Three twitter accounts turned bestselling books

posted by Lindsay Susla

In our highly-connected world, the lines seem to be constantly blurred between citizen and journalist.  The question is, is the distinction between citizen and novelist becoming less distinct?  As more twitter accounts and blogs are turned into bestselling books, is it easier than ever to become a published author?  Here are three success stories:

50 Sheds of Grey: Dubbed “erotica for the not-too-modern male,” this parody of the popular novel Fifty Shades of Grey was started by Colin Trevor Grey. This twitter account (and now book) of gardening-themed tweets are written in a way which poke fun at its namesake trilogy.  Look for the occasional tweet which includes a photo of a unique shed.

Humblebrag: This account was created after Harris Wittels, television writer, noticed that many people felt twitter was the venue to complain about problems that aren’t really problems. Example:

@AdrianneCurry also trying to figure out what career I should go for when I am done. Schooling will be a must, I have no college. Ugh, stupid modeling.

The book spinoff, Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty, discusses the different types of humblebragging and how the trend first began.

Sh*t Girls Say: Born out of the popularity of a twitter account and viral YouTube video of the same name, this new book makes fun of what girls supposedly say.  “I hate my laugh,” “Miss your face,” and “Can I steal one of your fries?” are a few examples of tweets from the account, and honestly, things you’ve probably heard a girl say.


photo uploaded to flicker by Ian Wilson

What I’m wondering is what this new trend means for the publishing world.  Does the ease of social media mean that more great voices will be heard?  Or are we just releasing more drivel into the literary world in the name of making money?  What do you think?


4 responses to “Three twitter accounts turned bestselling books

  1. That 50 Sheds of Grey account is funny! I hadn’t heard of it before. I don’t necessarily believe twitter has opened up a whole lot of possibilities for the great writers of the future. The fact there are only 140 characters for writers to deal with does not provide much room for literary genius. I think your latter question deals with the more likely rationale: the ability to make more money. There are a whole lot of books these days that are published not for their literary worth, or because they will become the next classic of the millenium, but because they will get buyers. Look at book’s written by the media’s favorite characters: Paris Hilton, Macaulay Caulkin, and Lauren Conrad. These are not award-winning works. These are just one more way for people to make money.

  2. Publishers are already looking for new ideas for book, and these Twitter inspired book already have an instant audience. I think it’s an easy call to make.

    I remember seeing a silly picture book based on the site, LOLCATS. Then I looked at the site. It’s the definition of cross marketing.

    By the way, I love the line on 50 Sheds of Gray about extreme bondage . . . just watch Skyfall 50 times. Classic.

  3. I think that these accounts are hilarious, and they definitely have an audience. In my opinion they are more about making money, rather than producing the next great classic. As long as people find these parody accounts funny/interesting people will buy book adaptations. The money will be there as long as the audience is there.

  4. I agree with what everyone has said, and the comments are similar to what I had in mind when I originally wrote the post. I guess my hope is that while these accounts can be appreciated for being witty, the “140-characters” writing method will not become the literary style of the future. As I notice more terrible grammar and writing faux pas in social media, I am made more aware of the fact that we experience constant interaction with short, poorly written language. I worry that this can make us numb to the quality of writing, and impatient with anything longer than a few sentences. Hopefully there are enough journalism students to keep our writing standards high!

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