PR stunts of the literary greats


15 Responses to “PR stunts of the literary greats”

  1. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Popular historiographer Julius Caesar conquered Rome and made himself dictator for life. Your little safari doesn’t look so butch now, does it Ern?

    • Anonymous says:

      There should be a movie about Saddam Hussein as an aspiring novelist who took over Iraq to secure a market for his works. “I came, I wrote, Iraq” or something.

  2. but.if.and.that says:

    I love the hot air balloon novelty; it’s very buxom and seemingly opulent. I’d prefer that to the hordes of aimless trumpeters on Twitter.

  3. Keith says:

    Which of course means that for Cory’s next book tour, he will be flying around the world in a hot air balloon and red cape, beaming twitter adverts as he goes. Which would be awesome.

  4. querent says:

    So what do we think? Was Hunter Thompson trying, or just a (brilliant) asshole?

    • Anonymous says:

      I knew 2 guys who lived next door to Hunter. They had a conversation which they would do:
      “Hunter’s an asshole.”
      “No, Hunter’s all right.”
      “Nah, he’s an asshole.”
      and so on and on. I mean, they KNEW him but they still weren’t sure.

    • Bubba says:

      He was brilliant, he was a bit of an asshole and he was quite trying, so yeah.

  5. holtt says:

    Mind you Nabokov actually WAS a lepidopterist, and the curator of lepidoptera at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for saving me the time to clear Nabovov’s reputation. There is a big difference between self-promotion and having more than one pursuit in life (however, it may be a bit unusual to excel at both).

  6. the_headless_rabbit says:

    I’ve often thought about doing something to build hype for my own work, either through crazy PR stunts or astroturfing, but to me, it just feels sneaky and wrong to attempt to build interest using these kinds of methods.

    Knowing that the greats of the past behaved this way frees me from some of the scruples that were weighting me down. From now on, every BoingBoing comment I make will be shameless self promotion!

    • Teller says:

      Hey, I like your work!

      • the_headless_rabbit says:

        > Hey, I like your work!

        Thanks! I’m glad to see that my aggressive shameless self promotion campaign is working!

        Would it be fair to say that the small number of artists embracing the creative commons and open source movement are a modern example of these kinds of PR stunts?

        I know some no-budget filmmakers who release their work cc-by-nc-sa because they feel that free work has a built-in audience who are attracted to the work simply because it is free and open.

        The last two albums from Nine Inch Nails were cc-by-nc-sa, and everyone talked about the free part, no one talked about the music itself.

        And I don’t want to put words in Cory’s mouth, but *I think* I read a quote or statement somewhere that was attributed to him, saying “if everyone made their books free, I’d have to try something different.”

  7. MarkM says:

    Someone’s gotta explain to me why hunters love to do that
    Smiling Predator/Dead Prey end-of-hunt photograph.

    I guess the Hemingway photo is better than most. Usually the dead
    beast is sprawled out with its eyes open, mouth gaping,
    or tongue out. Or, the hunter will HOLD the dead animal’s
    head up for the camera, by the antlers perhaps. (“Smile for
    the camera!”) Which to me is the epitome of Fail.

    • Teller says:

      Hemingway presents his view of big-game hunting in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. It is a short story and it is good and honest.

  8. Qi says:

    People that can do that sort of self-promotion are a total mystery to me. I have a website where I’ve put my hacker-themed writing online — all under Creative Commons and completely free of advertising of any kind — yet I *still* resist promoting it for fear of sounding like a total douche.

    And also, I suppose, because I’m worried that it’s kind of weird and not worth crowing about.

    At a fundamental level, I find it very hard to shout ZOMG I’M SO AWESOME LOOK AT ME!!! about anything. If I were an extrovert, I probably wouldn’t spend a lot of my free time inside, alone, writing.

    I know some people write because it’s their livelihood, and in this media-saturated world they have to jockey on a daily basis to keep from been drowned out by the flavor-of-the-month competitor. And damn, sometimes I’m really glad I’m not one of you.

    But then I wonder if anyone but my local circle of friends will see anything I create.

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