Saturday, April 04, 2009


Consider this movie plot: An unknown who doesn’t read books gets a huge advance from a major publisher to write ten books. Pfft. Not likely.

Except, of course, it’s true. According to the Wall Street Journal,
HarperStudio has signed a seven-figure, 10-book deal with Gary Vaynerchuk, a 33-year-old Belarusian-born wine retailer from New Jersey, who, except for a talk show appearance here and there, is basically unknown in mainstream media circles.
He’s not a writer. Doesn’t even read books. So how does a guy like that get such an offer. What does he have? He has a platform. The Wall Street Journal says:
But in the world of the Internet, he is a Twitter phenom, with 145,000 followers hanging on his every tweet. What began as a daily video blog about wine has become a self-help, business-advice juggernaut, with "Garyvee" as chief engineer.

And he does seem to have special powers of persuasion: the first time he visited the Harper offices, sources say, he wowed the troops by sitting down at the computer and tweeting about the HarperStudio blog, The 26th Story; the group then watched in real time as thousands of people descended upon that blog.
Now, you might think, okay, seven figures split over ten books, that’s not like way over the top, even for a relatively unknown. Here’s what SmartBrief had to say about his deal:
Gary Vaynerchuk, host of the Wine Library TV" video blog, has turned personal branding into an art form. Now comes word that he has signed a 10-book publishing deal worth at least $100,000 per book. But here's the kicker: Vaynerchuk has negotiated a 50-50 revenue-sharing deal with publisher HarperStudio, giving him a bigger stake in the books' success. In the staid book-publishing industry, Vaynerchuk's contract could be the start of an entrepreneurial revolution.
I say, Wow. Wow. Wow.
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  1. I've visited four blogs before yours and none would let me leave a comment until yours. ARGHHHH.

    This is amazing. I especially love that he worked a better deal for himself. Many authors just sign the contract. Everything is negotiable, we need to really ask for what we want. They certainly are not going to give it to you unless you ask.

  2. That is wow!
    Obviously a lot of people want to know what he knows, though....
    And he can tweet about my sites & blog anytime!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. Wow is a gross understatement. What an amazing testament to the POWER of branding these days! Good lord, I must not be doing something right. That or not well enough yet.

  4. Yeah, wow is a bit of an understatement. I have to say this is exciting for that guy, who never wrote a word in his life, but it's a little extreme. Ten books? I could see three books, to test him out and see if he really has something to say, but ten. I'm kind of put off by that. Maybe I'm jealous.


  5. I agree with you all. And some might say it's the power of Twitter, but it's more than that. Plenty of people are on Twitter. This guy created a platform and thousands jumped on. He worked it.

  6. Okay, he's got a platform, but how many of his Twitter followers read books? And will they all be written in Tweetspeak?

    Gayle Carline (aka GeeCarl)

  7. Reminds me of my first big book deal—If I remember it correctly it was a four book deal, I got the first three free and had to buy at least one more……Seriously, that is quite a deal and a lot of cash. But 10 books might be too many—or—then again maybe it will prove to be a great deal for the publisher.
    Platform sells.

  8. Ten books? Are they out of their mind? I encountered Garyvee on my first time out on Twitter. I watched a couple of his videos and was mildly amused and interested but what he mostly does is create hype for himself. I didn't even learn about wine - so what the hell can he fill up ten books about?

    Sorry, this is just another example of writers getting the shaft and mere celebrity getting the goodies.

    It bites my ass that more people will buy his books than will buy any good fiction title this year in all likelihood.

  9. Pan, according to the WSJ: "The first book in his series, "Crush It! Turn Your Passion into Profits in a Digital World," lands in stores in September." So perhaps he'll be talking about what he knows best, using the Internet to make money doing what you love to do.

    Yep, platform sells. It's why more and more agents expect potential clients to already have a platform before they sign on.

    Gayle, maybe he'll do a whole book in sentences no longer than 140 characters. ;-)

  10. Further proof for those who claim social networking isn't worth the time! Intriguing deal.


  11. Wow is right! This is really interesting and amazing. His platform obviously sells, and it will be interesting to see if his books do as well!

  12. I better go over and follow him!
    Wish I had his magic touch. I have over 1,000 followers,which I though was good.

    Morgan Mandel

  13. He'd be worth studying to see what he did and how he did it.

  14. Gary's book deal may not be as unusual as it sounds. Harper Studio is based on a new approach to book contracts: they form a partnership with all their authors -- not just Gary V.

  15. Thanks Northern Lights. I thought the deal was very interesting - the amount and the split. What really caught my attention was that Gary was an unknown (relatively speaking) before Twitter and he was able to use Twitter to create an astounding platform that helped seal the deal for him.

  16. Well, "wow" is one word that comes to mind. I guess we'll see how this all works out.


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