Every now and then I take a look beyond the regular web sites and blogs that I frequent. I recently discovered that the blog Stuff White People Like —it is not a hateful racist site — is being made into a book. It is a $300k deal according to the New York Times ("Why Blog? Reason No. 92: Book Deal" by Allen Salkin March 30, 2008). Indeed it is blogger's dream come true.
It will be difficult for the publisher to make a profit, said Sara Nelson, editor of Publishers Weekly. Doing some back-of-the-envelope math, she figured Random House would have to sell about 75,000 copies, a total that would likely land the book on best-seller lists, to earn back its $300,000 advance.
The publishing house is not worried about any accusations about the book being racist because it’s not really about white people, [Random House spokeswoman] Ms. [Barbara] Fillon said.
“A lot of different people are relating to this,” she said. “It exposes pop culture in general on a level everyone can relate to no matter what their race is.”
Racist or not, others are not such fans. The site’s satire does not hit the scathing heights of irony, but wallows in the simple scorched-earth attack of snarkiness, said Jon Winokur, the author of “The Big Book of Irony.”
“Snarkiness is contempt before investigation,” he said. “It’s just a pose that rejects everything in its path, and that’s what I take this to be.”
But can 1.5 million hits, the number Random House says Mr. [Christian] Lander’s site has attracted, be wrong? If a blog has lured that many eyeballs in the freewheeling terrain of the Internet, publishers are willing to take a chance it will attract attention in the bookstore, said Kate McKean, a literary agent with the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, who is one of those now scouring the Web for new clients.
1.5 million hits and $300k! Wow, we got a long way to go here. If the blog you are currently viewing were about "pop culture" I suppose we could "keep hope alive" for a future payday.
Stuff White People Like's full list is funny, sad, true ... perhaps just an interesting diversion. You be the judge. Enjoy.