What comes next after unpaid microcontent? Try 4,700 words about foreskins, at about $3 a word. That, according to a source, is what Sloane Crosley supplied to a new project called Medium, from Twitter co-founder Ev Williams. Williams won’t pay you for a Tweet but, for now at least, he might pay you depending on who you are.
Bankers' losses are going to be certain authors' gains: Book proposals about the Wall Street debacle have already landed on publishers' desks, reports Leon Neyfakh in the Observer. Times business columnist Joe Nocera (right) and former Fortune reporter Bethany McLean (left) are asking for offers in excess of $1 million for their "definitive chronicle" of the financial crisis, and Newsweek's Daniel Gross is pitching a "quickie electronic book" with a similar premise. Meanwhile, Publishers Marketplace reports that Melanie Jackson has sold Roger Lowenstein's Six Days That Shook the World, "a look at last week on Wall Street and in Washington, illuminating the origins of the crisis," to Ann Godoff at Penguin.
You know what there's a real gap in the market for in the current economic climate? A book telling people how to give away their spare cash! So it's no surprise that Kate Lee, the canny ICM agent who rose to prominence by spotting the commercial potential of bloggers—like Elizabeth Spiers, Doree Shafrir, and Glenn Reynolds—has brokered 77-year-old Canadian billionaire Charles Bronfman's book deal. The brother of Edgar Sr. and uncle of Edgar Jr. will co-author a book titled The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan, billed on Publishers Marketplace (subscription required) as "a guide for individuals of all ages and incomes on how to determine their emotional and financial relationships with philanthropy." Who knows, maybe by the time it comes out in December '09, some potential readers will have enough money to need help with which charities to donate to.
If everyone's getting a book deal for their blog, why aren't you? Mostly because your writing hasn't gone anywhere better than a Gawker comment thread, but also because you haven't followed these three steps (note: not a joke article! Real advice inside) to getting a blog book deal. Short version: Start a blog that's short and sweet and high-concept, spread it on Tumblr and LiveJournal, send it to Gawker, and call Kate Lee.
We hear that near-universally reviled ICM mega-agent Richard Abate is leaving that agency in order to set up his own shop, which we hear will be called Endeavor. (Abate is perhaps best known to Gawker readers as the former mentor — okay, bossman — of agent to the blogsuperstars Kate Lee.) "Endeavor" strikes us as an odd choice of nomenclature, since there's already an Endeavor agency — albeit an LA-based one that doesn't solely represent literary clients. In fact, ICM was recently rumored to be buying that Endeavor, which probably has nothing to do with this. Anyway, weird.
Related (tangentially, maybe): The Agent Dance: ICM Denies Endeavor Rumor [Defamer]
Last night's Publishers Lunch weekly roundup brought news of yet another prominent blogger's book deal:
Poor Kate Lee. By all rights, he should have been hers. When David Lat, the male federal prosecutor who'd masqueraded as a female corporate lawyer on Underneath Their Robes, a deliciously gossipy blog about the federal judiciary, allowed himself to be outed as the blog's author in last Monday's New Yorker Talk of the Town, it seemed obligatory that a book deal would soon be in the offing. And who better to rep him than Talk of the Town-certified agent-to-the-blogstars Kate Lee?
Bar Mitzvah Disco, the between-hard-covers celebration of Jewish coming-of-age campiness that overtook America's affluent suburbs in, according to the book, mostly the 1970s and 1980s, hit bookstores last week. While we continue to find the book vaguely disconcerting when it's used to sell hipster t-shirts to the goyim, we also find it charmingly amusing when it's sitting on our Semitic coffee table. And so we spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon poring over it, during which we learned several things.
Now that a couple of losers have figured out how to get paid for writing weblogs, along comes someone with a smarter scheme: how can I get 15% of that? Today's New Yorker introduces us to Kate Lee, ICM agent and blog enthusiast. Avast, bloggers! Thar be agents, ready for their percentage.