Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Tao Lin: Literary guerilla marketer for the Internet era?’s Daniel B. Roberts profiles Tao Lin, an emerging writer with an eye for unusual self-marketing opportunities.

Lin has sold “shares” of his novel Richard Yates—$2000 for 10% of the domestic profits. He’s also auctioned off a package of goodies—including a T-shirt, an unpublished draft of a short story, and a “unique drawing of a Sasquatch holding a hamburger”—on his blog. And he engages with his readers directly using the internet and social networking, even posting his phone number online.

Judging by his blog’s URL——Lin has a sense of humor about his work and his own marketing. But Roberts doesn’t think so:

Where Lin is coming from, and what his readers share, is a sense of loneliness. The malaise is not specific to New York, of course, but it is typical of a certain ilk of detached 20-somethings across the country.

The loneliness could be attributed to the Internet. Lin and his literary peers spend hours and hours online, and although doing so fosters a sense of connectedness, it is equally isolating. No matter how many fans or fellow writers Lin “meets” online, at the end of the day it’s still him, sitting at his laptop alone.

Read the full essay here, and visit Lin’s blog to find out more about him, read some of his work, or—if you wish—to bid on the next thing he decides to sell.

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