MISSION: BUILD THE DREAM

Blogger turned author Stephanie Klein

When Stephanie Klein started her blog, Greek Tragedy, 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 million dollarsóall 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.

Stephanie's 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 it, too....

The first 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 true!'

"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."

The proposal

"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 was work."

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 publishing houses.

"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 agents. 

"It absolutely 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."

Attracting readers to your blog

"Tell friends 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 other blogs  and submitting yourself to blog search engines.

"But, overall, make sure your content is good and consistent and often. Then itís really word of mouth."

The ultimate secret of success

Follow your passion and doors open. Thatís all there is to it.

Treat yourself: Straight Up and Dirty, $19.96, BarnesandNoble.com, $15.72, Amazon.com (hardcover)

Tools to go from blog to book

Write the book proposal

Follow the easy step-by-step instructions in The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book by Susan Page.

Treat yourself: $14.95, Barnesand
Noble.com, $10.17, Amazon.com

 

Find the agent

Log onto EveryoneWhosAnyone.com, which is a comprehensive worldwide guide to agents. Look for those whose specialties match the topic of your book.

Treat yourself: Free, EveryoneWhosAnyone.com
 

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 membership.

Treat yourself: $90 for the first year's membership, sliding scale thereafter, AuthorsGuild.org

This month, five lucky Four Weeks subscribers will win
a hardcover copy of
Straight Up and Dirty
by Stephanie Klein.

Have you subscribed yet? It's free!

 

  

 

Sign up to our newsletter
for news and giveaways


 

 

home     this month's issue     past issues    contests and giveaways     survey
week 1    week 2    week 3    week 4    fW every day
food     shopping     travel     diy     hormone horoscope
about us     make contact     submissions     sign up     manage subscription     advertising     help
   
Search www.fourweeksmag.com

© 2006 Worldwide Hormonology Media Group LLC. All rights reserved.
Editorial Policy   Privacy Policy   Terms & Conditions