Paradise Has Relocated (Foreword to the book and gallery show by photographer Sandy Carson)

I well remember the media build-up to the assault from Hurricane Ike that wiped out so much of Galveston, Texas on September 13th 2008. “A great destruction is coming!” we were told, and the authorities ordered the locals to abandon their homes that they might save their lives. But in a weird act of Lone Star defiance thousands chose not to, preferring to stay and fight the whirlwind rather than take orders from some pecker-head in Austin, or worse, Washington D.C. Some died, others were ruined, still others fled the city as they realized the enormity of what they were up against. A friend of mine found himself locked up in his Houston home, alone with his heavily pregnant wife, as unseen wanderers, temporarily liberated of societal constraints, tapped menacingly on the windows. He called his father in Wisconsin, who offered to send guns.

Authors, Social Media and the Allure of Magical Thinking (Publishing Perspectives)

So anyway, I’ve got a great idea. Times are hard for publishers, therefore publicists should write books. No, really: they know what’s hot better than anyone. So they should write — maybe Harry Potter knock — offs like Percy Jackson, or political hate books on the villain of the hour. It doesn’t matter — just write something hot. What’s that? Writing and promoting require entirely different skill sets? Boo-hoo. Publicists will have to adapt if they want to keep their jobs. Oh yeah, and they should do this extra work for free.
Does that sound ridiculous to you? That’s because it is — which is why I always feel slightly skeptical when I read editorials from publishing professionals exhorting writers to perform the reverse metamorphosis. Yes, these pieces are often very inspiring. Last week’s editorial by Betsy Lerner “Should I Tweet?” was excellent and contained much good advice. But to attain the right level of fist bumping feel-good magic, it is necessary to elide some inconvenient truths:

1) Authors are often very weird people.