Turning a blog into a huge book advance

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The blogosphere has been abuzz after the New York Times ran a story about a blogger getting a $300,000 advance for a book. And the blogger has only had his blog up since January! Christian Lander, the author of Stuff White People Like, reportedly received this book advance from Random House.

Certainly, a book deal like this adds more mystique to blogging for money. Blogging about a topic you love, and getting paid for it might be the dream of many internet junkies. But the problem is that almost no one makes a real living blogging. Sure, there are these sweetheart book deals that come along occasionally. And there are a few big money bloggers who say they make six-figures from blogging.

But most of the bloggers are paid minimally, if at all. And they accept that for one of three reasons: 1. They just love blogging and don't really care if they get paid, so long as someone is reading their stuff. 2. They're not blogging to get rich. Blogging either supplements their income, offers them a modest income that pays the bills, or it offers exposure for some other aspect of their professional life. 3. They think the low pay is just temporary, and someday the big bucks will roll in.

I'm all for following your dreams and doing what you like. This book deal is a fairytale, though. And it's not likely to happen again. Why? The economics don't support it. This is likely a publicity stunt by the publisher, and one which can't be repeated very often without the publisher losing some serious money. So don't expect to be the next highly compensated blogger or blogger-turned-book-writer... have realistic expectations about your blogging and financial futures.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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