This is how it happens.
A guy starts a clever blog in January and calls it Stuff White People Like. The site contains a list of cultural totems, including gifted children, marathons and writers’ workshops, that a certain type of moneyed and liberal American might be expected to like.
“The No. 1 reason why white people like not having a TV,” reads the explanation under entry No. 28, Not Having a TV, “is so that they can tell you that they don’t have a TV.”
Readers discover stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com, like it and forward links to their friends, who forward them to lots more friends. Newspaper columnists mention it, stealing — er, quoting — some of the better jokes. By the end of February, the NPR program “Talk of the Nation” runs a report on it, debating whether the site is racist or satire.
And then on March 20 Random House announces that it has purchased the rights to a book by the blog’s founder, Christian Lander, an Internet copy writer. The price, according to a source familiar with the deal but not authorized to discuss the total, was about $300,000, a sum that many in the publishing and blogging communities believe is an astronomical amount for a book spawned from a blog, written by a previously unpublished author. --The New York Times
A hundred bucks? Fifty? A cup of coffee? A shiny Susan B. Anthony dollar?