Much of the reason I feel comfortable starting a blog focusing in on fantasy and storytelling is because of Adam Whitehead. His blog – The Wertzone – is a clear example of such a niche topic drawing and maintaining an audience.
Living in the UK, this guy spends much of his time researching for and posting on his blog – which has been around since 2006. He keeps up with all things science fiction and fantasy and his site is the most well-updated and current outlet for this sort of content that I am aware of.
Whitehead is a super-fan of George R R Martin‘s book series A Song of Ice and Fire. He originally gained somewhat of an audience by posting on the Westeros.org forum, which discusses the popular book series (among other things). Eventually the fan became a moderator for the forum and over the next decade or so he has diversified his output.
A month or two ago he created a Patreon page for his content, and he also has a separate site (Atlas of Ice and Fire) on the maps for fantasy worlds. By far the meatiest project he has done is a comprehensive History of Epic Fantasy. This series has around 30 blog posts in it and Whitehead has said that he plans to publish them as a book at some point.
Apparently, Whitehead used to be much more involved with a Game of Thrones Wiki site, and over the last couple of years has largely stopped supporting it. I only mention this because I found a rather sprawling complaint post by a frustrated moderator calling for Whitehead’s dismissal from the highest admin position on the message board/site. It is amusing to skim – the poster is quite irate and runs through Whitehead’s personal history and sporadic unemployment to feed his anger.
Leaving aside from angry people on the Internet, Whitehead has notably made friends with George R R Martin (the author named a character after him in his forthcoming book – “The Winds of Winter“). His blog does not net him much money, but he is very clearly doing it for other reasons.
Whitehead’s personal life also very clearly affects his content. Not only does he review and cover books and television shows and games that he enjoys, but his blog output is dependent on how much free time he has. For two months or so he has been unemployed, which resulted in more news posts and more reviews. Now that he is employed again (according to a recent Patreon post), there will presumably be less new stuff to peruse. Here’s his Twitter.
On SimilarWeb, it is clear most of his readership is from America (despite being based in the UK) and that the readers are largely drawn from online forum communities (direct is the largest source of traffic and the interest categories of visitors firmly trends towards “Internet and Telecoms > Chats and Forums”).
Honestly, I dislike the generic gray-white feel of The Wertzone homepage, but the blog is considerably better-looking than many other sites from 2006. Also Whitehead’s reviews are biased in favor of more sprawling and epic fantasy. I disagree with some of his reviews (especially on his opinion of Lev Grossman) and I just don’t care about some of the video games he tends to post about. However, his site boasts an impressive back-catalog of authors and reviews. Those looking for a good author need only scroll down the right side of his blog page and pick a name.
He tends to engage with the comments section, and thought there are definite dry patches in his coverage, Whitehead is a reliable place to find the latest news on many things fantasy-related.
Header photo: Adam Whitehead via wiki article. Photo.