Blogger Gets Book Deal Through Social Media Success

If you’ve ever doubted the legitimacy of the blog itself, the power of viral marketing as a PR tactic, or the value of bloggers as media contacts, you’ll want to read today’s post.

First week of January 08: Chris Lander, an internet copy writer, launched a tongue-in-cheek site called Stuff White People Like which pokes fun at Caucasian stereotypes. (A favorite entry of mine is “The No. 1 reason white people like not having a TV, is so they can tell you that they don’t have a TV.” Priceless.

Mid-January: The blog moved virally as friends passed the link to each other online and Stuff White People Like saw about 200 hits a day.

End of January: Bloggers picked it up and the publicity buzz began with site visitors jumping to 4,000/day in just 1 week.

Early February: Quoting bloggers, morning drive-time radio and online media talked about Lander’s site, delivering 100,000 unique visitors a day.

Mid-February: Wired MagazineThe LA Times and various others reported on the blog’s content and, six weeks from launch, daily visitors hit 300,000.

End of February: The hosts of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” debated whether the site is racist or satire, spawning more media coverage, and Stuff White People Like sees 1.5 million hits.

March 20: Random House announced a book deal for Lander with a paperback scheduled for release in August. Reports put the deal at around $300,000, an unheard of sum for a book spawned from a blog, written by a previously unpublished author.

Now, I’ve always said, the beauty of the web is it allows business to move at the speed of information. This book deal is living proof. In what other medium can one become a global success and a published author in three short months? It’s phenomenal.

And, apparently, it’s the new trend.

The site I Can Has Cheezburger, which features lolcats, (photos of animals with humorous, ungrammatical captions) debuted in January 2007. Three months later, the site had 1.6 million page views and literary agents were calling. After a bidding war, Gotham Books won the deal and the first book hits shelves this November.

The creator of the Skull-A-Day blog, a blog which features images of skulls made from candy, sparklers and other stuff, has a book deal for an October release.

And, the best seller “Julie and Julia,” about a woman who cooked one Julia Child recipe a day, started out as a blog. Likewise, “The Hipster Handbook,” spawned from freewilliamsburg.com in 2003, has sold 39,000 paperbacks, according to Nielsen BookScan.

So, the blogger legitimacy question has taken a new twist as literary agents are now scouring blogs for their next big deal. And, to that I’d like to say, I can be reached through the “Contact Me” links above.

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