Does This Need a Website?

My colleagues in publishing know the scenario. There’s a book everyone in the house is excited about. It lends itself to world-building and digital/interactive material. And there might even be a bit of money in the budget(!). So let’s create a standalone destination site!

Of course, the question rarely asked in these brainstorming meetings: Just because we want to, is it worth the time, money, and resources?

It’s like opening a restaurant: you have to gird yourself for the high rate of failure. Why so high? Let’s define what success means here. It should provide enough value to merit its existence. It should sufficiently entice users to take the next step in reading the book (or watching the movie). It should appeal to strangers as well as the fans who want to share it with their social circles. And its design and UX should reflect the aesthetics and flavor of the book or film. It’s tough.

So a tip of the hat to the people behind Under the Skins digital marketing. They’ve created three austere sites that echo the spirit of the (excellent, must-see) film:   |  |

These hit that sweet spot of pulling from the universe of the film without giving too much away. And, crucial for a film in limited release, they provide plenty of reason for people like me to share with my friends…





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DJing the Book Parties

downtown lit festIt’s going to be an exciting few weeks, if by “exciting” I mean “playing New Edition for literary types.” (Which I do.)

I’ll be DJing Friday’s Downtown Lit Festival Happy Hour with the sartorially musical and musically sartorial* Mr. Jason Diamond. On deck: early Rapture, Prince, and Evan Voytas. And free beer!

I invite you to stop by Housing Works Bookstore at 6pm, grab a drink, shuffle your feet. And then come back Sunday for all the excellent literary programming.

Shortly after that I’m hosting and DJing Slice Literary‘s annual fundraising gala on Wednesday, April 23rd. Imagine teams of book editors, literary agents, and writers squaring off in a series of party games. There will be humiliation, comeuppance, glory, and probably a Joyce reference. You should come. The list of competitors is kind of insane.

And finally, I’ll be DJing Lit Crawl NYC’s fundraiser in early May. More details to follow…



*No, I don’t mean a piano-necktie. OR DO I?

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I’m a Webby Awards Nominee!

Webby AwardsI just played air guitar while fist-pumping simultaneously. That’s how excited I am to announce Fill the Silence is a Webby Awards Nominee! In the Weird category, of course.

I would be eternally grateful if you took a moment and voted for my project in the People’s Voice Award. I timed it: voting for a Webby takes as much time as sneezing. And it doesn’t even kill any brain cells. A win-win!


Fill the Silence - Al Gore

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Giving Out Suspect Advice

Dear Book Nerd podcastShould you lend out your favorite books to friends? Should you replace a slightly ruined book loaned to you by another friend? Should you break into your ex’s apartment and retrieve that life-changing novel you loaned him, and he never returned (the jerk)?

I replied with dubious wisdom and false confidence to these questions and more on the Dear Book Nerd podcast, hosted by librarian extraordinaire Rita Meade (@ScrewyDecimal). I invite you to listen in.

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“Sleep Donation” Is Here

I’m very happy to report the first publication from Atavist Books is now available. And how lucky is it that we get to launch with a novella from Karen Russell?

I recommend exploring our Sleep Donation site, which goes deep into a world suffering an insomnia crisis. You can browse the Nightmare Index, take a Sleep Purity Quiz, and read up on the latest updates from the Slumber Corps.

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The Moving Book Cover

I’ve had to keep this a secret for a while now, and I’m happy I can finally spill the beans. The amazing/famous/talented Chip Kidd designed an interactive cover for our launch title at Atavist Books, Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation. Click here to experience it for yourself

Sleep Donation

Sleep Donation is a digital-only novella, arriving March 25th.

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Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Injury-Law Ad of All Time

Deadspin highlighted a Super Bowl spot that a Georgia injury lawyer aired in the first local block for Savannah residents. Take a look:

I’ve been lucky to obtain a behind-the-scenes transcript of several exchanges from the filming of Mr. Casino’s advertisement.

Day 4
Director: So you want to literally draw a line in the sand?
Casino: Yeah. But I want it to be EPIC.
Director: Ok. How about with a sledgehammer? Like you draw a line in the sand with that?
Casino: Could the sledgehammer be on fire?
Director: (consults with Production Assistant) …We can do that.

Day 7
Director: So here are some photos of the church we scouted for the funeral scenes.
Casino: This isn’t exactly what I had in mind. Why we can’t just build a new one?

Day 9
Music Supervisor: Good news, the band loves the script. They’re going to let you license their song for free.
Casino: That’s great!
Music Supervisor: I know, totally unexpected. So we have a little extra in the budget. Where do you want to–
Casino: (interrupting) Pyrotechnics. Continue reading

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