If I wanted water, I would have asked for water.


Monday, March 28, 2011

I Got a Book Deal (and What it Means for the Blog)

Sharp-eyed readers have noticed that beneath my attractive title bar there is no longer a quote from Sunset Magazine about how great I am. Instead, we have the new tag, "blogs will save us." There's a reason for this.

Back in January of 2010, the clock ran out on the federal grant that funded my research job at Portland State University. As I had already creaked past 40, I decide to take a shot and see if I could get paid to write. Trying to publish a book is a painful and humbling task. First you write a proposal for a book--easier than writing the book itself, but no trifle. One of the key elements of the platform is a newish concept called "author platform"; your renown or, crassly, the number of customers you can be expected to pre-deliver. Thus do you do things like post quotes about how great you are on your blog.

With the proposal and your platform, you move to the first elimination round and attempt to attract the attentions of an agent. Lots of rejection here. But all you need is one win. If you're successful, you go to the second elimination round, where your agent goes to publishers. Interestingly, the book I was offered was not the one I pitched; the publisher already had an idea for a beer book and was looking for a writer when my agent came along with our proposal.

What followed was a marathon that culminated last week, in the 53rd week of negotiation, as I wheezed across the finish line. Mostly, anyway. My agent and the publisher are now hammering out the contract details, so I can't actually talk much about the book yet. (My agent: "You can announce that your agent has entered into final negotiations ... and that you will let your readers know more as soon as the negotiations are complete and the contract is signed.")

The most delicious aspect of landing the book is that this blog was chiefly responsible. Bloggers take a lot of hell for their self-indulgence and/or obsessions, and I was not exempt from that. Yet when we submitted my book, the folks at the publishing house read through Beervana and decided my voice was a good match. I feel like a member of the Rebel Alliance who has managed to score a direct hit against the Empire. So, blogs will save us--or anyway, they've saved me.

There are two relevant facts about the book deal: 1) the publisher will actually pay me--and pretty well--to write the book, and 2) it's a big-ass project. I fully expect this to affect the blog. Ironically, I probably won't have as much time to blog. I'll try to keep the old jalopy active and interesting, but no promises. On the plus side, I'll be doing some traveling and seeing some breweries that should be as new and interesting to you as to me. I won't let the blog die, but it may catch a two-year cold. I'll do my best.

31 comments:

DA Beers said...

Congrats Jeff, great news!

Greg said...

That's great news, Jeff, and a type of encouragement for those of us working toward that place where you are. I can't think of anyone who deserves it more.

Congratulations!

Matthew DiTullo said...

Congratulations Jeff!!! After reading the blog for two and a half years at this point I knew not publishing your writing would be a missed opportunity by publishers.

I'll be the first in line on release day to score a copy. And I'll be seeking you down for an autograph in it.

Good luck on the traveling and writing for this project!

Æsop said...

This is fantastic news.

What's good for you is good for your readers.

Keep up the great work!

- Æ

Derrick Peterman said...

Congrats Jeff! Can't wait to hear more about it!

Kim Sharpe Jones said...

Congratulations Jeff, that's some big exciting news!

Luke said...

Congratulations. It's tough work to get a book deal, so sit back and open something special.

Mark said...

That is really great new and no easy task. Congratulations!

Jon said...

CONGRATS! That's good news to us bloggers everywhere ;)

Tracy Thomas said...

Congrats! I've enjoyed your blog for a while now, so you've definitely proven the concept of engaging your readers. You deserve the reward of actual paid hard work after all of your investment in blogging.

Bill Night said...

Bravo! Don't forget us little people.

SAHMonomics said...

Jeff, I saw your blog mentioned at blog.traveloregon.com and decided to take a look. My husband will really enjoy your blog (he's a very small-scale home-brewer) and I know that he will enjoy your book. Congratulations on your current and future success!

ZakAvery said...

Well done with the book, and thanks for the beers which just arrived here!

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Looking forward to purchasing my copy of "Real Ale in America".

Jeff Alworth said...

Too all offer congrats--thanks!

Matt, the travel is going to be the best part.

Bill, do I know you? (I'm pretty sure I'm still a little person.)

Zak--glad they got there! I was beginning to wonder if the TSA had snatched them as a "dangerous" substance (and was enjoying them instead).

Ted, that's a side project. I've reviewed ever cask ale in America. The book runs 23 pages.

Nicole said...

This is fantastic! Congratulations and I agree with Bill. Please do not punch me when I an taking photos of you.

Lisa Morrison said...

Great news, Jeff. And a hearty congratulations. Believe me, I know what it's like to try to keep all the other fires burning while researching and writing a book. We will keep the light on (and taps flowing) for you.

Angelo De Ieso II said...

You deserve it! Good work, man!

Luke Fidler said...

best of luck.

Brewmance said...

Congrats! Well deserved and a way to show off all your hard work. Sounds like it will be a great experience for you. This blog slowing down though? Lots of great articles here, would hate to see it slow down that greatly, but you'll need the time!

Cheers!

Eric Steen said...

Super cool! Happy for you. When can I preorder?

Maureen Ogle said...

I've been out of town (at the CBC in San Fran) and just got home (a task that only took 48 hours thanks to airline "mechanical" problems) and so am just reading this new.

WOW!
And
CONGRATULATIONS!

Jack R. said...

Congratulations, Jeff. Far, f'ing out. I am
- thrilled
- best pleased
- right chuffed
for you and pleased for the 'those who seek to understand ['bout beer]' gang.

No surprise about the book deal. I've been reading you daily for nearly two years. To my benefit and enjoyment.

In the words of those Australian poets: 'Have a drink on me'.

Patrick Emerson said...

Hack! Don't you know the dead tree media is over? - it is all about the new media baby! And don't give me this "yea, but the old media still pay" crap - in the new paradigm we are all poor: little digital minstrels traveling around cyberspace offering up little ditties to the (global)villagefolk. And its okay that we are all poor because we have the pallid glow of our iPads to keep us warm (and irresistibly transfixed).

I can't stand all these sycophant trolls. I for one curse you, you traitor! Tree killer! Sellout!

But, where do I send in my application for your research assistant? I have a PhD and drink a lot of beer - I am sure I must be qualified somehow... Plus I have an awesome passport that'll get us in anywhere! I think I can fit in a big suitcase so I am pretty cheap as well.

Wait, maybe I can write a research grant...

HumuloneRed said...

Congratulations Jeff. I'm happy for you and look forward to more of your great work!

Cheers!

Dave Selden said...

I think old media has found its new strategy - co-opt the bloggers! Seems to have worked on me!

Harry said...

Looking forward to more details... Congratulations Jeff!

Anonymous said...

Congrats B-I-L. Wonderful news. Paid to write about beer. Gotta find me a gig like that.

Jim

Sud Savant said...

Good work, sir! See you on a book tour!

Jim said...

Fantastic news, Jeff! I look forward to it, regardless the particulars of the assignment. If you're travels send you to Indianapolis before I'm out of here, I'll buy you a pint.

Anonymous said...

Great job, Jeff, can't wait to read the book!

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