A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
we frankly declare that, after the most deliberate consideration of Mr.
Darwin’s argument, we remain unconvinced.”
the review ofCharles Darwin’s On the
Origin of Species in 1860, some 159 years ago.It was a review that appeared in The New York Times.
newspaper of record also called Lolita,
by Vladimir Nabokov, in 1958, “dull” and “repulsive.”
are important classics of our modern-day world.The book critics get it wrong often – and many times they elect to not
even review a book that goes on to be a best-seller or culturally significant
should we even bother with book reviews when it comes to plotting a book
there are different types of reviews out there.
you have big review publications focused on books, such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews,Booklist, The Foreword, and Library
Journal. They can be hard to come by-same with major newspapers that review
books, such as The New York Times, USA
Today, and Wall Street Journal.But I say try them.The potential pay-off is worth it.
you have online book reviewers, from those who post on consumer sites like
Amazon, bn-com, or other retailers, to those who post on social media.These reviews are weighed by the pound, so
the focus is on quantity more than quality.
you have paid reviews, some online, and some with known publications such as Kirkus Reviews.Until the buying public knows these are paid
for, many are worth pursuing.
book reviews are just one part of an author’s tool box to market a book.Getting other media is very important, from
radio and podcast interviews to byline articles at a magazine, to features in
major newspapers to television interviews.
the news media, you have social media – that of others and your own.Go tweet, post on Instagram and Facebook,
send videos on You Tube, or blog like crazy.Then get others to interview or feature you on their sites.
direct marketing, advertising, and other means of marketing a book are just as
important as getting lots of good book reviews.So, bottom line, pursue book reviews at all levels, but make sure you
diversify your book marketing portfolio because your book deserves to go beyond
“Do not wait for art idea.Start writing something and the ideas will come.You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”
“Do you realize that all great literature is all about what a bummer it is to be a human being?”
“Take five ice cubes, place in clean glass, add vodka.”
“Ideas are like rabbits.You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
English speakers, it’s worth thinking about the ways we use bad words and how
to make our own use more vital and effective,” writes Katherine Dunn in On
often we substitute words for the genuine thing. We say darn for damn or gosh for God. Then
again, all too often, we don’t hold back and toss around shit, fuck, and bitch
like we’re handing out bottles of water to marathoners.
writers,” she writes, “we now face a loss of power in the classic obscenities -
the draining of shock value, the depletion of such terms’ ability to
offend. Our challenge is to revive the
language with vivid reinvention.”
her book includes a chart showing the usage of common expletives over
time. Since the 1960’s, once forbidden
words have exploded. Shit, by far, tops
them all. Fuck ranks highly too. Cunt and motherfucker are used far less
often, but growing in frequency.
United States, up until the 1930s, dictated that a single dirty word could
cause a book to be banned. hen came the obscenity trials in 1959. Several books were challenged, but in 1964 a
ground-breaking Supreme Court decision established a standard in use today, that
obscenities in print are acceptable if the work "has redeeming social or
1973 another Supreme Court case, Miller v. California, helped establish a
three-tiered test to decide what was obscene and unprotected vs. what was
erotic and therefore covered by the First Amendment.
why do we use naughty words?
shock and grab attention.
a sense of identity and character.
a feeling of urgency or severity.
display anger, ecstasy, and emotions.
Dunn says that: “Overuse of any word decimates its power,” and this can be true
with cuss words, too.
book made me realize just how often we curse:
Emotional: “So scared, he shit himself.”
“This is a shitty sandwich.”
Threaten: “I'll kick your ass so hard.”
Humor: “Who do you have to fuck to get a valet
sticker validated by Christmas?”
A Curse: “I hope your ears turn into
assholes and shit all over your shoulders.”
Display Ignorance: “He had no fucking clue.”
Insult: “You fucking moron!”
“Trump’s a stupid bitch.”
Anger: “Screw you, asshole!”
