“We Have Ahmet Şık’s Book”

 

Oh, Turkey, you are never boring. First, note this Facebook group: Ahmet Şık’ın Kitabı Bende de Var, which means, “I’ve got Ahmet Şık’s book too.” (If the name Ahmet Şık isn’t familiar, I’ve written about him here and here.) I track the growth of political Facebook groups as a minor hobby, and this one is really growing fast.  

But even more interesting, here’s a site that claims to have the manuscript–and to be counting down to releasing it. Do they really have it? No idea. 

Look, I can’t help it, I’m going to give the people who want Ahmet Şık’s ideas to disappear some expert advice. I know exactly how to make a book disappear. I’ve written four books that pretty much sank without a trace. (Oh, man, I just looked for evidence of this and depressed myself–Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #752,699.) I don’t take it personally; I still think that’s a great book, but most books just disappear. It’s a tough market. 

You can take my advice or leave it, but you’ll find what I’m saying is true, empirically. You want to make a book disappear, there’s a much easier way, and you won’t have to deal with all that patronizing criticism from the EU. Ignore it and put something great on television. I recommend a show involving feuding celebrities, a buxom chef and a talking beagle, but you can adapt this formula as culturally appropriate. 

Seizing the draft in a highly-publicized raid on a newspaper will actually result in hundreds of thousands of people who had never given that book a second thought–and who probably buy fewer than three books a decade, if that–becoming awfully curious about what Ahmet Şık has to say. That’s a spectacular achievement in today’s publishing environment, but probably not the one you were angling for. 

If anyone wants any more advice from me about making books disappear, you know where to reach me.  Just dial “publishing oblivion.”

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    May I suggest the same strategy for New York Times articles?

    • #1
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    @CasBalicki

    Hey! Let’s get together and burn Claire’s books. That’ll get them up the Amazon best seller list. Imagine the PR that would result from a headline such as: Conservatives band together to collect and burn There is no Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters, or Outraged Liberals forced to Defend Why Thatcher Matters. The BBC would implode! All we need to do is get a couple of rent-a-goons from SEIU with swastika armbands and Claire’s at the top of The New York Times best seller list, too. How about next weekend? Bring the kids, we’ll have sticks and marshmallows, no use letting all that heat go to waste.

    • #2
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    @Claire
    Cas Balicki: Hey! Let’s get together and burn Claire’s books. That’ll get them up the Amazon best seller list.

    Oh, believe me, I’ve been thinking the same thing. The problem is how do I make sure I get the royalty payments when some do-gooder decides to put the whole manuscript on the Internet? Tricky, no?

    • #3
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    @DavidFoster

    Well, I’ve read some of your books and liked them….I did notice, though, an striking absence of **vampires**…these appear to be the key to obtaining large readership, at least American female readership, these days.

    • #4
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    @RB

    Whoa, never knew about Berlinksi — the author. Thanks to Amazon, I do now. Although it may not nudge the Amazon rank one bit, I might blow in for the the Thatcher book, since I’m sort of an 80s Reagan/Thatcher guy in outlook. Sees like our ranks are thinning, though.

    I’m not much of a fiction reader, although the spy/thriller ones look interesting. One of them should have been picked up for a movie series — sort of the female heroine counterpart of the Bourne movies. :- )

    Menace in Europe –I know I should read it, but the topic — the slow erosion of European culture, values, and population — is a depressing subject, no matter who writes about it. Mark Steyn and others also cover this beat and although I don’t seek out the subject, I do read what comes up on the usual sites.

    Just like music, where there are loads of great records that are issued and sink without a trace, it appears the literary world is like that as well. And like music, The Modern World has changed publishing, also.

    • #5
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    @Claire
    david foster: Well, I’ve read some of your books and liked them….I did notice, though, an striking absence of **vampires**…these appear to be the key to obtaining large readership, at least American female readership, these days. · Mar 26 at 9:11am

    1) Ah, but did you buy them or check them out of the library? (Nothing is more demoralizing than a fan letter that begins, “I loved your book, which I checked out of the library.”) 2) I wrote a lot about communists. 3) But I guess I could write about vampires, you think that’s where it’s at these days? Should I do a trial balloon with a vampire-theme post on Ricochet?

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    RB: Whoa, never knew about Berlinksi — the author.

    See what I mean?

    • #7
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    @CasBalicki

    A Communist vampire might be good. Cover the waterfront so to speak.

    • #8
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    @DeletedAccount

    Well, I’m looking forward to reading Lion Eyes, should be here in a week or so. The last 2 novels I’ve read were By Grand Central Station and The Bell Jar, I need something a little lighter, but still well written…

    Re. the library; I’m afraid I’m bad that way – my biggest purchases are art related books, far too many of which should never have been published. Usually careful browsing means I don’t get suckered in, but mistakes happen. The bad ones get lent out to friends, and the really bad ones go straight to the library. I guess it’s a little vindictive.

    Finally – who needs vampires? You’ve done a great job here on the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • #9
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    @KennedySmith

    Vampires who solve crimes. Or kind of James Bond international intrigue vampires. Sure, the puffy shirt stands out in a crowd, but if anybody asks, he can just say “No no, I’m not a spy. Just a vampire.”

    • #10
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    @FXMeaney

    That German band in Menace would scare the vampires away.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FXMeaney

    That German band in Menace would scare the vampires away.

    • #12
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    @DavidFoster

    Claire…I actually *bought* Menace in Europe and Lion Eyes.

    Here’s a woman who is publishing/selling her books only in electronic form, and making pretty significant $$: <a href=”http://www.businessinsider.com/amanda-hocking-2011-2″>Amanda Hocking</a>. Looks like vampires are a key part of the formula.

    • #13
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    @DavidFoster

    sorry, messed up the link again: Amanda Hocking makes zillions of dollars selling novels about vampires ‘n stuff through electronic distribution

    • #14
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    @Sisyphus

    I saw the news of the raid earlier and laughed at the rank incompetency. Good luck finding every electronic copy there, Mr. Turk. When you’ve checked everywhere else, check out the publishing sites all across the globe. And among the porn, I mean photo collections on the West’s ubiquitous easy crack servers.

    • #15
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    @DuaneOyen

    I have most books written by every Berlinski out there. Be advised that Lion Eyes is more clever and interesting than a shoot-’em up spy thriller.

    The one thing I’ve noticed is that Mischa and Claire tend to show up in books as characters.

    • #16
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    @StanHjerleid

    Hmmmm. #752699? Coulda been worse. I’ve bought all your books. Just think if I hadn’t bought.

    • #17
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    @Claire

    Wow, everyone who has ever bought my books is on Ricochet! I knew I liked you guys. And thank you.

    • #18
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    @MargaretBall

    A sexy Islamist vampire – mustn’t forget the soft-porn requirement. Oh, and put a dragon on the cover. A science fiction publisher once told me he could sell 30,000 copies of anything if there was a dragon on the cover.

    (I’m pretty good at achieving publishing oblivion myself, but I gave up entirely when vampire porn became the dominant theme in fantasy.)

    • #19
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    @SusanS

    As a Thatcher devotee, I’d like to be on record for buying the HARDCOVER version of Claire’s book at full price. Talk about money well spent; I totally rely on it for ammunition at enemy-infested LA cocktail parties.

    Ok, back to book selling strategy; I do corporate PR but get occasional entertainment projects to stay sane. Isn’t Merle Streep doing a movie about Margaret Thatcher? Claire should get her press releases and story pitches ready to coincide with the release date; it’s not uncommon for books (or indie films) declared DOA to rise from the tomb when another, more heavily promoted movie/book on the same topic is released.

    • #20

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