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Should Authors Be Allowed to Campaign for Their Own Books?

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Yesterday we opened the polls for the fifth edition of 1book140, The Atlantic's monthly book club. The theme, appropriately enough for an October Read-Along, was scary books. The shortlist of six titles contained many fine works, ranging from the literary (Gillian Flynn's Dark Places) to the classic (Rebecca) to the contemporary (Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill). Within an hour of posting the ballot, Heart-Shaped Box—by all accounts, a very good book—was killing the competition. And I think we need to talk about that. Here's a look at the conversation so far:

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Jeff Howe is a professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard. More

Jeff Howe is a professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He previously worked as a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he covered the media and entertainment industries. In June 2006 he published "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" in Wired. In September 2008 he published a book on the subject for Random House. The book has been translated into 11 languages. Before coming to Wired in 2001 he was a senior editor at Inside.com and a writer at the Village Voice. In his 20 years as a journalist he has traveled around the world working on stories ranging from the impending water crisis in Central Asia to the implications of gene patenting. He has written for Time, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Mother Jones and numerous other publications. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children.

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