Web logging was front and center this week as Alex Beam of the Boston Globe attacked New Republic writer Andrew Sullivan and syndicated political humor columnist James Lileks for their web logs--and web logging in general. Beam's schtick is, of course, to be a carmudgeon, but his whining seemed more than a bit forced.
I emailed him to ask him how his book sales were going (Gracefully Insane, about McLean Hospital)--trying to make the point that, if nothing else, web logs are a great way for authors to get new readers interested in their work. Beam, who has two out-of-print books to his name--responded with a cute wisecrack, but basically ducked the issue. Gracefully Insane came out just a few months ago--and got nice reviews. But it's nowhere on any best-seller's list. And it's a shame. Beam is precisely the kind of writer who would benefit from his own web log. He certainly can't pump his book from his column. The Globe wouldn't let him.
Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan tells me that his web logging has not only helped sell his books but has gotten him tons more calls from editors asking him to write for them.