Fake AP Stylebook Creators Talk Book Deal
Ken Lowery and Mark Hale didn’t start their Twitter account, Fake AP Stylebook, with the intention of getting a book deal. “It was just amusing ourselves,” Lowery tells Paste. But when the account found 1,000 followers in its first day, “we knew something special was going on and we didn’t want to blow it.”
Just two weeks after Fake AP’s inception, and despite having never met in real life, Lowery and Hale already had an agent and were looking for a book deal. On Thursday, not even three months after launching the account, they advised, “Never announce your own book deals, as that would be gauche. (In Bookstores Spring 2011, from Three Rivers Press).”
With Twitter often serving as a place to further service one’s obsession with celebrities, Lowery and Hale found a different niche. “I think the crossover between Ashton Kutcher’s followers and our people…I don’t think there’d be much overlap there,” Hale says. “When people talk about Ashton Kutcher or Miley Cyrus quitting Twitter, I’m thinking, ‘Is this like some other Twitter I haven’t heard of before?’ It’s more of a general word-nerd following than anything else. I think there’s more of those than there are journalists.”
“Word nerd” is an apt way to describe Fake AP Stylebook’s long list of contributors, which includes Matt Wilson, a reporter from the Chattanooga Times Free Press; Andrew Kunka, an English professor at USC-Sumter; and Andrew Weiss, a communications specialist.
Most of the contributors have signed on to work on the book, which Hale says “is [laid out] a bit like the [AP style] guide. It’s more like a standard writing guide. Most of it’s not even from the Twitter feed. I don’t believe how much stuff we managed to write.”
Although the book was spawned by a Twitter feed, don’t expect entries to be limited to snarky 140-character one-liners.“The general format right now,” Lowery says, “[is] we’ve got longer tips broken down by topic—you know, politics and entertainment and sex and things like that… There will be a glossary which will be more like the Twitter feed, but that will only be part of the chapter.”
Even the title will change, though Lowery and Hale will try to preserve the “AP” initials. “The pitch title was The Absolutely Phony Stylebook,” Lowery says.
Although they’re excited about the book deal, Lowery and Hale remain realistic about the future. “I’m still broke and unemployed,” Hale sighs.
Both the creators and their contributors will have an interesting challenge in the months ahead, as preparations for the book kick into high gear. “I think the question now,” Lowery muses, “is can we entertain people for more than 140 characters?”
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