August 31, 2005

Hurricane Relief

I'm sure lots of bloggers will be posting links like these, but it couldn't hurt to add one more post supporting the relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi.

CNN has a list of places to donate money or numbers to call if you want to volunteer.

The American Red Cross is always a good choice if you want to make a cash donation.

Posted by Doug at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2005

By the Numbers

Gothamist takes a by-the-numbers look at the New York Times weddings pages.

For those of you checking the date today is our anniversary, not to mention L's birthday. I'll be back with more updates on the book soon.

Posted by Doug at 10:12 AM | Comments (3)

August 18, 2005

Those Magic Changes

Big changes are underway here at corporate headquarters. I recently registered EngagedGroom.com. There's nothing there now, but sometime this fall I'll begin moving my groom-related posts and wedding ephemera to that site. I'm hoping that PlanetGordon.com will grow into more of a showcase for my writing and personal news as I continue building up a freelance career.

To that end, I must encourage the couch potatoes among you to tune into the History Channel for the remaining episodes of Modern Marvels on which I served as the supervising producer. You can watch World's Fastest - which is about record-breaking cars, boats and rollercoasters and not, as you might think, about loose women - on August 24. Wiring America airs August 31. September 7 will see the broadcast of a food-themed night on THC: Coffee followed by Sugar. Who wants to see an hour-long documentary on coffee, you ask? The show is actually one of my favorites and should be of interest to anyone who steps into their local java joint on a regular basis.

As for the new site, EngagedGroom.com - I figured that was easier to rattle off in, say, an interview with Oprah than TheEngagedGroom.com - will tie in nicely with the book and I hope to turn it into an online resource for grooms. Message boards, helpful hints, sample budgets and other related information will be part of what I'm envisioning, but I'd love to take input from readers. What do you think should go up there? What's missing from the Web that would be of use to you as a groom? (Women are, of course, welcome to offer their opinions as well.)

In the meantime, barring any other big news, PlanetGordon will be on hiatus until after Labor Day. Check back then for more updates.

As always, thanks for your support.

Oh, yeah. Did I happen to mention that you can preorder the book on Amazon?

Posted by Doug at 06:26 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2005

With This Blog, I Thee Wed, Part Two

This seems to be the week of online marriage proposals. Today's Manhattan User's Guide features a proposal from Tony Tsai to Stephanie Gail Huang. Not only is it the first marriage proposal via MUG, but it's also the first proposal to contain the following sentence:

Our Halloween costume captured our relationship perfectly, I am your mustard and you are my ketchup.

Word on the street is that Stephanie said yes.

Via Gothamist.

Posted by Doug at 02:30 PM | Comments (1)

Page One

EngGroomSamplePage.jpg

(Actually, it's more like page i, since this is the first page of the book's introduction.)

Received some sample layout pages from my editor recently and thought I'd share one with y'all. The illustration is just a place holder and will change once the real illustrator's drawings have been approved. Longtime readers will notice that the Shakespeare-inspired opening is from an October 2003 entry. The strange little letters along the right side of the page are codes for the designer; they will be removed before printing.

Posted by Doug at 01:00 PM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2005

With This Blog, I Thee Wed

Two Texas bloggers have gotten married via their blogs. How can this be done on two blogs? The bride explains:

The state of Texas has a little known law governing "informal marriage". For a marriage to be legal, we must publicly declare that we consider each other as spouses and this fact be known to other residents of the state of Texas. We got our certificate this afternoon and have now fulfilled the requirements as there's bound to be a Texas resident or two amongst our joint readership.

In a nutshell, the blogs' commenters served as witnesses to their marriage.

You know what this means? The first blog-based divorce is a matter of when, not if.

Via Kottke.

Posted by Doug at 02:08 PM | Comments (2)

August 09, 2005

Name, Rank and ISBN

salesrank1.jpg

I have a sales rank. As of this posting, The Engaged Groom is ranked 254,422 among books on Amazon.com. That's not bad for a book that hasn't been released yet when you consider the millions of books available from the online superstore.

Before you get too excited read this interesting piece about what Amazon.com's sales ranks really mean. Still, it's cool to see that the book has been pre-ordered.

Posted by Doug at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005

One-Stop Shopping

I went with my friends M and R on Friday to sign their application for a marriage license as a witness. Looking for the proper office within Newark's city hall, we found this sign:

marriage-bingo.jpg

As if offering the permission to get married and permits to operate a gambling concern isn't convenient enough, the city clerk's office also offers the forms pictured below. I wonder if you can fill them out all at once?

newarkforms.jpg

Posted by Doug at 09:04 AM | Comments (1)

August 04, 2005

Fixed

The subtitle has been fixed on Amazon. Not sure when the cover image goes up.

