That sounds dishonest, not disrespectful, but as a writer of 40 books, I never read promos. I can’t bear it. I love stories and am afraid of them being spoiled. There are no obvious turns or killer signposts so clear that I try to guess them as I read. I never watch the ending first. One of the great joys of books (and life, more or less the same) is the surprise.
I did stumble across this wonderful article by Karen Jay Fowler We’re not at all around us, which drops the (gorgeous) twist in the first row. I can’t be the only one distracted, as the new version’s slogan now says:
“Rosemary was young, just entering college, and she decided not to tell anyone about her family. So we won’t tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourself, around page 77 or so, what makes her unfortunate family special.
And I did take a look at the jacket quote just to make sure no one used any of my great books off – “clear prose” is one, “great lyrical power” is another. I once read a novel where a celebrity quoted it, apparently under some duress from the publisher, giving: “It’s a story, well told” – and frankly, one might think it’s minimal.
As for my own bios, I used to write them “Dear Reader” a few years ago, before what Louise Willder called the “decriminalization” of the world (after the smoothie), Trying to address a stranger informally becomes talking to you like a toilet on a Virgin Train.
None of this detracts from how delightful and fascinating this book is, I now consider myself well-educated and am more convinced than ever that I was right, leaving the nebulous to the excellent professional of Little, Brown person.
In the words of Italian author and publisher Roberto Carasso, Willder’s goal was to redefine the slogan as “a humble and arduous literary form…a narrow rhetorical space, not like a sonnet. That’s fascinating, but just as rigorous.” Writers no less than Iris Murdoch consider propaganda to be “a mini art form”. Roger McGough used to oversee his work at his publisher.Richard Adams was very rude to him, though not as rude as Janet Winterson, and she hated her recent publicity so much that she took a picture of herself setting fire to the book they decorated – an act of she won a lot of publicity and Changed the profile. She is a genius in many ways.
This book is full of interesting and bookish treasures.There is good advice on whether to take the oath or not (only if it is “sprinkled neatly”); whether you should mention Jesus (even if it’s a book all about jesus), and examples of some of the worst promos in the world, my favorite is Frank Herbert’s (awesome) dune,start:
“When the Emperor transferred the management of Arakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, House Harkonnen fought back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. His son Paul and his concubine Lady Jessica fled into the desert. On the verge of death, they were rescued by the Fremen, who controlled Arrakis’ second greatest resource: the giant worm…
ah, that second
Then there are children’s books:
“Meet Dave. Caveman Dave. Dave lives in a cave.Dave’s Cave perfect
But Dave is not happy… Dave wants new cave
As Willder points out, this isn’t just a neat way to set up voices, characters, time, and space within 20 words; it’s also basically a summary of the human condition.Trying to find a nerdy kid who can’t recite the poem behind Susan Cooper’s groundbreaking Darkness is rising:
“When darkness falls, the Six will turn it back…
There are also slogans for crime, romance and erotica, as well as slogans for literary fiction, in a chapter titled “If you think you’re hard enough, try it.” It’s fun to laugh. Wilder complained that on every single-color jacket there was “a writer at the “peak of power,” which begs the question, is it going downhill from here, or is everything they’ve written before? Why is everything “borderline” now?
She explained that whenever propagandists have to write copy for a literary novel, they desperately try to insert as many stories as possible because that’s what readers are looking for.Special praise goes to
milkman Anna Burns’ jacket reads: “It’s a story of inaction with huge consequences” – a superbly fuzzy cake-ism.Wade doesn’t like Thomas Pynchon’s publicity Gravity rainbow – “We can tell you that the year was 1944 and the bombs were dropped in Europe, but that doesn’t really start to cover it up” – suggesting that if you, the reader, are looking for the plot, you are “a little bit basic”; but then she Wondering if it matters because the only purpose of reading it is to tell others that you’ve read it.
Along with bad things, sometimes good things can take your breath away. How good is Hallie Rubenhold’s slogan five Tell you what the book is going to be like?
“POLLY, ANNIE, ELIZABETH, CATHERINE and MARY JANE are famous for the same thing, even though they never met. They come from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They write ballads, run cafés, live on country estates, breathe the toner of printing presses, and escape human traffickers. What they have in common is the year of the murder: 1888.
If that doesn’t immediately make you want to jump right into the world of this book, it’s hard to know what will.
first edition the great gatsby 1925 includes the following line: ‘[This novel]…full of the strangeness of a human environment in a careless universe.My personal favorite is the near-perfect blend of author and copy that adorns Andrew Hankinson’s extraordinary You can do amazing things with your life [You are Raoul Moat]:
“A letter has come. On April 29, 2008, you have an appointment with a trainee clinical psychologist. You are not participating. Another letter came. It says they don’t usually reschedule appointments, but they know it’s going to be hard for you, so they offer you another appointment. The date is May 13, 2008. You did not participate. Two years later, you shot three guys and then you shot yourself. You will be called a monster. You will be called evil. Prime Minister David Cameron will stand up in Parliament and say you are a ruthless murderer and the story ends. You have nine days and your whole life to prove that you are more than just a cold-hearted murderer. go.
Wade also took quite a few fascinating detours along the way, following whatever publishing-related she liked. For example, you know what? lace (Especially the unforgettable poor goldfish) It wasn’t actually written by Shirley Conran at all, but by Celia Brefield, and they had been arguing about it for years? Or does the word “bumf” come from “bum fodder”, like once upon a time in a world where books are extremely expensive, the ones you don’t want to keep are recycled as toilet paper? Or was it the mid-1500s when 8 million books were already in print, the equivalent of an explosion of internet pages?
Every page has something interesting, noteworthy or awesome blur your passion. Some books just slip into your life like humorous old friends. This is undoubtedly one of them.