From Blog to Book

Posted in books by Editor on July 22, 2010

Lucy Inglis, the author of the blog Georgian London, has just announced that she has a book deal with Penguin. The book Georgian London is due out in hardback in the spring of 2012. It’s another example of how digital publishing formats are shaping the larger publishing industry, and I think it’s a safe bet that lots of customers will be reading Inglis’s book in an electronic format rather than the promised hardback.

There have been plenty of examples of blogs that have led to deals in media formats with larger circulation numbers. Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia began as a blog in 2002, became a book in 2005, and finally a film in 2009. Scott Schuman began writing The Sartorialist in 2005. By the time the book appeared in 2009 (also, incidentally, from Penguin), Schuman had already made his career well beyond the immediate domain of the blog, though in many ways it still anchors his professional presence/persona.

What’s interesting in Inglis’s case, however, is that we’re now seeing the same pattern play out in terms of the field of history (as opposed to food or style genres). Georgian London will clearly be a trade publication, but it promises to be a smart book, too. A friend of mine who works in media studies and disability studies approached an agent not long ago with a proposal for a trade volume. What was the agent’s first question? Not do you have a blog? but how many readers follow your blog?

Enfilade is, of course, published under the auspices of HECAA as a newsletter for the organization, functioning largely as an aggregator for news related to eighteenth-century art and architectural history. Still, the larger digital domain raises the question of what ‘intellectual content’ might consist of within the medium of the blog. Inglis’s Georgian London might provide one glimpse at an answer. At least the editors at Penguin seems to think so.

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