Monday, April 25, 2005

Desperate Writer Seeks Same...

“Literati are increasingly turning to the blogs… Inevitably, publishers have noticed the power of these informal networks to generate word-of-mouth buzz—the holy grail of marketing—and are looking for ways to harness it.” Joy Press, The Village Voice, April 19th, 2005

SUBJECT: My Book-Your Needs-Tell Me Where To Scratch

Greetings and Salutations my Well-Read Friend:

It has come to my attention that you have been burning up the book world with your reviews, authorial shout-outs and publicity generating literary blog! In short, it seems you, dear Blogger, are a sensation in a pajama top – devil may care with the bottoms, eh?
Well, as someone who has a book coming out this, say, MAY 3rd, I just want to say, I adore you. And I mean that in the least ass-kissy/my publisher didn’t put me up to this way possible.

Now some other writers who’ve also been struggling to get a novel published for, say, the past twelve years, might be a bit frustrated that when their life’s goal finally appears to be materializing, their publisher tells them they don’t have any money to spend on first time novelists—neither on the advance nor on the publicity. Apparently that money has to go to established writers (because I’m sure Dan Brown really needs it.) Other writers who also might have, say, gone into debt, in the neighborhood of, say, $60,000 to get an MFA, might be a little put off by the fact that their publisher won’t even give them train fair to do a reading they’ve arranged for themselves. Apparently that $18 NJ Transit ticket hasn’t been budgeted by the German media monolith that holds the purse strings. Other writers might be a smidge bitter that a premium is put on authors who photograph well or have a rabid conservative agenda to promote. But not me, no bile here because I read the great Guru Gladwell, I get tipping-pointonomics, and I now know it’s about that word-of-mouth buzz.

So here’s my offer to you, oh Captain-my-Captain: Give me a mention on your website and I will personally deliver a grande mocha-frappuccino to wherever you’re blogging from, be it your home, a coffee shop, an office. And fear not – I can be discreet. (I mean it’s not like I’d be posting my adventures on a publicity generating blog or something!) Now for a rave review on your site, I’d be willing to do far more. I’d happily write into your college’s alumni magazine and tell those idiots who wrote you off that you are, in fact, doing extremely well. And if, by repeatedly referring to me on your site as “the best voice you’ve never heard of,” you help me get in tight with the McSweeney’s/Believer kids, I will give you piggy back rides to wherever you need to go for the next three years regardless of the distance or weather conditions – I’m like a mountain goat on black ice, I assure you.

Look, I know yours was a venture genuinely begun to support literature, and I’m aware that you have thus far actually used your growing influence for the purpose of good. And, yes, I suppose part of me would mourn the idea that you could be bought, either by a publisher who might, say, offer you a lucrative book deal for the novel you’ve had running through your veins for years, or by the promise of a return back scratch on the lit blog I intend to launch. But as we both know, the literary marketplace has changed. And at least until Oprah can be convinced to revive her book club to promote contemporary writers and I can begin stalking her, I tilt my windmills at you, Lit Blogger, and I urge you to use that broadband connection to help me shill.

Peace, Love and a Fast Internet Connection,
Robin Epstein
Author of the forthcoming SHAKING HER ASSETS, published by Berkley Books in May, 2005


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