“Perhaps no part of the First Novel Experience is as confusing and overwhelming as figuring out how to balance the demands of social media with the demands of writing more fiction.” Martha Woodroof talks with Lydia Netzer about social media in the world of publishing and book promotion. Their advice? “Try to be funny as much as you can. Try to participate in conversations, not just start your own. Try to engage, not just talk.”
Emily Harnett writes about Elena Ferrante’s bad book covers and how it embraces “women’s fiction” as a genre. As she puts it, “In a literary marketplace where the very image of a woman is seen as antithetical to literature, Ferrante’s covers take an important stand.” Pair with Cora Currier’s essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s books.
There are a lot of writers who work in advertising, and it’s starting to have an impact. People are more likely to love brands if there is a story involved, according to a new study. “We’ve known for a long time there is no ‘buy’ button in the brain. But these results show there’s a ‘story’ button,” neuroscientist Paul Zak says. Pair with: Our essay on working at a creative agency after getting your MFA.
“Writers teach, not writing per se, but how to engage in writing as a process and a means of perception. The actual work of writing is seldom sublime. It’s a struggle that grows more difficult if we avoid it. Writing is often excruciatingly slow and repetitive. Time, in slipping and sliding, makes itself felt and immediate. Words are the way in, but nothing is guaranteed. What writers or readers can do with language, or understand inside it, depends on what they know—on refining their sensibilities, on writing, revising, waiting, reading, writing, as though living in language were life and death.” Year in Reading alumna Jayne Anne Phillips writes for the Literary Hub about the importance of writing programs. For more on the debate, check out Hannah Gersen’s Millions essay.
“But now that my first book of poems has come out, I’ve become increasingly aware of the challenge of writing a good inscription to a reader. As soon as I’ve got the pen in my hand, I become the most unoriginal message-writer on the planet.” On a little-known gripe about book signings.
This is really happening: In February, an IBM-programmed computer will take on former champions (including Ken Jennings) in three games of Jeopardy. (via)