Sex: “Her pussy begged for more.”
list could go on. Language – our
vocabulary and sentence structure is a crucial part of our writings and our
identities. Cursing keeps things
real. Today’s world curses – often – and
our writings, if they are to stay true to reality, will need to insert some
cussing. Then again, plenty of people
don’t cuss publicly. Not religious clergy,
not Jerry Seinfeld, and not some people that we hold in high esteem. So maybe we can co-exist without resorting to
using x-rated language.
worse than lazy cursing, where people overly depend on such words to make a
point when such usage reflects poorly on the user. To give cuss words power, use them wisely and
rarely. Do not go to the well too often
when you want to drink words that offend, incite, and suggest some harsh
judgments. Save and savor the words that
Mom and Dad don’t want you to utter as they speak them.
make use of cuss words. So does every
show on HBO, Showtime, and Netflix. It’s
how pop culture operates. Along with
gratuitous violence, displays of nudity, and references to drugs, our
entertainment also feels the need to curse. Social media, comedy clubs, and R-rated
films push our language towards a heavy reliance of cuss words.
grew up understanding cursing is part of our culture, heritage, and
language. It’s what gets people excited
and moves them to act violently, be mean, have sex, make others laugh, and
inspire any number of feats. Not all
cursing is bad, negative, or dangerous.
In fact, most cursing provides context and impact to a situation, and it
certainly helps people express the raw energy they feel inside themselves.
certainly is a role for cursing in our daily interactions and our
writings. One must balance their
delivery and setting for the use of such colorful language. If said in the proper time and place, curse
words can be romantic, erotic, and loving.
They can inspire people to survive, thrive, or be on the offensive – as
well as be used to rally others to commit unspeakable acts upon others.
book explores the physical impact on the reader or listener of curse words,
making the argument for how and when to cuss with maximum effect. Though she died three years ago, the author
made her mark in literary circles. Her
book, Greek Love, was a finalist for the National Book Award.
leave you with her book’s closing words:
“I trust you will give serious consideration to our cussing, both live and
written bring zest and sting to the language.
Avoid cliché and tedium.”
“What is written without effort is in general read without
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank
“If a word in the dictionary were misspelled. How would
“The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next
How authors get their book marketing mojo – and avoid
never give book reviews.You may see me
write about a book and share thoughts about its contents, usually a non-fiction
book.But I can’t recall in over 3,300
posts, over eight years, of ever reviewing a book that wasn't about publishing, writing, language, or free speech, but I would do a disservice if
I didn’t endorse my favorite book of the year, Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo.
reads like a novel, filled with stories about three women, each sexually
dysfunctional and representative of millions of women.It’s the kind of book women read but men like
me would enjoy.
did I love – not just like – this book?
is so well written and filled with a vibrancy rarely seen.It is not quite Gone Girl, Girlon
a Train or the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.Those were thrillers, fueled by violence and
complex lives.Those were great in their own way.Three Women finds a way to
reveal a person’s soul while allowing you to either relate with pity or be
entertained the way one likes to gawk at a terrible car accident and say from a
distance, ‘What a shame.’
string of stories certainly have things in common, with commentary about how
women define themselves by their relationships, how men mistreat women on so
many levels, and how sometimes one simply can’t start fresh after a bad
past.But the stories are distinctive –
a woman who desperately desires love, mistaking sex from an affair with someone
who took advantage of her when in school years earlier as that of love; another
who needs affirmation that her high school teacher really cares for her while
an inappropriate sexual relationship ensues; and a woman who readily agrees to
sleep with any man or woman her husband chooses for her, sometimes with him in
the room watching or other times on her own with a promise to immediately share
the details with him.What appears to be
a liberated woman is really a slave to his controlling fantasies.
may not represent every woman, but they certainly seem to depict what a certain
percentage of women put themselves through – psychologically and
physically.The book does not depict men
in a favorable light but that doesn’t mean the author is anti-male.She just didn’t focus on relationships that
are healthy or thriving, which are probably in the minority, but she did
explore how bad relationships damage women as well as how damaged women put
undue pressure on themselves to make a relationship work.
