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%.
Remember that preview for Death to Smoochy, where the voice-over proclaimed, “From the twisted mind of Danny DeVito?” Me neither. But if twisty minds are your thing, you should check out this page from Gay Talese‘s outline for the classic “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” written on a shirt cardboard. (Remember shirt cardboards? Yeah… Me neither.)
“The half-stripped trees / struck by a wind together, / bending all, / snapping before the power of… / thundersnow? / Oh shit, do you see that? / Thundersnow!” It’s safe to say that William Carlos Williams would have been blown away by thundersnow. Here are a few other classic poems helpfully reimagined for the climate change age.
We’ve all been rejected; after all, we’re writers. Yet sometimes it’s nice to know someone has it worse than you. With that in mind, New Hampshire Public Radio presents dramatic readings of famous rejection letters. Pair with: Our ask a writing teacher on rejection from various literary journals.
Back in March, I pointed readers to an interview with Minae Mizumura, whose recent book, The Fall of Language in the Age of English, makes a case against the dominance of the English language in the modern age. Now, at Full-Stop, Sho Spaeth reviews the book. Sample quote: “She has a curious blindness to what may be her greatest offense of all to the prevailing attitude of our age: a naive rejection of the idea that novels, and their novelists, exist merely to entertain.”