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Author To Swim 2.4 Miles to His Book Signing

San Francisco journalist and surfer Jaimal Yogis will swim to his book event in San Francisco tonight.

The author plans to talk about The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me about Survival, Success, Surfing…and Love and sign books after the grueling swim. You can also watch the swim live online.

Check it out: “Swimming in the chilly San Francisco Bay may not be the way most people would choose to arrive at their first book signing, especially in the dead of winter, and especially at night … Departing around 4:15 PM, Yogis and famous ultra swimmer Jamie Patrick — one of the elite athletes Yogis profiles in his book — will swim the 2.4-mile length of the Bay Bridge between Yerba Buena Island and the Embarcadero. There, the two will climb ashore for Yogis’ first talk and signing at Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building. The event begins at 6:30 PM.”

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The Hobbit Mural Joins NYC Skyline

A towering movie painting for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey now fills a New York City street corner (image embedded above).

One Reddit user posted the massive street painting at this link, generating hundreds of comments. A user named hipporeaper added the geographic coordinates and a map link: “it’s the SE corner of 24th and Park. View from Gmaps has a post about how these magnificent paintings get created: “315 Park Avenue South is exactly halfway between my apartment and the Tor offices. For nearly two decades I’ve watched an anonymous group of painters create 150 foot movie poster murals on the side of the building. I’ve always wondered how they construct the image and what it might look like from up close while it’s being put together. It’s one of the only places where advertising is still painted — it’s an original work and it changes up about once every six weeks.”

What Is It Like to Visit The Colbert Report & The Daily Show with Your Book?

Stanford University assistant professor of history Jennifer Burns had the great fortune to talk about her writing on both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.

Over at the Oxford University Press blog, she compared the differences between the shows–some handy intelligence for writers who hope to be on the show someday. Burns is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. Follow this link to watch The Daily Show interview. We’ve embedded the Colbert interview above.  Check it out:

The biggest difference, of course, is Jon vs. Stephen, but I had an unexpected reaction. Where most people seem to think Stephen Colbert would be a more difficult interview, I actually found him to be personally warmer and easier to talk to than Jon Stewart. Some of this was because I felt more confident the second time around. But the interview itself was also less serious and more of a performance, whereas on The Daily Show I felt I was being grilled by a formidable intellect …The Colbert producer also did a great job of helping me understand what would create a good interview. Her top piece of advice (which I also heard at The Daily Show): “Don’t be funny!”

Who Is Jared Silverstone?

Copywriter and editor Emily Seuss has uncovered a set of social media accounts sharing the same stock photo picture, all credited to an Author Solutions employee named Jared Silverstone. UPDATE: Author Solutions will remove these accounts and has issued an official statement about the matter.

Silverstone is identified as an “Awesome Publishing Consultant at Author Solutions” in his bio on various social media sites, but his photograph can also be found as “Nerdy Mustache Guy Portrait” from iStock Photo. You can visit his Google+ page, his Facebook page and his Twitter page. We have reached out to Penguin (the new corporate parent of Author Solutions) for commentary and we will update when we have a response.

Here’s more from Seuss: “Aside from the fact that he’s posted only a handful of ASI-centric posts since March 2012, Jared looks just a little too hipster to be hipster, doesn’t he? That’s because—surprise!—Jared Silverstone isn’t real. Click through a few pages of  search results for ‘mustache,’ and you’ll find our precious Jared, sans the green filter makeover and the slightly off center crop job. Before Author Solutions paid for his likeness, Jared looked a little something like (okay, maybe EXACTLY like) the watermarked guy on the right.” (Via Victoria Strauss)

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How a Debut Author Used His Old College to Find New Readers

How can a debut travel writer set up author events? One author used his old college to build a network of new readers.

Today’s guest on this encore edition of the Morning Media Menu was Andrew Blackwell, author of Visit Sunny Chernobyl. He shared travel writing and promotion tips that all kinds of authors can use.

