Post Academic

Support Matt Stewart’s LitDraft!

Posted in Breaking Academic Stereotypes by Caroline Roberts on April 30, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionWith the exceptions of JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, the literary world still doesn’t have the mass appeal that generates the big bucks. Rowling and Meyer are big winners precisely because they appeal to a large audience, especially teens, who have disposable income and who aren’t afraid to spend it.

But these authors are in the minority, and it’s tough for new authors to break out. Although novelists are creative, they just aren’t the greatest at promoting themselves and convincing others why they matter. Hmmm … sounds a lot like grad students and academics …

Luckily, author Matt Stewart—whose novel The French Revolution comes out on Bastille Day, FYI—proposed a solution in a recent HuffPo piece. He suggests a LitDraft, just like the NFL Draft, but with authors.

Why not? The public obsesses over drafts, wondering which player is a sleeper hit and which player will flame out. And the marketing possibilities are dizzying:

The LitDraft is more than a mere recruitment tool–it’s a national media event focused on reading! Put the LitDraft on TV (CSPAN, PBS, whatever); give us face time with reclusive literary celebrities; provide running commentary and red carpet interviews; and package nifty segments on writers’ fascinating stories. It’d get casual fans fired up about new voices–hell, it’d get them thinking about reading for a few minutes period. Along the way, the LitDraft creates instant local celebrities, and a brief descent from the New York juggernaut might even make the book world feel slightly accessible to readers. (Did JK Rowling really wear that?)

A LitDraft would also benefit literature departments everywhere by reminding the public that words aren’t just important, but they’re also fun.

Want to know which writers Matt Stewart would like to have in his own LitDraft? Find out after the jump!

Image of 2008 draft results by Jim F, posted to Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.