A Case of Bad Timing

July 13th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Author Chris Cleave has a problem, one that ties in to one of our earlier posts. Cleave’s novel, Incendiary, had the misfortune of being released on the day of the London bombings. In a second setback, the subject matter just happened to deal with the idea of bombings in London.

The publisher reacted appropriately:

All advertising was pulled by the publisher Chatto & Windus, a division of Random House. (The novel is scheduled to be released next month in Canada by Random House.) The ads showed the book’s British cover depicting smoke billowing up from a burning London skyline. Print ads for the book by British retailer Waterstone’s were also pulled, and Cleave has cancelled a number of appearances to promote the book.

He [Chris Cleave] supports the removal of the ads. “I absolutely understand why they did that because it would be incredibly insensitive to push that book at this point,” Cleave said. “You have to understand that the images in those adverts were completely inappropriate for now.”

Cleave is now in the awkward position of “to promote or not to promote” — he, like all authors, know that initial sales are everything (though we’d suggest that Random House would do better to relaunch the title at a more auspicious time). There is no right answer nor approach to solving Cleave’s issue. He’s putting the question to readers and soliciting your thoughts.

And, yeah, we get it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a question worth asking or answering.

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