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HarperCollins Pays Big Advance For A Book Of… Tweets

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imageYet another person is figuring out how to make decent money off Twitter that isn’t CEO Evan Williams: HarperCollins has commissioned former Valleywag editor Nick Douglas to collect and edit Twitter Wit, a book of … well, witty tweets. According to Valleywag, Douglas is getting a “five-figure sum” for the book, which is slated for release this fall; Douglas and HarperCollins editor Kate Hamill set up a submission site that automates the collection of the tweets (from anywhere and everywhere) and gets each user’s permission to republish.

Given Twitter’s seemingly unstoppable surge in popularity — John Battelle compared its search potential to YouTube’s, and NBC’s Nightline dedicated a segment to it last night (via MediaMemo) — who knows, it just might fly off the shelves. Anyone else care to wager?

4 Responses to “HarperCollins Pays Big Advance For A Book Of… Tweets”

  1. Marci, during the month of February the social networking site Goodreads ( sponsored a "status update" writing contest. Goodreads members were invited to enter the contest and, over any 24-hour period in February, post, serial-style, 140-character status updates that cumulatively created a story. After the contest was announced, "popular demand" prompted Goodreads to open it up to Twitter users. A short list will be announced in March and the community will be invited to vote on a winner.

    Is this the kind of writing contest that's here to stay? Maybe so. Virginia Heffernan for The New York Times magazine recently wrote an interesting article ( about the status update phenomenon. She focused on Facebook but, as you suggest, this kind of microblogging seems suited to many platforms. Nick, between SMITH Magazine's collection and your book on the horizon I bet there's a lot more short-form composition to come.

  2. Thanks for the link! I think Gawker kind of missed the point, even though I gave their writer some examples of witty tweets, like "Why aren't martini glasses shaped so that they don't spill so easily on the bus?" (by

    The book was partly inspired by "Not Quite What I Was Planning," a collection of six-word memoirs edited by SMITH Magazine. That book's wild success (a hardcover edition and a second volume on love and relationships came out last year) convinced HarperCollins that short-form anthologies can be more than fly-by-night gift-shop books, so they're working with me to make a truly entertaining book that might even withstand a cover-to-cover reading.

  3. Not willing to wager, but curious to know if there's been a Twitter novel yet. Or any 140-character short story contests. Twitter haiku? And heck…why not an annual Webby awards for witty twitterers?