Top 10 Blog Posts of My Rookie Blogging Year

by | Nov 12, 2010

Late last summer I sat in my car at in the parking lot of the gym I go to, just ten minutes from my house.

Although it was hot, I couldn’t leave the car. I was listening to the audio of an ebook called The Blog Profits Blueprint by Yaro Starak.

I had been writing every day for the previous two years, loosening up my “writing muscles” and becoming more comfortable every day with freewriting.

I realized I wanted to try blogging. There was so much going on in the publishing world that there seemed like an endless supply of topics to write about.

My business was busy with a new tide of self-publishers, and they had many, many questions. I found myself talking and writing about the same topics over and over. ISBNs, copyright, print on demand book distribution, why some type styles are called oldstyle typefaces.

I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by typefaces, printing presses, books, and experienced firsthand the transition of printing from a “black art” to computer-driven digitization. I wanted to share what I knew, find a way to help all these new self-publishers.

And so was born.

Growing Pains

Except, it wasn’t quite. I started the blog on a domain I had for an old website. When I realized I was going to commit at least a year to blogging, I acquired this domain and had the blog moved to its new home. That was in November, 2009, exactly one year ago.

I started thinking about the past year, how much I’ve learned about blogging, all the innovations, arguments, new companies, new products and new ways of thinking about books we’ve experienced in the last 12 months.

As a way of marking the year, I’m going to post several articles about how this blog fared over the last 12 months.

The Year to Come—Bigger and Better!

2011 is looking even bigger for book publishing. And it’s certainly looking bigger for The Book Designer blog. I have a lot of new ways to help publishers, new contributors who will bring a whole new level of expertise to expand the help you find on The Book Designer, and new training resources for people who want to get up to speed quickly with self-publishing.

As always, the best way to keep up with what’s happening on the blog is to subscribe. You can get each new blog post in your email. For advance notice of new things going on, special offers, resources and tips, sign up for my easy-to-read newsletter.

Above all, I want to thank you, the readers of this blog, for your terrific engagement, the things you’ve taught me, and the sense of community I have every day sitting down to write about this love affair with books.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of the First Year at The Book Designer

It makes sense that some of these posts are among the earliest I wrote for the blog, since they’ve been available the longest. Yet it’s still surprising which articles have been the most popular. (Source: Google Analytics)

  1. Apple iPad: E-Book Reading, Kindle-Killing, Business-Saving Product of the Century?
    January 28, 2010—If the date of this post looks familiar, it should. It was the day Steve Jobs announced the Apple iPad, and we got our first look at the device that threatened to save the publishing industry.
  2. Apple iPad Typography: Fonts We Actually Want
    March 1, 2010—Another iPad post takes second place, this one while we were waiting for the actual machines to show up in stores. Speculation was rampant, and our first look at iBooks wasn’t that thrilling.
  3. 36 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers
    May 24, 2010—A massive effort to gather all the best self-publishing blogs together in one place. Watch for an updated version of this post very soon.
  4. Self-Publishing Basics: The Copyright Page
    October 28, 2009—A basic article, I was surprised at the interest in copyright, and went on to write a number of posts on this subject.
  5. 5 Favorite Fonts for Interior Book Design
    August 31, 2009—One of the most heavily-commented posts on the blog, the discussion there has been going on off and on for over a year.
  6. 3 Great Typeface Combinations You Can Use in Your Book
    February 19, 2010—Another popular typography post. The question of which fonts to use seems to be a common one for new self-publishers.
  7. Top 10 Worst Self-Publishing Mistakes—Explained!
    July 19, 2010—What started out as a semi-humorous post modeled after a David Letterman Top 10 list became really popular after a second post went into more detail.
  8. 52 Fantastic Twitter Follows for Self-Publishers
    April 9, 2010—Another huge undertaking, this collection of great people to follow on Twitter became the basis for the Self-Publishing Daily that now tracks over 60 people on Twitter who post useful information for self-publishers.
  9. Liz Castro: EPUB Straight to the Point
    July 23, 2010—Liz Castro’s terrific book on creating EPUB files is justly popular, and bound to become a classic.
  10. Self-Publishing Basics: An Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book
    September 29, 2009—Another foundation post, a great post to bookmark so you can come back to it when you have a question about book construction.

In the next post in this series, I’ll be looking at the way keywords have played a major role in readers discovering the blog, and some of the behind-the-scenes statistics.

Thanks for reading!

Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by bfick,

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Sue Collier

    Wow, Joel–I had no idea you were such a new blogger. From the moment I stumbled upon your great blog, I thought for sure you’d been doing it forever!

    Thanks for your blog…and for the support you’ve given me over the past months. Looking forward to an amazing 2011!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hey Sue, thanks. Yep, still wet behind the ears, but looking forward with great anticipation to the next year. It will be full of changes, for sure.

  2. Paul D

    Joel … keep up the great posts. You definitely have a great blog started. Even though you target new self publishers, there’s still a lot of good info even guys like me, who have been around the industry for a while, can find in your posts. Great Stuff!

  3. Carolyn Branch

    I’m sure glad you decided to write a blog! You have helped me tremendously this past year as I struggled with a history of my home town. I keep getting comments about how professional it looks, and I know you deserve the credit. For instance, all the other self published authors I know were amazed I managed to get an LCCN number. That was one of the many practical and useful step by step procedures you taught me. Thank you!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Carolyn, helping new self-publishers is what this blog is all about, so I’m really glad you’ve gotten off to a good start with your book. I wish you great success.

  4. Rima

    Congratulations, Joel! I only recently found your blog, and I can tell that as a self-published author with a passion for well-designed books, yours has quickly become one of my favorites. Keep up the amazing work! I look forward to reading and re-reading your posts. :)



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