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 is a digital-only novella, arriving March 25th.
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.
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.
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?
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
Here are the most memorable longform articles I read this year. Enjoy!
“Children of the Drone” by Andrew Blum, Vanity Fair
James Bridle and his cohorts are creating era-defining art on what it means to live in the NSA’s 2013.
“Trial by Twitter” by Ariel Levy, The New Yorker
There have been thousands of posts and articles on the Steubenville rape case. This is the definitive account by a master journalist.
“The Cultural Genetics of César Aira” by Alex Estes, Trop
This is longform literary criticism at its best. Estes dives deep into Aira’s life, work, and process, providing some much-needed context for the Argentinean novelist.
“Coronado High” by Joshuah Bearman, The Atavist
Sun, surf, and a drug-smuggling kingpin/high school teacher. What more do you need? My favorite tidbit from this cinematic tale: the feds initially dismissed the scope of the Coronado Company’s $100M operation because there were no laws on the books to even prosecute such a far-reaching network. The smugglers had that much imagination and ambition. Continue reading
When it comes to digital marketing for book publishers, it’s still the Wild West: most efforts have all the liveliness and aesthetic beauty of desert scrub. But every now and then someone strikes gold. Here are two recent projects that blew my socks off.
Where Is Danny Torrance?
Get out a pen and piece of paper. Free associate the words that come to mind when you hear “author website.” I’m guessing they aren’t terribly positive. Compounding this is the growing sentiment that “destination sites” have become antiquated as literary discovery moves to social media. (Your friend’s tweet about her favorite new novel is worth a hundred book sites.)
Which is to say: Scribner’s site for Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep is fucking unbelievable. It uses of-the-moment browser and mobile sync to enhance engagement. It creates an inviting, immersive narrative without giving away the book’s plot. It shows serious commitment and effort from its creators, which the user immediately intuits. It’s the kind of website that makes you forget you’re looking at a website. And like all good stories, you can go very, very deep. Continue reading
Filed under industry, mobile
Can we step back for one moment and point out that 2013′s shaping up to be the most fun year in recent publishing history? And it’s only October!
The year opens with the New York Times Magazine putting a mid-career short-fiction writer on its cover and declaring his new collection the “best book you’ll read all year.” Book becomes massive bestseller and a National Book Award finalist. (It should be noted readers were happy to pay for a $26.00 hardcover composed entirely of stories previously published elsewhere.)
In the same year of NSA scandals and Edward Snowden, J.K. Rowling and Little, Brown pulls the wool over the world’s eyes and quietly release a thriller under a pseudonym. The secret lasts a full four months, revealed only when a lawyer’s spouse lets slip the news at a dinner party in London. To reiterate: the world’s second highest-selling living fiction writer (behind Danielle Steel) released a book without anyone finding out for sixteen weeks.
Also in the U.K., the Man Booker Prize is awarded to a 28 year old for an 850-page novel, making Eleanor Catton the youngest recipient and The Luminaries the longest winning novel.
And then straight out of left field, Thomas Pynchon releases this “book trailer”:
…And goes on to the National Book Award shortlist for the first time since 1974.
ALSO. Short-story maestro Alice Munro announces her retirement in July, wins the Nobel three months later. In a 112 years, she’s the only winner to be cited specifically for short fiction.
AND FINALLY. Morrissey releases his autobiography in England. As a Penguin Classic. It’s currently #1. This is the actual cover:
God I can’t wait until November. Maybe Bob Dylan’ll be named Poet Laureate and Penguin Random House will buy the Knicks.
Let’s say you’re in the world’s most acclaimed indie band. You’re on a cool label like Merge, your debut record sold a million copies, and, like Spike Jonze, your success hasn’t tarnished or strained your credibility. So how do you get the word out about your next LP?
If you’re the Arcade Fire, you enlist two tech giants to promote you on their behalf. JustaReflektor.com is a Chrome-based music video that interfaces with your webcam and smartphone. You could argue it’s a product demo for the web browser, much like the band’s “Wilderness Downtown” project was itself a showcase for Chrome and HTML5.
Similarly, “Here Comes the Night Time” is a 22min. showcase directed by music video veteran Roman Coppola with a guest list straight out of the Approval Matrix‘s Lowbrow/Brilliant quadrant: Ben Stiller, Aziz Ansari, James Franco, Zach Galifianakis… even fucking Bono.
The whole thing aired on NBC immediately after the band’s SNL appearance. Was this an insane media buy for Merge Records, some kind of marketing moonshot? Not at all. They weren’t footing the bill: Intel and Vice were. Continue reading