What do you do when McSweeney’s rejects your humor piece? You could, like most people, slink off and write something new, perhaps after a quick look at the site to get a better sense of what they’re looking for, or you could write a new humor piece about getting rejected by McSweeney’s. At The Nervous Breakdown, Rachel Pollan takes the latter route (with a cameo by the movie Swingers).
Rejection is something all writers face and no one’s pretending it’s pleasant, but worse than the rejection itself are the hours spent deciphering where a submission went wrong. Thankfully Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature was inspired by a 1920s rejection slip to create a self-explanatory “thanks but no thanks” note. While we’re thankful these aren’t the norm, we can definitely see the appeal…
BLDGBLOG, which has “always been interested in learning how novelists see the city,” interviewed China Miéville about “the conceptual origins of the divided city featured in his… award-winning novel The City & The City,” among other things. Architects, fans of urban decay, and general lit nerds are going to have a field day with this link, I promise you.
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%.
Steven Pinker‘s The Better Angels of Our Nature posits that human violence is becoming less and less common in civilized culture. If your interest was piqued by the book’s review in The New York Times, you will no doubt be interested in his Edge Master Class as well.