Friday, September 25, 2009

Examining the Novel's Promotional Website

I had become interested in cult fiction (no, not fiction about cults) at the age of twenty-seven, when I’d read On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It had an unusual publishing history, the narrative originating with scribbled notes on road trips and ending with a manuscript typed on a single sheet of paper 120 feet long. After some editing, Viking published the novel, which became both a counterculture and mainstream classic.

I began researching the publishing history of my favorite novels and learned that many also had unusual stories behind their publication. (See the Sitemap for more details.) The first step in learning more about John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe was to examine the book’s promotional website, its URL appearing on the back cover next to a picture of the Strawberry Fields Memorial in New York’s Central Park.

The site was slick, and the graphics, text, and layout indicated that someone had shelled out a couple of thousand bucks (minimum) to have the site designed. The site contained a wealth of information on the novel, Lennon, the Beatles, magical realism, and the author, William Hammett. The web designer had been SEO savvy (search engine optimization) so that the site would pop whenever dozens of relevant words or phrases were entered into a search engine. The banner even blinked on and off, like the neon sign of a café. It was a classy site.

Would John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café become a cult book at some point in the future? It was time to contact the author, but I wanted to learn a little bit about him. What I found explained a lot.

SITEMAP

About This Website
Index of Articles on This Website
What Is Cult Fiction?
Is Cult Fiction the Same as Underground Fiction?
Cult Fiction and Genre
Cult Fiction and ON THE ROAD
Cult Fiction and A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES
Moby-Dick: The Ultimate Cult Novel
John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe: Cult Fiction in the Making?
The Next Wave of Cult Fiction
List of Cult Fiction Classics
Cult Fiction Websites
Current Trends in Fiction
Literary Fiction
Breakout Fiction
Literary Agents
Self-Published Novels
Understanding the Literary Marketplace
Emerging Writers in the Literary Marketplace
Resources for Writers
About Cat Spaulding
Contact