How would Edith Wharton grow buzz?

Unless you’re Thomas Pynchon, it’s not enough these days to write a book and publish it. Today’s author is expected to pimp her novels by any means necessary — with interminable readings, book club talks, temporary tattoos, hideous and ill-fitting t-shirts, fanciful diagrams, and of course blogs. This makes perfect sense. After all, most writers choose to sequester themselves with books and papers for weeks on end precisely because they enjoy and excel at interacting with the rest of humanity.

As Katharine Weber’s latest novel, Triangle, appears, she tries to imagine Edith Wharton in today’s publishing environment:

Would she send out ‘tsotsch,’ as one publicist calls it enthusiastically — pencils, say, with House of Mirth stamped in gold and a smiley face pin affixed to the end? Had she written a novel of particular interest to Jewish readers (unlikely, given her appalling references to Simeon Rosedale, but I forgive her), would she have dressed up as a giant dreidel at the Jewish Book Council reception at BEA? Would she go on The View? Would she have an Amazon Blog?

Yes, Weber decides: Wharton’s publisher would require her to have an Amazon Blog. Weber channels the Ethan Frome author below.
 
 

EDITH WHARTON’S AMAZON BLOG
 

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My At Home Page

Mr. Scribner insisted that I should get an Amazon Blog, so here I am! I will try to write intelligently and amusingly from time to time so when you see me pop up in your Amazon Plog (Oh dear, such regrettable terms, Blogs and Plogs! But I have been advised that it is unreasonable for me to think that one can just lie abed writing novels nowadays, without involving oneself further), you will feel exactly as if you are receiving a personal letter from an old friend.

I look forward to our encounters on what I am told you call your Amazon Home Page, though perhaps Mr. Bezos should have considered calling it one’s At Home Page. I will write again soon, but right now I shall return to my novel in progress, because I know my readers can’t wait for my next book!
 

Monday, June 12, 2006

About Me

I grew up in New York City, which is why I like to write about what so many people unfortunately insist on calling the Big Apple so much. My maiden name was Edith Newbold Jones, and I was very lucky to be born into a prosperous old New York family. It might amaze you when I tell you that the old expression about “Keeping up with the Joneses” was about my family! We were those very Joneses with whom people wanted to keep up!

I was married for a while, but now I am divorced (but I kept Teddy Wharton’s name, wouldn’t you? Though I do regret leaving the middle of the alphabet, because those of us with poor old “W” last names are so often relegated to less advantageous placement in bookshops), with no children (though in some sense all of my books are my children), and I am living in Paris these days (I can imagine some of you thinking, such a hard life, the poor woman does suffer so) with my little dog, a Papillon, whom I think of as a heart-beat at my feet, to quote from a poem I wrote. (Many of my devoted readers are dog lovers, I am certain.)
 

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Interests

What I really like best (when I’m not writing novels and short stories of course!) is to spend my time designing gardens and doing interior decoration. I wrote a book about that, with my co-author Ogden Codman, Jr., and in it you will find my opinions about the best ways to avoid vulgarity, which is something I recommend to all my readers!

Do be sure to take a look at my entire list of books available from dear Amazon, and I must say it is so convenient and tempting, having the opportunity to click that cunning button when you see a book you might like to read, don’t you agree? One may obtain the latest books and other intriguing products without ever leaving one’s parlor nowadays. Many if not most of my books make for fine book club discussions.

I have even written a short story about a visit to a book club!

I also like spending time with my friends, among them the very talented novelist Henry James, whose novels and stories you should read, because if you like my work you will enjoy his too, even though I tease him about his long sentences. (My goodness, that was a pretty long sentence of my own, now that I think about it! I guess it’s a contagious habit, LOL, as I am told people say nowadays!)
 

I will pen another entry in my Amazon Blog soon. I am unaccustomed to this sort of chat, I admit, as here in Paris, people do rather insist on congregating in cafes (what some of you might call “face to face,” I gather), and there isn’t as popular and convenient a way for readers and authors to connect. (That makes me think of another one of my author friends, E.M. Forster. Be sure to read his books too!)
 


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