Saturday, February 12, 2005

Bowshots, Pt. 2: Beyond 'A New Yorker's Map of the World' (and Costco Too)

"You say that a couple of publishers are doing an active pre-pub outreach to readers. But I'm curious how they're finding these readers....I still think this is a question of reaching out to the typical consumer, who the publishing industry refuses to believe lives outside of New York City, and could care less if another book about publishing executives and their nannies ever makes it to the shelves... And I still maintain that they're not effectively reaching those markets."

Dear MLH: I don't dispute that we're not effectively reaching those markets; but in terms of that outreach to readers I mentioned, I can assure you (because a number of my own books have been sampled thusly, and I've seen the unedited readers' reports): they represent the broadest possible cross-section of America's diversity. They come from all parts of the country (rarely, in fact, do they hail from New York), they represent the broadest possible range of education and literary sophistication--and they do, indeed, shop at Costco. ["Not that there's anything wrong with that!"]

For the record, I'm a proud, card-carrying member of the Costco Collective...


A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS [Courtesy Georges Simenon (1903-1985)]

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."

PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]

"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."

PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]

"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."