February 10, 2018
About six years ago I started making plans to move out to Boston to be a writer and all-around literary person in my favorite city. I had lived here twice before, but third time would be the charm, and I would stay, forever (it also helped to have friends and family back home in New York barring me from ever moving back again!). So there I was, in my new apartment in Somerville, at my desk looking out towards the Boston skyline, ready to plug into the literary community…and I couldn’t find it. Or at least, I couldn't find evidence of it online. What readings and events were happening in the city? I found I had to go to every bookstore website to check. The Boston Globe had a literary events section, but it wasn’t exhaustive. Who were the local authors working here? I knew of a few, but it involved research to find others. What were the local writing organizations, folks promoting workshops and writing centers? I knew of Grub Street, but were there others? Local literary magazines and publishing companies? Again, no one source to tell me.
So I decided to be that one source. I bought a domain name, set up a website, and the Boston Book Blog was created.
Now in our fifth year, we’ve come a long way in creating our brand, compiling resources, and providing a one-stop-shop for the Boston literary community to you. It’s been slow-going (lots of manual entry, no staff to speak of, fits and starts), but the best things are built slowly, rooted and scaled at sustainable pace. We’re still expanding our already giant listing of Local Readings and Events (I believe we’re the most exhaustive, at this point). We’re also still adding entries to our Resources page as we discover them. We’re still growing our Boston Literary History section, because we firmly believe that the present and past stand in parallel. We’ve grown our following on Twitter to 1,300 (!!!) and have had some great community interaction, as well as maintained our morning literary events postings. Just recently, we added a section of New Releases so you can find out who your local authors are. We also recently did a rehaul of the homepage, providing a new Boston Book Feed column so you can find the local goings-on. We added a Contact Us box, and we created an firstname.lastname@example.org email address. And we’ve now added a Blog Blog feature where I can share some thoughts, and you can get to know me.
But there’s so much more to be done, so many ideas and executions and features and interactions we can bring you. Some things we’re working on: expanded long-form articles, including author interviews; a “Complete Guide to the Boston Literary Scene” article series/ebook; expanded social media interaction, including increased Facebook presence (we don’t have an Instagram yet); generally more content, and more contributing writers; and a weekly newsletter. Long-term vision includes some…really cool things, if we can pull it off.
Our mission is never to have a writer move to Boston again and not know how to discover everything this rich literary city has to offer.
Jessica A. Kent