Saturday, December 18, 2004

Hey, Publishers…

My dad clued me into this piece from the New York Times how blogging could lead to fame, fortune, and book tours.

During the last year many Web logs, or blogs, have focused on the war in Iraq and the presidential campaign, and as these blogs gained a wider audience some publishers started paying attention to them. Sometimes publishers are interested in publishing elements of the blogs in book form; mostly they simply enjoy the blogger’s writing and want to publish a novel or nonfiction book by the blogger, usually on a topic unrelated to the blog.

One of the first to make the transition was Baghdad blogger known as Salam Pax, who wrote an online war diary from Iraq. Last year Grove Press published a collection of his work, “Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi.”

In June a former Senate aide, Jessica Cutler, whose blog documenting her sexual exploits with politicos dominated Capitol gossip in the spring, sold a Washington-focused novel to Hyperion for an advance well into six figures, said Kelly Notaras of Hyperion.

Meanwhile, a British call girl with the pseudonym Belle de Jour, who had created a sensation with a blog about her experiences, has signed a six-figure deal with Warner Books to publish a memoir, said Amy Einhorn, executive editor at Warner Books who bought the book.

Ms. Einhorn said that after she heard about the blog, “I downloaded the whole site, read it that night and then bought the book.”

In October Ana Marie Cox, editor of wonkette.com, a racy, often wry Washington-based blog, sold her first novel, “Dog Days,” a comic tale with a political context, to Riverhead Books. She said she received a $275,000 advance.

Lesser-known bloggers are also peddling books. Julie Powell, a Queens secretary who blogged about trying to make every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume 1)” during the course of a year, signed with Little, Brown to write about the experience..

[edit]

Not everyone, though, is convinced that bloggers’ skills translate to longer-form books. “The style of blog writing is more oriented towards short form one page, set in the moment,” said Scott Rettberg, an assistant professor of new media studies at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona. “The sense of immediacy is quite important in blogs.”

Even bloggers who have sold books agree that there is one topic they would not focus on in the longer-form novel: blogging. “I don’t know how interesting a book just about the blogosphere would be,” Ms. Cox said. “It’d just be people sitting in front of their computers.”

Ms. Spiers summed up the general feeling: “There are no bloggers in my novel. None.”

If there are any publishers reading this blog who are interested in exploring my other works such as my plays (Can’t Live Without You et al) or Bobby Cramer, my novel-in-progress, feel free to drop me a line.