So Newsweek ran a story in their print edition this week about this crazy new phenomenon—perhaps you’ve heard of it? Apparently people called “bloggers” can sometimes get deals for their “blogs,” but some of these “blogger books” (at least they didn’t call them “blooks”) haven’t sold a lot of copies so maybe all blog books will FAIL.
The author, Jessica Bennett (
who didn’t contact me or my co-editor, Jess GroseUPDATE: Jessica contacted our publisher, who never informed us she contacted them), uses Postcards From Yo Momma as an example: “Now loyal contributors to Postcards From Yo Momma can revel in anthologized maternal mail as well as the knowledge that the site’s creators sewed up a “comfortable” deal with Hyperion.” Sure, just take Balk’s word for it, why don’t ya.
Bennett takes a what we call “selective” view of books that have been published based on blogs; there’s the obligatory Stuff White People Like mention, but then she points out that although the Hipster Handbook (which is based on Free Williamsburg, which she doesn’t mention) sold 40,000 copies, “many bloggers just repackage what they’ve already done.” Then she points to the Gawker and Daily Candy books as examples of flops, with no mention of the runaway success of, say, PostSecret.
This is curious! The Gawker book was hardly a “repackaging” of the site; it was written, for the most part, by people who didn’t even write for Gawker. It was a guide to mastering the media and NONE of the material had ever appeared on Gawker. The other thing is that Gawker and Stuff White People Like are, like, not even in the same LEAGUE. Gawker is barely a “blog” anymore; it’s basically a 24-hour, online subjective news operation. It’s even more preposterous to lump in the Daily Candy book with the other blog books—you can just imagine Bennett’s conversation with her editor: “But it’s a website!”
(I would even go so far as to make the case that PFYM isn’t, technically, a “blog.”)
Also, she quotes one “Brettne Bloom of the Kneerim & Williams agency” as saying that for a blog book to be successful, “the reading experience for a book needs to go deeper.” Well, duh. But just who is Brettne Bloom? And just what is the Kneerim & Williams agency?
Well, let’s see. They are a “literary and dramatic rights agency” with offices in Boston, Washington, DC and New York. Their company’s mission is “to help talented writers achieve their publishing goals.” According to Publishers Marketplace, Brettne Bloom sold this book in March: “Journalist Christine Coppa’s memoir about becoming a single mom at 26, inspired by her blog, Storked!, on Glamour.com, to Christine Pride at Broadway, by Brettne Bloom at Kneerim & Williams (world).” (Someone tell Moe.)
Huh! Wonder why that book wasn’t mentioned. Oh, and look at that. Brettne also represents J. Courtney Sullivan.