Agent, shmagent, know what I mean? Back in the day, a writer had to painstakingly type out cover letter after cover letter on an old Smith Corona, then fold, stamp, lick, pop in the mail, and wait — gnashing the teeth and so on — until the powers that be in NYC passed down the verdict. Today, writers can sidestep all that traditionalist formality, at least occasionally, with something as simple as a hashtag.
While I certainly don't mean to imply that agents are irrelevant, everyone knows that one of the major publishing trends of our time is the blog-turned-book deal. If you can get online, present a catchy idea in an appealing way, update regularly, and garner some sort of cult following, chances are a major publisher will be knocking on your e-door before long. With a built-in audience and a track record of producing strong, funny pieces on a regular basis, successful blogs (preferably ones that poke fun at Millennials or hipsters) take a significant amount of guesswork out of the will-anyone-read-this? gamble that is book publishing.
Chronicle Books is well aware of Tumblr's addictive shareability, and instead of waiting for the next existential crisis-themed Tumblr to gain a viral following, they're jumpstarting the process. Last year, they teamed up with Tumblr on The Great Tumblr Book Search, where they asked internet virtuosos to pitch them humorous book ideas — using naught but a Tumblr account. The winning idea was Sh*t Rough Drafts, a hilarious concept chock-full of pop culture references, and now you can buy the fruits of the author's labor, between two actual covers, on April 15.
The Great Tumblr Book Search: The Sequel launched yesterday, so if you've got Internet-savvy fingers and a (LOL-worthy) dream in your heart, enter away. Oh, and never mind the fact that everyone on the Internet can see your pitch (check out the "tumblr book search" hashtag if you want to laugh at people's failed dreams). Get thee to a Tumblr account.
Image: Chronicle Books/Tumblr