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Book editors look to bloggers for possibilities

It used to be big news when a blogger got a book contract.

But now literary agents and publishers regularly look to the Web for book ideas, whether it’s a blog or a wacky Web site like icanhascheezburger.com.

That site, which collects pictures of cats with kooky captions, produced “I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Colleckshun” by Professor Happycat.

Cheezburger made the Top 50 of USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list last year.

It’s an exception. Though some blogs-to-books have gotten attention and sold well, few have made USA TODAY’s list.

Still, “this doesn’t seem to be a passing trend,” says Publishers Weekly senior editor Lynn Andriani. “It’s still a place where editors are looking for books.”

Blogs-to-books have included “Stuff White People Like” by Christian Lander, Jessica Cutler’s “The Washingtonienne” and Ana Marie Cox’s “Dog Days.”

Out this month is “It Sucked and Then I Cried,” a memoir by Heather B. Armstrong, creator of dooce.com, a well-trafficked blog and Web site in which she writes about her depression and pregnancies.

Publisher Simon Spotlight Entertainment has high hopes for the book (75,000 first printing), which it believes stands alone.

“It’s her voice and her very distinct point of view which makes a great book,” publisher Jen Bergstrom says.

The novelty of blogger turned author is over, says Ron Hogan, senior editor at galleycat.com. “Nowadays it’s a bigger deal if a lot of money is attached to a book, in which case it becomes a story on how much money is attached to it rather than, ‘Oh, a blogger has a book deal.’ ”

That hasn’t always been the case. When Colby Buzzell published My War, his 2005 memoir inspired by his blog entries depicting the Iraq war from the G.I. point of view, the media were all over the fact that a blogger had stepped into the bricks-and-mortar world of book publishing.

The same happened when Julie Powell published “Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously” four years ago.

Powell’s critically acclaimed account of spending a year creating the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (based on her blog) has sold a quarter-million copies and will be reissued as a movie tie-in paperback this summer, timed to the film starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

Powell’s blog-to-book “was so much the beginning of people blogging,” Powell’s Little, Brown editor Judy Clain says, “but now it’s de rigueur to have a book proposal and have a blog.”

Can the Twitter novel be far behind?

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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