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Will an Author Ever Release a Sex Tape?

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s article by Isobella Jade describes how she built a powerful personal brand in three short years. While it’s no secret that writers need to be able to take the lead on their own marketing and promotion these days — whether it’s DIY or hiring someone to help you — many are reticent to get out and “sell.” After all, this is a group who has picked a job (or a hobby) that entails sitting alone in a room for long stretches of the day. Salesmanship doesn’t often come naturally to authors.

Of course, that is by necessity changing. On Publishing Perspectives, we’ve looked at some of the reservations people have about using social media and other forms of self-promotion, especially when it blurs the line between their professional and personal lives . . . and I wonder, can an author push self-promotion too far? How long will it be, to take one extreme example, before some ambitious young author releases their own sex tape? Perhaps one of them en flagrante with another (hopefully hot) author, or perhaps even an editor, agent or exec. After all, publishing is not above using scandal to sell books — especially from their own kind, i.e. Bill Clegg’s (opportunistic) memoir Portrait of the Artist as a Young Addict.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted November 15, 2010 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    The question itself is just not that interesting or relevant to the real matter at hand. Most authors aren’t adverse or unfriendly to getting out and meeting their readers.

    I do believe that is a myth. Publishers of the old school have been not very good at helping this to happen due to both an arrogance and an ignorance as to who these readers are.

    So by focusing on when will some self-promoting idiot do as others before them have done is just by way of ignoring what is most essential about any creative endeavor–that the imagination has a great way of leading us all into creative contact with each other and thereby creating networks of mutual support rather than these ideas about who is number one.

    This to me is the more interesting question: how will this new publishing paradigm remove writers from their servitude to the ways in which publishers use and abuse them?

  2. Posted November 15, 2010 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Actually the solution has been around for the last ten years, at least. It is that the author can no longer rely on the publisher’s publicity department and has to plough back precious advance monies into his/her own publicist.
    A publicist can charge anything up to $500 per day (and stipulates a minimum amount of days), providing the service your publisher SHOULD (but doesn’t) provide.
    What it amounts to is ploughing up to half your advance back into publicity costs….. so of course many authors choose not to fork out this much-needed money and let their books come out unheralded, hoping word of mouth will do the trick.
    A book building word-of-mouth, like Eat, Pray, Love, only comes out perhaps once every five years.Another one was the first Harry Potter.

  3. Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Salesmanship – which entails going out in the big, wide world and screaming to get attention – definitely does NOT come naturally to writers, or they wouldn’t be writers.

    The solution? Pay someone to do the publicity? Yeah – trouble it’s expensive and advances (when they exist at all) are shrinking. Do something outrageous like sex in public? You know, nowadays, I don’t think that many people would pay attention. An effective attention-gathering stunt might be real hard to think up!

    No. I think the way to go is to follow in the footsteps of Isobella Jade: it’s a long haul, requires many hours on the computer and writing lots of stuff that has nothing to do with your pet baby, your WIP novel…But so be it! I don’t think there are too many other ways to do it…

  4. Posted November 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    i’ll do it! a la Henry Miller!

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