to allow READERS–gardeners–to connect with garden writers & photographers.  Through the website you could buy books, connect to garden writers' blogs, websites, and publications, request a garden writer as a speaker, and find out about their tour schedule & other events. Botanical gardens, garden clubs, nurseries, and bookstores could all list events.  Off-the-shelf products like Movable Type and eDirectory make this possible with minimal custom programming. No re-inventing of the wheel required.
  2. Send out a fun and interesting e-mail newsletter/blog feed to gardeners/readers, and send out a more shop-talk e-mail newsletter to garden writers, photographers, and other industry people.
  3. Organize events around the country, including:  An annual event (open to writers, aspiring writers, AND gardeners/readers) in conjunction with a major garden show, so attendees can visit both; garden travel/tour packages that allow garden writers and readers to travel together to great gardens around the world; group tours in which five or six garden writers go on the road together and hit regional shows, bookstores, garden clubs, botanical gardens, and so on.
  4. Host a garden party at BookExpo to encourage bookstore buyers and others in the publishing industry to support and promote garden literature.
  5. Offer big sweepstakes promotions to readers.  I love the idea of giving away a library of garden books.  What if it also included seeds, plants, magazine subscriptions, and garden tools? What about a garden party or garden consultation/renovation with a well-known garden writer? 
  6. Participate in some cool interactive media stuff–podcasts, videos, Twitter, Facebook etc.

I'm only just getting started.  Really, why can't we do this?  And why hasn't it happened already?

Posted by on January 26, 2009 at 5:15 am, in the category Everybody's a Critic.
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34 Responses to “What Garden Writers Could Learn from Thriller Writers”

  1. Why, indeed? Do it! We’d be thrilled.

  2. Count me in! I’d be happy to help.

  3. Michele says:

    What a great idea.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds great Amy! I’m in!

  5. greg draiss says:

    Yet another DIY idea instead of enlisting government or the corporate world.

    Although I do not write garden books I love this idea.

    The TROLL

  6. Clare says:

    I thought of something along these lines when all of the garden column writers were getting dumped in many newspapers, or the whole newspapers being dumped.

    I have one suggestion if you get it going, Amy: make is searchable or sortable by region, because so much gardening info is region specific.

    You go Garden Writers!

  7. Doug Green says:

    Go for it Amy – I’m sure you’d do a great job.

  8. jodi says:

    This is brilliant…and yes, why haven’t we done this before? Why are we spending more than 100.00 a year (in my case, with the exchange) on the GWA when it provides minimal benefits, when we could do something like this that would be more effective in all kinds of ways? I’d be willing to pay a yearly fee to belong to something like this, Amy. And even to help out in some capacity.

  9. Deidre says:

    As a mailorder nursery owner, I’d be interested in paying to advertise on a site like that. Fa sho! Keep me posted Amy.

  10. VP says:

    Lots of food for thought here for the collaborative ebook project I’m involved with…

  11. rainymountain says:

    Do people read and buy gardening books in the same way as they buy thrillers?

  12. Michelle D. says:

    To reply to rainymountain,
    I purchase my garden books. They offer valuable information that I use on a regular basis.
    I never purchase thrillers. I go to the library for those.

    Amy your idea is quite inspiring and whose time has come .

  13. Mary Beth says:

    I think this is a wonderful idea! – But Clairs is on target in suggesting it be sortable by region. The only reason I began blogging was to share gardening info that is pretty specific to my area. Rainymountain, from a gardeners perspective LOTS of gardening books are bought and read – I’m addicted to them.

  14. John says:

    This caught my eye and when I dug around I found that just about every type of writing style has a similar online presence and activities (sci-fi, western, horror, romance, porn).

    I assumed when I joined GWA that this is what I was getting into – guess not.

  15. Jessica says:

    I joined GWA less than a year ago … I write about gardening and other creative endeavors for fun, and I thought it would be a good way to meet other writers and become part of a community. I’ve been really disappointed so far.

    What you’re describing makes so much more sense. I look forward to hearing how this idea develops!

