IFB Back to Blogger School Reading List

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AIR RAID FRESHMAN BITCHES. AIR RAID.

(Dazed and Confused, anyone? No, just me?)

It's September! The nights are turning a bit more crisp (well, everywhere but here in New Orleans), and the leaves will soon turn. Football season just began, and we're gearing up to do our autumn shopping.  Even though most schools (even college!) start in August nowadays (crazy!), September will always the start of the school year for me.

What better way to get geared up for the holidays, sale season, and Fashion Week, then getting assigned your “Back to School” reading!  I've reached out to our IFB contributors to find out what books they've found essential while blogging, and tailored your reading list to how long you've been blogging!

Freshman Year:

New to blogging? Think of this as the essential beginner's reading for bloggers.  Just likely you (likely) read Romeo & Juliet before Hamlet, think of these as the tools to teach you the basics and make blogging a bit easier.

  • Problogger's Guide to Your First Week Blogging by Darren Rowse. A great resource for those literally in the first weeks of blogging; you can read the IFB review here.  Problogger is another amazing resource for your blogging education – bookmark it!
  • Social Media for Dummies by Jan Zimmerman.  Social media & marketing your blog can be really overwhelming! Jennine shared that she loved this book, and in general, the “For Dummies” series are really well put together.  Not ready to invest the cash?  See if your library has a copy to borrow!
  • The My.Copyblogger Marketing Library.  I came across this free series of eBooks recently, and the run the gamut of topics – from building newsletters to how to create compelling content. Copyblogger is a great resource, so bookmark it now!

Sophomore Year:

You've got a year under your belt, but maybe you don't have the balls and confidence that your upperclassmen do.  These books are designed to help you focus your blogging, develop your skills, and really focus on learning the craft.

Junior Year:

At this point, you're prepping.  Prepping to go big or go home.  You're eager about the opportunities that blogging has given you, but have your sights set on something else.  Maybe it's a career in fashion PR, launching a massive website (ala Hello Giggles), or want to jump into consulting work.  Consider this the time to learn a bit outside of your comfort zone.

  • Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Fashion PR by Crosby Noricks. Our own Crosby, PR mastermind, shares her tips for making the most of moving into the Fashion PR world.  An essential guide for those of you thinking of moving beyond blogging into a career in fashion.
  • Problogger's Guide to Blogging for Your Business by Darren Rowse.  Maybe at this point, you're working with brands freelance or full-time, or you've decided to offer some kind of service with your site – a store, styling consultations, or products.  Our buds at Problogger share how to do just that– blog for your business.
  • The Freelancer's Bible by Sara Horowitz.  Jess swears by The Freelancer's Bible, which provides all the insight you need to writing for more than just your site! From how to find clients and how to set your fees, Horowitz's book covers all the essentials.
  • Writing for the Fashion Business by Kristen Swanson. Julia recommended this book; as a lady who has been running her blog with multiple posts daily for years (as well as teaching at NYU), I'm gonna trust her opinion! Swanson's textbook is perfect for the blogger looking to move into writing for the fashion industry, whether for a newspaper or magazine, public relations, or online media.

Senior Year:

Ahhh, senior year. It didn't matter if I was in high school or college– senior year was the best.  It was the time that I had fulfilled my “mandatory credits” and could spend my time doing what I liked, learning what I liked, and really evolving my interests.  Whenever I look back on the art I produced and the creativity I explored, they were always my most fruitful periods.

I like to think that maybe blogging is the same– by now we've gotten our understanding of the basics out of the way, and we can now grow, explore, and expand outside of blogging.