I'm currently reviewing the copy-edited version of my manuscript. Will post more about that soon.

Posted by Doug at 09:35 AM | Comments (2)

August 02, 2005

Blooks by Blauthors

Yes, the title of this post is a desperate attempt to coin a new word. It occured to me that just as there was the need to concisely describe online journals, or web logs, as blogs, we now may be entering a time when we need a new word to describe books borne from the fruits of blogging. What would you call them and the people who write them? Help me out here.

The fall of 2005 will see the first big crop of books by bloggers released to bookstores. (Which might one day become blookstores, if I want to hit this neologism with all the subtlety of a jackhammer.) Julie Powell's book, which I am looking forward to, will be released in September. More are set to follow, as the publishing industry catches up to the fairly recent growth in blogging, a phenomenon that has really only come into its own in the last two years.

The real measure of these blooks' success will probably be measured thusly: will readers pick up a book even if they have no knowledge of the author's roots as a blogger? Powell's book, with its likely strong writing, will probably be a big hit, especially since its premise is something that can be easily described: a New York woman spends one year cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Original and quirky, no? I can already picture her promoting the book on The Today Show and Anderson Cooper.

It remains to be seen how other bloggers will translate their online popularity into critical and commercial success. Anonymous commenters and blog readers are a lot less critical than book reviewers and people who have forked over $24.95 for a hard copy book. Stephanie Klein's online exploits are inarguably popular, but I'm not convinced that her conversational style of writing will translate into book sales beyond the beach reading set. How many more books about headstrong single women living the life in New York City can fit on the "Summer Reading" tables at Barnes & Noble? If the book does become a breakout success, I think it will be the result of a strong marketing campaign - Judith Regan is the publisher - and the ancillary popularity of her in-development TV show, should it make it out of the development and pilot stages and hit the airwaves at the right time.

I started thinking about the blog-to-book parade we're going to see in the coming year because of this article from The Book Standard. (Via RKB.)

“Bloggers have an audience; they have a connection with readers,” acknowledges Sophie Cottrell, associate publisher of Little, Brown, which has one of the hottest current blog-to-print properties: Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia, which is scheduled for release in September. “This can provide the publisher with a great, solid foundation of ready-made fans.” Still, she says, talent has to be part of the equation. “The transition from the blog to the printed page is a crucial one—the writing has to be great. The book’s blog roots should be invisible.”

Many people assume that my book will be a virtual cut and paste from these online pages to printed ones, but of the nearly 64,000 words in my manuscript I'd say that only about twenty percent of the material is adapted directly from PlanetGordon. Yes, there were some entries that I knew would have to find a way into the book, but for the most part I had to design my outline from scratch. Because my book is a guide and not a fictionalized account of a Gen-X New Yorker finding true love in the outer boroughs, I had to do a bit of homework and a bit of, yes, writing. I wouldn't want to put myself in the same company as the bloggers who are writing full-on novels for a general audience - my book will fill a noticably smaller niche - but I do agree with the idea that no matter what book a blogger decides to write, it has to move beyond the confines of the computer screen.

For most, blogging success will never translate into publishing success. (And vice versa: Tom Clancy might be able to craft movie-ready thrillers, but if he started a Navy- or military-centric blog, I bet it would be the online equivalent of Sominex.) So the coming year will be a real test, in my opinion. Which bloggers will actually distinguish themselves as writers?

Posted by Doug at 12:47 PM | Comments (1)

August 01, 2005

Cover Me

EngagedGroomCoverFinal.jpg

Received this revised cover image from my editor today. No word on whether this is the final draft, but I'm quite pleased with it. It's clean and simple and everything seems right to the point. The designer straightened the letters of my name, which no longer are attached to the car's bumper like tin cans. While I had liked that idea, seeing my name in a clean, straight line is nice.

You'll notice that the subtitle now reads "You're Getting Married. Read This Book." That's a change from before and one that I argued for with some insistence. My editor had suggested "You're Getting Married. You Better Read This Book." While I understood the desire to be direct and light, I felt "You Better" contradicted the tone of my book. Much like this blog, I wrote that couples are better off not listening to anyone who uses scare tactics or who tells them that they should/must/better/have to do something. While some structure is important when planning any big event, so much of the wedding industry is based on the idea that brides have to do things the "right" way or face disaster and disappointment. So my initial reaction upon seeing "You Better Read This Book" was confusion. You better read this book or else? What will happen if I don't? That wasn't the approach I was going for.

Luckily my editor finally agreed and changed the design to what you see. I must say that the subtitle was the only sticking point. Everything else in this process has been fairly painless.

More to come this week including my copyedited draft - so much red! - and the selection of an illustrator for some of the book's smaller charts and pictures.

Posted by Doug at 11:52 AM | Comments (4)