May 6, 2011

Readings: What doesn't kill you makes you — well ….


The Onion has run its saddest — or is it hilariousest? — article about the book biz ever: “Author Promoting Book Gives It Her All Whether It’s Just 3 People Or A Crowd Of 9 People.”

As the article reports ….

CINCINNATI—Shortly before her reading Tuesday at local bookstore Word Mentality, author Francine Massey told reporters that she does her absolute best for everyone who comes out to see her, whether it’s just three people or a much larger crowd of nine people.

Massey says a small group of two or three deserves as good a reading as a buzzing crowd of nine.

Massey, on hand to promote her novel A Lighthouse Keeper, said that with publishing houses slashing their marketing budgets, it often falls to writers themselves to make the most of every reading opportunity, from cozy gatherings of just a few fans at smaller booksellers to major events at chain stores that can draw upwards of 10 people.

“I have to remember that even if just one person shows up, he deserves the same passion and enthusiasm I would give to a big group of seven people or eight people,” said Massey, watching as a bookstore employee began setting up rows of folding chairs. “You just have to remind yourself that you’re not going to be able to pack the room with half a dozen fans every time.”

Of course, some writers make hay out of such a situation ….

Tao Lin at Copperfield’s Books from Melville House on Vimeo.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.