Is all publicity good publicity? Are all reviews—even bad ones—good for books? The answer, according to a new study [pdf] by the journal Marketing Science, depends on whether the writer is well known or unknown. The study examined the impact of a New York Times review on the sales of more than 200 hardcover titles. For books by established writers, a negative review led to a 15% decrease in sales. For unknown authors, a negative review increased sales by a healthy 45%.
Tom Jenks, co-founder of Narrative Magazine (which charges writers $23 to submit), is releasing a 400-page, six-chapter craft book on the art of imaginative fiction titled A Poetics of Fiction. The information inside the book is billed as “more than useful—it’s essential and not readily available anywhere else”—maybe that’s why it retails for $225.
Symmetry’s addictive. Beethoven sought it in the order of chords, Einstein in the logic of theory. Countless writers, too, have sought its imprint in the perfect mot juste. In Aeon Magazine, Philip Ball pleads fervently against the pursuit of beauty in logic, and logic in beauty. “There’s a reason why our galleries are not, on the whole, filled with paintings of perfect spheres… the search for an ideal, perfect Platonic form of the table amid spirals, hypercubes and pyramids has an air of desperation.”
For better or worse, the publication date of Umberto Eco’s final book has been bumped up — originally set for a summertime release, Pepe Satàn Aleppe: Chronicles of a Liquid Society is now due out in Italian this weekend. Check out this Eco essay on how to travel with a salmon.