Monday, August 30, 2010

Shut Up and Buy My Book

If you're an author in 21st century America you have almost certainly been given the message, Use Social Media To Promote Yourself. Blog! Set up a Facebook page! Round up those Twitter followers!

Gregory Levey undoubtedly had gotten that advice, and thought it had paid off in a big way when a Facebook page dedicated to his recent book picked up an astonishing 692,000 "fans" in a matter of months. Yet Levey and his publisher, Free Press, didn't notice any particular increase in sales of the book. So, what was up?

Turns out a lot of the book's "fans" were actually just fans of the title: Shut Up, I'm Talking. (Levey's book chronicles his experiences as a speechwriter for Ariel Sharon.) Discussions on the fan page were full of "OMG"'s and "LOL"'s and people wishing they could say the book's title to someone or other, and not much about Israeli politics and international diplomacy.

So, can 692,000 fans be wrong? Maybe not, but they might be irrelevant. Time will tell.

More here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Let's face it -- Page 854 is slogging through the dog days. The weather here in what the Chamber of Commerce used to call Cool Green Asheville has been very warm and very muggy. (Yes, I realize we won't get much sympathy from flatlanders, but we don't expect this here in the mountains.) And, since your blogging correspondent will be off for the next week things will continue to be slow here.

All the more appropriate to share a summer reading list -- perhaps the ultimate summer reading list since it comes from the First Reader. Here, via the Daily Beast, is a list of the books that Barack Obama has been reading, or is said to have been reading, in recent months. Perhaps it also provides clues to what he will be lugging with him on his upcoming vacation.

Meanwhile, thanks to those of you who have responded to our request for donated school supplies. We've built up quite a collection to pass on to local schools, and we'll continue collecting them for a few more days.

Stay cool, and I'll see you in a week or so.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Weiner & Papa

It is now August, which means our July sale is over. (August has a way of doing that to July events.) Thanks to everyone who came in last month and took advantage of all the great bargains. But fear not: the shelves are far from empty. There's still plenty available for late summer reading, gifts and back to school needs.

Autumn may be approaching, but right now it's definitely summer, and our brains may not be ready for heavy exertion. For some, it's the perfect time to read Jennifer Weiner, and she's fine with that. Carolyn Kellogg wrote a profile of Weiner for the Los Angeles Times, and found a novelist who's perfectly happy with being a "chick lit" author: she's discovered her voice, women respond to her work and she sells a lot of books. It's a pretty good deal all the way around. Jennifer Weiner's latest book is called, Fly Away Home, and we have it in stock.

Meanwhile, down at Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West, Florida, the locals have been celebrating summer with their annual event honoring one of Sloppy Joe's most famous patrons: "Hemingway Days." The festivities included fiction readings, a play, a fishing tournament and the world-famous Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest. Congratulations to this year's winner, Charles Bicht, who somehow was judged to look a bit more like Papa Hemingway than 123 other white-bearded guys dressed in khaki fishing outfits. An article and photographs can be found here.

However you choose to spend the waning days of summer, we hope you enjoy it. And if you need something to read, well, you know where you can find it.