Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Reason #127 why Michael Ian Black is a genius

When it comes to book publicity, comedian Michael Ian Black is exhibiting an edgy brilliance in an industry that often depends on book reviews and expert sourcing for pre-pub exposure.

His new book, My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays that Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face (Simon Spotlight Entertainment), hits the shelves July 15, and already the internet is abuzz—not exactly about the book itself, but about Black’s so-called “feud” with fellow nonfiction writer David Sedaris. (You might have heard of him.)

Setting out to knock the popular literary personality off his bestseller high horse, Black states on his blog:

“Am I attempting to start a literary feud with David Sedaris with the feeble hope that the resultant publicity will increase sales of my book? Yes.”

Not one to settle for just any nonexistent, inappropriate author standoff, Black recently launched a contest for blog readers to turn Sedaris into a supervillan, and he even provides simple tips for casually putting down Sedaris at your next social event.

The Black-Sedaris feud is becoming an internet sensation for the in-the-know literary crowd, garnering top media for My Custom Van, such as Galleycat and Gawker. Now, I’m not advocating new authors out there to start a feud with John Grisham, or anything—but the next time you’re looking to increase your book’s web presence and overall buzz, you might take a page from Black’s humorous and innovative approach to self-promotion.

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