HarperStudio Lands Gary Vaynerchuk

by Patrick on April 2, 2009

HarperStudio, the little big guy that could, has signed a 10-book, seven figure deal with Gary VaynerchukWriting in the Wall Street Journal online, Sara Nelson reports:

To hear HarperStudio tell it, this is a very important deal, one of the biggest it has made so far, even considering the imprint’s relatively low advance-higher royalty split model. (President Bob Miller has said that he will not pay more than 100K per book upfront, though some agents have confided he has occasionally bid much higher; the 10-book deal may have been a way to get the total pay-out up to a figure Mr. Vaynerchuk — who says he has been offered more by other publishers — can live with). And in these days of tight budgets that only loosen for the biggest names, it is indeed notable that someone would spend so much on such an untried author.

gary-vIndeed, at Winter Institute, Bob Miller was singing Vaynerchuk’s praises as an example of what a small business could do with social media.  I guess now we know how he serious he was about that praise.  You have to see this as HarperStudio putting their money (and a lot of it, in this case) where their mouth is with regards to the power of social media.  I’m very curious to see how they promote the book.  Will they focus on social media or will we see Gary on Oprah and The Daily Show?  This is kind of a unique intersection of old publishing and new media, and it should be fun to watch the results.

I love Vaynerchuk’s enthusiasm and his general attitude, but I have to admit, I’m curious about how it will translate into book form.  In fact, for a guy who keeps up with the ever-changing world of social media as well as anyone, the real question will be can he slow down into the book format.  Or rather, does he need to slow down?  How will he distance himself from the general choir of self-help-ish business books that are out there?  I think his message — that it’s a new world and that everything is wide open — could play very well in a recession economy.  Additionally, his positivity is a welcome reprieve from the doom and gloom of most business news lately.  One place that I think Nelson is slightly off the mark is here:

But is a marketer/blogger, who cheerfully admits he doesn’t read books, going to be able to sell them to other Internet types who probably don’t read much either? It’s one thing, after all, to get your career advice for free, simply by turning on your computer — and another to plunk down $20 for a hardcover book.

My suspicion is that HarperStudio, while welcoming the built-in audience that Vaynerchuk has, is banking on this series of books bringing him into the world of mainstream media, expanding his “platform” beyond the internet, so to speak.  What do you think?  Will these books be successful?  Can garyvee bring his signature style to the printed world?