Question of the day: I have this idea that if I can get a real readership on my blog then I can use that as part of my pitch to a publisher for the book I am writing. As in "See? I already know x amount of people who loyally read and would buy my book (in hardcover, even)." Is this a completely off base train assumption?
Yes and no. I've discussed this briefly in the past (you can search the archives, but I wrote it right after the NY Times covered a $350,000 book deal for a blogger), but I'm happy to revisit. Here's the deal with bloggers and book deals - and others, please feel free to chime in with your thoughts: DO. NOT. START. A. BLOG. TO. LAND. A BOOK. DEAL. This might be one of the most fruitless and excruciating wastes of time and effort ever. Start a blog if you have something interesting and unique to offer the blogging world. Start a blog if you'd like to have an outlet for your writing. Start a blog if you want to keep your mom in the loop of your life and not have to pick up the phone to speak with her. There are a lot of reasons to start a blog - landing a book deal isn't one of them.
Why? Because, to begin with, these days, you hear about the exceptions: the few bloggers who nab these amazing deals, but you don't hear of the millions - literally millions - of other bloggers who don't. And these bloggers who DO land book deals do so because they really offer something unique that can then be turned into a book. It's not like they just package up their posts, bind them, and voila, they're published. Take, for example, Julie and Julia, in which one author chronicled her attempts to cook a Julia Child recipe every day for a year. There was a story behind the blog, and the book, which many of you might have read, wasn't just made up of blog posts - it was a memoir that chronicled Julie Powell's life transformation. This was a book with or without the blog. The blog just helped get her noticed.
So...yeah...a blog CAN get you noticed, and certainly, if you have a big enough audience - but we're talking about at least thousands of readers, which isn't an easy thing to achieve - it can help make you more attractive to a publisher. But it's really a shot in the dark...or at least a shot into cyberspace, and, in my opinion, it's not something really worth concentrating on. In some ways, taking a more traditional route - pitching, querying agents, etc - might be the easier way to land a deal. And we all know that this way ain't so easy either.
But that's just my opinion. Readers, I'm sure you have thoughts on this too. So weigh in: blogging - helpful or not in landing a book deal?