The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Is anyone really buying the spin that Wil Wheaton got his recent three-book publication deal on the strength of his blogging, as Blogger would like people to believe?

News flash: Wil Wheaton got the book deal because he achieved his celebrity by playing a character in Star Trek television series and movies. Without that, no one would be giving him a book deal. Allow me to pre-enact a future telephone conversation between Wheaton and his book editor:

Wheaton: So, what did you think of the pages I just sent over?

Editor: Yeah, they look good, but do you think you could add in some more stuff about how you were on Star Trek?

Wheaton: Well, I kind of already covered all that in the earlier chapters...

Editor: Sure, sure, but we could always use more. I mean, there are a lot of Wesley Crusher fans out there, you know? Got to give them what they're looking for. We are looking to sell some books here, Wil.

Get the idea? There's a built-in audience for all things Star Trek, and publisher O'Reilly & Associates recognizes a sure opportunity for a quick buck when it sees it. Wheaton was just the best option for a book deal.

Wheaton's blogging came after he had already made a name for himself; while it helped sustain the measure of fame he achieved, it didn't create it for him. That's actually a common theme for practically all the "celebrity bloggers" out there: They made a name for themselves in their respective professions, and then used that cache to build an audience for their blogging. I'm not sure there's one solid example of a blogger who's built a name for his/herself solely through blogging.