Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Swimsuit Issue

Everybody does one, right? It's a way to increase sales & attention as the season turns.
Today's featured model is a 1/5 page ad in the New York Times Book Review, putting publishers on notice that they're in danger of missing out on the next Faulkner, Joyce, Angelou or Tolstoy, if they don't publish his books.
If I read the advertising charts for NYT correctly, he spent upwards of $10,000 to beg for publication. Perhaps it will pay off. One wonders why he didn't just self-publish.
But whichever side he approaches from - client or DIY-er - it's the same uphill struggle, climbing Mt. Recognition.

This goes a long way toward explaining the preponderance of reviewed books by or about famous people. Today's NYT Book Review features books about Bob Dylan, Metallica, Queen, Robert Redford, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Eden, Cary Grant, Derek Jeter, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial... You get the picture. And fiction captures a diminishing share - out of dozens of books in the Summer Reading issue, only 6 are full-length reviews of novels. Really, don't people read fiction to escape the grind?

The competition for readers' eyes is fierce - while more books are being published every year, people are spending less time with them. But diving into a full-length novel, whether your pleasure is a P.D. James mystery, a John Le Carre spy tale, a re-read of Lord of the Rings or a comic novel by P.G. Wodehouse, is the best celebration of summer.

If you're headed for the beach, a pool or a mountain cabin, don't forget the books!

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