I know it seem's like I pimp out Francis Levy's book every week (and I'm not even getting paid for it), but he managed to get a lot of free publicity last week when The New York Observer wrote an article about the fact that both his book and Susan Squires features the same photo of two bonobos having sex on the cove. Now we in Romancelandia (as I've heard it referred to) are used to seeing the same stock images on historical fiction and romance covers. It's not a shock, but apparently in the literary fiction world, it was shocking enough for the newspaper to actually cover it. Oh, and the same author Daphne Merkin, blurbed both books! Which is actually even funnier.
Francis explained in another post on the Observer web-site that it was a simple mistake. The scientist Frans de Waal, who took the photo had agreed to let Mr. Levy use the photo, as long as he was given the appropriate credit, a copy of the book and allowed to write a short informational paragraph about the bonobos in the front of the book. At the same time Ms. Squire contacted Mr. de Waal for permission, and Mr. de Waal didn't realize that it was totally unrelated to Mr. Levy's book and gave her the go-ahead as well! Simple comedy of errors.
As for the Merkin blurbs, it turns out that was a coincidence as well. But heck it worked out in favor of both books because they were both featured in two articles. Since Francis Levy's book is published by a small independent press, Two Dollar Radio, it gives a boost to his book. My favorite comment though is when the Observer asked Ms. Merkin about how the photos of the bonobos could fit both books, one which is an erotic romance and the other a cultural history of marriage.
"One is about the consequences of unfettered lust, and the threat it would
impose to the established order," Ms. Merkin said. "The other is about the
pleasures of unfettered lust versus the gratification of individualized desire,
or something like that, if that makes any sense."
So there you go, if you want free press, just make sure you use the same photo as another author and get the same author to blurb both books!
Thanks to the Smart Bitches for bringing this to my attention.