Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

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99 problems but a blurb ain't one

There’s an art to book blurbing, as anyone who’s tried to write one can tell you. Over at the Kenyon Review, Jake Adam York takes a stab at classifying them. For example, there’s the “Lavish” type: The genre of the recommendation letter, a friend once observed, is hyperbole. Everything has to be stated in the superlative, so one reads for degrees of overstatement, hyper- and hypo-hyperbole, becoming a progressively more sensitive seismograph, searching out quavers and tremors or microscopic proportion. The blurb is a clear cousin or sibling, at least in the most common form in which sparrows of adjectives […]


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Mommy, where do blurbs come from?

The always-fascinating TYWKIWDBI points us to the origin of the blurb. According to Wikipedia, The word blurb originated in 1907. American humorist Gelett Burgess’s short 1906 book Are You a Bromide? was presented in a limited edition to an annual trade association dinner. The custom at such events was to have a dust jacket promoting the work and with, as Burgess’ publisher B. W. Huebsch described it, “the picture of a damsel — languishing, heroic, or coquettish — anyhow, a damsel on the jacket of every novel” In this case the jacket proclaimed “YES, this is a ‘BLURB’!” and the […]


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Buy a book, adopt a… penguin

In possibly the cutest book promotion campaign ever, Melville House has started an adopt-a-penguin program to—oh, I’ll just let them explain: To celebrate our publication of Andrey Kurkov‘s beloved Russian crime-fiction series starring a penguin named Misha, Melville House is announcing a new Adopt-a-Penguin program. No, really… We will adopt a penguin in the name of any bookstore who successfully sells 25 copies of either book (combined or single title) in the series, which includes Death and the Penguin or Penguin Lost. The contest will run from now until December 31st. As a reader all you need to do is […]


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Where's Alice Bliss?

Earlier this summer, we looked at BookCrossing, a website that allows users to “catch” and “release” books around the world and track where their books have gone. Now author Laura Harrington is using BookCrossing in an unusual promotion for her novel, Alice Bliss. Writes Harrington: Where’s Alice Bliss? is a campaign to send copies of the novel Alice Bliss to as many countries and U.S. states as possible. Through bookcrossing.com, copies of Alice Bliss will be registered and tracked as they travel around the world, passing from one reader to the next. […] We want to send Alice to four […]


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How far can book promotions go?

My friends who are literary agents have told me about the many ways authors try to catch their attention: packages of cookies sent with their manuscripts; queries tucked into oven mitts shaped like sunflowers (of all things). But this might be the ultimate guerrilla book promotion: faking a kidnapping to promote your book. Yes. Mark Davis, a thriller writer, did just that. Reports the News Advance of Lynchburg, Virginia: His main character, Perno Morris, is a failed novelist who has grown weary (and, perhaps, been pushed over the edge of sanity) by a discouraging series of rejections by publishers. So […]


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Control your own book tour destiny

We’ve written several posts over the years about the emergence of DIY book tours, marketing and self-publicity (read them here, and here, and here). Not only do self-published authors need to get their hustle on, but writers who publish with small presses, or find themselves mid-level (or lower) on a big house’s list can find their book off the radar within months of a debut. Yet many writers find they’re woefully unprepared to find the right venue in Kansas City or drum up buzz ahead of time so they don’t show up to an empty house at an Austin coffee […]


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Evolution or Devolution: Where is literature taking us?

The following guest post is by Josie Keenan, an FWR intern and second-year student at the University of Michigan. More and more these days, I find myself bemoaning the fate of books. As Lee discussed in her recent blog “Let’s get digital”, downloadable books have been available for some time now. Digitization is one aspect of the way literature is changing, but what we are reading is also changing. Where novels were once belabored, deeply considered works in which every word of every sentence was deliberately placed, today it seems a more manufacturable task. One can write a novel just […]


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A Million Little Writers (perhaps just a dozen)

Lots of digital ink has been spilled this week about James Frey’s Full Fathom Five endeavor. In simple terms, the company has enlisted bright young writers (most from MFA programs) to try to write the next big Young Adult series, a la Twilight or Harry Potter. Hillary Busis on MEDIAite has an article looking at two competing pieces (both published 11/12/10) – one in the Wall Street Journal, one in New York Magazine – and their very different takes. The blogosphere has picked up the story and run with it. Busis writes: The articles’ tones vary drastically. The WSJ’s Katherine […]




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