aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

The author as hustler

The Daily Beast has an interesting story about authors who attend bookgroups by speaker phone or Web cam, as well as reach out in other ways. It begins: "Not long ago, Joshua Henkin, a professor of creative writing at Sarah Lawrence and Brooklyn College, was doing just such a thing in his home office. He was scrolling through Goodreads.com, monitoring the reception of his new novel, Matrimony. A user named Shelley had given him a mixed review—three stars out of five. Henkin clicked on her name and decided to email her, offering to attend her book club, if she had one. She did—that very evening—and, after several exchanges, Henkin was set to call into it."

[Full disclosure: I met Joshua Henkin at Wordstock. And he's always tried to be out of the box. For his first book, he did a self-financed couch-surfing tour back in the day when nobody used the term couch-surf. He was smart enough to write about it for the NY Times, probably multiplying his exposure 10-fold. I can't find a link, or I would post it here.]

Later on in the article it says:
"“One thing that’s true,” Dara Horn says, “maybe now more so than two or three years ago is that readers have this idea that they know you, or want to know you and want to have this personal connection to you, however tenuous… Unless you’re someone like Stephen King, there is this sort of expectation that you’re available to readers.” When her novel All Other Nights was published in April, she couldn’t travel because she had a new baby. Phoning into book clubs was one way she could help promote from home.

"“People used to write with hesitation,” Horn says. Now she wakes up to all sorts of emails. A British reader recently lauded a specific page of her novel, then asked how he, being an older Gentile, might woo a much younger “Jewish American princess” in his office. He apologized for his drunken email the next day. “Who drunk dials writers?” Horn laughs. Bohjalian says that readers will come up to him at readings and say, “Don’t you recognize me? I’m Haley from Facebook!”"

I've done bookgroups by phone, and now that I have computer with a Web cam, I could do them that way, too.

Read more here.

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Tags: book tours

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