Exclusive Interview: How Erin McKean Sold Her Blog-Based Book

By Jason Boog 

Simplicity4378a.jpgEarlier this week publishing veteran Erin McKean inked her first book deal with Grand Central, a novel entitled The Secret Lives of Dresses. The book tells the story of a young woman exploring a dress shop, a novelization of her blog–A Dress a Day.

GalleyCat caught up with this happy blogger to find out how she landed the deal. She explained: “The idea at the beginning was to come up with a coherent narrative that would link the Secret Lives of Dresses stories from the blog (which tell a story from the perspective of, what else, a dress). But as I worked on the narrative it went from being just an excuse to string a bunch of stories together to being a story in its own right. Voila: novel.”

McKean thanked a network of bloggers and agents who guided the process: “I was introduced to [my agent] Lisa Bankoff through the fabulous Scott Gold, the bacon-tastic author of The Shameless Carnivore. (his blog is here). Scott and I had worked together at Oxford University Press, back when I was EiC of American Dictionaries there. I also had a lot of help and advice from my sister, Kate McKean, who is an agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.”

“I am hoping fans will enjoy the new imaginary people I have conjured up,” she explained. “The novel is really about how we connect–or don’t connect–with other people, and the vintage clothes are just a nice way to highlight unexpected connections. (Although I have to say that the people I’m writing about feel to me as if they would fit right in at A Dress A Day.)”

She concluded by explaining the genesis of the blog itself: “Way back in 2003-ish, I was telling my husband Joey about the blogs I was reading, and told him I really wanted there to be a blog that talked about a dress every day. And because my husband is the kind of guy that intuitively understands what you really want and then eggs you on to do it, he said “Why don’t you do it?'”

Visit her blog for more dressy goodness like that vintage airship-hostess dress at the top of the page.