If, as a blogger, you sometimes feel a mite downtrodden… If you reach up just to touch the bottom… If you wonder where your dogged persistence will get you in the end… If your friends, family, and colleagues consider it hideous beyond words—lower than Akon’s sag—to post a comment that will appear in pixels instead of print… If you’ve seriously thought your time might be better spent on a lucrative copywriting gig… I say, (in my best imitation of Joe Bob’s Southern drawl) FRIENDS, here are five bloggers’ success stories that will put smiles on your faces—and give you a sense of what caliber of blogging is noticed by major publishers. And all this time, I thought the person you cared about was me, the reader.
Colin Beavan, No Impact Man
New York City
The author of two books of historical nonfiction launched a blog in February 2007 as a form of journalism and to generate advance interest in his third book. No Impact Man, says Beavan, “is my experiment with researching, developing and adopting a way of life for me and my little family—one wife, one toddler, one dog—to live in the heart of New York City while causing no net environmental impact.” The blog is part of a concept that helped him win a book contract with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, an affiliate of Macmillan (formerly known as Holtzbrinck), which in 2009 will publish Beavan’s account of his experiences.
Clotilde Dusoulier, Chocolate & Zucchini
Success wasn’t achieved overnight by this young blogger, who enjoys encountering an author’s resonant voice in the cookbooks she reads. Dusolier says, “I believe that this is what most readers love about food blogs…” She started her cooking blog in 2003 and, with the encouragement of friends and a literary agent, eventually accepted the best offer of a book deal from Broadway Books, a Random House imprint. Her first book, bearing the title of her blog, was published in 2007, and the second, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, is due from the same publisher in 2008.
Gregory K. Pincus, GottaBook
Pincus, a working (or striking) screenwriter, told blog marketing expert Denise Wakeman that he became involved in the “children’s literature community online as an experiment with harnessing the connective power of blogs.” In 2006, he announced on his own blog that he’d signed a two-book deal with Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books. Considering Pincus drew attention to his blog by calling for submissions of poetry based on the Fibonacci sequence, its success, by all accounts, is miraculous.
Ana Marie Cox, formerly of Wonkette
Penguin’s Riverhead Books division published Cox’s novel, Dog Days, about a presidential campaign worker who writes a fictitious blog exposé of life in the nation’s capital. The brief bio on Cox’s current blog outlines her career detour into the blogosphere. She’s now the Washington editor of Time.com and has an HBO talk show and a second book in the works.
Penelope Trunk, Brazen Careerist
This former software marketing executive is a columnist for the Boston Globe and Yahoo! Finance. Her first book, Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, published by Hachette’s Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing), offers survival strategies for today’s business world. In the summer of 2007, after negotiating a second book contract, Trunk posted “How to get a six-figure book deal from your blog,” which answers many of the questions now starting to percolate in your mind.
For a little additional insight, you can read an old but still interesting discussion of bloggers-turned-book-authors on John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever.
Hang in there. Write well. Get connected.