Saturday, September 23, 2006

Publishers say few hits on blog books
By Lauren Beckham Falcone/ Books
Saturday, September 23, 2006

Not so long ago, having a popular blog was the ultimate “in” to get yourself a book deal.

Now? Not so much.

Bloggers, buoyed by site meter numbers and Internet buzz, were the darling of the publishing world about two years ago. But when books hit the shelves, sales fizzled, and now it takes a lot more than a laptop and a blogspot account to make it onto Amazon’s top 100.

“They haven’t performed as well as publishers hoped,” said Boston-based literary agent Jill Kneerim. “It is still a phenomenon that people are hopeful about, but in many cases, people who are fans of the blog have already read the content. So what’s the point in buying the book?”

Stephanie Klein, whose blog “Greek Tragedy” at netted her a six-figure, two-book deal, released “Straight Up and Dirty” this past spring. It wasn’t the grand slam publishers expected. One agent told The Book Standard, “Paying $500,000-plus for that Greek Tragedy blogger was pretty dumb.”

Other hyped blogger books such as “Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq” (riverbendblog.blogspot .com), “Anonymous Lawyer” by Jeremy Blachman (anonymous and “I’m Not the New Me: A Memoir” by Wendy McClure ( weren’t anything to, well, blog about.

“A book has to be bigger and last longer than a blog,” Kneerim said. “It has to be more than gossiping or talking about yourself.”

Sara Nelson, editor in chief of Publishers Weekly, agreed.

“(Former Wonkette blogger) Ana Maria Cox’s book didn’t do as well as expected,” she said.

Adams Media publisher Gary Krebs has published bloggers, most recently Erin Shea’s “Tales from the Scale: Women Weigh In on Thunder Thighs, Cheese Fries, and Feeling Good at Any Size,” based on

“It’s done quite well,” he said. “But I think that (publishing bloggers) is something you have to scrutinize very carefully. If a blog gets the attention of the public, then we are at the point knowing that we really have to look at it and determine if there’s something beyond it. Having a popular blog isn’t enough to get a book deal anymore.”

Tucker Max, the rare successful blogger turned author of “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” (tucker, is a bit more, um, direct.

“These bloggers aren’t good writers and they really don’t get a lot of traffic if you really look at the numbers,” he said. “They had a blog, people liked reading the blog, then they wrote stuff people don’t want to read. Who cares what Jessica Cutler’s novel is about? People liked reading she had sex with senators who paid her (money).” - the Edge: Publishers say few hits on blog books

1 comment:

James Aach said...

Another approach is the "blook" - where an author puts his/her entire book on a blog - often in episodic form - in order to demonstrate both writing quality and marketability. Especially in the fiction publishing world there are a limited number of agents and editors with a limited number of interests. The blook is a way around that filter which, if nothing else, can bring the author some self-satisfaction.

When my own novel elicted little more than form letter rejections I turned it into a blook. It turned out the public was ready for a thriller that's also an insider portrait of the nuclear power industry. My blook has gotten a very positive response from readers around the country who report it's both a good thriller and very informative. So, as I said, at least there can be some self-satisfaction in the blook process. And it beats having sex with senators for money.

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