Saturday, August 30, 2008

This Week in Promotional Culture

Getting publicity for a lowly ol’ hunk of treeware is getting increasingly difficult, what with cuts to various book sections across North America and the general decline in reading. So I have sympathy for those able to place advertorials for their novels into major newspapers. At the same time, I do wonder if that space could be used more effectively. Three recent examples:

1) The Globe has obviously inked some kind of sweetheart deal with Ondaatje, because on Saturday, August 23, the Globe Review reprinted the entire afterword from the new edition of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. This afterword was deemed newsworthy enough to make it onto page R1. His bio reads: I am the King of Canlit and you are not. Buy my reissue now.* (Too lazy to track down article link).

2) On August 9, the Saturday Star gave Andrew Pyper an entire page to promote The Killing Circle. It should be noted that Pyper is a talented non-fiction writer, and by all accounts a superb human being, so I urge you to hate the game, not the playa. His article bio reads: Andrew Pyper's latest novel, The Killing Circle, has just been published. (link).

3) Also on August 9, intellectual super collider Stephen Marche managed to convince the Globe and Mail’s travel section to publish a piece about the fictional country he created for his most recent book. The sheer audacity of this maneuver earns my grudging admiration. Just in case you missed the central thesis of the article, his bio reads: Stephen Marche is the author of Shining at the Bottom of the Sea. The paperback version hits stores today. (link).

(Full Disclosure: I’m guilty of a similar crime, having written a “From the Author” column for Canadian Bookseller in July/August of 2001.)

* No it doesn't.