* except fans of BOOKS.
On the back page of today’s LA Times Business Section, there’s an ad for the upcoming (and generally awesome) Festival of Books. It features an illustration of a bunch of books flying overhead as some kids try to reach up to grab them (and fail, ha ha). The main line is “Don’t let this festival fly by,” which seems like a fairly effective reminder for the “damn, I missed it again this year” crowd.
The line below is “There’s something for everyone.”
Well, almost everyone.
Pictures running down the right side, from top to bottom:
* required googling on my part…I had no idea.
Something for everyone?
Um, except maybe fans of BOOKS.
I get it. You’ve got to draw people in, appeal to the general public. And celebrities are good for that. A headshot strip of (to pick some random examples) Marvin Bell, Patricia Hampl, Jay Parini, and Tod Goldberg (gotcha!), might warrant a second look in Poets & Writers, but in the Business Section would be greeted by a 1/3 second WTF on the way to the big blue bin.
So, you might ask, what’s my
It’s the copy. 450 + authors, it says, and then goes on to list:
* again, thank you google.
There is exactly one name on this page best known for writing books: Ray Bradbury. Basically the most popular American writer of sci-fi / speculative fiction still alive. He’s a huge draw. The line outside his reading snakes all over creation. If there has to be only one “author-author” named in the ad, Ray Bradbury’s a good choice.
But why is there only one “author-author”?
Wouldn’t FANS OF BOOKS want to see who else is going to be there? Some more names from the website’s author list: TC Boyle, Gore Vidal, Maxine Hong Kingston, Gay Talese, Walter Mosley, Aimee Bender, Richard Price, Tobias Wolff, Robert Pinsky, Jane Smiley, Sherman Alexie.
For the record, I’ve got no beef with the FoB’s catholicity. I’m moderating a panel on Surf Culture, after all. The ad is weak not because it tries to target a bunch of different niches, or even because it features “celebrities” for whom books are simply part of a merchandising/marketing package.
It is weak because it ignores the FoB’s ostensible raison d’etre: the celebration of good writing and good books.
Or is my head in the clouds on this one?