So you can read my books

Sunday, July 29, 2012


{My drawing will be held Aug. 2nd so as not to interfere with Alex's Wednesday blogfest}

Blogger Penelope Trunk wrote one of the more controversial publishing posts Nathan Bransford has read in some time.

She accepted an advance from a major publisher,

and after being wildly unimpressed with their marketing plans she decided to keep the advance, pull the book, and self-publish instead.

I see happy attorneys from all of this!

What do you think of what Penelope Trunk did?

John Self read the post and decided to promote the work of an author who impressed him.

He thought he helped its publishing success even though it was praised by THE NEW YORKER and had a chapter on a terrorist plot at the London Olympics.

Do you think the sort of thing John Self attempted can do any good for a new novel?

Which harkens back to someone you may know. No, not me. I don't think I even know me!

Jean Shepherd.

Shepherd’s fame is based on his humorous coming-of-age tales, these recounted on his late-night radio show, collected in a handful of anthologies, and reshaped in the movie A CHRISTMAS STORY.

He is also fondly remembered for one of the most successful and embarrassing media hoaxes of the century.

Shepherd’s radio shift was the night-time, and broadcasting his musings about life to insomniacs, night-workers, artists, nursing mothers, drunks,

people who knew they’d feel dreadful when the alarm went off at seven.

He knew he was talking to the margins.

It was in the course of one program in 1956 that he came up with two things which would make history: the phrase “night people” and the swashbuckling historical novel, I, LIBERTINE.

"What if," Shepherd wondered out loud to his listeners,

"all of you went into a bookshop tomorrow and asked for a book that you knew did not exist.

The first person to ask for it would be given the brush-off and told there’s no record of any such book.

The second person to come in that week asking for it would be told the book was on order. By the third and fourth request for the book, the bookseller would be on the phone to his supplier….

A buzz would be born. All book-buying New York would be talking about this hot new read.

Before long I, LIBERTINE was not only in demand all over town but banned in Boston.

One New York gossip columnist claimed to have had lunch with its non-existent author.

And more than one English professor had praised the scholarship of the student-night people who had submitted bogus I, LIBERTINE essays and book reports.

Now, if any of you want to do a group Twitter and etc. campaign like that for THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH, I will not stop you! LOL.

(The good news would be that 100% of its profits has always gone to the Salvation Army.)

Listen to Jean tell it himself:


  1. Wild story! And from the creator of A Christmas Story?

  2. Alex:
    Yes! Wild, is it not? You should listen to Jean tell of it on the video. Maybe people should go into their bookstores asking for THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT or CASSASTORMbefore we even write them! See what happens. :-)

  3. Siv:
    The world can be truly strange and wild sometimes, right?

  4. Wait, she just took the advance and didn't give it back? Uh. I can hear lawyers knocking already!

  5. Lydia:
    She had issues with how they were planning to promote her book. They flew her out to meet them at their expense. She insisted she knew more than they about marketing to the extent that they said,"If you will not work with our promotion department, we will not publish your book."

    She said, "Fine. I already have your advance anyway!"

    Yes, I see the dust cloud from the cloven hooves of the attorneys converging on that situation now!

  6. Request a book that doesn't exist? Interesting ploy.

    And congratulations, you've been nominated several times on my blog.

  7. That's a crazy story! glad everything worked out though:)

  8. L. Diane:
    Thanks for having such a unique contest. I am honored and humbled that Alex nominated me. He should win, no hands down!

    Jean eventually ended up writing I, LIBERTINE, attributing it to F.R. Ewing. He gave the proceeds to charity.