Monday, 29 June 2009

Fowl Play

It is the same old story.

Girl meets interesting new blog.

Girl reads blog daily and enjoys it.

Blogger gets publishing deal and turns into a chicken.

"Book book book book book book book." Strut. Crow. "Book! Book book."

It is intensely irritating. The kind of posts which attracted readers in the first the place are now only to be found in the archives, entirely replaced by self promotion and shameless hawking for trade. Fuck right off, I say. I'm not giving some online tosser £12.99 to read their recycled dross when they can't even give me the time of day because they're too busy schmoozing the "A-list" bloggers who also have publishing deals. (Mind you, that said, I don't even give my favourite established authors my hard-earned £12.99, being a massive fan of the public library and second hand book shop. Still, it's fun to be offensive, so fuck off, blog book authors I say, again.)

Maybe it's just me though. Tell me, have you ever purchased a blogger book?


Snarl said...

I bought a copy of Ben Goldacre's Bad Science based on having read his blog. I don't think that's quite the same as buying a book based on a blogger's life though. I have seriously considered buying Bete de Jour's book just because he is actually an awesome writer. Just haven't teetered over that line yet.

Bad Science is great, though.

Anonymous said...

I have, mostly because I'm a knitter and a lot of blogging knitters have gotten book deals in regards to their knitting. I recognize that it's not the same phenomena to the one that you are describing, but I think the good writers and bloggers are able to separate the writing for work/a book and writing for community.

Good writer/bloggers can separate the two worlds and provide quality in both arenas.

Duke Orsino said...

Well, it was a blogger book that got me started, but that was a long time ago, and the blog in question went the same way as Bete's going. Don't expect much more of interest there.

I agree he's a good writer, but when I first read the blog it just didn't add up to me - I mean, no-one who can write with such wit and charm should have any problem finding and maintaining a relationship, no matter how hideous his looks. Believe me, I know. I suspected at the time that he was either already after a book deal, or already had one, so I wasn't in the slightest bit surprised to see it in the Biography section of my local Waterstones. I have read it (well, a combination of speed reading and shop staff that know me), and it's fine, as it goes. I just don't like the thought that it could be fiction masquerading as something else - I think that's showing disrespect to one's audience.

Interesting acknowledgements page though ...

Lady Julia said...

I agree, very irritating. I haven't purchased a blogger's book and once I realized many of these books are a compilation of things I've already read, I doubt I will.

I don't really agree that someone's ability to write with such wit and charm could always find a relationship regardless of their looks. It's much easier to be witty and charming when no one is looking. Additionally, I know a couple of people who fell head-over-heels with someone (and supposedly they with them) online but when they met the relationships ended quickly.

Duke Orsino said...

oh, Lady Julia, much of what you say is true. Wait until my own humble volume appears in a Waterstones near you. At least I won't have to make too much up.

Lady Julia said...

Well, since your blog is available by invitation only, perhaps I will by yours as it will all be new to me :)

Duke Orsino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Duke Orsino said...

Gosh, is that one still up? I thought I'd archived it all, along with the other three.

*sigh* ... it all seems so long ago now.

Some Chilean Woman said...

I feel ya Luka! I have been disappointed with a certain blogger turned author. I just hope he comes back to us soon, I enjoyed him a lot.

Sulpicia said...

I'll reserve comment for the moment when, walking into my little local bookstore, I am assailed by adverts for the Lukabook.

jholliday said...

I bought the Secret Diary of a Call Girl, but that's because I didn't find out about the blog until too late, until the blog had been turned into a book and you couldn't read the blog anymore. But if I had been reading the blog, I don't think I'd have bought the book.

La BĂȘte said...

It is fun to be offensive, isn’t it? You cheeky fat monkey. Really I should just leave a link to the book here.

I’d only seen your tweet when I wrote this – if I’d seen this post, I might have taken a little more time to address a little more seriously why I’m choosing to try and sell myself when I do. It’s basically because I want writing to become my job and I’m trying to sell more books so that that becomes a possibility. I’m trying to keep it fairly entertaining as I go, but obviously, at least as far as some people are concerned, I’m failing in that respect. You’re right though. There’s not been anything particularly interesting happening lately outside the book. I'm aware of it. You should think yourself lucky you don’t have to live it. Leave it with me. I'm going to change up.

‘Don't expect much more of interest there,’ says Duke Orsino, lugubriously.

Stan leaps across the internet to Duke Orsino’s side. The Duke flinches and tries to get away but Stan takes hold of his shoulders and wraps his arms around him. The Duke stops struggling and fat tears cascade over rubbery cheeks.

