The “blog to book” phenomenon that has been going on for the last couple years is obviously at this point no longer funny–it has become normal, like most signs of the apocalypse. So the announcement of a book deal for the blog “Things Hipsters Hate” wouldn’t have caught my eye were it not for the astonishing and seemingly straight-faced justification given by the agent (last name: Ashlock) for why this book is different than all the rest. When he met with them a couple months after their blog launched,
no one knew yet that this site playfully blowing the whistle on indie scorn was written by two sweet, self-effacing magazine editors, a couple of soft-spoken twenty-something girls from Williamsburg.
They had so perfectly developed this voice that most readers thought the authors were a couple of bros from Manhattan. In other words, it was clear to me that they could really write…
In other other words, they are such amazing writers that they managed to span the entire distance of cultural relevance, from Williamsburg all the way to Manhattan. So! I think that about wraps things up. Please form an orderly line. The apocalypse will see you shortly.
27 thoughts on “Things Writers Hate”
The apocalypse will have to wait until my own photoblog-to-book, Poodles in Fezzes, is published by Random House in November 2010, just in time for what should be a hilarious holiday season.
You jest, but were you to actually create that blog, and post user-submitted photos along with, say, funny little quotes from the “roaring” 20’s, you’d have a book deal in under 6 months.
Do I smell a cultural experiment brewing?
Oh no, I wasn’t jesting at all. I can actually imagine such a book being published. And then I retch uncontrollably.
Do it, Pete. Think of your family.
You should include some of the Victorian era slang Rachel posted.
I *am* thinking of my family, and how I don’t want to give them another reason to mock me mercilessly.
“John O’Brien: Starting, however, in the 1970s and ’80s, the situation began to change. Larger publishers bought out smaller ones, merged lists, and cut lines that weren’t profitable. Even though commercial publishing has always been concerned with profit, it also had certain standards of what a book should be in order to be a book. Those standards no longer exist. If you write a book called “How to Lose 50 Pounds in 5 Days,” someone will publish it. Since it is printed and has a cover on it, it’s a book! It was Alfred Knopf who said that best-sellers would kill publishing, that they were insidious. It would be impossible to find a New York publisher now who would agree with him. You might find some editors who would agree with him in a bar late at night in a very private conversation, but they certainly would not agree with him in terms of how to run a publishing house.”
Yeah, that man is a true believer. And DA is one of the best presses around, as a result (it’s really just a kind of expression of his personality, insofar as he selects everything they publish, and doesn’t care to form his decisions around a preconceived “vision.”)
yeah, this is pretty soul crushing.
Am more annoyed that to prove they could write, they had to sound like men.
It feels like an odd interpolation of how Colette’s abusive, controlling husband, took credit for her first books, publishing them under a pen name of his own.
Did they actually “try to sound like men,” or did their readers just assume that they were men (because that’s what readers do)? Or is the journalist here just being lazy, making something up?
This might be splitting hairs, but I couldn’t tell from the article. (Note that I’ve never read their blog.)
I didn’t mean to suggest the authors had tried anything. The journalist just seems to be showing his underpants when he says that rather than seeming like “a couple of soft-spoken twenty-something girls,” they came across to readers like “a couple of bros from Manhattan” which proves “they could really write.”
If the “girls” (are they under 18? it seems not from the twenty-somethings, so–women) were really trying to adopt some kind of non-female identity, that changes things, I suppose. Otherwise, it’s hard to read this as if it doesn’t suggest that proving one can write is a matter of sounding like a bro instead of a girl.
My interpretation is that if one can successfully pull off sounding “other” than that proves writerly talent. That said, if the blog was written by a couple of unicorns, it would still be insipid in my opinion.
“My interpretation is that if one can successfully pull off sounding “other” than that proves writerly talent.”
Yes, possible. And more charitable than mine.
The more I look at it, the more offensive—and the more inane—the agent’s comments seem.
Same. I had to stop after the first couple of pages.. It made me ill. Not so much the blog, but the bookdeal, and the editor’s justifications of accepting tacky crap.
I don’t think they sounded like bros at all. I checked out the first page, and they were busting on flared jeans, and drooling (however ironically ironic they were trying to be) over Michael Cera. That doesn’t scream or even whisper “Manhatten bro” to me.
Shya, I’ll still share profits from LOOK AT THIS FUCKING WRITER with you when it becomes a book. Without you, after all, there’d have been no inspiration.
I wouldn’t claim any share of those profits, Molly. My mullet, on the other hand, might ask for a cut.
Super Cuts! Zing backatcha!
For what it’s worth, Daniel Bailey’s blog-to-book was a win on that front.
I’ve lived in NYC all my life and I think I’ve been called “bro” once and it was from someone who’d previously lived in Miami.
So how do you write like a “bro” anyway?
How abbropriate! Sounds like the title of the next blog-to-book project.
You guys are so brovial!