Sunday, April 05, 2009

Belarusian Wine Retailer Tweets His Way to Lucrative Book Deal

This is the sort of news that seems intended to annoy people who follow the book industry closely and who have, in recent weeks, tired of hearing about cutbacks and layoffs and other fallout laid at the feet of economic downturn. From a Wall Street Journal piece by Sara Nelson:
HarperStudio has signed a seven-figure, 10-book deal with Gary Vaynerchuk, a 33-year-old Belarusian-born wine retailer from New Jersey, who, except for a talk show appearance here and there, is basically unknown in mainstream media circles.

But in the world of the Internet, he is a Twitter phenom, with 145,000 followers hanging on his every tweet. What began as a daily video blog about wine has become a self-help, business-advice juggernaut, with “Garyvee” as chief engineer. As he describes himself online, “I love people, and the hustle.” The first book in his series, “Crush It! Turn Your Passion into Profits in a Digital World,” lands in stores in September.
It’s an interesting piece and Nelson asks the seven-figure 10-book deal question:
But is a marketer/blogger, who cheerfully admits he doesn’t read books, going to be able to sell them to other Internet types who probably don’t read much either?
Plus, essentially, why buy the cow when Twitter keeps tweeting up the milk for free?

With past blog-inspired bombs to measure against and anticipating the literary merit of a fortune cookie, one would think the answer would be fairly obvious. The fall book season will tell, though.

Nelson’s piece is thought-provoking and right here.



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