Hugging the sad, sodden Duke to his nourishing body, Stan whispers fiercely into the Duke’s ear, ‘It’s OK. Ssshh, ssshhh, I promise you, it’s all going to be alright.’

Lady Julia said...

Yesterday I remarked that I found this situation to be irritating, and I do. Not in a "how dare you flog your book on your own website when you owe me something great to read" sort of way because they owe me nothing. I guess frustrated would have been the better word, because I miss reading what was a one time a great blog.

People's blogs are their blogs and far be it from me to tell them what to blog about. I certainly write about whatever I wish on mine.

Bete, while your blog has changed, your book stories are entertaining. If you are focusing all your energies now on doing that, then I can see where it would be difficult to write about other things.

I've read blogs where they've changed from interesting to press releases and that's it. Not even creatively written press releases. That is a bit irritating to read, but all I had to do to resolve the problem was stop reading :)

Ceeej said...

Let battle commence...

Ro said...

I have to tell you, Luka, it's rarely boring to come over here! And, what's even better, I can gather material for my own blog-turned-book; after all, my own life doesn't provide enough juicy material.

What's that you say? Talent? I need talent? Oh poo.

Luka said...

Snarl - I've not read the book but I have enjoyed Bad Science online. I agree, some of Bete's early stuff was fantastic.

Lilblackdress - I had no idea knitting bloggers were so in demand by publishers! Then again, I suppose creative pastimes are always winners - knitting, cookery, sex and so on.

Duke - In an infinite universe anything is possible. To a degree we all present our fictions as truths on our blogs, and that doesn't particularly concern me. I am all for a good story. I only get twitchy when I feel that continual tug on my sleeve and view the out-stretched hand. You know how I feel about online appeals to open my wallet.

Lady Julia - I think that's quite common - people falling for each other online, be it via blogs, chatrooms or forums. It is easy to be funny and erudite with the luxury of a slight time delay in communications. It is another matter to charm in the flesh.

Some Chilean Woman - Let's hope so. Perhaps I should try honey, not vinegar next time though.

Sulpicia - I don't know about a book but I am releasing my own range of feminine hygiene products and hemorrhoid creams. They'll be part of my new Gusset Garden line and if you review them favourably you get your name on my blog.

jholliday - I have never read either. I did see a trailer for the TV series though.

Bete - I have commented more lengthily on your corresponding post, so all I shall add here is: that's more like it! You should get your dander up more often.

Ceeej - pass the popcorn.

Ro - Thank you, I do try to keep the conversation stimulating. Talent? Nah, you don't need talent my son, you need *connections*. That's why I will be publishing a dot to dot book of my blog. It will be called "Can You See What It Is Yet?" and will be hugely pornographic.

Pearl said...

it's a pain when people turn into product. it's worse than someone become an Avon salesperson. you dare not approach. it's all flog. and not in a a fun sense.

I don't get how it becomes a book deal. it's like a poetry anthology being made into a movie, or an essay into a play. they are different media, needs, attention spans.

Ceeej said...

Salt or sugar on your popcorn?

Anonymous said...

Can I swap popcorn for jelly, please.


Boxer said...

Hell No.


Beleaguered Squirrel said...

I could claim that I gave up full time novel-writing because having to do it all day every day, and for money, took the life and soul out of it and turned me into a stressed-out moron. Money rarely enhances art, and if you want to do it full time you have to earn money at it (unless you're rich, in which case you don't count anyway) which means you have to whore yourself which spoils it, yadda yadda...

But to be honest I gave it up cos I failed at it. The money stuff might be true but it's also a handy excuse.

And anyway there's the argument that if you write anything and have even the faintest smidge of an ego, then obviously you want people to read it. Which means you have to shout about it a lot and do your best to get people to buy it.

Good blogs don't automatically make good books, not at all. But the chances are that behind a good blog is a good writer, and behind that is an ambition to write in spheres other than the blogly one, and if there's enough of the right kind of talent then a good blogger might also - as a separate enterprise, but using similar material - write a good book. And be really unlikely to say no, should the opportunity arise.

He's a good writer, with ambition. Can't really knock him for that.

Suzanne said...

Nope, can't say I have.

Luka said...

Pearl - I'm not entirely sure myself how successful the transition from blog to book is, though there is obviously a market for it.

Ceej - Sugar, I need sweetening up.

AnnAnon - Vodka jelly?

Boxer - hello! Good woman!

Beleagured Squirrel - You're quite right of course, and anyone trying to make it as an author has to relentlessly self-promote. I'm not really knocking that, more bemoaning the lack of imaginative content when doing so. Purely selfish I know, I merely wish to be entertained and bugger the bills that aren't mine.

Suzanne - very wise!