The other night I attended “From Blogger to Author: How Bloggers Get Book Deals, and What This Means for Publishing.”
Michael Malice from Overhead in New York was there, as well as Julie Powell, whose blog was about how she cooked all of the recipes in a Julia Child cookbook. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan has a blog called Apartment Therapy. Robert Rummel-Hudson’s blog is about his daughter Schuyler and the challenges she faces having Congenital Bilateral Perisylvian Syndrome, which renders her mute. And there were two agents there as well.
The seminar was probably good for those who don’t know that much about the book business, but for me it was the same stuff again. A popular blog doesn’t automatically equal a book deal, which was what pretty much everyone said. Sometimes, as per Michael Malice, a popular blog can bite you in the ass when you want to do a book (um, bitter much?).
Some people happen have the right combination of a good idea and good luck, like Julie Powell, who was, by the way, so very annoying with the way she kept saying that her experience was “stupid” and “lame.” I mean, once okay, but when she said it the third time, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I had to leave early.
I don’t have any delusions that these blogs will land me a publishing contract. Right now I’m feeling sort of hopeless about the whole writing career thing. As the agents talked about having a distinctive voice, putting together book proposals, having a platform, etc., etc., this hopeless feeling grew. I’ve tried all that. I think I have a distinctive voice; I think I have talent. I searched for an agent, I’ve entered a zillion contests, I’ve sent my stuff out. But it’s really really hard.
Okay, now I’m whining.
I remembered back to that meeting I had with an agent at the Small Press Center writers’ conference last April. She advised that my memoir would be easier to sell if I first published pieces of it in columns like Modern Love. At the time, I thought, Okay, done. But now I realized: MODERN LOVE. That’s in the NEW YORK TIMES. It’ll probably be easier for me to sell a memoir to a small independent publisher than get published in the New York frigging Times.
So I will write my memoir, though first I need to finish my NaNoWriMo novel, which is just sitting unfininshed in my laptop. I’ll look at these other folks’ blogs and get some inspiration. I’ll keep blogging and I’ll keep writing, but as two separate streams.
Maybe I’m not so hopeless after all, but that could be caffeine high talking.