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Blogging about the Bennets (and Mr Darcy too)

As part of our new bloggers series, Jennifer Duke explains why Jane Austen's Mr Darcy inspired her to blog the Pride and Prejudice way.

Having a blog is a lot like having your first child. You’re never
quite sure what to do, if you’re doing it right, and if one step in
the wrong direction could screw it up or scar it for life.  You can
have sleepless nights fixing the mess your wordpress blog made of the
structure of a Q&A, and you quickly realise that cooing over your own
creation (and self-promoting shamelessly on Facebook) bores not only
your friends, but also those randoms you added ‘just because’.

Indeed, as the proud parent of a two-month-old blog (and of no real
children at all) I am, obviously, completely qualified to say this.

But when I began, the important question was what to even write a blog about?  For me, this was an easy
decision.  There’s one true love in my life and that’s Mr. Darcy (not

And so, plunging head-first into the Austen online
community, I began my niche-within-a-niche blog The Bennet Sisters, a Pride and Prejudice devoted
compilation of my reviews, Q&As, discussions and previews of Jane
Austen’s novel.  From the first post, I was hooked.  The first
month was very slow work – chogging out articles without telling anyone
and feeling embarassed about the subject matter due to my own
(slightly hysterical) obsession with Regency England.

But suddenly,
recently, it picked up.  I have had some fantastic experiences within the last month of getting

in contact with other Austen bloggers, authors and filmmakers around the
globe and even just other ‘Janeites’ who want to talk.  The most

amazing thing about blogging is realising that information-rich people
who were previously unreachable, or even unheard of, are just around

the corner.

Out of my blog, I was recently inspired to start an
Austen book group, which is having its first meet next week.

My reader base is still small, but growing. I get anywhere between 90
to 150 page views in a day, which isn’t a huge number, granted, but
it’s gratifying to come back to.  So what changed?  I’m not sure.
Maybe I hit the market at the right time (discussing the recent cult classic
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and other headlining topics).  Maybe
it was one post of mine that had a teensy shred of interesting
information, about a new film in 2011, that took me forever to find.
Goodness knows.

In two months, I’ve already encountered intellectual thievery, the
wonders of Twitter (never underestimate the power of marketing and
networking for your blog via Tweets!  In fact, I even virtually met
one of my first Q&A subjects through Twitter), and a very confused
male population.  I have written about fourty posts to date in 7
categories. However, like any first-time parent, there are still some
fairly huge teething problems.

Jennifer Duke is a second year Communications
student, majoring in Journalism, at The University of Technology in Sydney. You can read her blog here.

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