Friday High Five: Jennifer Egan, Paul Schrader and Publishing Truths

We bring you our favourite findings from around the internet this week.

Using the internet to market books in Australia

Crikey’s Amber Jamieson has interviewed digital marketing staff at a number of Australian publishers to find out what they’re doing to sell books online, and what the costs and benefits are. A book trailer usually costs around $5000, but most don’t attract enough clicks to really make a difference. Brett Osmond, marketing and publicity director of Random House Australia and New Zealand, says ‘ young adult books aimed at female readers are the only trailers he’s found very popular’.


The book trailer for The Rosie Project is Text Publishing’s first foray into the medium.

Making a microbudget film with a celebrity in meltdown

A New York Times reporter was on set for the making of the micro-budget film The Canyons, directed by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), written by Bret Easton Ellis and co-starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen. This article chronicles the casting, star-wrangling and crowd-funding (the film was mainly financed by Kickstarter, and had a budget of roughly $250,000.

Director Paul Schrader and Lindsay Lohan on set.

Director Paul Schrader and Lindsay Lohan on set.

The Other Slant has interviewed Schrader about the NYT feature, and how the original angle changed (shifting the focus from the innovative funding model to the difficult celebrity) after Lohan was hired for the film.

Jennifer Egan on success, Goon Squad and playing favourites

In this fascinating essay, Jennifer Egan gives us the inside track on what it’s like to have huge success as a writer, and how that affects the writing process when it comes time to write again. She also admits that Goon Squad could have been better, that she’s afraid all the praise might make her afraid to take risks, and that her favourite book is not Goon Squad, but the ‘flawed’ Look at Me.

25 truths about writing and publishing

Everyone with a blog or Twitter account seems to dole out writing advice these days … but this no-bullshit list of 25 truths about the business seems pretty on-the-money. You’re not just competing against other books - you’re competing against all forms of entertainment (film, TV, games) when it comes to attracting eyeballs, and purchases. Don’t respond to bad reviews, no matter how much you may want to. Word of mouth is the only thing that reliably sells books. And Twitter followers do not necessarily translate to sales (and nor does blogging).

Neil Gaiman’s Calendar of (Twitter) Tales

Neil Gaiman has teamed up with Blackberry to create a Twitter storytelling project, A Calendar of Tales. He’ll write a story a month based on Twitter prompts sent in by fans, with a different theme each month. This month’s theme is, ‘What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in February?’.

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