  16. Claire Splan says:

    I agree with John–this should be what the GWA does, but in my limited experience with them (attending a couple of meetings at the SF Garden Show and reading their newsletters), I have to say the GWA seems a bit stodgy and not at all ready to adapt to the new realities of publishing. Maybe they need some competition to jolt them into reality.

  17. Elizabeth Stump says:

    I’d go for an idea like that! What can we do to help this idea/project along?

  18. Susan Harris says:

    Just the money put into the annual GWA survey every year could more than fund all these great ideas.
    I recently joined the Society of Environmental Journalists for $20/year, and they to offer a lot for that modest fee.

  19. M A says:

    Great idea. You can count me in. We did the Spring Fling, so that’s a start. I like the idea of tying it in w/a major garden show, the two for one of it.

    And Susan is write/right on about the goofy GWA survey. That is absolutely worthless. And totally reinventing the wheel. Just get the info from NGA and go with it. I have yet to glean anything valuable from the GWA survey.

  20. Gardens are thrilling to me! Fantastic! I’m in and I will start the pile of garden books with mine. Please let me know what I can do to help.

  21. Hi Amy –

    To steal from the dark side, DITTO! I’d be willing to be part of this.

  22. I’d love to use the blog! Please do it!! Search by region or zone would be super!!! I’m telling my readers to read this because we need help figuring out what to books to buy.

  23. Quick, name it, copyright it & get it set up, before somebody steals this great idea.

  24. You’re going rogue again, Amy… AND I LOVE IT! I, too, would be happy to lend a hand in any way.

  25. luise h. says:

    Great Idea,Amy.Go for it.

  26. Amy Stewart says:

    Wow, you guys are all over this! Tell you what: if you’re really interested, let’s continue the conversation on the Garden Writers Discussion Board. I posted a link to this post under General Discussion–just go reply to that and we’ll see if we have enough people to really discuss it. (There’s another post on GardenRant today about how to sign up for that board.)

    And if you just can’t stand the idea of using the discussion board to talk about it, feel free to suggest another venue–LinkedIn? FaceBook? Just seems like an incredibly long comments string on this post is maybe not the easiest way to communicate.

  27. I think we could do those and more – GWA is a great group of people, but it does need to come more fully into the 21st C and a bit of guerrilla marketing wouldn’t hurt for our garden writers family.

  28. Aunt Ida says:

    Great idea! I haven’t joined GWA but I’m a member of APLD and I feel the same way: big dues, little ROI. This would be a much better option.

  29. Kat Malstead says:

    OOOO! I’m so there! When will this fine event be in Oregon? :~D

    >^,,^<

  30. CL Fornari says:

    I think we should do it – but what it takes is not just saying “I’m in!” (and I am) but a group of people willing to put TIME into it. My guess is that the Thriller Writers may have enough money to hire people to do some of the organizational/planning work. I do a bunch of volunteer work and know that it takes one person willing to coordinate, and a group of at least five who will take assignments and run with them. So onto the discussion board and see what gels.
    Thanks, Amy.

  31. Sheri says:

    You go Amy – and keep me informed. I belong to a yahoo group where people send bookmarks, postcards and other promotional items to other members. We then put the promotional material in bags and hand it out at book signings, conferences, etc.

    Pretty cool idea, huh?

    Sheri

  32. I’m not a professional writer, but I think your idea sounds awesome. I’d love to lend my technical skills if they’re needed.

    If I can make one suggestion, I would look seriously at WordPress as a blogging platform. For starters, it is totally free, it’s open source software, which is always good to support. It’s also one of the most robust content management systems out there. Period. Some of the largest companies in the world use WordPress, including the NY Times and Harvard. There are also many free themes out there to customize the website, which can be easily tweaked to make the site look truly unique. Anyway, that’s just my two cents.

  33. loretta says:

    Has anything been done to facilitate this idea? Hope so! I just found the site today, I have a column in one newspaper, write some gardening segments for another one, and write for a gardening magazine. Please keep me posted, I’d be glad to help or contribute in some way.

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