Friday, May 22, 2009

Books from Blogs

When you think of The Washington Post, you don’t usually think “funny.” But this past Sunday, Gene Weingarten was funny in his article, Can I Has Money? It’s about books being published and which ones are pulling in the big advances.
The point I am trying to make is that it is very, very difficult to get a book published, which is why I am dismayed by a hot new phenomenon in the publishing industry: People who cannot write are getting fat book contracts for work they didn't do. I'm talking about certain kinds of bloggers: people who run Web sites that subsist on things like reader-submitted snapshots of dogs in stupid outfits or photos of big plates of greasy food.
He cites one blog in particular:
The Web site, which features photos of people's cats paired with illiterate captions, has become a book called "I Can Has Cheezburger?" which has sold more than 100,000 copies. (This is more than twice as many copies as my three books have sold, altogether, and that's counting the fact that, like all authors, I lie about my sales.)
Okay, two questions for you:
1. What do you think about this trend?
2. On what subject matter should I create a new blog that’s got to be totally stupid and picture heavy?
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  1. 1. The trend bothers me enormously because I worry that blogs/books like these encourage people to be less than they can be.

    2. LOL! If I had an answer to (2) I'd be too busy counting my millions...

  2. It bothers me immensely because I tend to think that if my cat (Sgt Catman) could speak human, he would be grammatically correct.

  3. 1. Well my blog book, "Between the Storm and the Rainbow" might benefit in sales if this trend continues, but-

    2. If I have to resort to stupidity and inanely adorned with pointless personal pictures posts to get a fat contract and advance, then ...

    sigh, I'll do it - I need the money.

    LOL - not.

    The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

  4. Stupid humor is not my forte (okay, humor in general is not my strong suit) so I guess I'd miss out on all of this.

    The LOL Cats book doesn't bother me, but bloggers who simply whine, *itch, and instigate or guru-like Tweeters who think they know everything should not get book deals!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  5. I never cease to be amazed at what people will buy! I need to work on coming up with a great idea for question 2 also.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  6. Sigh. LOLCats are a sign of the impending Apocalypse(tm), I'm afraid. Our culture imploding from a fascination with stupid human tricks and bad grammar in captions.

    Seriously, I love some of the sites, including I Can Haz Cheesburger, Cake Wrecks, Cute Overload, and several others; but to buy a book based on these things seems rather silly when you can go onto the internet and read them all for free. (Insert eye roll here.)

  7. I enjoy the LOL Cats site but I agree, with Writtenwyrdd, I'd just enjoy the free pics on the site. It seems to be the inane and the celeb books (often another branch of the inane) that get the ridiculous amounts in advances and book deals. Sigh.


  8. I'm thinking I'll start a blog of my husband's progress on the back yard wall, plantings and waterfall. It's slow, so lots of pics, and he looks pretty good in shorts. Here's him pushing a wheelbarrow of dirt. Here's him lifting bricks. Here's him... sounds mundane enough.

  9. Has television dumbed down most people to the point that they only want to look at pictures? This really has me worried.


  10. Uh, No, Helen. I like your blog just as it is, smart, something funny, at all times worth reading.

    As far as the cat story and trends such as those, it's a niche. Good gig if you can get it, I suppose. People have a strange sense of humor at times. However, most of those books will end up in someone's garage sale, or traded in at the used books store for something that gives more than a brief chuckle.

  11. I think pictures of children and small animals in funny costumes will always get plenty of traffic because people want to be able to grab the pictures and email them to all their friends.

  12. Ooh, Mark, you reminded me of the book of pictures of babies as if they were part of various flowers. I didn't buy the book, but thought the pictures were precious.

  13. People will read most anything. I get upset when I see stars writing books and I know a ghost writer had to do all that hard work!

  14. Helen

    I'll buy the picture book of your hubby if he's pushing the wheelbarrel with you there. LOL

    I'm amazed at what people will buy.

    Sexy romance by Enid Wilson

  15. There was that Tweet Link today from someone who'd just watched a film clip (and was strangely mesmerized) of his brother-in-law washing the dishes. Different strokes for different folks.

    I'm thinking a whole book with photos of people's feet. Has that already been done?


  16. Helen, In answer to your question the other day about what I did with the wine beautifully labeled with my book covers. I gave some away, we drank some, and I still have a couple of bottles left to decorate my office...which will be handy if I have a really bad day.


  17. Thanks Patricia. I don't know if I could drink it. If I did, I'd probably save the label or put water in the bottle so I could display it! That was a super idea.

    Now, feet might be interesting. Not mine, mind you, but I've seen some interesting ones. In fact, I have a similar picture up on my website. A group of writer friends all put our feet together.

    Terri, that drives me crazy, too. 'Course it could be that if the celebrity actually wrote the book, no on would buy it.

    Thank you Enid. I have a sale!!!

  18. Oh, hey, there's an idea. Various versions of hubbo doing the corpse pose. Hehe. The ultimate de-stresser. Zzzzzzz. I'm with anyone who mentioned the six-figure advance celeb tell-alls. Honestly, who wants to read a Tori Spelling dish about... what? Don't get me on my soapbox.


  19. Who said life was fair? How about pictures of feet, cute feet,ugly feet, toes talking to each other? Wait a minute, not stupid enough.

  20. All's fair in love and war...and humor writing, I guess. People like to laugh--and I'll admit it, LOLCats can be darned funny--so it will sell. These sorts of books aren't in competition with my fiction writing, so I guess I won't worry about it. Much. ;)


  21. I don't know, Conda. Feet painted with faces? An insiders view of women's toes squeezed into those insane pointed heels? Baby's feet?

    We may have a winner here. Of course, if it were really a winner, someone else would have already done it.


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