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July 2, 2003 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Why Girls are Weird. In the ongoing debate of weblogs versus online journals, one journal-writer just hit a major milestone: bestselling fiction. Pamela Ribon, also a recapper for Television Without Pity, attracted recent attention when she asked her readers to support the Oakland Public Library, and they responded in record numbers. Those online fans are now responding again. Ribon released her first novel, Why Girls Are Weird, on July 1st, and her Amazon Sales Rank has shot up to 212 on some days, beating out other best-sellers for sales. Pretty amazing feat, considering the book was still in pre-sales and has yet to have publicity outside of her own web presence. The story, a fictional account of a woman who creates an online journal only to find fame, fortune and romance, is loosely based on Ribon's own experiences at pamie.com. In fact, sections of the book are from her former archives. So, will history repeat itself? How many of you are planning to try and publish your archives?
posted by astruc (26 comments total)

 
I'll sell them for $.10 (almost two years worth), so with 100 buyers I can buy an album.
posted by drezdn at 1:47 PM on July 2, 2003


Another online journal writer, Gwen Zepeda, has a book coming out next year as well. They've both worked very hard for this.
posted by keli at 1:50 PM on July 2, 2003


I think I'd have to pay people to read my archives, actually.
posted by eilatan at 2:07 PM on July 2, 2003


While this is cool news, I think it also should be noted that Ribon isn't exactly a total unknown in the non-online world. She created, directed, and performed the well-received play "Call Us Crazy: The Anne Heche Monologues" in Los Angeles, which had Ribon and several other women performing monologues and acting out scenes from Heche's bizarro autobiography. A bunch of famous people, including reportedly Heche herself, saw it, and it got good write-ups in the L.A. press. She's a creative person in a lot of different media, and the cross-pollinization is only to be expected.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:12 PM on July 2, 2003


It also doesn't hurt that it has a really cool title. I'm sure she'll sell some just to people who like the name...
posted by anastasiav at 2:14 PM on July 2, 2003


... And her friends are all buying it and promoting it heavily, becuase a lot of the characters are based on real-life friends or people (like me) who were a part of the community that she hosted for a couple of years.

Ms. Ribbon was also a comedian for a number of years, and performed in clubs in Austin and LA.
posted by SpecialK at 2:23 PM on July 2, 2003


Hmmm. I'm skeptical of anything affiliated with Television Without Pity, but the Heche thing sounds pretty funny.

I can see why a lot of bloggers would want to read something like this, if only to get inspired for their own future publishing endeavors.
posted by transona5 at 2:24 PM on July 2, 2003


Also makes you wonder how many books you have to sell to get that rank.
posted by smackfu at 2:40 PM on July 2, 2003


If Paul Ford doesn't have a best-seller inside of the next 5-10 years, the only reason will be because he just keeps giving it away for free.
posted by namespan at 3:12 PM on July 2, 2003


Blogs are just so useful for us writers! I got an ongoing writing gig with a Seattle newsweekly after the editor found my blog. And I admit that, with almost three years of material built up, I have some hope that maybe some of it, just a bit, will be useful for some future publishing endeavor...like maybe a book. But don't tell anyone or else they'll steal my idea! ...oh wait....

Related news: I have some publishing industry friends in NYC who are 100% confidant that Dooce has already been contacted by lit agents.
posted by arielmeadow at 4:23 PM on July 2, 2003


I'm waiting for the Collected Works of Metafilter to be published. Matt?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:26 PM on July 2, 2003


You know, is there a better word for the kind of thing that online writers do than "blog" or "online journal". That's not really what they are. I'm really frustrated with that term and I know a number of other people are (including the afforementioned Paul Ford, apparently, namespan).

I've heard a few people use the term "notebook" a few times, and that's closer, but it seems lacking in hypermedia caché...

Hmmm. "Caché". A bit pretentious, but has potential.
posted by weston at 4:43 PM on July 2, 2003


ongoing debate of weblogs versus online journals

Have I been asleep or... what ongoing debate ... of... versus ..? Huh?

Why should there be some debate? Is there a prize?
posted by normy at 5:19 PM on July 2, 2003


Weston writes:

"You know, is there a better word for the kind of thing that online writers do than 'blog' or 'online journal'."

"Writing" is probably the word you're thinking of.
posted by jscalzi at 6:08 PM on July 2, 2003


That's not writing, that's TYPING!

Haw haw.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:38 PM on July 2, 2003


Good points. You write some fiction online on your site, you publish it somewhere formally later and pull it from your site, does that make you a weblogger being "discovered," or just a writer with an online practice space? And how do weblogs get "discovered" anyway?
posted by ShaneOPoghm at 6:44 PM on July 2, 2003


Sixteen comments, and no one has an answer. C'mon people, why are girls weird? Why?
posted by graventy at 8:22 PM on July 2, 2003


graventy, you have to read the book, silly.

recommended, btw. i got my copy friday.
posted by sugarfish at 8:26 PM on July 2, 2003


her Amazon Sales Rank has shot up to 212 on some days, beating out other best-sellers for sales. Pretty amazing feat, considering the book was still in pre-sales and has yet to have publicity outside of her own web presence.

wow, i hope that works for me once i try to publish a novel... *ahem*
posted by lnicole at 9:24 PM on July 2, 2003


If Paul Ford doesn't have a best-seller inside of the next 5-10 years, the only reason will be because he just keeps giving it away for free.

I would love to think that one of today's promising writers, in addition to Jonathan Foer, thinks that there's more to be done with writing than to write best-sellers. Well, of course Foer did just publish his first book, a best-seller. Hmm.

How many of you are planning to try and publish your archives?

When they pry them from my cold dead--ah, you know the rest.
posted by squirrel at 9:33 PM on July 2, 2003


I started the blog thing in order to have some kind of external push to write every day. After about 3 years at it, I think I actually do write better as a result of all the public practice, but only if I plan to sit down and Write, which happens more and more rarely these days.

Maybe it is time to mine the archives and finally do one of the books I've been threatening to inflict on the world for so long. If I can outsell Miguel in Portugal, my work will be done. Heh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:39 PM on July 2, 2003


I'm waiting for the Collected Works of Metafilter to be published.
All posts are © their original authors.

Let's get 17,151 signatures on that book contract...

...plus a couple who have been banned for life but live on in the archives.
posted by wendell at 10:33 PM on July 2, 2003


hypermedia caché

cachET, not cache.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:17 PM on July 2, 2003


Thanks for the great link astruc.

I have absolutely no idea why girls are weird but I wouldn't have them any other way.
posted by nofundy at 4:42 AM on July 3, 2003


There are many great writers online; aside from Paul Ford, others with potential for the blog-to-book translation:
Alex at Brokentype, Michael Barrish at Oblivio. Any others?
posted by Dukebloo at 4:11 PM on July 3, 2003


Huh. We're weird because people, in general, are weird. For proof, merely walk out your front door.

Alex Golub writes fantastically well; Caterina writes professionally; and obviously I should mention Jessamyn, too, who has just published Revolting Librarians Redux.... There are numbers of fine writers in the weblogging world, some working in a critical/academic genre (so they don't really come into this discussion) but others, like Paul Ford, who illuminate everyday life with sensitivity and intelligence.
posted by jokeefe at 3:37 PM on July 4, 2003


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