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.