Bloggers Hit the Books

Julie Powell may have blazed the food blog-to-book trail when she signed a contract to write her memoir Julie & Julia, but the path is quickly becoming well tread as more and more bloggers are signing book contracts.

Up in Seattle, gluten-free blogger Shauna is celebrating the sale of her manuscript, Gluten-Free Girl: A Life Beyond Wonder Bread. The cookbook and memoir about embracing a gluten-free life was announced this week in industry newsletter Publishers Lunch. Last month, when the anonymous waiter/author of Waiter Rant announced his deal for a book titled Waiter Rant: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Front Lines of Dining Out, 469 readers chimed in with congratulations and promises to buy a copy.

But what happens once the champagne and congratulations of a book deal wear off? What is the journey from blogger to book author like?

Media darling Clotilde, of Chocolate & Zucchini, delivered the completed manuscript of her cookbook to the publisher earlier this summer and reports on the steps that follow—copyediting, cover design, and marketing issues. She has been tracking her experience of writing the book in a series on her blog.

Sara Kate, at Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen, has also been slaving over a book this summer, and a hot stove, as she baked her way through recipe testing in record-setting heat. Oh, and she’s pregnant as well. And renovating. The book manuscript was due September 5, the baby September 19, and we hope the kitchen gets finished in time.

On the opposite side of publication, Mrs. B of Eating Suburbia is planning the West Coast publicity tour for The World Is a Kitchen, a collection of food stories and recipes that she edited. After enlisting the help of fellow food bloggers to test the recipes, she is off to promote the finished product, with stops in Seattle, San Francisco, and L.A.

The blog-to-book phenomenon (also called blook) has even been graced with its own award—the Lulu Blooker Prize, sponsored by print-on-demand publisher Lulu. Last year’s nonfiction award went to Julie Powell, for Julie & Julia. The author returns this year to serve as a judge for the 2007 awards, along with Arianna Huffington and others.

Awards aside, the jury is still out on the success of the blook. Some blogs will make the transition more smoothly than others. Perhaps about-to-be author Sara Kate said it best in her own review of Julie & Julia last year. “The question is: is a blogger an author? Can the spirit and voice of a blog translate gracefully into a book, to either read and re-read again and again, or to collect dust on a high shelf?”

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