MISSION: BUILD THE DREAM
Blogger turned author
Klein started her blog,
in January 2004, the 30-year-old art director
working at an advertising firm was simply trying to get over a breakup and find herself.
What she found
instead was an offer of a
two-book deal and a TV series on NBC worth a cool half a
within a year of her first blog entry.
As if that
wasn't a big enough jackpot, Stephanie's blog also
helped her snag her new husband, Phillip, who was one of
her more than 100,000 fans.
first book, Straight Up and
Dirty: A Memoir, was released this August by Regan
Books, and is inspired by the post-marriage dating misadventures
she recounts in her blog. She's currently writing a
pilot for an NBC series based on her book, while also working on her next book,
Moose, which recounts her experiences at fat camp.
Here's how Stephanie made the leap from blogger to
successful author and TV writer, and what she says can help you do
spark of interest from publishers
"In the summer
of 2004, my blog was picked up by The Independent,
a newspaper in London. They contacted me and said,
ďWeíre loving your blog. Weíre pissing ourselves here.
We want to publish it.Ē So they took some blog entries
and gave me a four page spread in their paper.
"After I was
featured in The Independent, publishing houses in
the U.K. came to me offering me a book deal based on the
article. I thought, 'Oh my god, this is a dream come
"I was very
excited, but I was also very green and didnít know what
I was doing. I wasnít going to take these publishing
deals from the U.K. until I had an agent. I didnít want
to be taken advantage of.
"So I asked
around, talked to a few people, got a feel for how it
worked. Itís easier to get an agent when you already
have an offer of a book deal. I ended up choosing my
agents based on gut instinct. They advised me not to
take these book deals from the U.K."
Coming up with
idea for her book
"My agents said,
'What youíre writing about on your blog, you need to
make that into a book. Your experience dating after
divorce.' So thatís what I decided to do."
"I put together
a 60-page book proposal, which took me two months. My
agents gave me a template and they said this is what
goes into a book proposal. You have write an author's
biography, a chapter synopsis and give two sample
chapters from the book. A lot goes into it. Itís not
like someone came across my blog and thought I was a
good writer and gave me at two-book and TV deal. A lot
of people portray it like that's what happened. But it
The U.S. deal
"I handed in the
60-page book proposal. My agent sent it out to 10
publishing houses on a Wednesday. By Friday, we heard
from eight of them who wanted it. They wanted to meet
with my on Monday or Tuesday. That was really fast.
"Then they got a
call from Judith Reganís secretary saying Judith wanted
to meet with me on Friday. I said, 'No way.' I hadnít
even showered. So Judith scheduled a conference call on
Saturday. She couldnít even wait till Monday to do it.
In part, I think itís because Judith goes after what she
wants and she didnít want me going after other
"By Sunday, she
gave me a two-book TV exploding offer deal that expired
at 4 pm on Sunday. It all happened so fast."
How much blog is
in her book
"Maybe 15% of
the blog is in my book. My book is definitely not the
blog. I explore friendship in the book, my relationship
with my father. Everythingís in context in the book
whereas on the blog you have a paragraph. In the book,
it becomes a chapter. Yes, I took fun little stories
that I thought were funny and worked them into the book.
But thatís only maybe two pages of a book."
How you can
go from blog to book
"You canít just
be a blogger and think, 'I want someone to discover how
fabulous I am and give me a book deal.' It doesnít work
like that. It didnít work like that for me.
"My best advice
is to look up how to write a book proposal and think
seriously about what you want your book to be about.
Blog writing is very different from book writing. Itís
shorter, for a short attention span. You have to prove
you can actually write a book, not just write short
form. To prove that, you write a book proposal. Then
find an agent by submitting your book proposal to
helps to build up your audience on your blog because it
is a marketing tool and it can serve you well in getting
a book deal."
readers to your blog
about it. Tells strangers about it. Go to a party and
tell someone about it. For me, it helped to take
pictures and then tell people they could go see them on
my blog. They may come for the picture, but they stay
because they like what you have to say.
"There are also
tactical ways you can get readers, such as commenting on
and submitting yourself to blog search engines.
make sure your content is good and consistent and often.
Then itís really word of mouth."
secret of success
passion and doors open. Thatís all there is to it.
Treat yourself: Straight Up and Dirty, $19.96,
Tools to go
from blog to book
Follow the easy
step-by-step instructions in
The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published
Book by Susan Page.
Find the agent
EveryoneWhosAnyone.com, which is a comprehensive
worldwide guide to agents. Look for those whose
specialties match the topic of your book.
Get the book
contract reviewed before you sign it
Join the Authors
Guild. In addition to providing support services to
authors, their crack legal team will scour any book
contract for hidden clauses and other traps that your
agent may have missed (it happens more often than you'd
think). This service is included in the price of
yourself: $90 for the first year's membership, sliding
This month, five lucky
Four Weeks subscribers
a hardcover copy of
Straight Up and Dirty by Stephanie Klein.
subscribed yet? It's