I’ll Have What They’re Having

“If you’re going to invent, you’re going to disrupt.” That’s Jeff Bezos talking. Once upon a time, he was Mr. Amazon. Now he’s Mr. Amazon Publishing. For good and ill, he’s inventing a seismic disruption of the book world. Journalists chronicling this sea change tend to follow the money. The latest swirl, for instance, “Random Penguin,” involves a possible merger between Penguin and Random House as a response to the Amazon juggernaut.

But I don’t need a rundown on mergers and acquisitions to get the picture–it’s right under my nose. Check the Oct 29-Nov 5, 2012 print issue of The New Yorker. Double truck, pages 64 and 65. I’ll copy it here:

Amazon Publishing Advertises in the New Yorker

Nice, right? Attractive. Intriguing. Lots and lots of literary real estate filled with high-concept, high content, touchy-feely design. In fact I have to check the fine print up at the top to be reminded that I’m looking at an advertisement, not some kicky collage-art statement. In fact, this is a book ad. We’re selling a book here. Not in a tiny column stuffed with seamy line art and bodice-ripper type. Not in a sad array of thumbnails across, say, The New York Review of Books (a periodical I love-love-love, but no one’s winning awards with those ads). Instead, we’re grabbing eyeballs with a marketing version of gestalt right in the heart of Reader Central.

And what forward-looking institution made this happen? Some high-design indie imprint? They don’t have the dough. Some high-dollar Big Six Powerhouse? They’re the last to lead with punchy communication. Nope. It’s Amazon Publishing, people, Amazon Publishing. They’re changing the game by changing the playing field at my level, the level of writers to readers. I mean come on! You’re an author or an editor or any kind of make-worthy-books-happen publishing professional, don’t you secretly want to sign up with an operation that’s selling books aggressively, inventively, disruptively?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of monopolies. To switch metaphors here, no way do I think we should all run for the Amazon lifeboat, the one that created the tsunami in the first place. But we do need to take a lesson.

So, in the spirit of re-invention, I went ahead and mocked up a version of my own two-page spread. [Note to any reckless zillionaires out there: it’s ready-to-print should you feel the urge to stake me to a little prime real estate on the pages where my future readers congregate.] Until then, it’s been a good exercise to think bigger and better. Money makes things possible, true. It also opens the mind outward to new possibilities. Imagining I was blessed with Amazon’s resources, I let a team of disruptive jinn inspire a fuller expression of my novel:

Going to Solace by Amanda McTigue Ad

Even if I don’t find the pennies to hit the major media with this layout, I want to thank Amazon for reminding me to animate every invitation I extend to readers with the vibe, the feeling, the flavor of the writing within.

About Amanda McTigue

Author. Director. Teacher. My debut novel, GOING TO SOLACE was named one of four "Best Reads of 2012" by public radio's KRCB "Word by Word." A collection of short stories, "Convergence," is due out in 2015. A second novel, "Monkey Bottom," will follow.
This entry was posted in Artistry, Design, Expression, Going to Solace, I:DEAS, PAGE, Publishing, Uncategorized, Writers and Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to I’ll Have What They’re Having

  1. Wow, Amanda. It looks like you had fun making your book advertisement (read the English way). What can we do with this? Hmmm. . . . Maybe I can post on my new FB page. . . or reference your blog post. That’s what I’ll do!

  2. Laura R says:

    Amanda, I just bought your book! Looking forward to reading it, but have to clear the decks of the two books I’m reading at the moment. I want to give yours my undivided attention.

  3. Amanda McTigue says:

    Love you, Lolly! Hopefully it will be a great read over the upcoming holidays. Just did book club appearance via skype with Toni Egger’s group — such fun!

  4. Ann Philipp says:

    I love this idea! Thanks for sharing Amanda.

  5. So vivid, lively and fun your “book ad,” reminds me that I miss you. How goes the book tour, or are you back now? At least I can say, “I knew Amanda when she was a shy, shrinking violet-Redwood-Writer.

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