Sunday, April 23, 2006

If Norman Mailer Had Asked Me...

If Norman Mailer had asked me, I would have told him to re-think the subtitle on his novel, The Big Empty : Dialogues on Politics, Sex, God, Boxing, Morality, Myth, Poker and Bad Conscience in America. Just whom, I would have asked him, do you expect to remember that subtitle? Do you even have it committed to memory? How do you expect that subtitle to just roll off the tongues of television and radio show hosts, and how do you propose that magazines and newspapers find space for it?

Then again, if Norman Mailer had asked me, I would have told him that nearly all the titles of his books (The Executioner's Song, The Naked and the Dead, et al.) were too depressing.

I'm right about the fact that Norman Mailer's book titles (and, in this case, his subtitle) aren't optimized for their book promotion value. But, okay, I will concede that, overall, Norman Mailer's career as a novelist has been pretty much on track -- even though he hasn't listened to my advice with regard to his books' titles and subtitles.

No comments: