While we’re on the subject of blog importance, however inflated, I agree in the main with Lauren Beckham Falcone’s article. Blogs provide fresh and original voices online, but it takes something truly special and distinguished to connect a blogger-turned-author with a broader readership. I think Ana Marie Cox’s book tanked because there simply wasn’t a market for Animal House-style political satire. It was the book, stupid.
But I also believe Cox’s hype kinda killed it. Nobody cared about how cute or charismatic Cox was (just as they didn’t when Jay McInerney was thrown all the publicity money for The Good Life, which also tanked). And the book didn’t sell, despite Cox receiving something in the range of five New York Times articles (along with ancillary media attention that most authors would kill for) during the week the book was released.
But, more simply put, this was not a book that interested people outside of Washington and New York wonks.
What matters most of all is voice, and whether a voice can connect to a significant readership.
I find it curious that Pamela Ribon’s success was unnoted (and, as she told me recently, is generally unobserved). Her first novel, Why Girls Are Weird, sold because she was able to communicate topics to people in a fresh and interesting way. Her blog helped, but ultimately it was about the book connecting with an audience.
This doesn’t suggest that writing books should be entirely about connecting with mainstream audiences and, of course, all this is idle conjecture on a Sunday afternoon. I’m certainly no marketing expert. But I should point out that, for publishers who believe that quirky voices don’t sell or connect with an audience, Mark Z. Danielewski’s Only Revolutions hit #13 this week on the New York Times bestselling list — observed yesterday by John Freeman.
It all boils down to this:
1) Write book that connects with audience