  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  Another book recommended by many of us – Sandberg's Lean In is essential reading for the blogger who treats her blog as a business and needs to evaluate the way she's interacting with brands, companies, and others in positions of power.  It's a thoughtful, striking read, and whether you love it or hate it — you'll definitely learn something about life.
  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. And our last book that was recommended by multiple IFB contributors! Maybe you're stuck in a rut; maybe you're looking to explore new creative outlets, or need one outside of blogging.  This 12-week workbook helps to push you past road blocks and build your creative confidence.
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. Similar to The Artist's Way, Tharp shares the process of creativity, how to explore it, her own personal failures and triumphs, and the method of making creativity a habit. An inspiring read by an amazing contributor to the world of dance!

If you've had any experience with the books above, or any other has impacted the way you approach blogging, we'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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16 Responses

    • Ashley Robison

      Thank you, Barbara! I searched ALL OVER the internet, and could not find a quote that would confirm if it was ARRAY or Air Raid. (And Array meant “an ordered arrangement” or “an impressive display” so I was like, WHICH ONE IS IT. I picked wrong 😉 )

      Reply
  1. Irina Dorn

    So happy someone did a post on this!! I once read that to be successful you need to read at least two different articles a day on things in your field (to keep learning) and two articles on things other than your field (to keep an open eye and prevent tunnel vision).

    I find a lot of post on IFB are great for inspiration, however, some lack concrete facts behind the statements they make. If we, as a community, read more, research more and learn more about our industry we would be able to share not only our experiences but facts and numbers as well.
    Unfortunately, there aren’t that many educational resources available to bloggers because it is a relatively new industry. Most importantly, there aren’t enough credible sources. So it really helps to have a guided reading list! 🙂

    I also want to recommend Lean In – fantastic book not just for bloggers but for women in general. I am reading it now and I just wrote about it in my blog today as well 🙂
    http://brandnamesus.com/2/post/2013/09/we-are-good-enough.html

    Reply
    • Ashley Robison

      “I once read that to be successful you need to read at least two different articles a day on things in your field (to keep learning) and two articles on things other than your field (to keep an open eye and prevent tunnel vision).”

      I really, really love this tip, Irina, and I know that I’m guilty for not always doing it! Although I do read a lot of books in my spare time, so that may work as a good substitute.

      “however, some lack concrete facts behind the statements they make. If we, as a community, read more, research more and learn more about our industry we would be able to share not only our experiences but facts and numbers as well.”

      That’s an interesting observation, and I can only speak for myself when I address this. I write a lot about my experiences on IFB because a) it’s what the community responds well to, b) as you mention, it’s a new industry. There aren’t always a lot of facts and statistics to back it up! When we talk about monetization, we can’t share what the average blogger makes…. because there really is no such thing as an average blogger, and there are certainly no unions or guilds to keep track of what bloggers are making. Plus getting bloggers to open up about these things is REALLY hard. I wish when I were writing a post that there was an industry resource that would share the data – that’d be so amazing! But in the meantime… well, I know I do the best I can by offering options, experiences, and “results” as they’ve worked for me and peers who are willing to share…

      Maybe one day that will be the case– it’d be so amazing if it were!

      Reply
  2. Maggie A

    I think no matter what stage … year of blogging you are in it always helps to take a refresher course once in a while. This way your content doesn’t become dull and predictable driving you to a blogging plateau.

    This is super helpful, I see that I have a lot of reading to do.

    xo
    Maggie
    Love Mavin

    Reply
  3. Joelle & Zeke

    Thanks so much for posting this list. I’m always learning more and more each day how to make my blog more successful – and it’s working! Now I’m off to the library to read, read, read!

    Reply
  4. Sherry

    Blogging Your Way to the Front Row is one of my favorite blogging books to date! Thanks for sharing the list. Very helpful:)

    Reply
  5. Jeanine Marie

    This is a very usual post. I am in between year one a two and lately been throwing myself into a study mode, learning all I can about blogging. It’s been fun and it’s been a long journey. More to come.

    Reply
  6. Sahra

    This is a GREAT list! I’m actually currently reading Writing For The Fashion Business! I also suggest “The Boss of You”, which I read a few months ago and is great for helping you hone in on branding and goals!

    Reply