HOW TO BE WORLD FAMOUS
There was a myth for a while that becoming world famous was all about talent.
And then self promotion became the buzz word of the publishing industry, because of the Internet and social networking. Branding became the new wave.
Or is it that new?
Walt Whitman, sock puppeteer
“For artists, the great problem to solve is how to get oneself noticed.’
Who said that? Joe Konrath? Bob Mayer? Amanda Hocking? No, it was Balzac.
Stendahl put it another way: “Great success is not possible without a certain degree of shamelessness, and even of out-and-out charlatanism.”
We all know about charlatans. How many authors game the review system on Amazon? But wait – even this is not a new thing either. Walt Whitman notoriously wrote his own anonymous reviews; “An American bard at last!” he raved in 1855. “Large, proud, affectionate, eating, drinking and breeding, his costume manly and free, his face sunburnt and bearded.”
Captain, my captain; thou art shameless.
In 1887, even Guy de Maupassant joined in, paying for a hot-air balloon to glide down the Seine with the name of his latest short story, “Le Horla,” painted on it.
Paris was also the setting for perhaps the greatest author publicity stunt of them all. In 1927 Georges Simenon – the author of the Inspector Maigret novels – agreed to write an entire novel while suspended in a glass cage outside the Moulin Rouge nightclub.
Members of the public were invited to choose the novel’s characters, subject matter and title, while Simenon hammered out the pages on a typewriter. He had a seventy two hour deadline.
A newspaper advertisement promised: “A record novel: record speed, record endurance and, dare we add, record talent!”
Unfortunately, it never happened; the newspaper financing it went under. Simenon didn’t mind. He pocketed the advance and lived off the publicity forever.
The writer who branded himself best was Ernest Hemingway. People who have never read Hemingway know what about Hemingway.
He was the king of the photo op, posing on safaris, fishing trips and in war zones. He spruiked for Pan American and for Parker Pens; he even appeared in beer ads, for Ballantyne Ale.
Hemingway, staying in brand
“You have to work hard to deserve to drink it. But I would rather have a bottle of Ballantine Ale than any other drink after fighting a really big fish. We keep it iced in the bait box with chunks of ice packed around it. And you ought to taste it on a hot day when you have worked a big marlin fast because there were sharks after him.”
This is not to chide Hemingway. Papa Doc simply wanted more people to read his books, and we are the better for it.
He said once, in his defence: “I have turned down all sorts of propositions, deals, etc. and have kept the product pure. Whatever it is, it is as good as I can make it and I have not corrupted it by working for the coast nor doing things I thought were shitty and would hurt me as a writer no matter how much money they brought in.”
So hats off to Hemmo, then. He simply knew how to brand himself before anyone knew what branding was.
I’ll finish this now. I’m going to grab a bottle of Ballantyne’s and hang upside down naked from the shingle of my local indie bookstore and write haiku in a plexiglass bubble for the next forty eight hours.
It’s my new brand. Wish me luck.
She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.
12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England – only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair – does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?
Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.
Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?
The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.
This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.
In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.
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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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