FROM BLOG TO BOOKS TO TV: Bad boy cashes in hand over mouse

by Alison Bonaguro
(The Chicago Tribune, Published January 21, 2007


One-time Chicagoan Tucker Max hardly seems like the kind of guy who kept a diary as a kid. Yet he has turned his affinity for writing about himself into a mini-empire.

His tales of boozing and womanizing have taken him from a self-published blogger to The New York Times best-seller list and beyond. But the Guy Page wants to know what makes one blogger rich and another just narcissistic?
Everyone knows that blogs give ordinary people an outlet for their ramblings. But here's where it gets good: Max claims to make $10,000 to $15,000 every month from advertisers such as Discover Card and PlayStation. His site, tuckermax.com, gets 50,000 hits a day.

"Marketers go where the eyeballs are," said Ed D'Onofrio, director of Midwest ad sales for FeedBurner Inc. "Provocative or entertaining content tends to attract a following. Closely behind that audience will be the marketers."

That ad revenue has kept Max blogging, allowing him to create enough content to eventually create a best-seller. His first book, "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell," is in the genre loosely labeled "fratire." Or chick lit for guys.

And Max, now a New Yorker, gives himself all the credit for its success.

"Do you see any billboards of me? No. The whole reason I exist is because of the Internet," Max said. "My book made the best-seller list because of my Web site." One year after being published, it has sold 100,000 copies by word of mouth. Even a book he published himself in 2003, "Belligerence and Debauchery," is now in such high demand that used copies are hard to find for less than $100.

Add to that a just-signed deal with Comedy Central to write a pilot, while also working on another book, and you can see that this guy is going places.

Even though he's now in a monogamous relationship, he will continue to chronicle the beers he drank and the hook-ups that ensued. "I lived the life for 10 years," Max said, "so I have a ton of stories I haven't told yet."

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