book is extremely well written, combining dialogue, thoughts, and astute
observations to provide a feeling of being any of these three women thrust into
their drama, from their perspectives.Are
they victims?Are they really the strong
ones?Can they be both?
author fascinates me.I wonder, after
joining her for 306 intense pages, if she was an amalgamation of these women,
defined by the men in her life.She’s
definitely someone I’d like to have a drink with. The jacket copy for this $27
hardcover book says it all:
on years of immense reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and
immediacy, Three Women, is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing
in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity and inequality of female
desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power.It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph
of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three
unforgettable women – and one remarkable writer – whose experiences remind us
that we are not alone.”
can’t quite describe Taddeo’s writing style except that it speaks with blunt
statements for the reader, ones that are seemingly familiar
or truthful to them.She truncates time
and finds a way to consolidate many thoughts and emotions into a singular
moment or experience.
I found myself underlining various lines that resonated with me…
gives the impression of not knowing she’s being looked at.”
was typical of Sloane to see the promise of something before everyone else
more like sexuality without boundaries.”
men like him wish they could tell their wives what sort of pornography they
like?Wouldn’t he feel so wonderful to
be completely known?”
husband who desires to enter another body, to hold another breast.A wife who wants to see her husband want
someone else, so that she may want him as much as she’d like to.”
always found it alluring to mess around with a girl.Even more that it was alluring, it was easy.”
was confused; it had been a fantasy of hers to watch her husband fuck another
woman, one she’d never quite expressed out loud, but something she often went
to in her head...”
any young girl who has a crush on someone older, she doesn’t know what she
wants to happen.She doesn’t know if she
wants sex or no sex or to undress in her room while he watches from the
desire to talk about the man she loves is stronger than her understanding that
talking about it can hurt the relationship.She realizes in some part of herself that talking about it will make her
more receptive to its potency.”
is always something you take for granted, Sloane knew, that somebody else is
understands that some women , like her mother and her sisters, truly care for
another woman only when that woman is in pain, especially in a kind of pain that
they have already felt, and then overcome.”
don’t remember what we want to remember.We remember what we can’t forget.”
“Good fiction’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
--David Foster Wallace
“Action is the thing. We are what we do and do not do.”
“…EASY.All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
“Always write as if you are talking to someone.It works.”
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
How authors get their book marketing mojo – and avoid failure
can you become a great writer with a successful career?
may believe you have the answer within you and that would be the first
step:believe in yourself.But what might it take to unlock your true creativity,
the imaginative writer, and the extraordinary promoter?
are skills, attributes, and characteristics of creative, successful
people.Embrace them if you want to rise
persistent.You must relentlessly
improve yourself, your craft, your mind.Stagnate or get lazy and you will underachieve.
always being sensible.Pursue a pleasure
or passion.Don’t always be logical or
rational – be different.
is not a hobby or something you do after you work to pay the bills. Don’t fall
back on a safety net or be passive in your pursuits.Take a risk and throw yourself into your
let technology dominate, intimidate, or overwhelm you.Deal with it, use it, and be aware of
it.Don’t fear or avoid it.
chance, accident, randomness, and opportunity.Don’t just fixate on what is predictable or controllable.Be open to what is uncertain, different,
everything and everyone.Assume
nothing.Ask and learn.Be inquisitive and probing.See everything as a potential path of inquiry
and as a fertile source of inspiration.
impose barriers upon yourself that don’t really exist.
courageous and do what others won’t, can’t, don’t or fear.
a good environment for you to create under.Set the mood, the look, the sounds.Shape your surroundings to inspire.
delay or put off what’s most needed to be done by you.The very thing you avoid is what you must
confront.Step out of your comfort zone
and take a leap of faith.
upon self-discipline and a stick-to-it attitude.Set your own standards and keep pushing
yourself.If you want good things to
unfold you need to push them along to make stuff happen.
keep learning and discovering.As you bring
new facts, people, and ideas into your circle, your writing will grow.
“If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”
“A PERSON who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it.”
--Ursula K. Le Guin
“…A WRITER because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”