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Be a Poster-Boy/Girl for Ben Brooks’ Next Book

Ben Brooks, the under-twenty author of FENCES (Fugue State Press, 2009) & AN ISLAND OF FIFTY (Mud Luscious Press, 2010) is running a fantastic new promotional campaign for his next book THE KASAHARA SCHOOL OF NIHILISM (Fugue State Press, 2010). Read the whole deal after the jump, or just hit his blog now for the words…

via Ben’s blog:

“Pretty much I am not good at promoting things. But I came up with an idea for this one and ran it past james and he said ‘do it’. So it will be done. Although how many people choose to participate will be unpredictable. Here is how it will work:

1. You will sign up to the large scale promotional campaign by emailing your address and the name of a local bookshop which you will need for later to brooksben@hotmail.co.uk

2. When the book has been printed (pretty soon) I will send you a copy of the book.
3. You will read the book hopefully.
4. After you have finished reading the book you will put it onto the shelf at your local bookshop. Inside the book will be written:
Dear Happy Shopper,
Please take this book home with you
You do not have to pay for it because it is not really supposed to be here
If someone tries to arrest you then please email me and I will come to get you out of jail. You can send the email to kasaharabail@gmail.com
I hope you enjoy the book,
have a great life
5. You will go on to eat meals, go on dates, do sex and general live.
6. I will gradually become more and more wealthy until I become so wealthy from this scheme of giving away free books that I stop the scheme of giving away free books.”

17 thoughts on “Be a Poster-Boy/Girl for Ben Brooks’ Next Book

  1. Teresa Carmody at Les Figues once told me that press practiced “book leaving” as opposed to “book stealing”…

  2. This is why I love the internet:

    (The altered toys were of course droplifted—rather successfully.)

    And as we all know, when all of the copies of John Oswald’s Plunderphonics were ordered crushed, the only surviving records were the ones he’d left in his local libraries.

  3. Thanks for linking all that A. D.

    Fascinating reading.

    And interesting to think of how it does or could or will apply to lit (with Ben Brooks or others in the past).

    1. Over the weekend I was talking with some friends about how the small press culture could stand to be more of a counter-culture. What seems to happen, however, is that a lot of presses journals writers etc. replicate the dominant commercial book culture, but on a smaller scale. (And I point my finger at myself before I point it at anyone else.)

  4. Do you think though that things like Publishing Genius Press’ free pdf chapbook series or Tyrant’s bloody Evenson covers or maybe even the Concord Free Press are at least in part challenging or attempting to subvert the dominant (read major-house) book culture?

    1. I’m afraid I don’t know those projects well enough to comment! I’ll have to check them out.

      I don’t mean to state that commercial projects can’t be part of a counter-culture, or more precisely that a counter-culture can’t contain commerce. Commerce is much older than our current culture.

      This is more what I mean: our main culture is dominated by certain things, and configured a certain way, and I tend to see that replicated on a smaller scale in small press culture. Not 100%, but.

      To give just two instances:
      1.) There’s a lot of celebrity even at the small press level, which people often behave reverently toward. (And then there’s some backlash, but it’s a simple for/against binary.) This leads to situations where authors/presses/journals feel the need to create hype around a writer—to transform him or her into a celebrity, in order to sell books. This would be less of a problem if celebrity didn’t 99% of the time equal “young, pretty, and tending to say inscrutable things”—a type of celebrity that’s been in vogue for some time now (“the promise of hip, eternal youth”).

      Why are small presses so often obsessed with youth?
      Why do writers tend to “go Dylan” and say inscrutable things in interviews/bios/etc.?

      2.) There’s a very, very, very, very, very strong emphasis on consuming products. And there are many, many, many, many, many products to consume. It’s a real onslaught. I respect that many people want to write/publish, but surely there are other ways of sharing work other than just sell/buy.

      Those are two ways in which the small press world strikes me as indistinguishable from the world I see when I walk down Michigan Avenue. I’m overgeneralizing, of course, but the small press world strikes me as being based largely around becoming a successful writer, where success is measured in terms of celebrity, hype, and commercial sales. And in some ways I’m very sympathetic to these things. Hell, I want these things myself! But it’s possible to imagine alternative scenarios. And what’s radical about true counter-cultures is precisely that they’re true alternatives, organized around different principles—so much so that the old principles no longer make any sense, or dictate lives.

      1. A.D. (& BigOther folks), let’s brainstorm:

        “…surely there are other ways of sharing work other than just sell/buy…”

        Hit it (respond below):

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