Policy Announcement: Book Promo News

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The fun part of writing a book is when you're thinking about it, learning, meeting people, doing research.

The unpleasant part is the actual writing. Some people say they "like" writing. To me, that's crazy talk.

The awkward part is promo mode, right when the book is published, because every day you're walking the fine line between wanting to make sure you get your message out, and becoming a bore.

I enjoyed the fun part of preparation for my latest book over the past few years in China. The unpleasant part took much of last year, including the few months when my wife and I were back in Beijing. The promo part begins right now, and let me explain how I intend to handle the awkwardness that inevitably goes with it.

On the one hand, I don't want to convert my little part of the Atlantic's site into mainly a marketing / promotional vehicle. Also I know, from long experience, that just as people have a finite appetite for hearing about the achievements, cuteness, smartness, and success of other people's children, so too you can quickly wear out your welcome talking about your own book (movie, song, performance, startup idea, etc). But on the other hand, I'll be going to a lot of sites around the country in the next couple of weeks and would like to get out information on where and when, for anyone who might be interested.

So here's the plan: Most of what will be on this site in upcoming weeks will be "normal" material. You know -- "false equivalence," boiled frogs, TSA adventures, beer, flying cars, China Daily, re-election strategies, the bomb-Iran watch, that sort of thing. But I will also be doing book-related announcements, and I'll flag them in two ways. I'll have a standing headline of "Book News"; and I'll illustrate them with a thumbcut of the book's jacket, as in this post. So when you see those signals, you'll know what's coming -- and my goal is to have a consistently labelled source of info about tours, appearances, and related events. Also, as an inside-baseball detail, I will flag these as "Personal" posts in our system, which means that they won't show up in one of our standing channels -- International, Technology, etc.

That is all.

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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