Mike Bender and his pal Doug Chernack didn’t know for a fact that they’d get a book deal when they started their blog, “Awkward Family Photos.” They just thought it’d be nice.
“I never imagined we’d get the traffic we’re getting, but I thought if anything, it would be great to do a book,” said Mr. Bender, a screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles. “I always thought this would be a fun coffee table book, just because, you know, it’s awkward family photos! It’s something everyone can relate to.”
Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Random House’s Crown group, thought so, too. They bought the rights to “Awkward Family Photos” last month from Mr. Bender’s agent, Rebecca Oliver of William Morris Endeavor, and will be publishing a book version of it on May 4, 2010.
Mr. Bender—who wrote the screenplay for Not Another Teen Movie—said he started getting emails from editors and agents four days after the blog went live on May 4th.
The blog got its first burst of exposure thanks to one of Mr. Bender’s friends, who works at a radio station in Rhode Island. “He put it up on the radio station’s website, and from there all the Clear Channel radio stations picked it up and put links to it on their Web sites.”
“And that was it,” Mr. Bender said.
The blog went from getting a few hundred hits during its first week online to a million the next, and not long after that Mr. Bender and Mr. Chernack were choosing between three offers from publishing houses.
Seeking comment from Three Rivers Press earlier today, The Observer called over and asked to speak with whoever is working on the “Awkward Family Photos” book. But the person we reached didn’t know anything about it. “It’s actually my last day at the office,” she said. “I’m going to law school.”