Posted by: oneyearbook | March 14, 2009

Word of mouth, Pt. II

After my previous post about the limitations of book marketing, and the questions that perhaps need to be asked about how it can change, I ran into this article at The New Yorker featuring an interview with John Wray about his new novel, Lowboy. First off, the author explains that Wray has just done a book reading on the New York subway, through a bullhorn. Part of the book takes place on the subway; Wray wrote most of the first draft while riding up and down on the Subway. (It seems he’s no stranger to stunts of this type: Wikipedia reveals that “in connection with his second novel, Canaan’s Tongue, he did a 600-mile tour by raft on the Mississippi River.”) Anyways, in answer to the first question of the interview, about book promotion, Wray says:

“Book promotion—particularly literary-book promotion—is especially moribund right now, partly due to declining sales and partly due to the prevailing conservative, defeatist attitude toward courting the interest of all but the narrowest wedge of society.”

It’s things like this – both  his opinion and his unorthodox publicity efforts – that make me believe that as younger authors come into their own, we may see a partially author-driven remaking of the current book industry.


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