Press play below to listen. Here’s an excerpt from the interview: “As a first-time author, I can’t expect the publisher to fly me around and set things up for me. I can’t even expect to show up in Denver or Oklahoma City and have more than a few people show up. So I’m trying to build relationships where I can give something to a particular organization. Out of that, I can build events. The first thing I did, I called up my college alumni magazine and they wanted to do something.”

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Shakespeare in the Park Fans Get Free Book from Random House

Random House found new readers through New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park program, distributing free books to theater fans camped out to get Into the Woods tickets.

Here’s more from The Gothamist: “Two sweet summer interns from Random House worked their way through offering free copies of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (which at least a hundred people started reading then and there). They told us Random House does that kind of giveaway once or twice a summer.”

This week, Rachel Joyce‘s novel debuted on the Indie bestseller list and holds the No. 28 spot on the New York Times bestseller list (in Hardcover Fiction). Back in 2009, UK publisher Quercus employed a similar marketing method for a once unknown book called The Girl Who Played with Fire (the second title of Stieg Larsson‘s wildly popular Millennium trilogy).

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Togather Releases Tool to ‘Fansource’ Author Events

All the authors in audience know how disappointing it can be to give a reading in a nearly empty room.

The new Togather tool will help writers figure out how many people want to come to a reading and help fans set up author readings in their neighborhood. We’ve embedded the introductory video above–what do you think?

Here’s more about the tool: ” Using an on-demand fansourcing platform, Togather transforms the way authors organize book tours and bring audiences to events. With Togather, every talk, book signing or lecture is sold out before you even leave your home. We use a group-buying mechanism to make sure that your fans commit to attending. It only takes a few clicks to show some author love. And with this commitment from fans, a whole new world of possible events opens to you and your audience.”

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Karl Taro Greenfeld: ‘Journalism is self-policing itself probably better than ever, but meanwhile, journalism isn’t getting any better’

Veteran journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld talked about his new novel, Triburbia on the Morning Media Menu today, sharing advice for journalists and writers coping with a dramatically evolving landscape.

Follow this link to read a Byliner excerpt from his book, a section about a journalist caught fabricating chunks of his memoir. It arrived as a timely piece of writing after Jonah Lehrer‘s recent scandal.

Press play to listen, but we’ve included quotes from the interview below: “Even though we seem to be able to unmask journalistic frauds with greater and greater regularity, is that really improving journalism at all? That’s a funny thing that’s happening. Journalism is self-policing itself probably better than ever, but meanwhile, journalism isn’t getting any better for all of that.”

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Simon & Schuster Reaches Out to Teen Readers Through Texting

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has teamed up with Mobile Commons to launch a new texting program for YA readers.

Fans of Scott Westerfeld‘s Leviathan trilogy can text “SCOTT” to a special shortcode to try to win a coffee date with him, talk about his books and learn more about future contests. Fans of The Blessed author Tonya Hurley can text “BLESSED” to a special shortcode to try and win a guitar. What do you think of this new marketing venture?

Here’s more from the release: “The Simon & Schuster author campaigns will use the consumer relationship tools on the Mobile Commons user dashboard, which include message editing, data segmenting, targeting, URL tracking, QR codes, and MMS (multimedia messaging). Simon & Schuster will also use the platform’s real-time analytics and reporting to help them better personalize their communications with their teen readers.”

Thomas Pynchon’s Trystero Spreads Around the World

Thomas Pynchon‘s The Crying of Lot 49 revolves around a conspiracy theory about a secret postal system called “The Trystero.” Alongside the release of Pynchon’s complete eBook backlist, Trystero signs have been planted in 200 spots around the world (like this sign in a Portland, Oregon phone booth).

These signs link to an online message system, a 21st Century version of The Trystero.  If you want to find the underground post office in your area, the Google Map embedded below shows all the spots where secret signs have been planted.

Each sign links to a unique URL–if you can’t find one near you, follow this link to see the secret post office link posted in Los Angeles. Click on the w.a.s.t.e. link at the bottom of the page to send your own message via Trystero.

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