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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Jennifer Weiner to Jonathan Franzen: Twitter Isn’t Evil and All Writers Are ‘Self-Promoters’

What about "An American Novelist?"How do we classify a popular novelist’s Twitter feed: is it marketing? personal branding? public relations? It’s a bit of a grey area. But, as Jennifer Weiner so politely told Jonathan Franzen this week, social media is a necessary tool for any writer who wants to engage with his or her audience.

Yes, this is a literary spat, but stick with us: it will feel very familiar to anyone in marketing, advertising or PR.

We like Franzen because he writes good novels, but he’s also an ivy tower contrarian who feels compelled to talk down to the young and unenlightened among us. This week The Guardian ran an excerpt from his latest long-form essay opus under the frightening title “What’s Wrong with the Modern World?”, and it’s an epic rant. Some key points:

  • The instant gratification of social media is destroying our ability to focus and create real value
  • Marketing has led us to define ourselves by the brands we buy (“I’m a Mac guy”)
  • Amazon reviews are the worst thing that ever happened to publishing
  • Writers who engage with the public via social are diluting the integrity of their profession

These are generalizations worth considering, but we’re more interested in his personal attacks on fellow authors who turn to social media to “brand” themselves.

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More Authors Hiring Firms to Buy Up Their Own ‘Bestsellers’

Lauren ConradWe can all agree that promoting books is a difficult and often thankless job complicated by the public’s rapid move away from paper and toward the digital model (which is less profitable but more efficient and far more agreeable to spouses who really don’t care for the dust and clutter of a big bookshelf).

For authors and publishers alike, the very ability to claim “bestseller” status can significantly increase sales in addition to related speaking and consulting fees (especially relevant if you write about business). Unfortunately, it seems that more authors are now responding to the PR and financial challenges of writing for a living by simply buying their way onto bestseller lists.

Here’s how it works: The Wall Street Journal outs a marketing firm called ResultSource which buys thousands of copies of books in bulk before their publication dates to create a false “sales bounce” and then returns them to the seller. (All for a significant fee, of course.)

Can you guess how we feel about this practice?

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