I see articles, like this one from Typepad all over the Web and traditional media. It's another article that will undoubtedly raise the hopes of bloggers everywhere that they too can land a six-figure book deal simply by choosing a topic and blogging about it.
I don't want to be a party-pooper. I really don't. But I feel the need to point out that while these three bloggers were landing book deals using the blog-to-book method, hundreds, if not thousands, of other writers were getting deals in the traditional manner by pitching themselves to agents and editors.
I was so happy to see popular blogger Penelope Trunk keeping the blog-to-book fantasy grounded for her fellow bloggers. You can see from her suggestions in this article, that while the goal of blog-to-book may sound oh-so much easier than going the traditional route, Trunk has no delusions about it. Platform building and marketing, which is how agents and editors typically view blogging, is actually not a substitute for all of the usual skill sets (like writing well and book proposal writing, which is the selling your writing part) that writers have to learn to clinch a book deal.
One of trickiest parts of what I do as a writing-for-publication instructor is help my students assess the value of their platform accomplishments through the eyes of agents and editors. Because yes, platform development through the Internet is very important for writers of every stripe, who wish achieve traditional publication. But their is a straighter, shorter path and that is to be the one who delivers your pitch to the agents and editors themselves, instead of waiting to be discovered.
There are heroes among us and I'm committed to pointing them out amidst the backdrop of riff-raff and scammers, who slither in increasing numbers through the ethers.
What's a platform superhero?
A platform superhero is a publishing insider, who willingly shares information with the world in hopes of increasing everyone's chances for publshing success in this crazy industry where pretty much nothing makes any sense.
One such platform hero is J.A. Konrath. For one thing, I love his tagline:
"There's a name for a writer who doesn't give up...published." Now that's good stuff.
For another thing, he keeps his advice real and his feet on the ground even as he succeeds book deal after book deal after book deal. I admire that in a writer.
And finally, we attended the same school for writing, Columbia College, Chicago.
And what do you know, just when I decided to name Joe the very first Platform Superhero, his fifth novel, Fuzzy Navel is due to hit the shelves next week. I hope it becomes a bestseller.