Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller Bewares Publishing

A juicy story broke last week, the kind that makes savvy sub-editors salivate over potential Twitter-bait headlines. It had been discovered that Hitler’s pre-war memoir Mein Kampf was a digital bestseller, leading to a global bout of media hand-wringing and pontificating. One excitable commentator even suggested it was a sign the second Holocaust was imminent. The only problem with this story is that it’s not true. At all. Hitler’s “bestselling” performance was first reported by Chris Faraone at Vocativ under the headline Kindle Fuhrer: Mein Kampf Tops Amazon Charts. Then spread like wildfire. Huge blogs and websites like Gizmodo, Huffington Post, Gawker, Slate, and Salon reported on this phenomenon. Major newspapers also covered the story: the Guardian, New York Daily News, the Daily Read More…

Astroturfing: The Source of Zombie Memes in Publishing?

Why are there so many zombie memes in publishing? Why is there so much groupthink? It might be because the industry isn’t particularly diverse. Or it could be that book-lovers are nostalgic types who are automatically wary of change. But I suspect it’s astroturfing by the publishing establishment, a practice admitted to last month by YS Chi, chairman of Elsevier and president of the International Publishers Association, in paragraph six of this article. For the click-lazy, here’s the money quote (emphasis mine): “We gathered all the communications people together to discuss the issues and create an action plan. We have a multi-faceted audience to address, and in the next 12 months you will see key messages delivered, compelling stories of our Read More…

If You Don't Enjoy Marketing, You're Doing It Wrong

I can already feel the heat from approaching pitchforks! But if you hear me out, I think I can convert at least some of you to the idea that if you don’t enjoy marketing, you’re doing it wrong. Let me explain. Sometimes marketing can seem like a Sisyphean task. There’s always something you could do to promote your work, and there’s never enough hours in the day. Many writers are already hard-pressed with demands from the rest of their lives and have to battle hard to carve out writing time. The pressure to promote squeezes that precious writing time even further. On top of that, many marketing tasks just seem unpleasant. Writers can often be introverts who don’t like pressing Read More…

If You Don’t Enjoy Marketing, You’re Doing It Wrong

I can already feel the heat from approaching pitchforks! But if you hear me out, I think I can convert at least some of you to the idea that if you don’t enjoy marketing, you’re doing it wrong. Let me explain. Sometimes marketing can seem like a Sisyphean task. There’s always something you could do to promote your work, and there’s never enough hours in the day. Many writers are already hard-pressed with demands from the rest of their lives and have to battle hard to carve out writing time. The pressure to promote squeezes that precious writing time even further. On top of that, many marketing tasks just seem unpleasant. Writers can often be introverts who don’t like pressing Read More…